Sunday, May 30, 2010


Passage to Cyprus
We sailed for a couple of hours with about 10 knots following wind, sailing at about 4 knots. As is typically the case here, by late afternoon the wind started to die. As we had to reach Girne at an exact time, we had no choice but to turn on the motor. In the open sea waves began to build up. As we latter learned, there was a gale that passed by earlier, resulting on large 1-2 meters rollers. Motoring without sails, the boat rolled heavily and it was quite uncomfortable. We took 3 hour watches. The challenge of a large convoy of boats sailing together is the risk of collision at night. At one point we passed by a boat that was off course and had to take evasion action to avoid certain collision. We were wide awake after that!

The final challenge for this passage was to dock our boat. Given the large number of boats, they all have to be docked in a tight pack, according to a strict schedule (which we completely missed due to the engine failure). In our case we had to dock stern-to, and dropping the bow anchor at the exact right moment. The directional control of the massive boat going in reverse is minimal, and I had a hard time backing it properly. After about 4 tries I finally got it right. This was in full view of about a hundred people who had completed their docking procedure with minimal fuss. Oh well, more learning for a newby and John (crew from La Limbara) became our instant hero! He offered to stay with us after the engine problem, but his biggest help was in dealing with anchoring. That’s the beauty with the EMYR, everyone provides on-going supports. The day ended with a reception in Castle by His Excellency the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Eliza was the flag carrier for Canada.

May 26

Instead of joining for a day of tour to the Lefkosa and Nicosia, we thought it might be a better idea to stay put and check out the engine and possibly, other issues. The conclusion of the engine problem was that it was our own fault – we let the tank run too low, and with the sloshing and heeling, air go into the fuel intake. The only conclusion that would come to mind is never try to be cheap --- always fill up the tank!

We spent the afternoon touring the town harbour. This trip had put a heavy toll on Ben’s wardrobe and he’s badly in need of new shorts and sandals. So the next on the agenda was to go for bargain hunting. To make sure that we have sailor’s good luck with our boat , we decided to invite some of our new friends to join us for a proper name change ceremony. --- cookies and Bruts were in order.

May 27

We signed up for a full day tour to Magosa-Famagusta, which took us through the 16th century Venetian fort, and through it’s massive protective walls into the fascinating architecture and narrow streets of the old town. We visited the Othello Tower. We also visited the gothic style St. Nicholas Cathedral built from 1298 to 1326 and converted to a mosque. Along the way, we stopped to visit St. Barnabus Monastery, where we saw icons and an archaeological museum with artifacts dating as early as 700BC. We also visited a Roman ruins at the ancient city of Salamis, just north of Famagusta. The tour ended at 5:30pm, in time for us to prepare for the next event --- the Pirate Party!

Everybody was in the party spirit and dressed accordingly. Many sailors were well prepared for the event and were in full private costumes. The buses stopped just outside the Kyrenia castle and we paraded through the harbour to the Dome Hotel and Ben was the designated flag carrier. It was buffet style dinner and we sat with the crews Manca and Lord Anthony. Highlight of the evening, in Ben’s opinion, had to be the belly dancing performance.

May 28, 2010 – departure date to Mersin
We got up early to get ready for the name change ceremony. At 9am, Manca, Enrica, Gemini, Osso gathered up and witnessed Ben’s “speech”. Everything went according to plan …. and we all enjoyed our morning champagne with cookies. Red Shoes missed the event and was very apologetic. We got invited to have a drink on their boat!

Today we are departing Cyprus and will visit the next port in Turkey - Mercin. In preparation for our departure, Ben stayed with the boat while Susan and I went grocery shopping. Ben should be happy, Eliza found Heineken.

The slow, agonizing wait of getting depart and fuel began at 11am and at 4pm, we’re still sitting, waiting. Seventy yachts, tightly rafted together, had to depart in an orderly fashion without fouling anchor or damaging hulls. Each had to take their turn to go to the fuel dock. All this happening in a busy ferry harbour! When was the turn for our row of boats, everyone found that their anchors were stuck. Apparently we all dropped anchors at where the bottom was all large rocks. What a sailor’s nightmare! One boat tried to force the anchor out by motoring in full speed, and ended up breaking their anchor shackle and lost their anchor. Finally Escapade skipper donned full driving gear and dived into the water to set everyone’s anchor loose, one by one. She’s an angel!

Visit our photo album at:

EMYR - Turkey and Cyprus

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