Sea Kayaker
Sandy Robson

Following Oskar Speck's Journey - Diary - Cyprus

I arrived in Cyprus / Kibris (in Turkey) / Kypros (in Greek) from Turkey on September 16th...this diary details my paddling and touristik adventures exploring Cyprus.  It can be confusing that every place in Cyprus has two names, the Turkish name and the Greek name.  My GPS on my camera is aligned to the Greek side (and it is a Panasonic not an Olympos!)  My map is in Turkish...and my sea chart is Greek - who knows where I will end up!  It is not possible to sail (or paddle) from the North to the South - you cannot even take a hiree car over the border.  There ıs more to update below, but here is the outline of where I have been. 

October 6 Girne - Alanya, Turkey - Fast Ferry 3.5hrs (please see the Turkey BLOG for more details)

October 5 Girne - YAY the package I was waiting on finally arrived!

October 4 Return to Girne

October 3 Troodos

October 2 Nicosia - Larnaka - Troodos (No kayak - off to the mountains then)

October 1 Lefcoşa - Nicosia (over the green line but without kayak)

September 30 Salamis - Famagusta (Taxi), Famagusta - Lefcoşa (local Bus)
Updatıng website at a Famagusta internet cafe - Thıs internet cafe has a camping stove for making cups of tea - nice one!  1 Lira per cup.

September 29 Touristik trip by car - Cape Kormatikis and Lefke and then return to Salamis via St Barnabus Monastery,
The last few days I have been feeling like the flow of the journey has gone for me.  I really wanted to make the paddle from Anamur in Turkey to Cape Kormatikis in Cyprus, just like Oskar did...but the authorities do not recognise a kayak as a legitimate form of transport for crossing the border.  So, the first unrest in my mınd came from having to get to Cyprus by ferry.  Then once arrived in Cyprus I see that it would be impossible to circumnavigate Cyprus by kayak unless you got a lot of permissions before the trip and maybe they would say no because the border is patroled vigorously by troops from Turkey in the north and Greek Cyprıots in the south and there is a UN buffer zone between them with UN Troops, then there are some areas governed by the British Military too...Cyprus really is in a strategic location for military actıons in the middle east and it seems everyone wants their piece of it.  The Greek Cypriots call northern Cyprus 'the occupied territories' and if a yacht lands at a port in northern Cyprus then it is considered to have landed illegally by the Greek Cypriots and that yacht cannot then sail on to a port in southern Cyprus.  You cannot even hire a car on one side and drive it to he other!  So this all makes paddling the coast of Cyprus a bit tricky.  I am glad to have been able to paddle in the last week from Girne to Famagusta and to see the monastery at Cape Andreas where Oskar stayed before his crossing to Syria, but then I was wondering, 'what do I do now?' 'do I try to get the kayak into southern cyprus somehow?'  I decided that it was not meant to be and I hired a car to take my kayak from Famagusta area back to Delta Marina in Girne, and after that I had some hire car time left so I went to Cape Kormatikis to get a feeling for the place where Oskar landed in Cyprus.  When I got there, the universe sent me a sign that I no longer needed to feel uneasy.  The universe told me - YES - this is THE END of the paddling for this year and this is the concluding point of Stage 1 - I had completed what I set out to do this year.  It was written THE END at Cape Kormatikis (see photo below).  I had made a kayak trip from Germany to Cyprus and now I could take a break for a while.  I suddenly felt happy.  No big fan fare ending, but I have never thought that you do a journey for the ending, the magic has certainly been in the journey and in the cultural exchanges with the people I have met, the meals I have shared, the generosity of people, the enthusiasm with which everyone has followed the journey and in the simplicity of a life on the ocean in a kayak.  Maybe sometime in the future I could make that paddle to Cape Kormatikis.  In contrast to the scene in 1933, there ıs now a housing development of villas not too far from the cape and a small boat ramp.  I would still like to paddle this crossing if I could find a way, it is only 65-70kms and quite possible.  But not for this year for me, I need to finish up the trip, sell the kayak (or store it) and head home for a while to earn some money.  Turkish kisses to all of you who have helped and encouraged me this year.  And now I can go looking for some Turkish Delight that I have been thinking about!

Funny story... You may have heard the story of the trojan horse, well today I was attacked by the trojan walnut!  That's rıght...I was havıng my lunch by the ruins of a Byzantine Church in Lefke when I notıce a lovely walnut on the wall.  I thought I was lucky to fınd a walnut and put ıt ın my food bag to crack later.  Later when I looked I discovered that I had indeed been fooled and the nut actually contained many small ants that were now happily raiding the contents of the food bag...the trojan walnut went back on the wall to surprise some other unsuspectıng picnicer.  Ha Ha

September 28 Day off in Gazimagusa/Famagusta and trying to source a car to return to kayak to Girne.
  Question of the day...Can a sea kayaker make a set of inflatable roof racks from a pair of sponsons? and use these to transport a kayak on a hire car? Well I tested it and found out it is a big YES!  HandiRacks are pretty awesome, but so were the sponsons that I borrowed from Gökhan :)  He was also kind enough to agree to me trying this experiment GENTLY!  Below are some images from around Famagusta today and of the sponson roof racks in actıon!  Brilliant.  I took my kayak back to Girne and then drove out toward Cape Kormatikis and set up camp at midnight....there is more about sept 28 in the next diary entry (see above).

September 27 Onur Camping - Anceint Salamis - Famagusta (no good landings here)  - Rtn to Koca Reis Bungalows (back past Salamis Beach), 26km
  The weather ıs changing now and there are thunderstorms almost every day.  Oops accıdentally paddled ınto and landed ın a forbıdden zone today...lucky I dıdnt set up my tent!

September 26 Zephre Beach - Onur Camping Barna Beach, 26km

September 25 Golden Beach - Zephyre Bar and Restaurant Beach, 59km (had a tailwind)

September 24 Karpaz Peninsular Camp 2 - Golden Beach (rounding Cape Andreas and with a stop at the Monastery), 31.5km

September 23 Karpaz Peninsular Camp 1 - Karpaz Peninsular Camp 2 (N35deg40.357', E034deg30.744'), approx 9km

September 22 Smyrne Dance Club Beach  - Karpaz Peninsular Camp 1 (N35deg38.778', E034deg25.577'), via Karpaz Gate Marina for sumptuous lunch!, 52km

September 21 Yali - Smyrne Dance Club Beach & Summer Beach Huts (N35deg28.145', E034deg01.888'), 29.6km
At the end of the day I noticed that my rudder cable was frayıng badly and needed to be replaced - an easy maıntenance job that I wısh I had notıced needed done when I was back in Girne.  Then I realısed that to do thıs job I needed one screw drıver to hold the screw (usually I use my swıss army knıfe) and my multıtool to turn the nut, then I could pull apart the rudder and replace the rudder cord.  Problem!  I lost my swıss army knıfe a few weeks ago and just had the multi tool.  After thınkıng on thıs a whıle I thought to look through my equıpment and somehow came across the solutıon that somehow Wılderness Equıpment or Sea to Summıt tent pegs have coincidentally alıgned ın the kayakıng unıverse to fıt perfectly ınto a Lettmann Rudder screw!  I used a tea towel to hold the tent peg end fırmly and problem solved!  Gee I am lucky! Put this solution in the memory bank for when you need it.  I can recommend the tent too - Wilderness Equipment Dart 2.

Septemeber 20
  Girne - Yali, 46.3km

September 19
Rest/Planning Day Girne/Kyrenia With Aycan's help I have downloaded and printed some google earth pictures for the trip around to Famagusta.  The north of the island is very rocky and the winds blow from the north which may make it a bumpy ride so I need to know where all the possible landing sites are.  There is a good stop about 2 to 3 days paddle from here at the new Karpaz Gate Marina, and then i will be looking forward to getting to the south side of the Karpaz peninsula where there are sandy beaches, wild donkeys and good camping places...I am still stayıng wıth Aycan and her doggy Alice.

September 18 Rest Day Girne/Kyrenia Today I went touring the island by car with Monique, Gerard and Jack (from the french yacht).  We went to St Hilarion castle first, this was an amazing castle blended into the rock and it has walt disney like turrets - they say this castle inspired the walt disney classic castle illustrations.  It is the best castle I have been to on the trip.  We reached the summit at 732m and got some great photos.  Then we were off to Lefcosia - the capital.  Here the 'Green Line' that divides the island runs right through the middle of the city.  After kebabs for lunch we went on a walking tour from my lonely planet guidebook and this included my first trip inside a mosque.  Monique and I dressed up in the clothing outside the mosque door to enter with long floral skirts and head scarves, and of course you must remove your shoes to enter.  The area around the border is a bit eerie in feel as the fence topped with barbed wire passes through the middle of the city streets, houses and shops.  For 30 years nobody passed from one side to the other, but now it is a bit more relaxed and you can walk into the other side from the city centre.  We stayed in the north though today.  After the turkish came here, many of the greek churches have had minarets added to them and some renovations inside to convert them to face mecca.  You can still see the cross facing east on some of them - remains of what was an orthodox church.  On the way back to Girne we went over the mountains and we saw an orthodox church with the speakers that would usually be in the minaret for the call to prayer, housed in the church bell tower instead.  We saw a woman riding a donkey along the road - they are still used a little for farming here, but mostly the tractor has taken over I think.  Where I am going on the Karpas peninsula there is an area where there are many wild donkeys.  On return to Girne we decided to go up to the Bellapais Abbey for a look.  I had a cold drink and did some people watching as a crowd from a wedding ceremony emerged from the abbey.  Tomorrow I am going to do some shopping and google earth research for my trip and then I will head off on Tuesday.

September 17 Rest Day in Girne/Kyrenia and updatıng the websıte. 

September 16 Arrived in Girne/Kyrenia from Taşucu.  I arrived on the ferry in the morning and after some negotiations to get my kayak through customs I was finally let into Cyprus.  I made my way to the Delta Marina where I met my contact Aycan Atis, the Marina Manager.  After hearing my story Aycan was pleased to host me and invited me to stay at her home.  I think when I go home I will take some of this Turkish hospitality with me and try to help out people in the way that Turkish people do, even if it is just always having a spare cup and offering complete strangers a cup of tea or a roof over their head.  That is how it is here.  Aycan has also helped me plan my trip in Nth Cyprus and the coastguard will be tracking my progress if I have any problems.  We had lunch at a great restaurant on the waterfront called 'Peanuts' and then I was able to use the marina office computer to start working on my photos for the website and check my emails.  Today i discovered that the french yacht that I had been following from Alanya has arrived here on the same day as me.  I met Monique, Gerard and Jack and we will hopefully catch up in the next couple of days.  Monique has excellent English, which is great because I have no French. I can't believe I got here in the same time as a yacht.
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