Once Upon a Sail in Montenegro

Seven girls, seven days, one boat and the entire coast of Montenegro to explore. We set sail from pretty Herceg Novi, 70 cent gelato dripping down our wrists - all the more satisfying because of the price. Passing the bay of Boka Kotorska - a shimmering turquoise abyss - we don't wait long for our first swim stop.

Docking by an abandoned WWII submarine cave, creepy and exhilarating in equal measure, the bravest of us drop from the mouth of the entrance, like human torpedos that squeal on resurface. Mission complete. On and on, over and over, we repeat this dance. At every secret cave we pass, we dare each other to swim deeper, further, to the coldest, limb-chilling spots.

On land, Montenegro's medieval fortresses, stone-walled castles and crumbling facades whisper of the Venetian, Spanish, Turkish, Austrian and Hungarian conquering sailors that came way before us to discover rocky mountains that drop suddenly into deep blue Adriatic.

We sweat it out, battling 1,600 weather-eroded steps for sunset at Kotor's Castle of San Giovanni, the taste of salt on our lips and a need to just get to the top. Warm champagne and the sun - now a searing orange circle - is our reward.

Night descends and the old town twinkles in competition with the stars above us. Legs dangling high above the ink-coloured bay, we pick out our yacht in the marina. Our home for seven days. Stuffy, littered with bikinis, lotions and dresses (none of which make it further than the floor) and oh so joyous.

Learning to tack, tie rope and moor, we respect our vessel. Too long is spent on the sun-soaked bow. Our skin tans as deep as our conversations. Our chatter could go on forever, were it not for the call of the land.

@ellalouisesullivan | @anastasia_miari

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Kotor, Montenegro