Handle with care

There’s a new beach bar set up at the southern side of the Banana Bay as you drive towards Coral Bay in Paphos.

Known as one of the most dangerous beaches on that coast, aside from Venus Beach, the palm trees planted about 20 years ago now offer shade for the quaint premises of what the Kissonerga Municipality hopes will bring people and money to its premises.

It’s been carefully thought out. The umbrellas over the newly set sun beds are made of wood, resembling the sight of exotic beaches, aside from the dark sand and pebbly shore. Sign posts of the location are engraved in stone slabs, ignoring the plastic, usually neon sign posts we’re becoming immune to seeing in all of our tourist resorts.

There’s a parking. There are now showers. And then there’s the view. For years people would sit on two accommodating benches which still sit along the road and watch the sun rise, the sun set, the bay.

It must be one of the only bays in Paphos which you can see from one end to the other without being obstructed by the never-ending hotels, apartments, restaurants. You know what I mean.

But there’s also something that has to be highlighted. Aside from the rare day when the sea is as flat as an ice rink, more than often one will notice the murky, ever changing colours of the water as it eventually comes crashing on the shore.

It’s not a beach to swim in. It’s not the likes of Pissouri Bay. It’s dangerous. The municipality has provided a lifeguard, granted. Buoys have been put in place, accepted.

As I returned to Nicosia last Tuesday morning, I heard on the radio that yet another visitor had drowned, not on that beach, but on that coast. It needs to be spoken about, and if the barman or waiter makes sure they tell the right story, this is a magical place to spend time in this summer. Bravo.


***Published in The Cyprus Weekly, under the column Artichoke, June 14, 2014.

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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London