Monday, June 23, 2014

Bigova and then Tivat

Glittering church dome in
distance when leaving Bar

We stayed in the marina in Bar only one night; got clearance formalities handled and finally found a courtesy flag for this country.  It was hot and not an attractive place to hang around since there was no swimming pool to entertain the kids.  They washed down the boat deck while I did a few loads of laundry.  As soon as the clothes were dry we made a quick decision to just leave.  There was no reason to hang around.  Save that marina money for a better place elsewhere.

Sometimes it takes so little to make her happy on
a rainy day.
It was a motor sail up the coast with light southerly winds on our backs.  Too light to sail.  And what a swell!!!  There must have been heavier weather somewhere south of here because there was a heck of a swell rolling up from that direction.  Not a comfortable day of sailing but not intolerable.  Once again we were thankful that these 2 grandchildren are not plagued by seasickness or queasiness.  They each played electronic games as we rolled side-to-side for hours.  It was obvious that our original anchorage would not work because of the strong southerly swell; so we changed destination from near Budva to a very sheltered bay farther north called Bigova.

Line 'em up!
While motoring along we received a hail from the other American boat that had arrived shortly before us at Bar the previous day.  They did manage to get cleared into Montenegro.  They had to purchase the newly required liability insurance in the amount of 1,000,000 Euro at a cost of 100 Euro, for which they received neither a policy nor a receipt.  After paying for the vignette (cruising permit) for one week and the required insurance, then the harbor master asked for their sailing certification/license and they did not have anything to give him.  After some discussion the harbor master accepted the captain's Texas driver's license as his sailing license.  Well...that is a first!  At any rate, they did manage to get clearance into Montenegro for a period of one week.

Zach's first espresso.

That boat also stopped at Bigova and they came over to S/V BeBe to chat over sundowners.  Turned out we have some mutual cruising friends they had met at Marina di Ragusa a couple of winters past.  Barb and Doug on S/V Plankton are also from Houston.  They have been cruising the western and central Med for the past 4 years.  They also are headed to Croatia for this summer so it is possible we might run into one another again.

Fortifications on west side of entrance to Gulf of Kotor.

Bigova is very well sheltered from every direction except north.  But it is surprisingly rolly in that protected bay.  The rolling nearly drove Bill mad.  It was not particularly bothering me or Zach or Elisabeth, but it really bothered Bill.  The exceptionally poor holding there bothered me.  Our Wasi Bugle anchor has never dragged.  Never.  Not even in very heavy conditions.  It always sticks solid. 

Well, we cannot boast that claim anymore!

Fortification on island near center of entrance to
Gulf of Kotor.  Venetian or Nazi?
During the 5 days we stayed in Bigova our anchor dragged at least once.  And we (me) did not like how we ended up laying in formation with other boats or rocks as the wind switched directions often, so we pulled the anchor up and re-anchored a total of 5 times in 5 days.  The sea bottom seemed to be a very thin layer of soil over solid rock, with heavy weed covering most of the area.  Each time the anchor brought up bushel baskets of weed or sea grass.  We set 3 anchor alarms each time...1 at the main nav station GPS; 1 on the GPS in the aft cabin where we sleep; and 1 on the tablet using Navionics with the free Anchor Alarm app from the Play Store online.  That tablet one has turned out to be my favorite anchor alarm.  It is very loud and really gets your attention instantly.  Very good to have when the anchor drags at 0200 and you are sound asleep.  None of that soft electronic beeping that the GPS alarms sound.  This is a clanging loud sound that cannot be ignored when in a sleepy haze.  I like it very much.

Fortification on east side of entrance to Gulf of Kotor

The only reason we stayed in Bigova with its poor holding was that the weather was crappy.  It rained every single day we were anchored there.  Rain did clear for a few hours on a few days but most of the time it was drizzling or pouring.  Sometimes with 30+ knots wind and lots of lightning.  When this nastiness finally cleared we were more than ready to get the heck out of there.  On the first pretty day we motored a bit farther north and entered the enormous Bay of Kotor, which is called the Gulf of Kotor on some of our charts.

Saw at least 4 of these in
distance.  Had to look up
when got internet again.
Nazi WWII sub hidey-holes
The Gulf of Kotor is huge.  It is shaped like a backwards 'Z' with the very narrow entrance being at the western tip of the bottom line of that backwards Z.  There are 3 bays inside this gulf.  We did not stop in the westernmost bay because there is no suitable anchorage and we did not want to go to a dock.  The scenic Venetian walled town of Kotor is situated at the farthest eastern tip of the top line of that backwards Z.  Kotor is where one usually clears out of Montenegro when going north to Croatia.

Hidey-hole for a submarine in years past
Off to our starboard side after we passed the entrance fortifications there were many structures and fortifications and unidentifiable things that quite obviously had been for military use in years past.  One set of Quonset-type buildings had crudely painted signs identifying those as the Serbian War Prison.  I noticed at least 4 openings at water level that extended into the mountain;  these appeared for all the world to be something that Germany might have built for WWII to hide submarines.  
Look closely center top.  There were at least a dozen of raised
platforms like that hidden in the trees on mountainside

Do a Google search for Kotor WWII or Kotor submarines if you are interested in knowing more about this.

I would dearly love to see a blueprint or schematic of what was built inside and beneath that mountain by the Germans.

Just beneath center, note that strange structure.
What is it?  What was it used for?

Upper center right.  What was that cone shaped thing?

Mini submarines?

Weird, weird boat.  That guy  way up on top was driving it.

What a world of difference!  

We stopped in the 'center' bay, anchoring next to Porto Montenegro Marina at Tivat.  This is a five star marina constructed at what was a navy dock in years past.  Our charts still indicate that this is a military site and is off limits to pleasure yachts.  So very not true today!  This is a luxurious marina filled with mega-yachts...those fancy large motor yachts familiar in the Med.  The rich people boats.  And the shops ashore are mostly for those rich people too.  Way out of our price range.

Tivat town quay being completely renovated.

We have enjoyed this anchorage very much.  There is free Wi-Fi provided by the municipality of Tivat.  It is a slow connection but that is fine.  I am finding it more and more difficult to gather interest in writing blog postings.  We need to do something interesting to have something to write about.  Tomorrow we probably will move on into the last section of this bay or gulf -- into the bay where the old walled city of Kotor is situated.

Looking SE from Tivat anchorage near marina.
We are looking forward to visiting that old walled city but are finding it hard to force ourselves away from this little paradise of Tivat.

Today we took a taxi to shop for parts needed to repair our aging outboard engine.  Ended up going to 6 places and all the way to Kotor.  Found most parts needed but still need something that will have to be purchased online and shipped to us somewhere in Croatia.  We enjoyed getting a preview of Kotor.  Looks like a neat little city.

More of the town quay of Tivat and the swim area.
Looking north from Tivat anchorage.  Much of that
highest mountain is behind those clouds.
Very dramatic scenic views.

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