Saturday, April 25, 2009

Northern Cyprus

My first sight of Kyrenia included the spectacular castle guarding the old harbour. Unfortunately check-in formalities dictated that I sailed passed the beautiful old harbour and made my way instead into the non-descript commercial harbour. With no other yachts in the basin it wasn't initially clear where the marina was, however soon a couple of boat-yard staff directed me to moor Mediterranean style (stern-to) onto the wharf. The strong westerly breeze added extra challenge to my reversing attempts, and the marine life covering the laid mooring line (and soon my clothes and the deck) indicated that it had spent the winter unused on the bottom. Still with no damage done I was whisked off into the bowels of the passenger terminal to complete my arrival. I'd chosen Northern Cyprus as I planned to catch up with some old friends who had moved here and I hoped I'd find a good selection of reasonably priced flights back to the UK. Once checked-in, I wandered around in a daze mostly feeling exhausted but with a creeping sense of achievement at arriving in the Mediterranean in good time to make it back for my sister's wedding.

Amanda and family promised they'd be with me in 40 minutes and looking round the boat, I released it was in no condition to impress anyone but the roughest old salt. My energy returned as I tried to make Kika respectable and fortunately 40 minutes turned into 90 minutes which even allowed me to make some humous, though apparently I missed the dusting...

One disadvantage of Mediterranean mooring is the precarious route onto and off the boat. I found a gang plank lying around the boat yard, which helped a little, but the route onto the boat was still an awkward balancing act between the wind-steering, wind-generator, outboard and stern rail. The younger members of the Saurin family managed the moving obstacle course without drama but it proved more of a challenge for Amanda and Conne. Once they'd inspected my floating abode we all piled into the family transport to visit their slightly more solid home.

With plenty of time before the wedding I decided I'd take the opportunity to haul Kika out and give her hull a much needed clean as well as another coat of anti-fouling. The next day we headed back to the yard and manoeuvred Kika into the obstacle-lined haul-out dock. Even though the travel-lift was rated at 30 tonnes, it was by far the smallest lift I'd used and looking around the yard I suddenly realised I would be one of the bigger boats they had hauled. Still they weren't taking any chances and sent their best man into the water to check the positioning of the travel-lift slings. He decided to combine the safety checks with an octopus hunt and went into the water armed with a spear-gun, but surfaced without lunch though satisfied the slings were correctly positioned. My feeling about the relative size of Kika and the boat-yard was confirmed when I had to remove the back-stay to allow Kika to be lifted without taking-out the rigging and then once ashore, found they didn't have a cradle large enough for me, but instead improvised by welding two half cradles together around Kika.
Soon the list of jobs multiplied and my anticipated leisurely haul-out turned into the familiar boat-yard scrabble to complete the jobs in time. The deadline this time was the arrival of a friend, Mark, at the start of the second week of May.

In the end I boarded the flight back to the UK looking forward to a holiday from the holiday...

No comments: