Having given up on Famagusta, we decided to do an overnighter and end up in our final wintering spot being Karpaz Gate Marina. After a night of very little wind, we got there at about 8am in the morning and tied up waiting for the marina to open at 8.30am, which they duly did.
The Marina staff were excellent as they got us checked into the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, a country only recognised by Turkey and nobody else. Hopefully the talks that are going on at the moment will see Cyprus reunited as one Country, with the Turks and Greeks who live there coexisting peacefully together like they did in the past. This will be a great and beautiful country when it finally happens.
We ended up on “E” jetty, tied up between two floating finger jetties – luxury! The Marina is probably about a quarter full, and is really cheap, especially considering the facilities and their quality. The downside is it is miles from nowhere. That’s okay for us as we used some money we saved in marina fees for a hire car; and at the end of the day we will not be spending a lot of time here, planning to do trips to Perth and California, then Jordan and Israel and then skiing in Europe before leaving and heading down to the Red Sea in late February.
The Red Sea idea came from a fellow marina resident, Walter, who has been down several times and was looking to go this year as well – until his daughter decided to make other plans. Hopefully, we will convince Walter to do the journey down with us (as well as some other sailors who have boats in Karpaz). Walter has kindly provided us with cruising and diving guides as well as lots of advice as we poured over his charts. Safety wise, I think we are fine as the Suez Canal is well protected and Hurghada, where we end up, is not on the Sinai. It looks too good an opportunity to pass up given we are so close to some of the best diving in the world.
Anyway, I digress.
Back to the Marina, which has got to be a well-kept secret. There’s only a few cruisers that are staying over in the marina for Winter and we are starting to get to know them with Happy Hour drinks on Saturday nights at the Hemingway Bar, and free Tuesday night movies (Mad Max and The Kingsmen so far – in English with Turkish subtitles).We are also starting to meet a few of the expat locals who have holiday homes here as well and we have settled into life at the marina quite well.
Our berth is right next door to an Electric Catamaran from African Cats, which belongs to Gideon (both the boat and the Company belongs to him). All carbon fibre, extremely light and fast with two retractable electric motors underneath, that can also generate electricity whilst sailing. Very interesting guy to talk to and it’s a pity that he and his wife flew off before we had much of a chance to pick their brains a bit more.
The marina itself has a bar, small minimarket, a gym, a chanderly, a great laundry and a dive shop and that’s about it. And a huge boat lift, which is evidently quite cheap also. In summer, it also has a pretty funky beach club with a beautiful pool, bar and Jacuzzi, but unfortunately it was closed when we got there.
What it doesn’t have is good Technical Services or the ability to source boat parts at a reasonable price, so forget about getting any work done here. However getting parts sent here was reasonably easy, got them VAT exempt out of Europe and we took delivery at the marina with no additional fees.
And finally, very importantly it has a marina dog!
Down the road, 4kms away is the nearest village. There is a free bus from the Marina every day at 9am. It gets a good workout on Monday when we all pile in and go to the Monday markets (great fruit and veggies), followed by tea and a chitchat at the village café afterwards. The village appeared pretty scant to start with, but after a while you discover all sorts of shops and bits and pieces. A Turkish haircut and shave was once again a highlight. This one came with a face pack and a massage.
As we got into December, the weather started to deteriorate and we got some great Mediterranean storms with sea spray hitting the high walls and covering the whole marina in salt. It was good to be tucked inside nice and safe (and warm). But now, that weather has passed and its tee-shirt and shorts weather during the day (but still cold at night).