Redwings Round the World

Welcome to Cyprus

7 - 14 June, 1998

Off the Quay in Larnaca

7 June, Leaving Ashkelon

Aaron - After a night on the town, Basil and Sybil ran down the docks and jumped aboard at 0530 just in time for our 0600 departure. I think this is one of the first times we have hit a targeted leaving date (set more than a week in advance) from a "major boat work stop". The day before yesterday I told Colleen and Kerry that the coats of varnish they were applying would be the last. "But the XYZ only has six coats...." Most everything got 7 or 8. Six is plenty. More than we ever had. We are done. Wrap it up. Finished. We're out of here. Tomorrow we clean up the boat, the next day we leave as planned. They did a fantastic job, especially Kerry who spearheaded the whole project and did her own technical research throughout the process which saved me a lot of time as I could focus 100% of my time on the other jobs (bow roller, roller furler, batcar system, windlass, alternator, regulator, etc. etc.....). It (the varnish job) was a much better job than the yard in Hong Kong did and hopefully we will be able to keep after it and we won't have to do a complete strip down again.

But just outside of the marina, I noticed that the engine temperature is starting to creep up and a glance at the cooling water outlet confirmed that no water was coursing through the system. Shutdown. As I expected, the raw water strainer was again leaking air. The sealent I applied in the red sea had apparently broken down or something. Luckily, it was a quick job to bypass the strainer and we are soon underway again. Guess we need to buy a new strainer. I thought there was no way it would ever leak after the treatment I gave it in the Red Sea.

Gigolo, another American boat that we have been playing leapfrog with since Thailand, left the marina about 15 minuets after us and caught us while I was fixing the cooling system. They too are sailing for Cyprus and we spent the rest of the trip in sight of them. Light headwinds necessitated motoring till about 1200, which was good as the engine needed a bit of a workout under load and this gave us a chance to fully charge the batteries.

The wind built to around 10-12 knots and we close reached along at 5-6 knots till early evening. It's nice to be sailing again... and not to have to worry about headstay! (When we re-attached the bow roller [into which the headstay tacks], we added a large backing plate underneath it and two little ones on the outside of the topsides where it pins through). Conditions were perfect: clear blue skies, very slight seas... we comfortably whizzed through the seas finally providing Colleen's sister Mary with bit of exposure to what she came for!

8 June, Larnaca, Cyprus

Aaron - We roared into Larnaca at around 1600 at a speed 8 knots, blown along by a 15 to 20 knot breeze just aft of the beam. We have not sailed like this (comfortably and fast) for almost two months! Larnaca Marina was totally full, and it turned out to be a public holiday (no customs or immigration officers around), so we ended up having to anchor outside the marina for the night. We were not allowed to go ashore. It was a bit of a letdown as we had all been napping throughout the day in anticipation of a night out on the town. I had stacks of energy to burn and decided to finally dismantle and fix the forward head which had been jury rigged since the Indian Ocean. Mary had brought a load of spare parts and several head service kits with her for us so I was able to have lots of fun. The result: a straight flush!

9 June, Larnaca, Cyprus

Aaron - We motored in to the outside quay at 0800 to clear customs and get the low down on available space, pricing, etc. Things started out easily enough, practique (quarantine), immigration, police, customs.... for a few minuets, until the customs officer noticed Basil in the cockpit. "So you have a cat". "No" I responded proudly, "We have two cats". And held them up so he could admire how cute they are (sickening I know). "Ahhhh, you will need to get clearance from the vet. I will call him. In the meantime, the cats must stay on the boat". Ok, great, no problem. We were pretty happy actually as Basil had picked up a bit of an eye infection in Israel and we wanted to get some ointment as well as some more prescription worm medicine.

The vet came by, looked at the cat's vaccination records, and informed us that they would both need rabies shots and that the fee was US$150 for his visit and the shots which would be administered tomorrow. What? We are only going to be here for one week at the most. We can keep the cats on the boat. We can anchor off. It's silly and dangerous to give them another rabies shot - they just had one in September. How can you control Cypriot boarders anyway when you are not a true island nation given the Turkish occupation in the North and the open boarder with those areas?

All arguments and logic fell on deaf ears. The basic message was pay up or leave. They would return in the morning to hear our answer. We spoke with the customs officer and the marina office and they simply kept repeating that the law was the law as far as the "importation of animals" was concerned. I cannot believe however that the law applies to vessels anchored off, but no one seemed willing to show me the exact regulations. Another boat Vivacious that came up the Red Sea with us and was also in Ashkelon had been able to get their cat Nipa Malaysia (Basil's first girlfriend) by the customs agent just by promising she would not leave the boat. I guess it depends which customs agent you happen to have. In general,the vet, customs agent, and marina staff were very unhelpful - a stark contrast to the team at Ashkelon who were always looking for ways to help us and to keep us in their marina. The marina people reminded us that if we leave tomorrow, we will still have to pay three days of fees - the minimum - even though we have not even spent one night in the marina yet! They have our passports and the police on side, as well as a full marina and waiting list so what to do. We'll have to see what we can do when the vet returns tomorrow.

Kerry spent the day exploring the town and indicated that there was really not much more than a day's worth of sites. Mary's friend Ann Hernon, who visited us last year in Hong Kong, arrived at 1830. She had been traveling in Kuwait, Israel, and Jordan and had been in Cyprus for several days. She will stay with us till Turkey and fly out with Mary. We all went to dinner for traditional Cypriot fare at the Black Turtle restaurant and crashed out at 2300.

10 June, Larnaca, Cyprus

Aaron - The vet came at 0900 as promised and asked us what we intended to do. We said we certainly were not going to pay the fees, and again asked if we could tie the boat well off the quay or anchor out. He did not say we could, but he didn't say we couldn't and mumbled it was up to the marina and walked off. Not sure where we stand exactly, but we decided to move the boat stern to the quay keeping a 20 foot gap between the boat and the quay. Its a bit of a pain as we had to inflate the dingy and pull ourselves back and forth, but at least we can be sure the cats will stay on board. At a minimum, we should be able to stall them for another day or so which is all the time we need here anyway.

Well the day's only half over so this is it from me. Kerry went to the capital city of Nicosia early this morning, Mary and Ann are exploring Larnaca and working out flight arrangements in Turkey, and I'm spending the afternoon here in an internet cafe catching up on mail and these pages. They have a scanner here so perhaps I'll go back to the boat and get our pictures and scan them in to jazz things up a bit.

11 June, Larnaca, Cyprus

Aaron - Kerry got up early and organized a rental car and at 1100 or so, we all piled in and headed off to explore the island. I don't have a lot of time to write at the moment, so briefly: we saw a lot of little villages and mountain churches, went off road and were forced to turn around by the military as we approached Turkish controlled areas, drove for hours throughout the mountains on dirt roads trying to get to the Western shore of the island, saw Turkey across the sea, got a flat tire, listened to Mary wail the whole way due to a fear that Kerry would drive the car over the edge of a cliff, made it to the shore in time to catch the sunset, visited Paphos - supposedly one of the world's oldest ports which is near the birthplace of Aphrodite (Greek god of love), awesome pizza dinner in Paphos, returned to Larnaca after midnight.......

Kerry, Ann Hernan, Colleen and Mary in Cyprus Highlands

12 June, Larnaca, Cyprus

Aaron - The girlz went on a hike and to the beach while exploring the western side of the island and getting a bit more use out of our rental car. Perhaps if we are lucky, I can get one of them to write about it. I lazed in a bit, tired after a long night of driving, and then spent most of the afternoon in the internet cafe uploading and updating these pages. Look up the Web Internet Cafe's site at www.webcafe.com.cy

13 June, Leaving Cyprus

Aaron - Colleen, Ann, and Mary went provisioning in the morning and returned the car by our 1200 deadline. They came back with the biggest load of groceries I have seen since we provisioned in Thailand. Cyprus is probably one of the cheapest (no VAT or import duties) places in the Med for canned and bottled goods. A former British colony, the selection of Anglo craves like peanut butter is also very good. While the three muskateers were at the store, Kerry and I donned snorkeling and dive gear and cleaned the bottom of the boat. The 5 weeks in Ashkelon had resulted in a fairly substantial coat of slime growing over the entire bottom. A fairly good crop of barnacles had also started to take hold. I finally was able to get the zinc annode I bought for the shaft in Tel Aviv clamped on.

An afternoon of cleaning and organizing and ok, its 1700, time to leave. The customs and immigration officials had assured us twice in the past two days that there was no problem with Ann leaving with us even though she had come in on another boat. But of course when we showed up to check out, the customs guy on duty looked at her passport, flipped back and forth through the pages, screwed up his face and shouted "NO, cannot! Must get clearance stamp from other immigration office as she did not clear in with you!" "But this morning and yesterday your guys right here in this very office said "No problem"". "That is not my problem, but your problem." "Ok, how far a walk is the other customs office? We have already changed or spent all of our cypriot pounds and can't take a taxi." "One hour and the office closes in 20 minuites" "Arrragh. Ok. I be right back." So I went back to the boat and expalined the situation to Ann. I figured we should just try to get our passports back (the police were holding them since we checked in), claim that Ann was not leaving with us, and blow the joint. Of course the official would know I was lying, but I figured he really did not care who left with us as long as he did his job properly. But when I returned and told him that Ann was staying in Cyprus and not leaving with us, he insisted to know where she was staying before he would surrender our passports. He also started jabbering into the VHF radio in Greek and mentioned Red Winges several times, probably alerting the coast guard to watch out for us. So I changed tacks and said ok, ok we will take a taxi to the other immigration office and get Ann checked out properly. Fortuneately, Ann had a few pounds left over and we were able to quickly make it to the office. It was five past six. The official official was waiting for us at the gate with a mad face and yelled "why did'nt you come yesterday or this morning!" Ann was ready to let loose and she sharply informed him that we had been told by the marina police that all was in order and they were holding her passport as well so she could not have come anyway! That shut him up and he said "welcome". Amazingly enough we were out of there in three minuites and were in fact able to walk back to the marina in 20 minuites.

We finally pulled out at around 1900 and motorsailed all night into light winds along the southern shore of the island.... and soon started to sink! Colleen called me into the aft cabin and pointed out that water was splashing up through the aft most floorboard. I lifted up and sure enough a copius amount of water was whizzing out around the shaft seal and spraying round and round as the shaft turned. Great. If we need a new shaft seal we will have to pull the shaft out which means hauling the boat and great expense. These "dry" shaft seals are supposed to last for two years at least... Luckily we were able to simply loosen it, squish the sealing parts closer together, and tighten it up again and it seemed to hold. Lets hope it lasts.....

14 June, Approaching Turkey

Aaron - The winds built throughout the day from the Southwest and we were able to get in some good sailing for most of the day making 6 knots toward Finike, our first destination in Turkey. However, as the day wore on and evening fell, the wind shifted steadily to the North and was soon right on the nose blowing 15-20. A very large swell also built out of the West, probably left over from the force 10 storm that ravaged the western Med a few days ago, making going very rough, wet, and slow. One rouge wave came over the dodger and a large amount of water found its way through the open companionway door. With the boat snapping and rolling about, and water splashing down below, Mary got a feel for the "other kind of passages" (a al Red Sea) after her cushy experience from Isreal to Cyprus. It was a bit scary and much rougher than it should have been for just 15-20 knot winds.

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