Today we enjoyed one of the most pleasurable activities in Northern Cyprus – or indeed anywhere: we sailed along the coast on a wonderful private yacht.
We have done this several times before, both for a day sail and for a sunset dinner cruise and thoroughly enjoyed it, but today was something special. Vela is a very large Turkish gulet – a traditional wooden sailing yacht – 22m long and over 6m wide. She is very comfortably kitted out with lovely padded beds under canvas along the bow deck and on the aft deck, more cushioned comfort and a table to seat up to 16 people.
We embarked just below Kyrenia Castle at 10 and were welcomed on board by the Captain and his mother, who does all the cooking. The yacht is licensed to take 75 but never takes more than about 25, and we were only 14, so it was incredibly spacious. We quickly relaxed and spread out across the deck space as we sailed out of the harbour.
The sea was glassy calm and blue and we sailed along the coast and around 45 minutes later reached our first swimming stop at Escape Beach. We anchored near the islet in the bay, outside the swimming area. The Captain put the ladders down and took various water toys into the sea and swam. The water was so warm and clear, it was idyllic. Watersports were on offer from the boatmen but we did not take part. After an hour, we had lunch.
The captain bbq’d on the stern of the boat, fish, chicken and lamb. There were also about 20 meze plates of different starters. A fabulous spread. The best lunch ever on a yacht.
After lunch Bob and I actually fell asleep on our big squashy cushion and completely missed the boat moving to a second bay and people jumping in and enjoying the second swimming stop. We finally woke up when the crew served fruit plates and the rattling dishes broke through our slumber.
Got back to Kyrenia just after 4. A brilliant day, so idyllic and relaxing. Vela is a superb yacht and we would definitely go back on her again. It was 40 euro each for the day and money well spent.
Straight into the swimming pool when we got home and then we began to prepare a bbq: sheflavi, lamb ribs and chicken breast; salad, potato frites and then ice cream. Turned in about 1030, pleasantly tired from a day on the water….