By Heidi Trautmann
It was only three years ago that we passed Yeni Erenköy with our sailing boat on our way to Syria and discovered the first signs of a marina being built, works for an enormous breaker across to guard off waves and the strong easterly winds. We were curious enough and went inside with our boat to get a closer look at the construction site. We thought then that it would take many years to finish it.
But here we are, the marina has opened and is proud to already accommodate 47 yachts. It was in May that we heard from members of the EMYR Rally taking place every year - when they were moored in Girne - that they were planning to stay in this new marina on their way to the East. The marina was officially opened in June and we thought we should go now and visit the site because being sailors we are always interested in marine matters.
It was another hot summer day – the heat doesn’t want to break this year – when we took the northern coastal road and tried the new connection to Balalan. The road is perfect but it does make a considerable cut into the beauty of this once untouched piece of nature. We made it to Yeni Erenköy in two hours from west of Girne.
We followed the signs and found the site east of Yeni Erenköy with a big red/white lighthouse indicating the entrance.
From here we had a good overview of the premises, the berthing area and the boat yard with its workshops. The main building is an elegant structure containing the office and the newly opened restaurant Hamilton. The manageress Cristiana Santoiemma, a young woman from the South of Italy, knowledgeable in marine matters, took us around and explained the things done and to be expected in the near future. She has come here a year ago and just loves it and finds the Cypriot Turks very kind and loveable. The harbour master is Captain Deniz Akaltan but we have not met him.
The owner is a British holding company who has undertaken this venture with only the highest international standards in mind; the contract was given to the local construction company Kormat who employed only expert companies to finish the various jobs: for example the pontoons with the electric and water connections were carried out by a Spanish Marine construction company: the channels still lay open when we came by and I could see the perfect installation of the material. At the moment only the berths at the stone quay along the breaker have electricity connections; for the others on the pontoons the marina is waiting for connection by the government to take place every day. The eternal question of bureaucracy. Oktun, the man responsible for safety, took us over from Cristiana, led us along the pontoons and gave us some technical details; he was a trainer of watch dogs on various British bases and still has his own dogs at his home in Boğaz.
There is room for 300 boats, some berths for up to 50 m length down to small boats, every length is thought of. Bathrooms and laundry rooms are in the technical building where in the near future there will also be a diving and boating school. Upon my question of places on the hard for the winter, we are told that the area is still worked on right behind the technical buildings; the slipway is right there at the end of the breaker wall where a 300 ton travel hoist can lift the yachts in and out. Facilities such as waste water pump station and fuel station are soon to be opened. For the moment petrol is brought to the boat by hand. Everything is being thought of. The pontoon area is locked securely and can only be opened by a keycard the yachtee gets upon arrival.
Local people are employed and trained; it will be a great opportunity for the surrounding villages to profit from the sailors coming to the island through this new gate. The government has already given the permission to the marina to be a port of entry but the coast guard has the final say in it. At the moment the boats have first to go to either Famagusta or Girne for the immigration formalities.
Further details can be obtained by visiting the marina’s website www.karpazbay.com or by telephone 0392 374 5155 or for the Hamilton Restaurant 0392 374 4750.
Visitors who want to come and enjoy a day here can either stay at one of the hotels nearby or, in the near future, in the boutique hotel to be opened next year. Shops, cafés and a cinema and other facilities are planned, a mini supermarket for the sailors will be opened soon. Judging from the elegant atmosphere already present I am sure that the amendments will be of the same quality. The Hamilton Restaurant has a very good reputation already and the menu card, I had a glance at, promises an international cuisine. Christiana said that she as an Italian will personally watch over the perfect tuning of the Italian dishes.
We return to the restaurant where chic comfortable furniture invitingly winks at us to come and sit down for a drink. A place to enjoy an afternoon with a wonderful occasion to dream of faraway places, to meet seafaring people with a certain kind of wisdom and freedom in their faces, to admire their boats and get the feeling that for a while you are part of it, the aura of adventure, the aura of daring sailors who can lift their anchor at any moment of the day and go where their heart takes them, free to roam the world, but also free to come back.