June 2011- Eastern Italy, Montenegro

June 24, 2011

Hi Everyone, We've been enjoying our week here in Brindisi Italy. Last weekend there was a concert/festival in the parking lot near our boat so our evenings were a bit noisy. Fortunately they quit by midnight. Our friends on Gemini, Ron and Susan arrived here on Monday so we've had fun company all week. Gemini is the boat we traveled with in the Black Sea in 2009. Susan is a great cook and loves to spoil Al with bake goods. We've enjoyed blueberry muffins with our morning coffee this weekend and she made a fabulous apple pie that was dessert for two nights. We made dinner aboard Artemis on Wed. and Gemini had us over last night.

It's been great fun having company but now we need to get busy and finish boat projects and pack our bags. We plan to move off the town quay down to the boatyard tomorrow morning. The yard isn't open on Sunday and we fly to Rome early (0650)on Monday. We arrive in Chicago about 1335. We're planning to be in Chicago for while before coming to Minnesota. Sally's Dad is visiting in Minnesota and sister Kate and family are coming too from Seattle. So lots of family time. Can't wait to snuggle those grandbabies! Love and God Bless Sally and Al

June 18, 2011

Hi Everyone, We had a beautiful night crossing from Montenegro. Full moon, calm seas but unfortunately our wind was "on the nose". Oh well can't have everything. It beats the crossing we had from Corfu last year to Brindisi. Wind and Seas on the nose and stopping the boat to less than 2kts at times. We arrived at Brindisi around 11:00. The town quay now has laid moorings and we hear they are charging 40E. So we went further into the bay just past the fuel dock and there are still some open free spots. We went to passport control so we are semi legal. The Coast Guard office is not open on the weekends so we need to wait to get our Costituto (transit log) until Monday. We may be in for a little rock n'roll tonight. As a band is setting up on the quay. They don't sound too bad but all depends on how late they play:-) We'll stay here on the quay as long as we're allowed to stay then we'll move down to the Balsamo Boatyard where we'll leave Artemis when we fly home Mon. June 27. We have boat proj ects to keep us busy this week. Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Montenegro | Gulf Kotor | Artemis in Port of Montenegro

June 17, 2011

Hi Everyone, We picked up duty free fuel this morning (76 Euro cents a liter) in Port of Montenegro and cleared customs about 12:30 today. We paid 1.43 Euro a liter in Italy so it was worth the time to get tax free before leaving the country. Also got 20 liters of Rimula R4 oil for 68 Euros. Heading to Brindisi, Italy about 116nm so we should arrive tomorrow morning about 0830 or 9. We have south winds and are sailing to get out of Gulf of Kotor about 8nm then hopefully it'll not be too south as we are heading 194 to Brindisi. Full moon, no rain forecast and variable winds tonight so we'll probably be motoring. Happy weekend Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Montenegro | Kotor | Artemis anchored near Kotor harbor

June 12, 2011

Hi Everyone, Well Friday morning we decided it was time to move our anchorage again as the swallows decided Artemis was just the spot to start a nest. We are currently anchored across from Kotor harbor where we spent last weekend. Yesterday we decided to dingy to shore and buy some meat at the butcher. First thing we noticed as we stepped ashore for the first time across from Kotor town was a hiking sign. Hmmm shoes are semi okay and we do have water. Oh what the heck lets take a short hike. So up we climbed about 300 steps to an old mule trail. Once up the stairs the rest of the trail was comfortable and easy to follow the switch back to the top about 850 meters.

It was a beautiful trail, wild flowers, cypress, and snakes. We saw two snakes about 5' long brown with a black stripe. Don't know if they were our friends or not but gave them a wide berth. After that every time a gecko rattled in the leaves or crossed our path my skin would start to crawl and hair stand up...Of course those geckos were not the small garden variety. They were a good 10" long. The top of the mountain was a pasture surrounding old ruins of a fort that may have later been used as a barracks with bars on the windows. We could look down the other side of the mountain to Tivat and the airport. We found another hiking sign that suggested possible routes. We decided we didn't want to go the 3.5 km back the way we came so we chose a 2km path that we thought would take us to lunch and a bus back to Kotor.

Montenegro | Gulf Kotor | Tivat view from hike

Wrong...we walked another 5km before we found another hiking sign saying we could go 8.2km back to Kotor, 7km to L town or 10km to Tivat. We decided to go for the 7km hike. So much for lunch and a bus:-( At this rate we have another 31/2-4 hours to hike and the sky is darkening and starting to rumble. Despite not bringing properly prepared for a long hike, taking a few detours, not sure where we were going to end up, the trail and hike were enjoyable. We never saw another hiker all day and only one car the last 20 min. Finally about 4:30 we hit the main road of Tivat that follows the coast. Yo!! A bus arrived just as we turned onto the road. We flagged him down and happily paid him 1.50E each for a ride back to Kotor. That bus ride settled our desire to rent a car or go biking along the sea. The roads are barely wide enough for one vehicle to pass, yet cars parked along the road in the towns and very often either we or the other vehicle would have to back up to find a spot so we could pass. It took 35min to get back to the boat. No way were we going grocery shopping now. Time for a "lie down" before dinner.

This morning we went to mass at St. Tryphon's Cathedral again. They claim it's the oldest Cathedral in the world but didn't find that info on google. The Bishop said the mass this morning so it was a "High Mass" lots of incense, and singing. After mass we frequented our favorite bakery and then shopped for the meat we were after yesterday. We bought a rot isserie chicken from the butcher. Yum great lunch and enough for supper tonight. This afternoon Al's doing some repairs to our sun cover. It's amazing how much cooler it is in the boat once the decks are covered. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. Happy graduation to niece Sara. Schools out in Minnesota. Happy Summer. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

June 8, 2011

Hi Everyone, Donji Morinj, Montenegro where we arrived Sunday is a pleasant surprise. A mountain stream flows into the anchorage making the water crispy cold and brackish. We went with our New Zealand friends Panthera and Antares up the stream a short distance to a cute restaurant. They have developed the grounds leading up to the restaurant with wooden walkways, bridges, lots of flowers and flowering shrubs. We took the dingy almost to the restaurant and then walked in. Al and I didn't realize we were going to lunch and had already eaten so we had a beer and some mussels. The restaurant was an old mill at one time. Many waterwheels, ponds and streams flowing out of the hillside make a lovely setting. Lots of birds, ducks, swans and peacocks. The restaurant has lovely terraces as well as an indoor seating area. The ladies found a cute boutique to explore after lunch while the guys studied the waterwheels:-)

Monday morning after a swim we motored up the bay 3nm to Risin. Cute little town but the anchorage was spoiled by sewer smell. So after lunch we moved back to Donji Morinj. Antares and Panthera were heading to Croatia so they moved to an anchorage closer to the sea.

Tuesday I hoisted Al up the mast to change a bulb and replace tape on the spreader boots. Then while Al worked on the genset I washed the waterline and did some stainless cleaning. We have discovered the joy of an afternoon "lie down". We read and catch a nap during the hottest part of the day:-)

Today we finished cleaning the stainless and then treated ourselves to lunch back at Konoba Catovica Mlinirestaurant up the river. This time we had a table near a pool with many little streams cascading into it while ducks, swans and peacocks entertained us. We shared a grilled snapper, salad and grilled vegetables. Lovely. After lunch we climbed above the town trying to arrive at the church. Only the roads did not lead to it...down again time for our "lie down". We plan to try a new anchorage tomorrow. Perhaps one we saw near Kotor.

We hear it's 100 F in Minnesota! Not that hot here but hot enough. We enjoy the cool mountain breezes in the evenings. We've had the anchorage all to ourselves since our New Zealand friends left. With the mountains rising from the basins we've been anchoring in one has the illusion of being on a little mountain lake somewhere. Even if the wind kicks up the seas stay calm. Most people we talk to see Montenegro as a stopping off spot on their way to Croatia. This part of Montenegro, Boka Kotorska(Gulf of Kotor)is lovely, relaxing, and fun to explore. We highly recommend cruising it. The current Imray cruising guide writes of prohibited military areas that no longer exist so we can anchor and go into any town we desire. Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

June 5, 2011

Hi Everyone We are cruising Boka Kotorska (The Gulf of Kotor) in Montenegro for two weeks. We needed to take the boat out of the EU to avoid EU VAT tax. This will restart our 18 month clock. What a spectacular place. This gulf consists of three large basins, surrounded by high mountains linked by narrow channels. (fjord like) The mountains surrounding the basin are steep and high reaching over 1000 meters in places. Each evening so far a small storm has passed over cooling the air for a restful evening. It has been very hot and humid. The area is very sheltered and even if the wind does kick up the seas are calm.

We moved 10 miles into the basin with the walled town of Kotor. Kotor is a gorgeous town with defensive walls climbing the mountainside behind. At night they light the wall and the outline forms a distinct shape of a lion including eye and teeth. Amazing. We hiked up to the top yesterday with New Zealand friends we've met. "Antares" Pat and June, and "Panthera" Robin and John. Very nice people we had a pot luck aboard Panthera last night. Some cruise ships and some very large yachts come into the town quay but it's very quiet and peaceful. Today after mass we moved with our friends to Donji Morinj a lovely anchorage off a little stream. Plan to have a swim and a dingy ride up the stream. We'll spend the night here if it stays quiet. Otherwise we'll move 2nm to Risan to the north which is a bit more sheltered. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

June 1, 2011

Hi Everyone, We had a busy week. We had winds on the nose Wed. from Roccella Ionica, Italy so we anchored off a sand beach east of Le Castella about 0230 at Capo di Rizzuto. Then we left early for Santa Maria di Leuca (81nm) the next morning. We had two nice nights at anchorage outside of the harbor.

On Saturday we did some shopping around town and made plans to leave for Otranto so we could go to mass at the cathedral. Otranto anchorage was pleasant one night and then the next two we rolled in the waves. We didn't even launch the dingy. We finally decided to move onto the quay inside the harbor on Tuesday morning. We met New Zealand friends again Pat and June on "Antares". They too had been at anchorage and decided to move in. From the anchorage it looked like the harbor was full and no one would answer the radio so we just finally went in. Al and I grocery shopped and then walked into old town (walled city). We got back just in time. Three times in an hour boats leaving or coming got caught up on mooring lines and we had to fend off. Antares actually got some damage when a German jumped aboard (Pat and June were not on board) and loosened the mooring line to get it off of another boats prop. That made Antares hit the quay with it's stern. Ouch. Al quick jumped aboard and pulled on another mooring line to hold her off. The next two were not quite so exciting as the harbor crew jumped in their joker boat and pulled the boats off. We had cocktails aboard Antares and then went to the harbor restaurant for seafood pasta.

Montengero | Gulf Kotor | Herceg Novi Marina

We decided to leave Otranto at 9 AM for Montenegro the next day. We had a pleasant overnight passage(134nm) to Gulf Kotor, Montenegro with light SE-S winds mostly calm seas. The wind picked up so we could turn the engine off about 3AM. We cleared customs at 0730 in Zelenika. We got a one week cruising permit and the offical said it was okay to stay two weeks. We motored to Herceg Novi Marina so we could walk up into the old town to find an internet card. It would cost 50 Euro by the time we were done so we decided to make due with the SSB internet. No skype, No email attachments, No Facebook but I can survive 2 weeks. One sure gets spoiled. Stari Grad the old town looks like a place we want to come back to another day when we are not so tired. We then motored down to Uvala Krtole anchorage for the night.

#2011 #Italy #Montenegro

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