Returning to Montenegro for the 2023 sailing season, March 25, 2023
We flew from Melbourne to Tivat, Montenegro with stopovers in Dubai and Belgrade. It was a very long haul, however we were delighted to see Nova Jean sitting safely where we left her 5 months before in Navar shipyard. The snow capped mountains surrounding Tivat were a stark reminder of how far north in Europe we were and how cold our first few weeks will be.
NJ had been hosed down in preparation by the staff there, but boy did she need a scrub. We checked into our way less than average hotel (which we would quickly change) and begun preparing our job list to get NJ back in the water. We had zinc's to replace, bottom paint to apply, water tanks to flush, engines to service and this was just to get back in the water. Once in the water we had to reinstall sails, furnishings, ropes, recommission the water maker and check all our instruments. The job list was huge.
On January 1 2023, Croatia announced that it was now part of the Schengen visa waver group. Schengen allows Australian passport holders to travel within member states for 90 days within a 180 day period without the need for a visa. This announcement forced us to drastically change our cruising plans for the season. We had planned to spend 90 days in Croatia using a Croatian visa then spend our 90 Schengen days in Greece. Consequently, we will now spend only a short time in Croatia (10 days), the rest of our Schengen time in Greece and any other time in Montenegro and Albania. Still, I can't think of a prettier place to be stuck in, as Montenegro is stunning.
We had hired a car to help with providing, shopping for boat parts and keeping us warm in between. While we had the car we decided to go for a drive down the coast, inland to Podgorcia (the capital) and back though the beautiful snow capped Lovcen National Park
Once back in the water, we sailed around to kotor and anchored for a few days right outside the old town. It's a stunning anchorage and great fun enjoying sundowners on the foredeck while watching the cruise ships manoeuvre their way out of the narrow port.
One of our favourite things to do here is to walk the "Ladder Of Kotor" trail. It's a steep accent up the mountain beside the old Kotor fort, through the ruins of a small hillside village and into the "back entrance" of the old fort. The views are amazing.
We also spent a few days on the free town dock in Tivat which is a real treat. Easy access to the shops and It's a very short walk over to the restaurants for a quick lunch.
There is lots more to see here and we'll post more before we leave. Before then however, we have our 10 day tour of southern Croatia.