06 July 2013 | Montenegro
To begin I would say that I started this trip without previously having any strong desire to sail or spend time on the ocean. It really just happened spontaneously that when I wanted to do something different for a week during the summer, the opportunity arose to join the Lambright family on their adventure throughout the Mediterranean. I couldn’t pass up this chance to take some time off of work and travel to Europe. I would have been much more apprehensive about the prospect of flying into Croatia by myself, speaking only English, with no knowledge on how to operate in a foreign country, without my knowledge that the Lambright family (especially Dave) would have a good grasp on what they were doing and would be able to safely let me tag along with them throughout their travels (I haven’t been lost at sea yet).
The evening that I arrived Nick and I set off to Dubrovnik on a local bus with the intention to scope out the night-life of the city. It so happened that this same evening the most well known Croatian singer was performing in the town square, so we would be given the opportunity to experience the city at perhaps its busiest. Having little clue what we were doing, we just wandered the streets of the city for hours, stopping in at various bars throughout the city to enjoy the local beer. The packed streets and inability to understand and relate to the music that the locals were so engrossed in eventually led us away from the bustle of the city center. We made our way through the alleys towards the fortified outer wall. Squeezing through a small door in the 6 meter thick wall (with a giant faded sign reading “no topless” and “no nudes”) we found ourselves on a cliff-side bar somewhat precariously located on the rocks outside the wall. After enjoying a few more drinks, I really began to realize how comfortable and welcome I felt, even after just a short day in this foreign place.
After another day of moving around the surrounding bays and areas of Dubrovnik, we began to make way for Montenegro. Nothing could have prepared me for the beauty that the bay of Kotor and Porto Montenegro had in store. I had no idea that such beautiful cliffs and mountains would surround the entire bay. The port itself was incredibly welcoming, and felt extremely luxurious and comfortable. I have never seen so many incredible boats and mega-yachts in my life, which occupied this amazing port.
After a day of thoroughly scrubbing the boat in Montenegro (which was by no means something I look forward to doing again) we were treated to an amazing day at the local “Puro Beach” 5-Star pool. This was probably the most relaxing and fun day at a pool that I ever have ever experienced, or will experience in my life. The “infinity” pool overlooks the bay and nearby mountains, and the experience came complete with men in funny looking pants, which adjusted your umbrellas and would come check on you every few minutes just to insure that you had everything you needed. Much to the dismay of our new friend Meegan James (a South African woman who was extremely friendly, helpful, and a very fun companion to spend our days in Montenegro with) Nick and I proceeded to attempt every cocktail on the menu, all while we continually pestered Elaina every five minutes asking her to calculate if each additional order would somehow allow us to remain in-budget for the day.
The biggest disappointment (if you can call it that) was that we had to leave Montenegro for Greece without visiting the bay of Kotor for a second time. During our first journey I neglected to take photos as we explored the bay in the tender, a big mistake on my part, as I believe that will be the most beautiful portion of the trip.
As I write this last paragraph we are approaching Greece after a long, 20+ hour sail through the night. My body didn’t really appreciate my first “bone-yard” watch shift, as I had to lay down after about two hours of the boat bouncing around in the dark. As I originally stated I had few expectations coming into this trip, now I can safely say it has been one of the most amazing experiences that I have taken part of. I have felt completely comfortable during my first week at sea, and have immensely enjoyed exploring Croatia and Montenegro thus far. I very much hope to return to at least Montenegro to explore the bay and city of Kotor more thoroughly. A big thank you to Dave, Jeanne, Nick, and Elaina for allowing me to experience this leg of their adventure, it had been an incredible experience! I cannot wait to return.