We’d spent a pleasant couple of days in Finike marina. It’s an unassuming place with not much to write home about, though it was comfortable and friendly enough. A bit like our crossing from Turkey to Northern Cyprus. Despite the 140-odd mile trip we didn’t get a breath of wind until we reached the island at two in the morning; even then we only sailed for two hours. Two hours out of 34. That’s how uneventful (and expensive) the trip across this submarine-infested waters was.
The highlight of the journey was getting freaked out on a night watch by the depth gauge suddenly showing two metres beneath the keel. It’s supposed to be two miles. It dropped to 1.6m, then 1m, then 0.6m…and then back to 3 metres before disappearing back to 100m+. 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.
The other highlight was stopping the engine mid-day. Bobbing around in the un-agitated treacle-like sea, enveloped in a serene, hazy mist that, despite its description, made one feel a little skittish (think Billy Zane in ‘Dead Calm’), we took in a mid-sea dip. In 2.5km depth of water. Doing that always messes with my head and Liz was very freaked out by the experience! If you can be bothered to see exactly where this was, point your Google Earth cursor to 35º 48 93N 031º 36 20E and picture yourself going for a swim at this location.
Here’s some video evidence of that swim. First clip is a high res version hosted by youtube:
We timed our arrival spot-on though, at 9am. After a couple of celebratory beers, passport control and customs, and squeezing in a snooze, we hooked up with Trish and Jim of ‘Dragon Song’, who were accompanied by their old friend Sue of ‘Windsor of Cowes’, and were off for a dip in a beach where Liz and I swam with a turtle for five minutes. Fortunately the lack of disgusting gullets in Cyprus meant that it was the kind of turtle you don’t mind swimming with.
In the evening we had a pre-rally meeting, met loads of locals, befriended Hasan Kaçmaz, who organises the EMYR (a huge rally that takes in the countries of the Eastern Med), and impressed him with my drunken explanation as to why a tomato is a fruit, drank too much Carlsberg (a novelty, you understand, having spent three years drinking nothing but sweet, fizzy Efes) and went into town for dinner.
If all this sounds a bit hectic, it was. Since leaving Finike I’d still only had a few hours sleep and when we were told that the rally would start at 0530 next morning, I thought someone was pulling my leg. Unfortunately they weren’t.
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