Sunday, August 06, 2006

Perfect Day

The Montenegrin coast, once isolated, was a peaceful haven where connoisseurs and us „locals“ could easily find a secluded place to enjoy the sea and the sun far from tourism, beach bars, rentable umbrellas and screaming children. But it seams more and more people are enjoying this type of refuge, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a piece of rock and water for yourself. Too often I find cars parked along the winding road through the bay at my favorite „secret” spots, where hidden tracks lead through the shrubs to immaculate beaches which I always thought were mine alone.
The car imposes itself as a necessary instrument in going further off the beaten track. A boat, naturally, is another good solution.

We decided to spend a day at Miriste a small cove at the very entrance to Boka Kotorska looking beyond the fortresses that guard the bay onto the open sea. The road by land is narrow and winds through olive groves – the Mediterranean as it once was, excuse my copyright infringement. Although boats come here regularly from Herceg Novi it is not as crowded as Zanjic with its camp site, just a short walk away. It is not absolute isolation, as there is a restaurant, café, showers and all other modern facilities but the number and profile of visitors makes it very relaxing and pleasant.
The water is crystal clear and tropically blue, and the view is spectacular. Nearby on a rocky peninsula is the Arza fort, another nice place to swim and dive, where a couple of years ago after a long journey over rough roads I finally arrived only to hear Vivaldi echoing through the empty halls and find out that during the summer the fort is home to some other refuge seekers. On the far side of the bay you can see the forts in Croatia and in the middle the mighty Mamula fortress on an island with weird vegetation.
Just off Miriste beach is another small island with a monastery.

As we were a group of 10 people, we easily managed to charter a boat just for ourselves and set off to explore the Blue Cave just outside the bay. The huge sea cave is a great place to dive in the predictably very blue water. Our skipper also offered to take us to the nearby Black Cave, which I’ve never even heard of on my numerous visits to its well known cousin.

It’s absolutely fantastic! As you swim inside (the entrance is to low for boats of any kind to pass) the only light is coming from under the water so bodies of people in front of you have a fluorescent glow. Swimming further your companions start to disappear in total darkness. Through the black, holding hands, you reach the end of the cave where you can stand on rocks in the water. The water gets quite cold and you shiver looking back at the sliver of light from which you came as you listen to strange sounds of water splashing and what I imagine can only be bats in the darkness above you. Very exciting and eerie. Then you swim out into the warm Adriatic.
On our way back to Miriste we stopped at Mamula, to swim and explore the wonderful fortress and its alien plant life. Stories of turning it into a casino are still there but I like it just as it is.
Back at Miriste we spent the rest of the day playing games on the beach and after the beautiful sunset we went to Rose, a lovely fishing village nearby for a great sea food dinner. We made our way back on the winding roads listening to a Mozart cd which accidentally made its way into the car. But it sure made for a wonderful ride.

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