Friday, March 16, 2012

To the end

Eastern tip of Cyprus

On one beautiful sunny day we decided on the spur of the moment to drive to the end of the Karpaz peninsula. It was too pretty of a day to stay in the marina.
The drive to the eastern end of the island is about 40 kilometers from the marina. Roads are well-maintained for less than half that distance, with the second half being in pretty poor but not impassable condition. And the final 5 km or so is a rutted plain dirt road.

At the very tip of the island there are 2 tall flagpoles flying the flags for Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.  It is very scenic.

why walk when you can sleep
We stopped several times to leisurely walk around and admire the views.  While one of us walked around the hilly shoreline, the other napped in the car.

New vacation cottages

Caretaker's home?
One point had several small newly built vacation cottages on the hillside overlooking the sea.  And several small stone structures which appeared to be used as restaurants during summer tourist season.  One small building high on the very tip of that point looked like it might be where the manager resides, unoccupied during the winter.  

The sailing guide warns not to be tempted to anchor overnight anywhere around this eastern point of the island.  At times conditions are perfectly calm, as shown in these photos.  But conditions can change very quickly and become rough and dangerous when winds blow from the north, south or east.  In truth, there are no safe natural harbors anywhere on the coast of Cyprus.  And marinas need to be sturdily built because seas rapidly become steep and high when winds blow from any direction.

Tiny fishing boat
Very clear water
The small bay on the western side of the point with the vacation cottages was absolutely gorgeous.  A tiny fishing boat was nestled by the rocks in the crystalline water.  It continues to amaze me how totally clear the water is here.

Note blue hull shipwreck on right
And on the opposite side of that small bay lies the ruined hull of a sailboat that sunk last October or November.  That is what we wanted to see on this little road trip.  I don't know how we missed hearing about this last autumn when it happened, but we learned recently about this yacht that sank.  Look very closely in the photo on the left for the blue hull of a shipwrecked sailboat.

Shipwrecked Dutch yacht
A Dutch single-hand sailor left Karpaz Gate Marina last autumn en route to Lebanon.  He was supposed to sail west to Girne (Kyrenia) to clear out of TRNC.  At that time Karpaz Gate Marina was not yet approved as a clearance port and all boats were required to clear in and out at Girne.  It seems that the Dutch guy decided that he just did not want to sail 46 miles west to Girne and then turn around and backtrack east to sail to Lebanon.  He planned to visit Lebanon and then return to Cyprus; so why not just wait and clear out of Cyprus AFTER his trip to Lebanon.  (Well, the answer to that silly idea is that it is illegal.)  He sailed to Lebanon and was returning to the marina when he decided to anchor on the eastern tip of Cyprus and rest for the night.  Another bad decision.  Weather picked up during the night.  He could not raise the anchor and handle the boat by himself.  The yacht was sinking; he managed to swim ashore.  The boat later washed up onto the rocks.  The immigration authorities were not happy that he had left the country without clearing out.  Not only did he lose his boat but he was subjected to heavy fines for breaking the immigration laws.

Monastery of Apostolos Andreas in distance

Another purpose of this little road trip was to finally find the monastery of Apostolos Andreas.  We had driven this way months ago and never found it.  Well, that was simple.  Just drive long enough and you cannot miss it.  This monastery will be a separate posting after I research a bit and learn more about what we saw.

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