Halloumi Cheese, Anyone?

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.

This is possibly what one might suspect of the south coast of the island, though I’ve not been there and couldn’t possibly corroborate this analogy. I’m sure it’s pleasant enough, I just wanted to throw in the phrase ‘decapod-crustacean’. But if the southern Cyprus coast is a fat slag, the Blackpool of the eastern Med, what does that make the north coast of the island? A youthful, nubile girl with layers of flaxen beaches, un-tasted bays and miles of unexplored coast, yet-to-be marred by the signature of the human hand. Virginal. Pure. Sublime. To say we were pleasantly surprised by our impromptu trip to northern Cyprus is quite possibly the understatement of the summer. Northern Cyprus: the Caribbean of the Med…and no one knows about it!

Esper sailing up the north east coast of Cyprus. Source: Jim Hughes

Esper sailing up the north east coast of Cyprus. Source: Jim Hughes

OK, that last statement is over-optimistic. Of course people know Northern Cyprus, political situation aside, but as yotties having spent the last couple of years in the burgeoning Aegean, this island, offering plenty of empty anchorages and gentle westerlies, is a little oasis in the eastern Med. Marry that with the open-armed welcome we received from the organisers and participants of the Kuzey Kibris Rally and we’re talking here about the next big potential in holiday destinations. Selfishly we’d like to keep this discovery to ourselves. ‘Dragon Song’ and ‘Esper’ were the first foreign boats to attend the rally. We were two of the first boats to drop our anchors in some stunning bays as the ‘prohibited zones’ have only recently been lifted. Tourism is vital to the future of the north of the island, however, something we discover in the very interesting Through The Porthole interview with Captain Ilkin, manager of Delta Marina and organiser of the Kuzey Kibris Rally.

The following account of our adventures in both Northern and Southern Cyprus is possibly the most comprehensive, most researched and most interesting to date. Liz has discovered new-found talents as a blogger; her creative and original use of the English language, demonstrated best by her summary of the island’s history, should encourage her to write a literary masterpiece. With Liz writing more of the log it means I’ve been able to concentrate on my photography, though I should concentrate on actually remembering to take my camera with me to some of the incredible places we visited.

As far as we know many of the bays we visited don’t have official ‘yottie’ names, so we’ve taken the liberty of assigning a name to each of them, based on what we saw there. The following link will take you to our log, as usual packed to the rafters with photographs of both North and South Cyprus, plus some video clips, all of which illustrates why we’re harping on about this island. Read the whole lot, starting with Liz’s excellent introduction, illustrated with photographs by Jim Hughes of ‘Dragon Song’, and ending with the very interesting Through The Porthole interview.

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