Gladlee of Guernsey

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                                        Gladlee anchored in Mtwapa Creek, Kenya

12th – 23rd April 1995

The weather still looked unsettled, but no serious wind was forecast and there seemed to be no significant pressure gradient.  We decided to leave after lunch, waiting while the odd shower passed over. Outside the marina there was a tiresome swell from the south, and we briefly considered diverting to Cineviz and waiting for better weather. The swell eased as we got further out of the Gulf, though, and we pressed on into the merest breath of a southerly breeze, Julie trying out her new “Sea Bands” with apparent success.  The headwind persisted through a grey morning the next day, but after lunch there was a fairly rapid shift towards the north, and exactly 24 hours of motoring we were able to set the genoa and turn the engine off.  By evening the wind had picked up from NW F4, and we had quite a bit of swell as we came abeam of Cape Arnauta on the NW coast of Cyprus.  As it got dark we put a precautionary two reefs in the main and rolled in a bit of the goose-winged genoa: by 20.00 we were making over 6 knots with 15 knots apparent wind behind us.  The wind moderated a little as we came round the corner past Paphos with a near full moon giving excellent visibility.  At 03.00 we were off the white cliffs of Cape Aspro, with occasional rain clouds just missing us round the southern side of Cyprus to Cape Gata, where we gybed the genoa and headed across Akrotiri Bay towards Limassol Marina.  It was still blowing over 20 knots as we took the sails down at the marina entrance, and it was good to tie up safely to the reception quay shortly before 09.00, having logged a shade under 6 knots over the previous 18 hours.

Also on the quay was “Oystercatcher”, previously encountered at Methoni in August 1993, and Nigel found her owner Gadi checking in at the office.  The marina manager courteously insisted the marina was full and that we could only stay a day or two (we gathered this was the standard line, though, and didn’t take it too seriously).  Immigration formalities were friendly and efficient.  Sensibly nobody asked us to move to a berth while the wind was still blowing in (it really looked quite rough from the road above!), and we wandered round to find Sam and Heather on “Cordelia” and Robert and Joyce, the Australians who’d been our near neighbours on “Court Jester” during our first winter at Setur.  Sam and Heather invited us on board, and we eventually pooled a scrap lunch while we compared notes on our respective passages (they’d left Antalya the day before us) and enjoyed getting together after “escaping” from Setur!  Earlier we’d had a brief look at the shops on the main road (nothing useful), got some money from a friendly little bank and had a rapid stroll through the awful down-market Sheraton which overlooks the marina.  We were glad of a siesta after that, and we slept well again after the treat of some pork chops for dinner……

Kykka Monastery, Cyprus

            ……Until woken up by a bump as Gadi manoeuvred “Oystercatcher” off the reception quay and nudged our stern.  We also moved round to a berth, then hitched a lift into town (about 10 miles away) with a friend of Sam and Heather’s.  Limassol wasn’t anything to write home about, but there was a decent food market and we did some shopping (clothes for Julie!) at the Co-op department store before treating ourselves to lunch on the waterfront.  We walked quite a long way before picking up a bus back to the marina: Sam and Heather came over for drinks later and stayed late.  For the second morning running (this was Easter Day, as it happened) we were woken up be someone hitting us, this time an incompetently handled motor cruiser from the next pontoon.  It was a breezy day, which probably accounted for the absence of all but a few of the Israeli yachts which had been expected on what was a Jewish holiday weekend.  We rediscovered BFBS and had a quiet day reading and writing letters, and Easter Monday saw us sharing a taxi to Larnaca with Sam and Heather.  Larnaca didn’t seem to have anything to offer that wasn’t available in Limassol, but we had a look round the marina, had coffee with Ken and Jo’s friends on “Rainbow” and introduced ourselves briefly to Jim on “Gralyn” (often heard on the East Med “ham” net).  Otherwise we found a basic “Walkman” tape player to replace Julie’s seized-up old one before catching a “group taxi” back to our marina.  Over the next couple of days of windy weather we booked a tour up to the Troodos mountains and spent a day in Limassol trying to get information about ferries to Egypt (this with the possible Red Sea trip with Dietmar in mind) and doing a large shop at Woolworth’s food hall.  Nigel didn’t find the expat/ex-colonial/touristy environment attractive (Julie adapted better), but there was no question about the convenience of the place.  Meanwhile we sorted out our account with the marina, who helpfully arranged for us to check out before the Greek Easter weekend (we planned actually to leave on Friday), thus saving us quite a lot of money in overtime charges: clearing in and out was expensive enough as it was……

The Troodos tour was a welcome break, with some attractive scenery once we left the coastal plain.  The bus stopped at Troodos village, and we enjoyed a half-hour walk in the pine woods before being driven up to Kykko monastery, reputedly the wealthiest in Cyprus.  The monks certainly seemed to do themselves well in their handsome and richly-decorated buildings (the chapel was particularly extravagant, with gold leaf everywhere), but we weren’t told what else they spent their money on!  We went on to visit Makarios’ tomb, on a ridge from which one could look north into the Turkish sector, and watched two young squaddies changing the honour guard with a rather self-conscious goose-step.  Back at the marina we decided to take advantage of calm weather and a reasonable outlook to start back to Turkey that night: we just had time to pick up a gas bottle and spend the last of our Cyprus ££ before clearing out.  We had light winds until the following afternoon, a few hours’ beam reach until just before midnight, and another sail in the early morning as Taslik Burnu came in sight.  Passing Taslik Burnu we sighted a school of dolphins inshore, and shortly before 11.00 we were tucked into the tiny cove on the SE side of Karaöz Liman – a delightful spot surrounded by pine woods where we spent the following day with only a few weekend visitors to disturb the peace and quiet.

Karaoz Liman in the Gulf of Finike

24th – 30th April

Come Monday morning we moved up to Finike to do some shopping and check in to Turkey.  The first presented no problems, thanks to the excellent little market and our odd friend selling cheap wine from his shack near the harbour.  However there was no sign of the harbourmaster (he was “in Antalya”), nor was there any sign of life at the passport police post.  We made our number with a New Zealand boat, “Linda del Mar”, which was moored on the quay with a “Q” flag up, and in the afternoon we took owners Peter and Sue into town to show them the market and have another try at the HM’s office.  After a third attempt to check in the following morning we decided to give up and head for Kekova, advising an understandably dubious “Linda del Mar” to do the same!  Lovely weather but no wind, and we settled for three hours’ motoring to the creek at Gökkaya Liman, where “Linda del Mar” joined us later in the day – Peter and Sue came over for a drink later.  Next afternoon we pottered along into Üçagiz, anchored a discreet distance away from the restaurants and had an early BBQ supper, having meanwhile identified “Gable Moon” on the nearest jetty – Geoff, last seen in Constanta, had struck us as a bit of an oddball, and it was his dog Tilly that Julie first recognised on the catamaran’s deck (Julie rowed over and caused some amusement to guests on board by enquiring after Tilly before Geoff!).  “Twelfth of Never” (June and Glen) and “Tigress” (Linda and E.J.) from Setur were also anchored nearby.  We went ashore to Yusuf’s later to watch TV as Turkey surprisingly defeated Switzerland.  Geoff and his new companion Gisela joined us, and we went on to Yusuf’s newly opened upstairs bar.  We spent another two days at Üçagiz in excellent weather, doing little except for a walk up the road behind the village to the ridge overlooking the sea and the fertile valley behind.  We eventually moved up to the west end of the anchorage, which we hadn’t tried before, but our solitude was soon ended when a German boat came and anchored unnecessarily close by (funny how yachts often huddle together in anchorages, like guests at a cocktail party!).  “Gable Moon” came up to anchor in the next cove, and later on “Tigress” appeared, having tried to get to Kastellόrizon and hit headwinds over 35 knots (there were gusts to 25 knots where we were, and it looked quite rough further down the anchorage, but the wind died down before evening).

Ramazan’s place at Pöemos Bükü

Ramazan and family

1st – 11th May

We followed “Gable Moon” and “Tigress” back down the anchorage to lie off Üçagiz again, having decided to go into Kas to shop and (finally) check in to Turkey.  Our friends in the village assured us that the dolmus left at 07.30, but as we rowed over ten minutes early we heard it heading up the hill.  The staffs at Ibrahim’s offered us a lift in their minibus, leaving at any minute, so we sat at Ibrahim’s enjoying the clear morning light on the water until the bus got under way an hour later.  At Kas we completed our entry formalities easily enough, though we had to correct the HM’s arithmetic as he tried to overcharge us for out transit log: we’d been forewarned by seeing him exact a “service charge” from Barry Sheffield for checking out to Rhodes (a surprise meeting with Barry, whom we’d last seen at the CA East Mediterranean party in January, when he was about to fly off to rejoin his boat in Karachi!).  We did our shopping, rang James and posted some letters at the PTT, but after hanging around for a while for the minibus we decided to get a dolmus as far as the turn-off to Kekova and then hitch from there.  The first part of the exercise was fine, but nothing came down the Kekova road that wasn’t either two-wheeled or full, so we ended up walking about 10 km with the shopping on our backs until at last the owner of a substantial house in the village came by and spared us the climb over the last ridge to Üçagiz.  Beers at Yusuf’s went down a treat, at which point E.J. turned up and we had more beers and mezes at Ibrahim’s before a hard row into the wind to get back to the boat.  The wind stayed fresh through the following day or two, but eventually we moved up to Polemos, followed by “Tigress” and “Gable Moon”.  We made contact with Ramazan and told him we’d come ashore next morning: meanwhile Julie went ashore for a walk with Geoff and Gisela and we pooled resources for a barbecue later, a success in spite of the mozzies.

Tigress” brought news that “Halftime” and “Royal Salute” had arrived at Üçagiz, so next morning we made contact by VHF, left a message for Ramazan to say we’d be back and headed back to the inner anchorage.  Stephen and Estelle rowed over for a beer, and we all went back to “Royal Salute” for another beer, now joined by John and Myrna.  Everyone then adjourned to Ibrahim’s for mezes and more beers (Nigel slipped out to give Yusuf a scrap “Porthole” burgee for his bar) and then went on to (another) Yusuf’s carpet shop for çay.  Tommy from “Vagabond” turned up as we settled down to a final round at Ibrahim’s before heading back to our respective boats and supper.  It was nice to find our friends so relaxed after finally getting under way, and great to meet them again outside the rather claustrophobic atmosphere of the marina.  After a walk up the hill in the morning to dump our rubbish at the tip we had a coffee on “Halftime” before motoring round to Polemos in company with “Royal Salute”.  Three American boats turned up soon afterwards, “Royal Salute” returned temporarily to Üçagiz to see friends on “Silent Wish” (soon to join our group on the Rally) and Nigel was enlisted as interpreter to help Ramazan and his wife sell a fish dinner to “Mithni”.  Myrna and John joined us for a lovely evening walk over to the ruins of Aperlai, Myrna’s enthusiasm as irrepressible as ever on what was sadly to be our last expedition together.  We had a beer at Ramazan’s while “Mithni”’s crew tucked in to their barracuda, Stephen joined us later, and we finally had farewell drinks with our winter friends on board “Royal Salute” (dinner got missed out somewhere!)

Both “Halftime” and “Royal Salute” had gone by the time we surfaced in the morning: it was sad to see them go, though we managed to follow their progress westwards for some time through SW radio.  We accepted Ramazan’s invitation to breakfast and were stuffed full of excellent börek cooked by his younger daughter, then had a good run on the genoa in SW F3-4 round to the narrow steep-sided creek of Karaloz, on the outside of Kekova Island.  This looked spectacular but a bit too full for a quick lunch stop (“Gable Moon” was there), and we decided to press on with the fair wind for Finike.  The wind freshened to the top end of F4, and we managed almost 5 knots on genoa only for the three hours it took to Finike harbour entrance.  We anchored in our usual place, but later saw an official-looking fellow in a boat making his way round the other five yachts anchored off.  Loudly protesting voices marked his progress, so that when he reached us we were prepared to be asked for money – not, though, for TL 500,000 (almost £8), the same charge as for mooring on the quay!  Three of the five other boats evidently felt as we did, and there was a general move to weigh anchors and move outside the harbour wall.  We all had to lay stern anchors to avoid rolling in the swell, but otherwise we spent a comfortable enough night, shopped early in the morning and set off for Taslik Burnu in a southerly breeze gusting F 5-6 into the bay.  We’d just put a couple of reefs in and turned the engine off when the shackle securing the lower end of the mainsheet tackle came loose, resulting in a few minutes of mayhem as we got the boom back inboard and the sail back under control again.  After that the wind dropped a bit and came steadily more towards SW, giving us a nice beam reach up to Taslik Burnu and just carrying us round the cape by 14.00.  It looked as though that would be it, but the breeze held up and freshened again as we rigged the pole and ran goose-winged NW up the coast, making good 5½ knots past Cavus Liman, gibing off the cape and sailing on to the entrance of the anchorage at Cineviz.  We anchored close inshore just before 17.00 with our light grapnel on a line to the beach:  “Silent Wish” were already there, having left a couple of hours before us and missed most of the wind.  Also in the anchorage were Judith and Joe on “Sliema”, just out of Setur, and we joined them for a drink later.  An Austrian boat sailed in very slowly on the dying breeze as we chatted: evidently determined to sail the last possible metre before starting their engine they came ridiculously close to “Sliema”, ignored Nigel’s protests, then (to general satisfaction) made a cavalier hash of anchoring and had to do it again!

By mid-morning next day we and “Sliema” had the place to ourselves, except for a couple of odd-looking blokes who turned up on the beach and sat down to watch us.  After a while they asked for some food and after and a lift to Cirali – it transpired that they’d got lost while out walking.  Nigel rowed ashore with some water, bread and tomatoes, and he eventually agreed to ferry the couple some way towards Cirali in the dinghy.  Having dropped them off at the next point (and declined an invitation to lunch in the village) Nigel ran out of fuel at the entrance to the anchorage on the way back – close enough to leave only a short row in though!  Several other boats came in later and the wind started gusting all over the place, eventually dragging out the grapnel we’d laid on the beach to keep our head to the swell.  After we’d re-anchored Joe and Judith came over for a drink, and later Reinhard, a young Austrian, rowed over from a large trimaran he and his girlfriend had sailed from Australia (this was their first landfall in Turkey and they’d had a row while they were anchoring!)  After a couple of beers Reinhard went back and persuaded girlfriend Alexander to come over: they proved to a charming couple, and eventually we invited them to stay on and share our dinner.  The following morning “Gib Sea Roma”, “Gable Moon” and “Nepenthe” showed up, along with several gulets.  We walked up the beach to the ridge overlooking the bay to the south-east, where an Australian yacht was anchored (this turned out later to be “Nizami”).  We called in on “Gitana”, Reinhard and Alexander’s monstrous trimaran, for a guided tour – a very narrow and sparsely furnished central hull in a length overall of 14 metres and a total width of 12, designed to go very fast but unable to carry any surplus ballast (Alexander restricted to one saucepan!).  They gave us a set of notes on the Red Sea as a “thank you” for the previous evening.  Afterwards we had a drink with Stephen and Viv on “Gib sea Roma”, and Julie popped across later to see “Gable Moon”.

We swung in the night and woke up at 06.00 to find ourselves nudging “Gable Moon”’s anchor buoy, so we decided we might as well get going.  “Gitana” followed us out, a strange sight with her enormous beam. We had a brief sniff of a westerly wind off Olympos, but the genoa was out for only 15 minutes before we had to motor again.  South of Av Burnu we got the warning light for the second alternator and found that the positive cable had sheared off at the terminal – the thing really seemed to have a jinx on it, but fortunately we found no damage to the alternator itself. By 10.30 a respectable breeze had got up from SE, and we managed 3-4 knots for a couple of hours on the genoa before motoring the last bit in to Antalya port.  After spending half an hour attempting to calibrate the Autohelm we got fuel before berthing in the marina.  We were greeted by the news (not unexpected) that we’d been “volunteered” as group leaders for the Rally, and we duly attended a remarkably disorganised briefing meeting at the “Porthole” later in the day – Roland Boedt and Bill Berry blathering on repetitively for what seemed like hours…….

12th – 16th May

The next few days were spent getting ourselves ready for the Rally, though apart from shopping and laundry there wasn’t all that much to be done. Jeremy Varcoe and his wife-to-be Ruth, our guests for the first week of the Rally, arrived on the evening of the 14th as we were enjoying a drink on board “Amber Witch” with Michael and Peggy Manton of the CA.  The Mantons weren’t going on the Rally, though we identified four other CA boats on the list of participants – three were going the northern route to Lebanon, so we wouldn’t be seeing much of them.  The marina was full to bursting by this time, with new arrivals rafting up off the quay in between the lines of regular pontoon berths.  Over the weekend we tracked down almost all the other eleven yachts in our group – apart from ourselves we had two from Turkey, two French, two Germans, two Dutch 9one of them Rally veteran E3), one Israeli and a Norwegian boat called “Troll” – Mr “Troll” (alias Len) turned out to be English, at least!  We made the rounds and answered questions as best we could (nine were first-timers like ourselves), drawing also on advice from Arnold, the helpful skipper of E3 (“Pluto”).  The Israeli owner of “Noa’s Ark” reacted to Nigel’s greeting by pointing out rather shortly that his boat’s name didn’t have an “h” where you’d expect it (“Noa” was his granddaughter), and could we please arrange for the Rally list to be corrected?  We picked up our Rally number and burgee, together with burgees advertising the Rally sponsors, caps, T-shirts and a handsome bag to put them all in.  We’d been asked to dress overall, so we added the four new burgees to our usual four, balanced them with the courtesy ensigns of the 14 countries we’d visited so far, hoisted our set of code flags up the backstay and kept our fingers crossed that the wind wouldn’t pick up!

A meeting for group leaders on the Monday finally got down to business once Hasan turned up, late as usual, but it soon became clear that much of the organisation was going to be the “belt and braces” variety.  We were briefed on plans for the start, which involved crossing a line off Antalya, in groups at five minute intervals, the idea being for the larger yachts to move up past the smaller ones and provide the spectacle of a massed fleet for the expected crowds of onlookers.  Fortunately someone spotted that according to the timetable in the “bible” of instructions, already issued to participants, the largest (Group 1) yachts were due to start first and the smallest (Group 6) last!  Obviously it was too late to amend the “bible”, so the group numbers would have to be changed instead – Aziz, acting as Rally Secretary, went back to the computer, a new list issued, and we were now Group 2 instead of Group 5……..  Later Alex and Kathleen on “Kaal I” invited us for drinks before a barbecue dinner on board “Gladlee”.

Next day was the last before the start. A few stragglers were still arriving, a few entrants still unaccounted for, but most of the Rally was now in place.  Hasan and his small secretariat were showing distinct signs of exhaustion, having been working all hours to cope with a seemingly endless stream of problems, enquiries and (inevitably) complaints.  A long but cheerful queue formed in the sunshine outside the marina office, where tables had been set out for police, Customs and harbour officials to process our departure paperwork.  Ruth and Jeremy took themselves off on a tour to Side and Aspendos, and we did a final shopping trip into town.  We distributed final briefing notes to our group members, hoping that there wouldn’t be too many last-minute changes of plan.  New acquaintances Andy and Sally on “Wand’rin Star” asked us round for a drink before the evening’s reception/dinner at the marina restaurant: this was quite efficiently organised, with an excellent buffet dinner (the ticket system designed to limit free drinks happily broke down almost immediately!).  The inevitable speechifying taxed the patience of some Yachties, unused to such formality, though most contrived to look unusually smart for the occasion!  The marina staff involved with the Rally had also been invited and began to look more cheerful now that they would be rid of us in a few hours’ time!  There was some lively dancing later, but the evening ended on a slightly sour note for us when Wally of “Maid of Chips” got drunk (again) and had his usual go at Nigel.

17th 21st May

The official start was six miles away off the old harbour, and the first group was due to cross the line at 10.00 hrs.  In order to get 100-odd boats out of the packed marina in good time those moored on the outside had been asked to get moving by 06.00, so there was already plenty of activity by the time we surfaced on a hazy and windless morning. The marina boatmen were around to lend a hand where necessary, and there seemed to be no hitches as a steady stream of yachts made its way out of harbour.  We left at 07.30 and joined others pottering up towards Antalya in flat calm conditions: after an hour or so we called up the members of our group on VHF and arranged a rendezvous near the oil terminal boys.  Everyone were all far too early, and there was nothing to do except keep an eye on our watches and enjoy the view of dozens of yachts against the spectacular mountain scenery.  Eventually it was time to move up to the start, and we called up our group – to be answered by an anonymous “Quack, quack!” (and a variety of other farmyard noises) as they fell into a loose gaggle around us.  We rounded the committee boat dead on schedule, sirens hooted, horns were blown, and we settled down to the 135-mile passage east along the coast to Bozyazi, our first stop.  We made a short detour inshore to look at the Düden waterfall, and not long afterwards a light SW breeze picked up and we were at last able to get the sails up.  “Gladlee” averaged a respectable 4½ knots for the next 8 hours in very pleasant conditions, but nightfall saw the wind die away and we had to settle for the engine again.  Visibility was excellent with most of a moon, and the loom of Alanya’s citadel could be seen clearly behind its lighthouse.  Meanwhile we had unwisely fed Ruth a beer at lunchtime and she promptly got seasick.

Jeremy and Ruth of Mahmure Castle, Anamur

Folk dancing at Bozyazi

There was still no wind as we rounded Anamur Burnu next morning, passing several faster boats who’d managed to get a few hours’ sleep at anchor behind the cape.  We closed the magnificent mediaeval ruins of Mahmure Castle to take some photos before entering Bozyazi harbour a couple of hours behind our predicted ETA.  With the Rally fleet moored stern on to its normally almost empty quays the harbour was a fine sight: a colourful temporary market had established itself on the wooded bank overlooking the harbour, selling food, drink and local handicrafts, and there were lots of curious locals about.  We spent a quiet afternoon on board while Ruth and Jeremy went off to the beach: later Nigel attended a group leaders’ meeting on “Mat” and had a minor row with Bill Berry over some Rally yachts’ practise of showing all their navigation lights at night (Berry seemed to think this was a good idea).  We had drinks with the Fowlers on board “Astral” before supper.  Next morning we were taken off by bus to a local cavern complex in the hills behind Anamur, to the picturesque 3rd century ruins covering Cape Anamur, and finally to Mahmure Castle, where we bumped into Joke and Maarten of “Sealion”.   In the afternoon the quayside was thronged by cheerful promenaders admiring the yachts, and some of the local kids succeeded in getting themselves invited on board ( we eventually relented, to photograph a couple of little girls posing solemnly behind the wheel). Bozyazi had arranged to combine the day’s Youth and Sports Bayram celebrations with an official welcome to the Rally, and the customary speeches were followed by a display of folk dancing by local children on the quay: yachts’ crews mingled with the local crowds and were presented with bunches of flowers.  Meanwhile a British-flagged boat turned up from Aydincik to the east, the skipper’s jaw almost visibly dropping as he sighted the mass of masts and realised that this was the one day of the year where he wouldn’t get a berth alongside!  Nigel was entertained to tea on board a local fishing boat, while Julie was hijacked by Wally to clear his prop of various lines that he’d snagged on the way in. Later we were entertained to a barbecue in the floodlit courtyard of the castle, and this was followed by some madly competitive dancing round a bonfire, led inevitably by the irrepressible Hasan.  Meanwhile we fell into conversation with an obviously senior and very friendly Turkish naval officer and his wife, who invited us to get in touch with them in Mersin on our way back from Israel.  Asked how we should find them he gave a self-deprecating laugh – “actually it’s no problem – I’m the only Admiral in Mersin!”.  With an early start in prospect we said our farewells to friends who were heading for Lebanon: tomorrow their group of 24 would head eastwards towards Tasacu, while the rest of us set off southwards for Cyprus.

Shoehorned in at Girne (Kyrenia)

Before leaving Antalya we’d been required to calculate our ETA in Bozyazi, whereas from now on each yacht was allocated a precise arrival time and could choose when to leave.  This arrangement was designed to avoid congestion on arrival at our next three destinations, but Hasan had also promised a prize for the most punctual yacht overall.  We thought we’d try and do better on the next leg and decided to allow ourselves ten hours to cover 50-odd miles to Girne.  This involved leaving at 04.00 hours, but the harbour was already over half empty by then and we could see a small galaxy of lights ahead of us as we left.  Happily a breeze picked up son after daybreak, and we were soon bowling along at over five knots in NE 3-4, later backing E.  There was relatively little swell offshore, and Ruth coped rather better with the motion this time.  We kept in touch with most of our group by VHF, and Jidze on “Silent Wish” suggested we come a bit closer so that he could take some photos (Jidze, we’d learned, was a retired Dutch pop group’s drummer, the boat named after his band’s biggest hit).  We struggled to catch up with the boat in sight ahead, eventually realising that it wasn’t “Silent Wish” at all – Jidze, too, had mistaken another yacht for us!  After an excellent passage almost all of our group were within a mile or two as we sailed to the finish line off Girne, a mere five minutes late.  “Pluto” roared around taking photographs, while “Noa’s Ark” raced in under a large spinnaker advertising Reuven’s shipping agency (they’d left Bozyazi immediately after the party and anchored up the Cyprus coast for lunch).  It’s only later we discovered that punctuality must be its own reward, since prizes on the Rally, it seemed, were a myth (or, more likely, someone forgot to log us all in!).  Somehow or another we were all shoehorned into Girne’s tiny and picturesque harbour, and later there was an informal party in the courtyard of the citadel overlooking it.  Afterwards the four of us went off to find a Turkish restaurant recommended by Arnold – rather stark surroundings on a hill overlooking the town but good basic food.

On Sunday we took a break from the Rally, hired a car and went off to explore the attractive hinterland of Northern Cyprus.  We stretched our legs and lungs visiting the spectacular ruins of St Hilarion Castle, perched on a precipitous crag, then stopped for a picnic lunch at Bellapais Abbey.  Here we encountered the egregious Bill Berry, who informed us in passing that the final leg of the Rally to Egypt had been cancelled (this news proved to be premature) and that the afternoon’s group leaders’ meeting had been brought forward an hour.  We returned early to Girne, after a swim at a cove down the coast, leaving Ruth and Jeremy to do some further exploring and find a place to stay after we dropped them off at Famagusta (we’d decided to go on with the rally to Israel, and so would be leaving Cyprus a couple of days earlier than originally planned). Nigel duly turned up to a disorganised meeting on the quayside, which achieved little and left us no time to catch an impromptu party on board the two Turkish Coastguard boats escorting the Rally.  Just as well. Perhaps, since fatigue was creeping up on us and we scarcely lasted through the reception/dinner on the terrace of the Dome Hotel.



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