Sometimes writing this log is exhausting but it means we really get to examine our experiences in different places around the world, and our time in Cyprus was a real eye-opener. It’s great to see Liz writing more of the log so I can spend more time taking pictures; we’re working well as a team to provide you with a bit of fun and entertainment.
At Platres we admired the colonial mansions left by the Brits and stopped to wander round Cleopatra’s, a mad shop full of tat and car boot sale memorabilia, run by a tiny ancient ant-like woman with the innate charm of a Lady and well-oiled diplomat.
I could have done with my wide-angle and portrait lenses. I’m still kicking myself for this school-boy error and secretly wish to sail back to Cyprus tomorrow to do it all again. Lefkosia is one of the most photogenic places I have visited to date
You’ll also get confused by the fact that none of the borders are sign-posted. One minute you’re driving along, minding your own business, admiring the view, and next you’ve driven into a checkpoint barrier. Probably manned by an angry Greek police officer.
Contrasts again. The richly self-indulgent road south of the line turns into a dusty careworn main road on the Turkish Cypriot side. No Starbucks, Top Shop or McDonalds to be found here. Stepping off the main drag we are in a monstrous slum of poverty and wasteland.
The once garish colours are now reduced to a uniform greyness; a 1970s monochrome war torn news report from the BBC frozen in time. The roads are strewn with detritus and weeds grow uninterrupted up through the asphalt and concrete, cocking a snook at man’s feeble attempt to control nature.
It’s a most startling and incongruous sight. In fact I found it impossible to suppress a slightly hysterical giggle at what had happened to this old monument to Catholicism. (During later sight-seeing forays I saw other, similarly changed, monuments of Christian worship, all of which triggered this irrepressible giggle.)
Famagusta is in the north of the island. Well, most of it is. Quite a large part of it is now sectioned off with barbed wire walls behind which can be seen the eerie no-man’s land of skeletal hotels, tumble-weed roads and literal urban decomposition…
It’s an exciting time for the manager of Delta Marina, who has doubled its berths to 80 in the last few years. With the borders between northern and southern Cyprus now open, hope for relaxation of trade restrictions and loosening of prohibited areas, the cruising scene is set to expand very quickly. “The Minister of Trade [who, incidentally, spoke at the rally reception we attended] has stated that tourism is Northern Cyprus’s number one priority. Key to this is sailing, which is one reason why they are building a new marina up the coast from us”.
Jim chatted about the town of Yeni Erenkoy: “It is one of the few remaining towns left in Cyprus that is still occupied by both Greeks and Turks”, he explained. “They live in harmony with no problems”. As he said this we drove past a mosque on our left and a church on our right, as if to prove his point.
More lazy days spent at anchor with nothing to do except swim, eat, drink, play games (Trish has every board game stashed away aboard ‘Dragon Song’) and explore. Concerned about getting their guest, Susie, back in time to catch her plane ‘Dragon Song’ left us, leaving Liz and myself on our own in the middle of nowhere. Not a building, road or person for miles. Not even a passing ship.
The ensuing scene could have been used for a remake of the film ‘The Exorcist’ as I swung through an 180 degree arc, like the hammock was made of elastic, jerking violently in every direction. Fortunately my head didn’t twist round and curse obscenities, and neither did I throw up purple sick, though I did feel like scratching ‘Help Me’ in my stomach. Like Linda Blair I didn’t get much sleep that night.
With Lebanon across the water and Israel a short hop eastwards, this was a far cry from the usual packed Turkish anchorage, to which we’ve grown accustomed.
The only constructive thing we did was visit the Apostolos Andreas monastery, a beautiful little building with a natural water spring and a couple of nuns. As the following photographs illustrate it is an extremely photogenic place indeed.
We continued down the coast and past our ultimate destination of Monastery Bay and on towards a lunchtime anchorage we’ve named Crowded Bay. Should have named it ‘Twats In Motorboats’ Bay. Basically it was carnage, with everyone dropping their anchor wherever they wanted. Extra points were awarded for laying one’s chain over another.
The first night of the rally was pirate-themed, hence the eye-shadow. Somewhere in my tiny brain I thought perhaps I bore a vague resemblance to Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates…’, but then I do have to keep reminding myself that he’s not a fat ****, so I just ended up looking like a gay English lout.
I’m not entirely sure why this happened: when the depth is over 100m the gauge normally just shows ‘—m’. I’ve never seen it show a reading like that before and I can only assume it was a shoal of fish, or one big fish, attracted by the sound of the boat’s chugging, monotone engine. Either that or a Turkish submarine was f***ing with us.
As sure as eggs is eggs after WWI, when the Young Turks had foolishly backed the wrong side and lost, the Brits took total control of this strategically important piece of land, and in 1925 Britain formerly declared the island a crown colony. There was much dancing and celebrating in the street at this turn of events (I jest). This is an excerpt from Liz’s excellent introduction to Cyprus.
Cyprus: Brits abroad? Raving to garridge in Aya Napa? Thronging beaches marauded by decapod-crustacean-skinned Essex girls? A fat, besmirched whore of a destination, over-pimped, blighted and past her sell-by date.
The further east we travel the happier I am. It’s so much more “Turkish”, if you know what I mean, much less “Cowes à la Turk”. I have to agree with them, though, it is very hot here. All of us have become quite lethargic and have found it more and more difficult to get motivated. One night when we were anchored just outside Kas (pronounced “cash”) I decided to liven us all up a bit.
We’ve been chilling out in some beautiful places though, taking in Kas, Kastelorizon, Kalkan and other places beginning with ‘K’, with plenty of pics to accompany stories of ancient Lycian tombs and angry French cons.