Now for winter

It feels like we're running out of time already, yet winter has only just begun. And despite the mountain tops being prettily snow-encrusted, we've still been happily beavering away at stuff in nothing but a long sleeved top for most of the past month (and trousers, it hasn't been that warm).

The rains came ferociously but were short lived and then high pressure returned. We've seen record wind strengths from both southerly and northerly systems.  The southerly was totally manageable until it moved through to west, when all hell let loose in the marina due to the floating breakwater not providing sufficient shelter from that direction. The surging took our boat under the pontoon and it hit hard, twice, taking minor chunks out of our stern (easily repairable nowadays) but it was all a tad stressful.  Particularly as the engine was mid-service so not operational but a team effort of me stood precariously on the stern with the old faithful tyre, wedging it between us and the pontoon every time we slid underneath (fenders no use if they have nothing to press against on a floating pontoon) whilst Tim hurriedly reassembled the engine bits and got us up and running within 15 minutes (amazing effort).  Our experience from Fiskardo all those years ago (see Nov 2007) when our stern got mashed in a similar situation taught us that the easiest way of dealing with this issue is simply whacking the engine into forward, holding us off the pontoon. This worked enough for us to get another few feet in on the groundlines, which was no good for that wind strength (don't ask me what it was, I don't know) but it helped a bit.  We stayed in forward drive until the wind changed to NW, which it did within an hour.  Thankfully, it never blows from that direction for long.
Tramontana blows in Porto Montenegro

Less than a week later, the Tramontana (north) came through, with rumours of gusts of 80 knots recorded in the marina. It was an amazing spectacle, seeing these huge super-yachts heeling right over and the water being picked up in white mini-cyclones tearing across the bay then crashing into the marina. We were heeling so much that anything that could have fallen over in the galley, had done so, which is more than we usually get when sailing to windward (but then we do sail "gently":-)).  But we looked safe enough. It was pretty sickening to watch though and I hid in the car with the heebie jeebies, with that familiar "what do we do if this gets any worse?" feeling (and that's me on land, let alone at sea!  I'm just not cut out for this boating lark).

Timmy in his outfit, beavering away in the sunshine, late November
Our big job of the off-season is re-caulking our teak deck. It is laborious as hell with painstaking diligence required by both of us (yikes) but so far it is looking really good. The trouble is, we need 3 fair days at a time to get a section done and that is getting increasingly unlikely now.  We are probably nearly a third done. If the weather is as kind in 2012 as it was this year, then Feb and March are possibly enough for us to get the lion's share of it done. I really want the boat ready to roll by the end of March so we can head off to Greece for a month or so's cruising this year (deja vous, deja vous - we shall see, eh!).

We leave Montenegro for another Balkan adventure on 4th January. We are off to live in Sarajevo for a month. We have enrolled in a language school there so we can finally get to a less-embarrassing level of Montenegrin (or Bosnian, as will be the case but it is the same language). It is going to be very interesting and very cold.  We leave here on 4th January, overnighting in Mostar in a hotel that has agreed to take the pups, arriving at our rented apartment in Grbavica which is near the centre of Sarajevo on 5th Jan.  To be continued............

We finally got to walk along the track from Krstac, along part of the Coastal Transversal overlooking the Boka. Full version down to Dobrota to be tried in spring with more daylight.

Timmy, Jen and a rare picture of Nathan actually walking!

Gorgeous sunny days in November, this is why we foresake old friends, curry houses and a decent pint of bitter

Stuff and Nonsense - the Under 0.5 metre boat race, Timmy's offering "Total Rubbish" was built using only flotsam from Jaz Beach. And its performance was true to its namesake.

The smug winner (in cahoots with the manager of the Yacht Club) BEFORE the race has even started

Yet another stunning picture of my surrogate child (sorry T & L!)


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