EMYR rally - week 3

Dick and Irene Craig
Thu 22 May 2008 11:36

Friday was a free day, though we were aware that we would need to leave the marina early afternoon if we wanted to sail part of the way. We had an early lunch and departed the marina soon after 2pm. It soon became obvious that there was not only insufficient wind to sail but it was blowing on the nose. The sea remained slight and by 5am was flat.

The trip from Alanya was without incident and we arrived, as instructed, at 10am, tying up alongside in Delta marina at Girne. Because there are so many boats participating in the EMYR, it was necessary for 2 of the groups to stay in the old harbour, with the old Byzantine castle as a backdrop.

We spent a lazy day, trying to recharge our batteries before leaving the marina at 6.30pm to attend a reception in the castle, by the President of the Turkish republic of northern Cyprus. Dress code was formal, jacket and tie for the chaps, something pretty for the ladies. The President had better things to do but sent an underling in his place.

Sunday morning, we dragged our bodies to the coaches at 9am and joined the excursion to Famagusta. There was a choice of 2 different trips, the other one was to the divided city of Nicosia.

En-route to Famagusta, we stopped at St. Barnabus monestary, where we admired the icons and artifacts dating back to 7000BC. On arrival at Famagusta, we visited the Othello tower which is where the officers, from Shakespeare’s tragedy, are rumoured to have been stationed. On to St. Nicholas cathedral which was converted to a mosque, complete with the obligatory minaret. Outside the mosque was a huge sycamore tree, planted in 1299.

Dick and I found a delightful café, with well padded upholstered circular seats, where we indulged ourselves with a real cup of British tea and a wonderful, Turkish cake, oozing with honey and topped with pistachio nuts.

Because we had to be available to leave the marina at 7pm, the day-trip was cut short and we arrived back onto our boats just after 6pm, where we donned our pirate costumes in readiness for the evening festivities.

The coaches took 4 of the groups to the castle, where we had attended a cocktail party the previous evening. From there, we all walked to the old harbour, where we met the other 2 groups and walked along the promenade, to the hotel for dinner.

It was rather like being part of a carnival, as over 250 people, all dressed as pirates, held up the traffic and waved at the onlookers, who were laughing, cheering and taking photographs

By the time we arrived at the hotel, we were all in party mood. There were so many dishes from which to choose and each was as delectable as the last. The pirates cavorted across the dance floor, to live music, before the belly-dancers entertained us. Buses arrived to take the revelers back to the marina, at 11.30. If you wanted to leave before, or after that time, it was necessary to take a taxi.

Monday morning we collected our passports from immigration and returned to them the pink cards they had issued to us, for the duration of our stay. We were told that we would be the first boat, in our group, to get to the fuel pontoon and to be ready from 2.30. While we waited, we ate a hot meal. We had changed modus operation after the last overnight, as Lucy felt she couldn’t eat a proper meal while we were en-route. I cut 2 loaves in half and made sandwiches to be eaten while passage making.

Shortly after 4pm it was our turn to go to the fuel pontoon and then we were off towards Mercin.

About 4 hours from our planned arrival time at Mercin, it was requested by the rally leader that all boats delay their scheduled arrival by one hour. We applied the brakes, spotted dolphin playing, just outside the breakwater, and arrived at the designated hour where we tied up, stern to the concrete quayside, with a group of 3 other catamarans.

The local people had made an enormous effort to make us welcome. They had cleared 5 pontoons of all other boats, as well as the quayside. A Turkish sailor placed a flag on each pontoon to identify which group was to be moored at each location. The local coastguard welcomed each boat as it entered the inner harbour of the huge commercial port.

That evening, we donned our glad-rags again, climbed on the coaches, and were driven to a large restaurant, located on the beach, about 5 kilometres from the marina, to attend a cocktail party.

What an evening! The tipple of our choice was provided, in copious quantities, with a large selection of nibbles available. Unexpectedly, a buffet supper was also supplied. As we finished eating our meal, the dancing started.

At first, 7 young women and 7 young men, dressed in spectacular Turkish attire, danced separately, and together, followed by a troupe of children who performed yet another local dance. Finally, 2 creatures, depicting a male and a female, took the floor. It was impossible to identify the performers, let alone what sex they were. Their heads were covered with something similar to a pillow case. On each pillow case was a caricature face, one depicting a male, the other a female. Later we could see that the pillow cases were held up by the arms of the 2 chaps inside. The rest of the costume was that befitting a male and a female. The dance was humorous but very cleverly done.

After the entertainment, the live music continued and several of the young women who had appeared in the first spectacular, made themselves available to assist us with Turkish style dancing.

The evening was an enormous success and we didn’t get back to our boat until almost midnight.

Next morning we were off again on a day tour which included visiting ancient ruins, huge chasms which it was possible to climb down 455 steps to a chapel at the bottom then, 455 steps back again. Some people did it but not any of the people on Tucanon.

The rally dinner that evening was another sumptuous affair but was cut short for many people when a power-cut extinguished the lights about 11pm. Although a generator quickly provided lighting, it seemed a natural break for many of the revellers to return to the marina.




 Floating tables                                                                                        Man with "pillow case" over his head                        Pirate costumes on and ready to go