Skip to content

The Good Cruising Life in Montenegro

Debbie pours the wine in "fairy-tale-like" Montenegro.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Two of the great things about cruising in Europe are the food and the wine. Just ask ‘the good life’ experts Greg Dorland and Debbie Macrorie of the Squaw Valley-based Catalina 52 Escapade.

In the photo above you can see the “partially demolished seafood feast” they enjoyed in Kotor, Montenegro. (Or maybe it was Perast.) Debbie is pouring a bottle of $22 wine that is said to be the best local stuff. While expensive by Paris standards, it’s much less expensive than Greg and Debbie are used to in the States.

After returning to their boat near La Spezia, Italy, after a winter of skiing at Cortina in the Dolomite Mountains, the couple continued on to Brindisi, near the boot of Italy. They then flew to Paris in a second ill-fated attempt to get a French Long Stay Visa renewed. During their visit, the Wanderer and Doña de Mallorca had the pleasure of showing them Paris from the decks of Majestic Dalat. It was lucky we did it when we did, because the flooding started the next day, and even two weeks later travel on the Seine is somewhat dangerous.

After returning to Brindisi, Greg and Debbie had a nice sail — 15 knots from behind — to Montenegro. "So far it’s been a pretty good year for sailing," says Greg.

Although Greg and Debbie wish Montenegro restaurants “were run by Italians” because Italians are so damn friendly and hospitable, they still say Perast is a “fairy tale place.”

Greg and Debbie have sailed Escapade to a lot of places — California, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America and Panama, Cuba, the Northeast United States, across the Atlantic, and around the Western Med — and have found Montenegro to be one of the most attractive.

©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

To reciprocate for our minor hospitality, Greg and Debbie have invited the Wanderer and de Mallorca to join them for a week on Escapade in Croatia. It would be rude to turn them down, wouldn’t it? So we’re doing our best to make arrangements. Besides, Croatia would be a prime place for drone photographs of boats and anchorages.

While Greg and Debbie have invested huge quantities of time and expense to be in compliance with Schengen-Area visa requirements, many other boatowners are blowing the requirements off. The other day we met a guy from Florida with a boat near our Majestic Dalat in the Arsenal Marina in Paris who says he’s been overstaying his 90-day visa for nine years — and never had a problem.

"But I fly out of Charles de Gaulle or Milan. You wouldn’t want to try to overstay your visa and fly out of Germany, Switzerland or other countries where they take laws seriously. You could also get into trouble on the Atlantic Coast of France."

Then we asked him about the two licenses that are required to legally navigate a boat on the rivers and canals of Europe. One is an international certificate of competency, the other is a CENVI license for inland waters.

“I don’t have either," he laughed. "And in all these years, nobody has ever asked to see them.”

It sort of looks like a cruise ship headed past Angel Island toward the Golden Gate, but it’s actually heading through the narrow channel at Kotor, Montenegro. And yes, that’s fog. 

©Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Chris and Linda Hammond have a barge they live on in Paris for nine months a year, oddly spending the summer at their home in Sausalito. Chris finally got his license, but said it was a joke. The school he attended to take the test guaranteed everybody would pass. How could they not? They left the rule book right out on the table when students took the test.

We don’t know what the cost of cruising is in Montenegro yet, but here in France it’s surprisingly inexpensive. According to our previously mentioned friend, there are lots of places to stay in France for free — even though you get water and electricity.

Leave a Comment

When it came time to attach the whiskey plank, everybody wanted to get into the act.
The big races to Hawaii — the Singlehanded TransPac, Vic-Maui Race, and Pacific Cup — don’t start until July, but this very Thursday a different kind of Pacific passage race will depart Port Townsend, WA.