One of the most fascinating features of Skadar Lake is its ever-changing atmosphere through the seasons. No matter if the lake is calm or wavy, if the sky is bright or cloudy, Skadar Lake is magnificent in all seasons.
Maybe October is one of the most beautiful months for a boat ride on the lake. With Skadar Lake Boat Milica, guided by skipper Andrija, we made a trip to Kom Monastery (see also A Boat Trip to Kom Monastery) with our guests from the Netherlands.
The lake looked like a mirror (photo 1) and the sky was pale blue. Airplanes heading to Podgorica airport were painting long white lines crisscross through the sky. In the vicinity of the Vranjina bridge, fishermen were angling or checking their nets (photo 2). The landscape was serene and peaceful.
But alas! Approaching the area where the Morača River enters the lake, we saw a lot of floating garbage on the water (photo 3). Many birds, mostly seagulls and cormorants, were looking for some food, surrounded by plastic bottles and other trash – of course, with all the consequences that might be expected.
Andrija told us that the garbage problem is an „old issue“. After the first heavy autumn rains, the river carries tons of solid waste to the lake, coming from the urban surroundings of Podgorica, Nikšić and other places.
Waste management ist still a weak point in Montenegro that annoys many foreign tourists. Obviously, nothing is done to protect the lake – no grids, no trash collection boats, although the price of an entrance ticket for the National Park amounts to € 4,00 this year.
So it was better to lift our eyes to the two characteristic hills of Vranjina, also popularly called the „Breasts of Sofia Loren“ (photo 4) and continue our ride to Kom Monastery. En route, we picked up the last waterlilies of the season and ate a few water walnuts (Trapa longicarpa, called kasaronja by the locals). This edible fruit was once used for making bread, but can also be eaten raw: it tastes somehow like a coconut.
There were a lot of activities going on in Kom Monastery. The buildings are being reconstructed, with new panorama terraces… but fortunately, the beautiful church can still be admired in its old form, with original frescoes from the 14th century. It seems to be the only church around Skadar Lake that was not „renovated“. And I would like to ask the church authorities: please, don’t touch it!!
The monk invited us to see his „winery“ and offered us a glass of strong red wine, made by himself in the traditional way (photo 5).
On our way back, we were lucky to see many birds: cormorants, white and grey herrons (photo 7) and even a kingfisher hiding in the reeds.
Our last boat ride on Skadar Lake in 2015 was a perfect trip. Thank you, Skadar Lake Boat Milica! See you again next year!