Whilst on holiday in Paphos, Cyprus we wanted to go on a short boat trip. By we, I mean myself, my husband, my brother and his wife.
I'm fond of a boat trip but often prefer to go on a shorter trip rather than go for a full day. I know from past experience that if one ventures to the harbour in Paphos there are many different type of boat trips on offer for varied amounts of time; the choice is good. I have been on glass bottomed boats, sailing boats, speed boats and goodness knows what else. The organisers of these trips around the harbour in Paphos are keen to sell their excursion and eager to bargain. I’ve booked trips from the harbour before but in this case my sister-in-law was keen to go on a short excursion and wanted to book beforehand. She booked the day before the trip at a shop offering excursions near to the hotels that we were staying at.
I didn't expect too much; I have experienced various trips and I think I've enjoyed them all. I mean, it's great to be on a boat, speeding along and getting a cooling breeze even when under the scorching sun. It's nice to be splashed by the sea spray but, although I have enjoyed them all some boats haven't really offered the best in the way of facilities and have been overpriced. But although my expectations weren't that high I was sure we would enjoy the experience.
For this trip myself and my husband decided we would make our own way to the harbour and meet our relations there. We all wanted to buy a present or two from the souvenir shops in the harbour area, especially now that our holiday was coming to an end.
I can't remember if my brother went to the harbour by taxi or not but we did, as after waiting at the bus stop for a short while, we felt as if we were being roasted. It was early September and even a short wait was too much for us at nearly eleven o'clock in the morning under the Cyprus sun. Nevertheless, it is easy to get to the harbour from surrounding areas. I find the bus service good in Cyprus and travelling in this way is cheap. Taxi ranks are dotted around and many taxi drivers stop to ask if you require a taxi. A taxi would work out a few euros more than bus fare but when the four of us travelled together then a taxi worked out well. The taxi drivers in Cyprus usually speak very good English. Most of them have tales to tell of visiting the United Kingdom and are a good source of information about their own island and can suggest places to visit.
On arriving at our destination we managed to purchase a few bits and pieces even though we were wilting in the extremely heat, as always in Cyprus during the summer. We found our relatives sitting under the shade in seats that had been offered to them by the Venus cruise organisers. We were told that we could board now if we liked; and the boat would be departing in about thirty minutes. I think it was now about 11.40 a.m. and the cruise was scheduled to leave at midday.
One problem for me on these trips is getting on and off of the boat as I'm not too steady (and that's before the wine) and especially since dislocating my knee cap and having little improvement. We had a short walk along wooden walkways with roped hand rails to reach the Venus. Waiting to greet us was the friendly guide/sailor, the Chief mate, I suppose. He insisted on helping us all on to the boat; it was easy enough.
Once on the boat we were told a little about it and introduced to the captain and told where we would be sailing to. It was also explained that a light lunch would be available which had been included in the price already paid. Cold drinks, both soft and alcoholic, could be purchased throughout the trip. The chief mate soon proved to be a friendly and amusing Egyptian with a lot to say for himself.
We were encouraged to look around and could go below deck, on the main deck or above on the sun deck. I was very hot by this time and felt a little queasy with the rocking motion of the moored boat and found a shady spot. We all had a cold soft drink (mineral water for me) and I sipped at this until it was time to start our journey.
It was just after twelve when we sailed away from the harbour. As the boat pulled out from the harbour and began to pick up speed we started to really enjoy this experience. The chief mate saw to the sails but I know little of sailing, though enjoyed the site of the sails billowing in the breeze.
Now we were moving I no longer felt queasy so thought I’d enjoy myself still further and have a glass of wine, as did my sister-in-law, and the men had an ice cold bottle of Cyprus beer (Keo) each. The wine was cold and although served in plastic cups I enjoyed it.
We skimmed along sailing further away from Paphos Harbour, leaving its hustle and bustle, and headed out towards Coral Bay.
We took photos and the chief mate insisted on taking some for us. After this he stood near to the bow of the boat as the refrain of "My heart will go on" (theme from Titanic) could be heard. Couples began appearing. Young women scantily clad in bikinis and their partners, some also scantily clad, were helped up to the fo'c'sle where they balanced (securely I think although it didn't really look it, as they, couple by couple, adopted the famous pose from the film Titanic and for a minute or two became Leonardo and Kate, while our Egyptian friend snapped away with their cameras. And then I was surprised when my sister-in-law clambered up for her turn. She didn't find it easy to reach the point where she could stand arms spread to be Kate Winslet but she was determined to get there. Of course, my brother had to go too and they posed as we snapped. Now my husband and I can't help but refer to them as Kate and Leonardo!
Inevitably, I was encouraged up but felt that, even for a laugh, the climb wouldn't have been wise for me, so I resisted, which wasn't easy. However, my husband was pulled up by the mate and they posed together, which was a bit of a giggle. I keep wondering still, if he'd sneakily consumed another couple of pints when I wasn't looking.
After a while The Venus dropped anchor. The ladders were in place and passengers told to jump or climb into the sea for a swim and they would be picked up in an hour (a joke about being left!). It was tempting. The sea looked so inviting but peering at the ladder I knew I would have trouble getting back up so instead enjoyed watching the others swim.
Snorkels and flippers were given out and everyone seemed to be having great fun. Most swam but not all.
Lunch was served. This consisted of simple fare; sliced bread, cheese, ham and slices from giant tomatoes. This was all placed on large trays along with sliced watermelon. The food was very welcome. Passengers all tucked in. We were encouraged to do this and more of the same was brought out.
When everyone was finished with the lunch bread was thrown into the sea so that we could see the fish surfacing to have their lunch.
And then we began to return back to land.
It was a glorious afternoon: azure sea, blue sky without a cloud to be seen and we were on holiday! What more could one ask for, other than another week away?
We sailed towards the harbour amid the amiable atmosphere on this boat. I would say the age group was mixed but was mostly couples from twenties to seventies. There was a noticeable absence of children on board and I would think this is because parents prefer to take their youngsters on the pirate adventure ship. Everyone seemed good natured. We did hear the cruises aren't as sedate in the evening when young crowds sometimes cruise with the aim being to down as much alcohol as possible. But at this time of day everything was perfect. It was just after three thirty in the afternoon when The Venus was moored. We were politely helped off the boat and thanked.
This was a simple half day cruise but we all agreed it had been a lovely and memorable few hours aboard this sailing boat and it had far exceeded our expectations.