Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Hi from Clare, We arrived in Girne Northern Cyprus early Saturday morning after a slow trip with little or no wind. The new AIS system is brilliant on night passage. It shows the direction and speed of all large vessels within a forty mile radius and calculates how close they will be when passing our boat. It also gives the ship's name and call sign in case we need to call them. So with no worry about being run down and no yachts close by, I kept one eye on the instruments and the other on my portable DVD player - Woo Hoo!

The semi circular harbour at Girne is very quaint with a 12th century castle at one end and restaurants lining the shoreline. Our first function was 'welcome cocktails' at the castle. It was my turn to carry the Aussie flag and thank the President of the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus for his hospitality. Pat and Ron stayed on the boat and cooked us roast lamb for dinner (yum). We are eating out so much, our supplies are going off before we get a chance to eat them.

Sunday we went on a bus tour to see St Barnabas Monastery dating back to 52AD, Othello's Tower 11 century BC and St Nicholas Cathedral which was built in 1298. The weird thing about this beautiful Gothic Cathedral is, it is now a Mosque with a minaret attached. It just doesn't look right! We had lunch at a restaurant by the sea and then we had swimming time before continuing on the bus. This was my first swim for the season. The water is about 22 degrees and the days are sunny; the night air is still cool.

I came to Cyprus believing it was a beautiful place, but so far I have been disappointed. The people here are keen to attract the tourist dollar. We were told that the wages in northern Cyprus are one fifth of that in the south. The housing and shops are very basic; certainly no fashion here. The island is suffering from severe drought; the land is arid and dusty. During our bus tour we saw army barracks manned by young men doing national service. Behind barbed wire, isolated in sentry boxes, stuck out in the middle of nowhere, they waved as the busses drove past. My guess is that they were bored stiff. Pat said she would describe the land as "totally soulless" it reminds her of a huge beach with sand dunes, spinafex, tufts of grass and dry dusty tee tree look alike's.

Sunday night was another Rally Dinner at a very posh restaurant. The rally theme was a Pirate Party and so the 250 rally participants dressed in pirate costume and walked in procession to the restaurant singing "What can you do with a drunken sailor" We carried our sixteen national flags as well as a number of pirate flags. Pat was the flag bearer for the Aussie contingent. The local people were quite intrigued and they took many photos. They probably thought we were all mad! The local paper had a photo of "Eye Candy" and other participating yachts on the front page. Unfortunately we can't read Turkish so we hope the report was favorable.

As usual the dinner was magnificent. We dined on the terrace overlooking the beach and the buffet dinner was an endless excellent variety of hot and cold dishes and sweets. Pat and I probably ate too much baklava but yummy yummy (gives you a tummy). Oh that reminds me, we also had entertainment and a belly dancer. She was a very pretty girl, had a great figure, danced beautifully, I only regretted that they brought her out while I was stuffing my face with sweets.

Today (Monday) we are preparing for an overnight return trip to Mersin Turkey. As soon as we have internet connection I will send some photos.

Until then take care and love to all CANDY

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