The Water Sports Junkie
WITH OVER 300 days of sunshine and warm waters nearly all year round, from early spring right through to winter North Cyprus offers some of the best water sports in the Mediterranean.
To find out more we’ve taken a dip into the deep blue to give you a snapshot of what’s on for the water babies and what’s extreme for the water sports junkie…
Scuba diving is one of the true highlights of the warm waters here. The North offers an idyllic diving environment with no tides to worry about, exceptionally high visibility and a myriad of diving experiences from shallow to deep dives, day or night, and from reefs to wrecks.
The rugged coastline has claimed many ships over the centuries and in 1965 one diver came across the oldest trading shipwreck ever discovered! You can still dive at the site where this wreck was found and the ship itself is housed in its own museum at Kyrenia Castle. Or for something wholly unexpected try a plane-wreck dive, thought to be a WW2 twin-engine bomber located just offshore from a little beach close to Esentepe.
You are spoilt for choice of dive sites in the North, with the waters rich not only in historical treasures but stunning natural features such as Fred’s reef or Mansinis reef, the caves and canyons at Paradise or the underwater mountain peak of Zeyko that never fails to impress. Needless to say, the marine life is also excellent and if you’re lucky you may get to swim alongside the protected green or loggerhead sea turtles that nest on some of the wilder beaches.
Most of the dive schools also offer snorkeling as an alterative although children as young as 8 can go diving with aged 10 and above able to participate in the deeper dives. That said, snorkelling is a wonderful way to experience the world underwater without all of the heavy equipment and training. You may not get to find any treasure but given that its strictly prohibited to move any historical artifacts you may find underwater then snorkeling could be the friendlier option all round!
The Eastern coast of the island with its soft sandy beaches, inlets and coves provides every kind of wind and wave condition to suit the novice windsurfer’s first stand on the sea to the experienced wave-rider wanting to improve their technique. Windsurfing is a fantastic way to enjoy the water, part-surfing, part-sailing, and the mild climate in the North is ideal, with enough breeze to windsurf properly but without being blown to Turkey! Beginners can learn to windsurf in the calm coves with any errors meaning only a refreshing dip in the sea.
If you want to take it up a notch then upgrade to kiteboarding (aka kitesurfing), the younger cousin of windsurfing. This involves being pulled by a kite or chute while riding a smaller board across the water, sometimes getting over 10 metres high and doing flips and tricks. Whilst it sounds extreme kiteboarding is considered the easiest and safest (landing) extreme sport to learn and once you’ve had proper instruction you can head out on kite safaris, available for both beginners and advanced surfers.
Water-skiing, mono-skiing & jet-skiing
Water-ski beginners are well catered for in the North as the sea is usually calm and warm, and for the more adventurous mono skiing is available although don’t expect jumps or slaloms. Jet skis are guaranteed fun although don’t forget your driving licence.
Being pulled behind a boat high in the sky is an ideal way to enjoy the coastline and nowhere near as scary as it looks. Once you are up in the sky you will be surprised at how serene it feels.
And finally, whilst it doesn’t necessarily involve getting wet sailing is one of the North’s best attractions on the water. With the wonderful climate, warm calm waters and no tides the North is an ideal place to learn to sail.
Yachting companies will be able to teach you dinghy sailing to RYA standards and beyond or alternatively let someone else take the helm so you can enjoy the sunshine and the scenery with swim stops and beach barbeques. You can also charter boats by the hour, day or week.
The main and very picturesque harbour in Kyrenia is well worth a visit and is well equipped with water and electricity to all moorings, laundry, a left luggage office, shipwashing service and technical workshop.
The North is also now home to one of the most advanced modern and luxury marinas in the Eastern Med. Located on the scenic panhandle peninsula Karpaz Gate Marina provides everything for a deluxe sailing trip. With it’s recreational facilities, fabulous beach club and restaurant it is worth a visit even if you don’t own a boat.
From a deep-sea dive and deluxe yachting trip to simply taking a dip in the beautiful Mediterranean, the North will not disappoint when it comes to water sports.