Hoping to See Turtles?

Hoping to See Turtles?

George’s Turtle-Watching Cruise on Atlantis

Leaving in late afternoon from the second jetty at Paphos harbour, this delightful excursion is one of our all-time favs. Since learning about the trip from guests (thanks Natalie!) and having enjoyed it ourselves, we think it the most magical experience…

Atlantis turtle watching cruise

Atlantis has an underwater viewing platform with stools and portholes. Running these daily trips, George has a fantastic insider’s knowledge of the flora and fauna of the coral reefs off Paphos. He takes you out a short distance off-shore to an area of sea grass favoured by turtles. The surprise for me was the size of the larger ones… fully grown they approach a metre in length, although the younger ones are considerably smaller.

There are no guarantees, of course, but if you follow George’s Atlantis Facebook page, you will discover that you would be extremely unlucky not to see any. And there are plenty of other sights to savour – enormous stingrays, an amazing variety of colourful fish, beautiful coral reefs and encrusted shipwrecks.

On the way home, George drops anchor to allow you to enjoy a refreshing sunset swim off the boat. (Book on +357 9666 1737 or via Facebook message).

Lara Bay Turtles

Off the beaten track in the protected Akamas Nature Reserve, Lara Bay has the island’s main turtle beach; home to both loggerhead and green turtle nests. If you visit this unspoilt long stretch of golden sandy beach in summer, you will see hundreds of cages protecting nests from predators. Sun loungers and parasols are not allowed on the beach, lest they damage hidden nests.

There is a Turtle Rescue Centre, but be aware this is primarily for conservation, rather than visitors. The two huts on the beach contain interesting information boards about the turtles, and rescue tanks… Sometimes there are baby hatchlings being nurtured to strength in the tanks, but equally there are also times when they are empty. While this is a positive thing – meaning there are currently no baby turtles in need of support, it can be disappointing for visitors, especially children.

Protective cages over nests on Lara turtle beach

The easiest way to get there is to book a jeep safari or hire a 4×4 or quad bike to reach the beach, as it’s approached via a rutted and rocky unmade road. If you’re visiting in a normal hire car, you can park in the car park 200 metres beyond the end of the tarmac road, and continue on foot. The Turtle Rescue Centre is a mile further north, so make sure you’re prepared with good footwear, hat, water and sunscreen. To find it, continue beyond Lara Café, and when you see a sign pointing right to Ineia, take the track opposite onto the beach.

Pissouri Beach

Every summer mature female turtles that hatched here many years previously return to Pissouri beach to nest. Members of Pissouri Turtlewatch patrol the beach in the early mornings looking for tell-tale tracks, so that they can place protective cages over the nests to keep them safe. Once a nest has been established, the countdown to the exciting hatching begins.

Baby turtle hatchlings day and night

 

The next task for the dedicated volunteers is an overnight vigil (as nests can hatch out any time from dusk till dawn). If mother nature has arranged everything right, this will be on the night of a full moon to help them navigate towards the moonlit water. Failing that Pissouri Turtlewatch use special red-filtered torches which provide a safe soft light to guide the hatchlings seawards. At this stage every effort is made to avoid picking up or even touching the tiny babies, as this can interfere with the development of their strength and navigational imprinting.

Red torch guiding hatchlings to the sea

Pissouri Turtlewatch vigil

How You Can Help

Turtles are endangered and protected by law, with the odds of surviving to adulthood staggeringly low.

Occasionally things go wrong, leaving the mother turtle or the hatchlings stranded on the beach in daylight when they are obviously at their most vulnerable. In that event, call Pissouri Turtlewatch (Jimmy +357 9946 2308) or Akrotiri Environmental Education Centre (+357 2582 6562) for support. In the meantime, the expert advice is to keep well back, stay quiet, and try to leave them alone, only interfering as a last resort. Removing large pebbles and creating an obstacle-free path directly to the sea can be helpful for the tiny hatchlings. During daylight there is no problem with taking photos and videos, as long as you ensure the flash is turned off.

Tiny Loggerhead Turtle Hatchlings On Pissouri Beach

Many thanks to Chris Price and Claudine Snell of Pissouri Turtlewatch for permission to use their lovely photos.

A previous version of this article was originally posted on our old website blog by Nikki 13/7/2017

Fun at Chris Watersports, Pissouri Bay

Fun at Chris Watersports, Pissouri Bay
Chris, Mo and Jeff at Chris Watersports Pissouri Bay
Chris, Mo and Jeff at Chris Watersports Pissouri Bay

For anyone visiting our local beach at Pissouri Bay, we thoroughly recommend you pay a visit to our friends Jeff and Mo at Chris Watersports. You’re sure of a warm welcome and professional service.

Chilling And Relaxing

There’s sunbed and parasol hire. And now you can have free WiFi – if you can tear yourself away from watching the world go by. With showers and changing rooms immediately behind their ‘hut’, you’re in the perfect beach location. Plus Philippos’ ice cream van is handily right next door!

Pootling Around The Bay

Rent a kayak and check out the crystal clear waters for sightings of turtles.

High Octane Thrills On The Water

This video showcases Chris Watersports brilliantly.

You can hire unrestricted 250 and 155 bhp jet skis, or should I say jet bikes – as they have seats? If you’d like to try a new skill or practise an old one, you can book waterskiing, kneeboard or wakeboard lessons. But our fav is a ride on one of their towed inflatables which range from sofas to bananas – brilliant fun! And now they have another new one – Airhead – can’t wait to try it.

Flyboard

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, and confident that you have a good sense of balance, you can even book a flyboard lesson. This is an amazing piece of kit rather like a water-based hover board. It works by sending a powerful water jet through a large hose – sending you soaring 30 feet above the azure waters.

Flyboarding - absolute madness!
Flyboarding – absolute madness!

More details: Chris Watersports on Facebook

Sparti Rope Adventure Park, Platres Forest, Troodos

Sparti Rope Adventure Park, Platres Forest, Troodos

How Adventurous Is Your Family?

Do you like to try something new on holiday? If so a visit to Sparti Park in the pine-clad Troodos Mountains could be for you. With activities suitable for ages from 3 to adult, this is something the whole family can enjoy together.

Zip Wire Family Fun

Since opening in 2015, this zip-wire experience has been continually enhanced and developed. Adding to the original four lines offering different levels of difficulty appropriate for different ages, two zip-wires have been introduced for the youngest visitors (3-5 years), together with archery, crossbow and a free-fall jump platform.

Altogether a great way to enjoy an adrenaline-rush escape in the cool mountain forests, creating a holiday memories to treasure.

Sparti Park aerial stepping logs
Sparti Park aerial stepping logs

Information For Visitors

The first rope adventure forest park in Cyprus, named Sparti after the Spartans from Greece who specialised in physical training and fitness through obstacle courses and military training.

Dress: sports

Weight: below 100 kg

Sparti Park zip wire
Sparti Park zip wire

More: www.spartipark.com