Black Mountain


Approaching Gulf of Kotor

With uncharacteristically good timing we passed between the fortified headlands and entered Montenegro at sunset, digesting Tatiana’s splendid pork dish and quaffing. We motored slowly as the purple mountains became two-dimensional. Maxine has been on her best behaviour and there have been no burns or bruises. One glass of wine was tipped over, but the offender was not she.

In black night we found the customs wharf at Zelenica, where formalities were charmingly provincial. The harbourmaster apologised for keeping us waiting but he had been at home eating his dinner. The cheery young policewoman/customs official we found sitting in a converted container with a couple of girlfriends listening to a football match.

Dodging unlit fishing boats we groped between unlit reefs, up under the forested southern shore of Stradioti Island. A  glassy anchorage. The silence was disturbed only be the calls of nightingales. Maxine produced a bottle of Limoncello and we just sat.








After morning swims Pasha checked the pressure in the coolant header tank before we departed. He found a significant leak through the water pump at 1 atm. We were convinced that the coolant pump seal has failed and that meant a new one.




Gingerly we motored past lovely Perast and up into the inner bay. We tied up at Kotor, next to the very famous yacht Ron Glas, where I organised a diesel mechanic and predicted a week’s delay. But it is a lovely spot at which to be stuck, I must say.












Tomislav, a splendid mechanic, arrived on time the next morning and in 10 minutes had found and fixed the leak – from a pump hose connection which can only be seen by a very small contortionist with a bright light, patience and a mirror. So that deals with the catastrophic loss we had yesterday. Whether it also fixes the chronic loss of the last 3,000 miles, only time will tell. I remain cynical.

2 thoughts on “Black Mountain

  1. Phil Frost
    May 26, 2014 at 18:53

    Hey John,
    Have been following your path again through the waters Louise and I did with the Merros last year. The channel at Lefkada looked to me from ashore like the sort of place where one has to trust that the dredge has been doing its job, but a fascinating place in history all the same. Then there is Kotor. A great place for geologist, historian, and mountain goat alike. Did you get up to the top of the fort ? We ducked out the back through a gun hole and through the ruins of the little (large??) village at the back and found a wonderful farmhouse selling goats cheese and offering some home made fire water to wash it down. Wonderful couple and great experience. Plenty more to see in the bay, was a wonderful place, even the old naval tunnels on the western shore.

    Fair winds


    All the best

    1. May 26, 2014 at 20:22

      Phil, my Russians skipped up to the top while I did blokey stuff with the diesel mechanic. And, after 3,000 miles the coolant leak has stopped! We can’t believe it yet but fingers are crossed. It was a tiny weep hole in a hose in probably the world’s most inaccessible spot. 3 diesel engineers missed it as did I despite countless examinations.

      Wasn’t that a coincidence our coming across Big Jim and Galia in Corfu!

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