This morning we took our time at the hotel’s breakfast buffet, savouring the strong espresso and pastries. Pa had secured a speed boat tour for he and I, while Ma was more than happy to spend a few hours wandering Perast on her own.
We shared the speedboat with an English couple and two sisters and a mom of unknown origin. I’ve decided the speedboat operator has the best job in the world – zipping around paradise in a boat, cool Helly Hansen jacket, no shoes…what am I doing get screamed at by callers, members and coworkers alike? Anyway.
Our first stop was to Our Lady of the Rock – is that sounds familiar, it should – we’ve already been there. Pa and I stayed in the boat, catching some rays while our shipmates took a few moments to explore the island.
After about 20 minutes or so, we reloaded and headed west – to the narrow opening of the bay.
Our next point of interest was a submarine tunnel, lightly camouflaged and built into the side of the hill. The Yugoslavian government built three of them in the 60s and 70s as a means of hiding submarines and small warships. I tried my best to grab a few snaps through the changing light, rocking boat and clueless shipmates.
We left the marine bunker and sped further west, past the abandoned shipyards and various villas and resorts, all in different states of construction and disrepair.
Next up was Mamula – an island that holds an abandoned prison that was turned into a concentration camp by Mussolini during WWII. Many were imprisoned, tortured and killed here, and the island has stirred up controversy as of late – in 2016 the Montenegrin government sold the island to Russians, who are turning it into an Ibiza-esque resort, complete with spa and nightclubs. This has understandably upset the relatives and descendants of victims and survivors of the camp, and although the new owners of the island said that they would set up a memorial, this has done little to appease the angry people.
Past Mamula and we were on the open Adriatic – due west was Italy. The sky was a grey wall, dotted with sailboats, main sails and jibs full of the briny breeze. It was almost eerie being such a tiny boat on the open sea, as if some rogue wave, wind or monster could carry us away.
Finally, we turned and headed into a 3 meter tall opening in the side of the rock cliffs – the Blue Cave, or Blue Grotto. Not as famous as its Italian and Maltese siblings, the Blue Cave is stunning – almost unbelievably blue water, like blue flavoured Gatorade. I dipped my hand in, the water iridescent, glowing and surprisingly warm.
Again, it was tricky to get a photo that captured how blue the water was, while also being on a speedboat in a cave. Other boats were stopped there, with swimmers and revellers taking refuge from the oppressive heat (I myself have developed and ugly and itchy heat rash on my chest). Even just outside of the cave the water was bright blue, with speedboats and sailboats alike floating in the glowing sea.
We headed back to the mainland and docked at about 1500hrs and met up with Ma. We grabbed some delicious shopska salad (a favourite we discovered from our trip to Bulgaria 2 years ago) beers and some Perast cake, wrote and sent some postcards and wiled away the hot afternoon until dinner and bed.