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Seeking NapyAiya Napa's Friendly Sea Monster
The 2nd entry for Circus Living's special travel feature 'Chasing Monsters'


View of Agia Napa beach located in vicinity of Nelia Beach Hotel
By Vitaly Lischenko (Vlish) (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Imagine swimming in the clear turqouise waters of Aiya Napa in Cyprus. Imagine looking out at the inviting sea from the top of  a cliff in Cape Greco. Imagine feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin, the cool breeze gently stroking your hair, the warm feeling of being embraced by the Mediterranean as you enter its clear waters. Imagine scuba-diving and meeting a maelstrom of dazzling sea creatures while a multi-headed serpent swims right on by...wait...what???

That's right. Legend has it that within the serene waters of Aiya Napa, there lies a friendly sea monster - Cyprus' own Nessie known as 'To Filiko Teras', the Friendly Sea Monster. There have been several sightings of the legendary creature, none of which have reported the creature causing any harm save for ripping and dragging a few fish nets. Some believe the creature comprises of a woman's torso and a dozen or more serpent limbs. Others have likened it with the Scylia, a sea monster of Greek mythology. At some point, it is reported that the government of Cyprus started investigating whether this creature exists due to the various reports they received but as of this date has not found any evidence to confirm its existence.

Regardless of the lack of official evidence found to indicate the sea creature does exist, Napy remains a highlight to this day for some tourists who embark on boat trips around Aiya Napa and scuba-divers in Cape Greco who are hoping to spot a glimpse of the creature. It appears that Napy is popular enough that the Main Office of Tourism felt it necessary to remind me that Napy does not exist when I inquired as to whether there were any tourist activities surrounding the legendary creature. It made me wonder why the representative from the Main Office of Tourism assumed I thought Napy existed? Was it perhaps because she has received so many inquiries regarding the creature that she assumes all inquiries were from folks who believed in the creature's existence? In truth, all I really wanted to know was if there were any tour activities surrounding Napy similar to the boat tours involving Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, in Scotland.


The truth of the matter is that to some folks, investigating the possible existence of a creature like Napy is not all fun and games. Cryptozoologists in particular investigate animals and creatures sighted by several witnesses dubbed as 'cryptids' which are yet to be officially discovered and verified by science. The mountain gorilla and the giant squid at some point in time were unknown creatures - cryptids - until scientists such as cryptozoologists who were not quick to discount their reported existence investigated them further. 

Perhaps the representative from the tourist office thought I was a cryptozoologist or simply someone she felt who was misguided, misinformed, or someone with a crazy huge imagination (OK that I have, I admit!). Whatever the reason, unbeknownst to the Main Office of Tourism in Cyprus, Napy exists enough to have to warrant its denial. I am not arguing for the existence of the sea monster as it is described by witnesses, just that the possibility of a sea creature yet to be discovered by science should not be refuted so easily. Ah, here I am arguing for Napy's possible existence...surely, what do I know? I am not a cryptozoologist...all I wanted to know is if there were any fun tourist activities revolving around this legendary 'monster'.


Port of Aiya Napa
By Manfred E. FritscheMef.ellingen at de.wikipedia [
CC BY-SA 2.0 de], from Wikimedia Commons

For those of you interested in sighting Napy while enjoying what Cyprus has to offer, I had to go digging on my own for the information, and admittedly this was probably one of the most difficult entries I have had to write because there is not much information out there. Nevertheless, I managed to find some information from a few sources, and from my research, I discovered that you can go scuba-diving by Cape Greco where Napy has been reported to have been spotted a number of times, or go on any number of boat tours around Aiya Napa. Some of the boats such as the Black Pearl Pirate Boat even let their passengers dive and swim into the waters wherever there are small bays - talk about getting up close and personal if and when you spot Napy! Or if you are feeling daring enough, you can attempt to a catch a glimpse of Napy from the top of the cliffs in Cape Greco and if you do spot Napy and want to investigate further, you can always dive right into the waters from the top of the cliff -  a common past-time for daring visitors. Scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, and hiking are also popular activities in the area.


Cave Greco Natural Park
By Anna Anichkova (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Whether Napy exists remains to be determined. Napy or no Napy, however, Aiya Napa is beautiful enough to warrant a visit. And if you do catch a glimpse of the Friendly Monster while you are there, consider yourself among the lucky ones who have sighted this yet-to-be verified but much-denied creature.

Resources:

Planetware
Aiya Napa Travel Waves
Cryptozoology, Anthropology, and Paranormal Creatures group on facebook


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