Limassol Trip

It was the weekend and what better way to spend it than a drive to Limassol along the old coast road.  It is such a beautiful drive along the coast road to Limassol.  There are lots of places of interest to stop at en route if interested for example, the Birth Place of Aphrodite, Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Sanctuary of Apollo and even the amphitheatre at Kourion.  This road also takes you through Episkopi which is a British Military Base in Cyprus.  Although it is not the largest of the British Military bases on the island, it is however home to both the civilian and military administration headquarters of the Sovereign Base Areas. Episkopi is the current command centre of British Forces Cyprus.

So far these sights make for a very interesting drive don’t you think?

We had a few things which we wanted to do on the way to Limassol and the first was to stop at the Episkopi Clay Pigeon Shooting to find out a bit about it and then to the Esso Petrol Station in Episkopi which also sells bicycles and we were very interested in looking at road bikes opposed to mountain bikes which we currently have but never actually go off road……we were then on our way to Limassol after our little detour.

We drove along the coast road in Limassol and out of the other side near Amathus and stopped at the Blueberry Cafe (Phill proposed here so it was good to go back ♥♥ ).  Although a warm beautiful day it was very windy and this seemed to bring out lots of people to the sea to windsurf.

Now back to Limassol Old Port for a wander round and dinner.  It was a great weekend to go as there was lots of activity on at the Old Port as well as on the sea front near the Old Port – The Cyprus International Food Festival was on for 2 days, this was its second year and appeared to be a success yet again.  Next was the Aphrodite Games founded  in 2014, a competition showcasing some of the fittest athletes in the region, competing in an event combining strongman implements, swimming and hard-core fitness on the sunny seaside in Cyprus – the island of Aphrodite. Originally starting out as a 1-day event on the sandy beaches of Limassol, the AG attracted some of Europe’s up and coming superstar athletes. We watched some of the women’s weight lifting – very impressive 105 kg weights being lifted.

 

All the excitement didn’t end there it was also the weekend where there was a Classic Motor Bike show.

Feeling totally exhausted after walking around in the sunshine it was time for something to eat.  There were many restaurants to choose from a steak house, Fish Restaurant and a Gourmet Cypriot Restaurant and being in Cyprus we opted for the Cypriot Restaurant called Kipriakon which sits at the front at the Old Port.  This restaurant does traditional Cypriot food with a modern slant to it.  We absolutely loved it and like they say on reviews we will most definitely return!!

WOW What a day it was!!

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Fire Fighting in Cyprus!

I haven’t noticed  many fires this year in Cyprus at least not in the Paphos area however, today was a different story and 2 helicopters were flying overhead carrying water from the sea to put out the fire.

Following some on-line investigation I discovered that the fire was located between Droushia and Kritou Terra.  These names may be familiar to many of you if you have taken a drive over to Polis and Latchi when visiting Cyprus as the villages aren’t too far from Kathikas.

Fire is by far the most destructive single agent, threatening the forests of Cyprus and no real progress can be made in Forest Development unless the forests are adequately protected. The long hot and very dry summers together with the frequent strong winds, and the inflammability of the vegetation favour the outbreak and quick spread of fires. Furthermore the urbanisation, the abandonment of rural areas and the increased number of visitors in the forest for recreation raise the fire hazard to very high levels.

Main Causes of Fires in Cyprus

The biggest percentage of forest fires in Cyprus and especially the most destructive ones are of human origin.  Nearly 87% of these fires are due to negligence or lack of care and attention and less than 13% are attributed to incendiarism.  The main causes of forest fires (based on the last years records) are:

  • Burning grass – gorse or stubble by farmers
  • Fires caused by careless visitors and picnickers when using fire for cooking and grilling.
  • Burning cigarette ends and matches used by careless smokers
  • Military exercises with ammunition or explosives of any kind
  • Hunting during the summer period
  • Burning of rubbish at non organised rubbish dumps
  • Fires caused by people or machines engaged in any activity associated with forest engineering and forest production
  • Some fires are caused by lightning but these fires are not significant because these fires are usually accompanied by rainfall

Fire Fighting

Aeroplanes

Aerial firefighting of forest fires has been applied successfully and effectively in Cyprus. For the suppression of fires two aeroplanes from the Department of Forests are used. Additionally, the Government of Cyprus rent a number of helicopters which are also used for this purpose  Helicopters belonging to the Police and the British Bases are also used depending on the size of the fire to be tackled.  In cases of big forest fires, Cyprus obtain help from Europe and other countries.

Helicopters

The helicopters used for fire fighting carry buckets, in this case a rain maker bucket, (see picture below) it is a specialised bucket suspended on a cable carried to deliver water for aerial firefighting.   Each bucket has a release valve on the bottom which is controlled by the helicopter crew.  When the helicopter is in position, the crew releases the water to extinguish or suppress the fire below. Each release of the water is referred to as a drop.  The design of the buckets allows the helicopter to hover over a water source – such as a lake, river, pond, or tank – and in this case in Cyprus “the sea” and lower the bucket into the water to refill it.  This then allows the helicopter crew to operate the bucket in remote locations without the need to return to a permanent operating base, reducing the time between successive drops.

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Helicopter flying over our house in Coral Bay – photograph by Fionna Morley

Buckets can be collapsible or rigid and vary in capacity from 60 to 2,165 imperial gallons; or 273 to 9,842 litres. The size of each bucket is determined by the lifting capacity of the helicopter.

For the quick detection of forest fires,  a modern automatic system for the detection of fires has been installed in some locations in Cyprus.   The system covers the important Area of Akamas and in case of fire the system automatically informs the surveillance centre for the existence of fire and at the same time the starting point of the fire is mapped. This automatic system is operating day and night even under conditions of limited visibility (fog and cloud).

So don’t forget if you ever visit Cyprus in the summer season when all the vegetation is dry please think before creating a naked flame – from a match to a cigarette and if you do make sure you dispose of it correctly.

All photographs taken by me 

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Lara Bay in the Akamas Peninsula

What a day for a swim and lunch at  Lara Bay….

September is here and slightly cooler now but still in the 30s of course but the humidity has gone and it is Sunday after all so what more could we want today but to spend time at the beach with our friends Jan and Keith.

Having been to the Akamas Peninsula quite a lot of time but never gone to Lara Bay I was really excited about going to see the turtle nests there.  If you have never gone to the Akamas Peninsula it is definitely worth a visit for the beautiful scenery.  Of course be prepared for a bit of a bumpy ride as it is all off road and most definitely not a smooth ride. Hold onto your hats!!

These photographs below are of the coastline we passed on the way to Lara Bay and as you can see it is beautiful and rugged – with the exception of the blue sky it often reminds me of the west coast of Scotland with its rugged look.

We finally got to Lara Bay and parked the cars – you can either park at the beach (which we did) or stop before the beach at the beach restaurant on the hill.  Towels and umbrellas to the ready we headed to the beach for a refreshing dip in the crystal clear water of the warm Mediterranean Sea.  It is so peaceful here with very few people on the beach. So perfect.

We sat close to one of the turtle nest but unlucky for us there was no activity so didn’t manage to see a baby turtle head to the sea on this occasion – maybe one day if I can get the day right.  See Cyprus Insider for lovely photographs taken in August of the turtles hatching and heading to the sea.

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Turtle Nest

Time for a little snack at the restaurant where the views were amazing.  As it was a Sunday the restaurant was full of Cypriot families having lunch and enjoying their time together.  Some were having a celebration and the men were doing a bit of Greek Dancing.  We were so pleased we had gone there.

Lara Bay and the surrounding area is definitely worth if you visit Cyprus.  Our next venture to Lara Bay is next week when we are going to go out on a kayak with our friends.  I’ve never tried kayaking before so should be fun – I hope – will of course have the life jacket on just in case.   Watch this space ……….

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The Dreaded Ant

I’m not sure why I haven’t written about ants before now since I see them every day scurrying around outside and even the odd one that manages to get into the house. I dislike them so much but to be fair they are very clever.

Having had some in the house earlier this year we had to do some investigating to find out about them……..foraging ants come out in search of food and can venture up to 200 metres from the nest.  A scent trail allows them to find their way back to the nest in the dark and sun aids them during the day.

Those ants sent to look for food can identify how much food there is and how many ants are required in order to move it back to the nest.  They go back and tell the nest and then bring just the right amount of ants required to carry the food back.  Best thing to do is ensure that they don’t make it back to the nest to tell the others otherwise they may invade your house.  We have found a poison gel that we put down and the ants love it.  They gather round it and take it back to the nest and this kills all the ants in that nest.  This has really helped in keeping the ants down around the house.  We do however, still get ants in the house looking for food especially sweet things like sugar, therefore don’t leave any food stuff, crumbs etc lying around otherwise you will find the ants working to take this food to their nest.

I’ve discovered things about ants which I find to be quite amazing:-

  • Up until the year 2000 the largest colony was found of the west coast of Japan 2.7 km² and had 306 million worker ants.  In Europe a colony of Argentine ants is believed to be 6000 Km long.  The colony stretches along the Mediterranean coast.
  • There are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world.
  • An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight.
  • Some queen ants can live for many years and have millions of babies! Normally around 12 years.
  • Ants don’t have ears. Ants “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet.
  • When ants fight, it is usually to the death!
  • When foraging, ants leave a pheromone trail so that they know where they’ve been.
  • Queen ants have wings, which they shed when they start a new nest.
  • Ants don’t have lungs. Oxygen enters through tiny holes all over the body and carbon dioxide leaves through the same holes.
  • When the queen of the colony dies, the colony can only survive a few months. Queens are rarely replaced and the workers are not able to reproduce.

The video below was taken in our garden showing the ants out in search of food.  When viewing the video you will see one on the ants carrying something.

Bike Ride Anyone?

Do you enjoy cycling competitively or just for fun well why not visit Cyprus in March, when Cyprus holds the Gran Fondo 3 day cycling event?

Or  if this isn’t for you why not rent a bicycle of even better bring your own with you as this is when Cyprus is at its best for cycling.  A beautiful breeze, a bright sun but offering cooler temperatures than the summer months, green grass, wild flowers, and the odd light shower of rain between sunshine – it is paradise out there for cyclists.

Cyprus Gran Fondo cycling event is held in March and for those of you who don’t know about this event it is  a 3-day Road “Cycling for All” event that will take place in Cyprus during the last weekend of March 2018 (23-25 March) for the seventh consecutive year.  It’s an event where professional and amateur riders will ride shoulder to shoulder, climb the nicest Cyprus Mountains and enjoy the Cyprus weather and nature.  Dare to try the event and cycle between 80 and 100 km each day – well now is the time to register.

It has certainly got me thinking about cycling again as the cooler months approach.  Of course couldn’t even begin thinking about 80-100 km – I think my limit is 20 kms but who knows with practise I may well get there. Cyprus is perfect in the cooler months as there are so many quiet roads for cycling. Perhaps you fancy a cycle into Paphos from Coral Bay or to Agios Georgios as cycle lanes have been created in lots of the road now. Stop of en-route for lunch or something to drink.

Please take a look at my blog which I did earlier this year Cycling in Cyprus.

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