Cyprus – Coast.

Esprit’s Cyprus coastal route.

Before we realised it, twelve days had passed in Larnaca marina – at the very reasonable cost of 13m x E0.60 = Euro 7.80/day, which equates to AUD 12.48/day. Having done all the sightseeing inland, jobs on the boat and cleaning, we set off again on Monday the 7th May, motor sailing to Limassol, 38nm to the west. We anchored outside the marina, which is very modern and expensive and out of the wind. The next day was spent exploring the marina and the surrounding city area, before motoring 4 miles to Ladies’ Mile Beach.

Limassol, approaching the marina.

Limassol marina houses.

Limassol marina boats – check the scale of the guy washing the decks.

Black boat: “You may be bigger than me, but I have bigger Mickey Mouse ears!”

Sign in a Limassol supermarket – fortunately, I found a youngster to buy me some Retsina.

Let’s dance!

Next day, sailing around the aptly named, Cape Aspro.

The following day we sailed around the Akrotiri Peninsula to anchor in Pissouri Bay, taking shelter from the strong westerly wind. It should be noted that the prevailing wind on the south coast of Cyprus, is a westerly wind, which starts at about 10am and builds up to 25 knots in the afternoon, before dying down again in the evening – leaving an uncomfortable swell in unsheltered anchorages. The coastline is dotted with windfarms of dozens of wind turbines, providing clean energy. Our next stop was to be Coral Bay, but one look at all the Jet skis and tourist boats with blaring music, had us hot footing it to Lara Bay – quiet and undeveloped.

Pissouri Bay

The reason we left Coral Bay.

Esprit anchored in Lara Bay north.

Lara Bay north – turtles come here to lay their eggs to hatch.

Lara Bay south – Van Gogh could have painted this scene.

We motored the 8 miles from Lara Bay to Cape Arnauti, the the north western tip of Cyprus, before anchoring 3 miles down the east coast of the peninsula, at Aphrodite’s Beach (According to legend, Aphrodite comes from this area). Our anchorage opposite Ttakkas’ restaurant was in crystal clear water, on sand, 1.5m under the keel. The fold up bikes were taken ashore and we cycled into Latchi town, about 5 km away, over an undulating landscape of olive trees and wheat fields. Latchi is quite a pretty town, built around the harbour.

Aphrodite Beach – Ttakkas’ restaurant.

The beach in front of Ttakkas.

On the Sunday, we cycled to the 300-year-old village of Neo Chorio, pushing the bikes up the steep hills for the last kilometre, before enjoying fresh pomegranate juice and baklava at an elderly lady’s small taverna. The ride down was quick, so we pushed on to Aphrodite’s pool to look at where the goddess reputedly bathed. Arriving back at Ttakkas’ restaurant we sank a few refreshing Keo beers, before going for a swim.

Stopping for a welcome drink, going up the mountain.

300 year old Neo Chorio mountain village.

Annie inspecting the menu at the Taverna where we stopped for refreshments.

View from Neo Chorio down to Latchi town and harbour.

Arriving at Aphrodite’s bath.

Me and my Aphrodisiac at Aphrodite’s Bath.

Ttakkas’ Sunday special lunch of lamb Kleftiko, which he starts at 6am with lamb cuts and potatoes on top of green Carob branches, bakes in a sealed clay oven for six hours. At 12:30 the Kleftiko oven was opened and we sat down for lunch with Mike and Sarah, who arrived on Soul that morning. The food, wine and company was excellent. After the very smooth house red wine, we had a Nanna nap in the afternoon.

Ttakkas’ uncle plastering the oven closed.

Ttakkas opening the oven 6.5 hours later.

Inside the oven -yum!

Lamb Kleftiko with Mike and Sarah.

View from our lunch table to Esprit and Soul.

Tuesday the 15th of May was a milestone for us – it marked two years since we set sail from Sydney and when I threw away my $7.95 Aldi Limited Edition watch. During this time, we have covered 16,739 nm (31,000 km) by sea, via Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt and Cyprus. It has been a wonderful experience for us, meeting the local people in the countries we have visited, as well as sailors from all corners of the world. Health providing and with no grandchildren on the horizon, we estimate our circumnavigation of the world, will keep us busy for the next five years, maybe more. A great transition from work, to eventually chillaxing in retirement.

Latchi harbour approach.

Latchi on the north-west coast was our next stop. Panos, the harbourmaster at Latchi harbour, allocated us a berth at 9 Euro/day, including water and electricity, for 5 days – an absolute bargain, in a lovely harbour/marina. A coastal cycle/walkway leads to Polis town, a couple of kilometres away, where we shopped at the local Papantoniou supermarket. We cycled back with the bikes laden with wine, vegies and believe it or not, some excellent “boerewors” from the butcher, who once worked in South Africa.

Our marina berth with Mario’s furniture to relax on.

Dramatic cloud build up over Latchi every afternoon.

Our neighbours on the marina, Malcolm and Ann from Oxford, came around for drinks and we made a good impact on our white wine collection. Mario the other neighbour, lives on board and has an outdoor patio setting and an excellent collection of 60’s and 70’s hard rock music. The next morning after her morning walk, Annie cycled to Polis again for a haircut, while I dismantled Esprit’s winches to clean the gears in diesel, from the dust from the Red Sea and lubricate them. Quite a messy job and tricky to re-assemble.

Cycling to Polis – old farm buildings next to the road.

Cycling to Polis – prickly pears next to the road.

Sampling the prickly pears.

Polis church.

The winch stripped bare.

Right, all clean, now let’s put this together again – repeat this 4 times!

We have now almost spent a month in Cyprus and would be happy to spend another month here. But Turkey beckons – so on Monday the 21st May we will set sail for the Turkish coast – only 55 nm away.

Until later.

 

Cyprus – inland.

After our second Suez Canal pilot Alec, was picked up by a pilot boat at 6pm on Monday the 23rd April, we set sail from Port Said for Cyprus, 225 nm to the north-east. The conditions were as good as was predicted, with a light 10-15knot wind allowing us to close reach on a rhumb line course to Cyprus. By 2am on Wednesday the 25th we spotted the loom of the lights of Limassol on the south coast of the island.

Map of Cyprus.

At 9am we made contact with the marina in Larnaca, where we had booked a berth and after a 40-hour transit, we were tied up to a berth at 10am. Soul arrived shortly afterwards and was allocated a berth, directly opposite us on the B-finger. We checked in with the friendly marina staff, then customs and finally the marina police, who handled the immigration formalities. All friendly and efficient and very European. We then went to buy SIM cards for our mobiles with sufficient data for our internet and email use.

Larnaca marina.

The afternoon was spent catching up with sleep, before we hit the town with Mike and Sarah for a fantastic dinner of Cypriot food and wine. The following day was spent cleaning our respective boats inside and out of the layers of desert dust. Next thing, the bikes were taken out and we set off first up, to the tourist information office where a friendly lady supplied us with maps and information about the Republic of Cyprus.

Restored warehouses outside the marina.

Cyprus is the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean and a member of the European Union. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, north of Egypt and east of Greece. It is roughly 213 km east to west and 126 km north to south. The Republic of Cyprus is partitioned into two main parts; the area to the south, comprising about 60% of the island’s area, under control of the Republic, and the north, administered by the self-declared Turkish Republic of Cyprus, after the occupation by Turkish forces in 1974. The occupation is viewed as illegal under international law and is recognised only by Turkey.

Old stone buildings in Larnaca.

For us wine lovers, it was good news to find out that the wine history of Cyprus has been alive and ongoing for something like 6,000 years. There are 41 modern wineries presently on the island which produce not only the well-known French white wine varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and red varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, but also indigenous Cyprus varieties like Xynisteri, Mavro, Spourtiko and Ofthalmo.

Very old Greek orthodox church just outside Larnaca.

Best of all, these Cypriot wines sell from AUD5.50 to around AUD10.50 for good quality blends in the supermarkets and you aren’t made to feel like a criminal buying wine and beer, as you did in India and the North African countries we passed through. Supermarkets are well stocked, prices are reasonable and the people are friendly and fashionably dressed. There are also a number of yacht chandleries where we could buy the required Navionics SD cards for the Med, cruising guides and all manner of yacht fittings.

Inside the very old church.

We decided Cyprus was definitely worth a 3-4-week visit, inland and cruising along the coast. The 28th April came around, as did my 71st birthday. Annie treated me to a new pair of Ecco shoes and we celebrated suitably with a BBQ on board Esprit with Mike and Sarah. Annie had bought some Cypriot meat dishes with baked potatoes and salads and desserts. Over dinner with bottles of wine, we all agreed that our present lifestyle should continue for as long as our health continues. We do indeed feel fortunate about the present.

Beautiful stone masonry in the old church.

A rental car for three days, shared with Mike and Sarah, allowed us to explore the mountains and wine regions. The first day we headed west along the coast to Zygi and then inland between Larnaca and Limassol to the mountain village of Lefkara, famous for its lace and silver smithing.  We explored the narrow streets and shops and had lunch at a taverna, before driving back to Larnaca. The second day we went east to Agio Napa and Cape Gkreko, an area on the east coast popular with Russian and British tourists, packed with hotels and holiday apartments. You could be in any generic tourist destination in the world – not for us.

Approaching Lefkara.

Lunch with Mike and Sarah.

Lefkara street scene.

Agio Napa beach.

The third day we headed west to Limassol where we had to pick up pilot books at a chandlery and some other yacht spares. Then we headed north into the mountains and wine producing areas, tasting wines at the cellar door and buying some indigenous varieties. We had lunch in Omodos, a beautiful mountain village where we explored the narrow streets and visited the monastery. We turned back after visiting Mount Olympos, the highest mountain in Cyprus and popular for snow skiing, before driving back to Larnaca.

Highway to Limassol – colourful Oleander on the verges.

Chapel on the harbour.

Baby girl to be christened in the chapel.

Walking street in Nicosia.

View from our lunch table in Nicosia.

Whilst we had the car, we did a major shop at the local hypermarket, stocking up with local and imported products, wine and beer. The local retsina wines which Annie and I enjoy, sells for about AUD 1.80 per 500ml, so we stocked up! I took the opportunity to borrow Mike’s oil sucking vacuum device, to drain the oil from Esprit’s 54 hp Yanmar, replace the oil and fuel filters and fill up with 5.5 l of fresh oil. While on a roll, I drained and replaced the oil on the 5 hp Mercury outboard and replaced the worn sacrificial anode.

Omodos village.

The monastery in Omodos.

Gents from the monastery.

Street scene Omodos.

Another street scene in Omodos.

Annie on top of Mount Olympos.

Tomorrow we set sail for Limassol. We plan to spend a week to 10 days exploring the south and west coast of Cyprus, before checking out at Pafos and sailing to Turkey.

We will tell you all about the coast in our next post. Cheers for now.