Friday, 24 July 2009

Montenegro - Country No 20 ..... July 2009

15 July 2009

***Stevi Stefan just south of Budva, sun loungers and umbrellas not included!!!***An artist captures the beauty of Kotor***The buildings of the ancient walled town of Kotor***Look at the the zig zagged wall going up the steep hillside at Kotor***

Our 170 mile overnight passage in the Southern Adriatic north from Corfu in Greece was reasonably uneventful. We were headed for Montenegro, a country that was once part of war torn Yugoslavia, then twinned with Serbia until May 2006 when it became totally independant.

We had left with very light winds forecast for a couple of days so motored the entire way. As we approached Southern Albania late in the afternoon, we could see in the distance a line of white water and motored into some choppy, messy seas and 20knots right on the nose for a couple of hours, then it dropped away as quickly as it arrived. We had variable winds overnight of 10 - 15 knots, but always on the nose and relatively flat water so just kept on motoring through. Several friends had done this passage to Croatia before us and got caught in thunderstorms and gale force winds, even when they had left on a favourable forecast, we wanted it behind us as quickly as possible!

As we motored along the coastline of this new country we enjoyed stunning scenery with high mountains coming right down to the waterline. We looked in at Sveti Stefan, a small exclusive resort island, famous over the years for the high profile people that stay there. The bay was netted off for swimmers, sun loungers and coca cola umbrellas crammed the shoreline, not quite my idea of an exclusive getaway.

We made landfall at Budva, a large bay on the Med coast. Eventually we were directed to the Customs Dock, tied up and preceded first to the Port Police for check in. All went well there, but Customs and the Harbour Master only work from 10am - 12noon so we could not check in with them and obtain our Vignette "Cruising Permit" until the following morning. We stay tied up to the Customs Dock and went off for a walk around the small but picturesque old town, nestled at the end of the harbour. On arrival back at the dock we were told by marina staff that we must leave the Customs Dock immediately and move to the outside marina wall where an available stern-to berth would be 61Euro. 61Euro to tie up anywhere is way too steep, but on the outside, unprotected wall it was a total rip off. One of our pilot books indicates no anchoring here, the other says its ok, we decided to give it a try, so in between fishing boats & tour boats, and with pedalos, jet skies and para sailing speed boats all wanting their piece of water we squeezed in to a spot for the night. Sun loungers and umbrellas totally covered the shore, hundreds of bodies were cooling off in the sea and music was blaring out from various bars, this was our first real busy holiday resort and it was all rather manic. In fairness things settled down before dark and we had a restful night with much needed sleep.

Next morning we dinghied ashore to complete our check in. 10am came and went, so along with several others wanting to check out we waited for the authorities to honour us with their presence. By 10.45am it was our turn but customs would not check us in as we were not on the customs dock. We told him we had been 'removed' from the dock by the marina staff, it seems this was not acceptable and he went off, with our papers, ranting and raving at someone. Some time later he returned indicating we must bring the boat to the dock, but we couldn't we showed him, it had been occupied by 2 enormous power boats, no doubt paying plenty of euros for the privilege. He could see this, but didn't change his opinion, in we must come!!!! Things were not going well, no one was being helpful, our first impressions of Montenegro were getting more tainted by the minute. We returned to Balvenie and decided to lift anchor and head on into the inland waterway which comprises of most of Montenegros coastline and try our luck there.

We headed for Zelenika, the main port of entry for the fjord like waterway. The customs dock was on a lee shore as the afternoon sea breeze was blowing and there were nasty big chunky black tyres along the concrete jetty. We really didn't want to tie up to it so we anchored and Mark went ashore while I stayed onboard. I could tell by the arms signals and body language that they also wanted us to bring the boat alongside for checkin. I could also tell that this was not going to happen and that our stay in Montenegro was going to be a short one, Croatia is only another 20 miles. As Mark was taking one last look at the dock before getting in the dinghy one of the officals came out to him and they went back to the office, progress!! About 30 minutes later we were all checked in and free to explore. Welcome to Montenegro, things were looking up.

We called our friends on Samsara who had come straight here without the stop in Budva (smart move!), they had meet a boat while checking in that told them about, then shown them to, a new marina here called Portomontenegro in Tivat, as it's still under construction there is no charge, until May 2010, it's great and as I write this we are snugly attached, still there. We will take advantage of the marina berth and do our touring of Montenegro by land, the road winds all the way around the waterway so we will do it the easy way. Next posting will be on our excursions in Montenegro.

Cruising Info for Montenegro:
Anchorages -
Budva Customs Dock ... 42 16.748N 18 50.345E 3.5m side tied
Budva at Anchor ... 42 16.90N 18 50.68E 7m some weed but can see the sandy patches. Exposed to west but had very calm conditions
NOTE ... the pilot books show a town quay and a marina. It is all now operated by the marina with matching price tag. 61Euro on exposed outside wall. Does have mooring lines though
Tivat - Portomontenegro Marina ... Our berth 42 25.96N 18 41.55E Free berths until June 2010 (full over winter, waitlist only) Pilot book shows naval yard here. Entrance is on left side as approaching, huge red and white stripped crane on right side. Bow or stern to, two moorings lines provided. Everything brand new and of high quality. Prepay transponder for power and water on the dock. phone 0382 3267 2353. Most staff speak good English. Try and call on VHF before arrival and they will direct you in
Internet - Didn't check in Budva. Free wifi in Porto Montenegro Marina, good signal
Money - Didn't see any ATM's in Old Town Budva but will be some further afield. Tivat plenty ashore less than 5 minutes walk. ATM close by Zelenika Customs Dock. Montenegro uses Euros
Provisions - Budva Marina has a fuel dock adjacent to the Customs Dock. No fuel dock yet in Porto Montenegro Marina. Diesel currently .82c euro a litre. Tivat has good supermarkets, bakerys, farmers market and a small chandlery all within easy walking
Eating Out - Cappuccino E1.50 We have found a pizzeria where we can have a medium pizza to share, 2 glasses of wine and 1 beer for E8.10 Bread .60
Formalities - We don' t recommend Budva but at a diferent time it may well have been very straightforward. Zelenika would be much easier with huge fenders and either a bow thruster or no on shore wind so you can leave the quay again. It was straightforward and quick once they agreed to let us stay at anchor.
Charges -Vignette (Cruising Permit)
7 to 12 metres 1wk 40Euro 1mth 95Euro 3mths 200Euro 6mths 280Euro 1yr 400Euro
12 to 17 metres 1wk 120Euro 1mth 220Euro 3mths 400Euro 6mths 540Euro 1yr 750Euro
Plus we paid 7Euro port tax and 10Euro (should be gold plated) for a courtesy flag.
We have heard that your insurance must be valid for the entire length of your cruising permit, this would be hard to do if you are wintering over and want a 1 year vignette. Posted by Picasa

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