We’ve been anchored off the private island of Stradioti (which is also known as Sveti Marko) for a few days. According to ancient Greek legend, this little Montenegrin island was a gift from the Gods to Greek soldiers who healed their battle wounds and scars here.
After a lightning storm two nights ago, we decided to med-moor onto a jetty that was located in our lagoon-type bay. For those who don’t know what med mooring is, it basically means stern-to, with our anchor out the front and we are tied backed onto land as shown in our photo.
The jetty is one of a couple constructed of concrete that provides direct land access and would have been for the exclusive use of tourist boats back in the island’s heyday. Today, landing or exploring the island is strictly forbidden. Signs scream out their ‘NO ACCESS’ message in red. It is banned. Not allowed. Strictly verboten. Interdite. Do not enter.
Things were vastly different 60 years ago when tourists were warmly welcomed with a boozy cocktail, a sexy smile, and a raft of entertainment activities and options. In the swinging ’60s, this island was a highly sought-after tourist settlement boasting 500 Tahitian-style houses. It was a hugely popular tourist destination and part of the global Club Med resort group.
These days it is abandoned, weathered, and in a sad state of disrepair. It is littered with rubbish and there is evidence of random fires. There are stairs that lead skyward to nowhere. Plants growing inside decrepit buildings with tagged walls and unplanned skylights torn out of once weather-tight ceiling spaces. And what once was signage now wonkily points in a myriad of directions that no longer matter. Today it is unloved and forlorn and owned by a Russian business.
Snakes have taken over the interior landmass. We don’t know what type – they could range between the Balkan Whip Snake (harmless to humans) or the Nose Horned Viper (reputedly the most venomous snake in Europe) as both types inhabit Montenegro. In any case, there are plenty of skinks that likely form their food source. There is a lovely if not somewhat daggy dog that someone must have left behind. He somehow manages to forage and is fed by people like us who disobey the signs and can’t refuse his lovely friendly face.
So, we have an abandoned dog, on an abandoned yet exotic island. And as you can tell by the photos, we didn’t pay one iota of attention to the ‘No Access’ signage. We are Kiwis after all. It is better to beg forgiveness if we get caught trespassing than not have a bit of adventure and feed the need to explore. It is a dichotomy: an example of nature conquering the impact of man, yet the negative impact of man is evidenced by the rubbish that abounds. We left the island exactly as we found it.
Club Tropicana was the second track written and released by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. At the time of composition, they hadn’t fully established that their band name would be ‘Wham’. It is a hedonistic, summery song with a Latin-style fuzed rhythmic groove.
“Castaways and lovers meet
Then kiss in Tropicana’s heat
Watch the waves break on the bay
Oh soft white sands, a blue lagoon
Cocktail time, a summer’s tune
A whole night’s holiday
Club Tropicana, drinks are free
Fun and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone
All that’s missing is the sea
But don’t worry, you can suntan”