The Elusive Ayia Napa Sea Monster - Is It Really Out There?
The Ayia Napa sea monster is a creature alleged to live in the waters around Cape Greco, in the southeastern part of Cyprus. There is little evidence to support the existence of this sea monster, apart from some local tales. Although sightings of the Ayia Napa sea monster have been reported, no photographic evidence has been produced yet. Still, this has not stopped the local community from capitalizing on the creature and using it as a way to attract tourists.
Where Does the Ayia Napa Sea Monster Live?
Cape Greco (meaning Greek Cape) is a cape and small peninsula in the eastern Cypriot district of Famagusta. This cape is located to the east of Ayia Napa, a resort town and popular tourist destination. Cape Greco is a National Forest Park and is renowned for its natural beauty, which includes numerous sea caves and many species of flora and fauna.
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Cape Greco also claims to be the home of the Ayia Napa sea monster. (Max Pixel / Public Domain )
While such attractions are certainly more than enough to draw tourists to the area, Cape Greco also claims to be home to its very own sea monster, the Ayia Napa sea monster. Nothing much is known about this creature and very little documentation has been made about it so far. For instance, it is uncertain as to when stories about the sea monster began to circulate and the creature has yet to be photographed or filmed. Even the appearance of the Ayia Napa sea monster is unclear. Most reports state that the creature resembles a giant crocodile or sea serpent. The sea monster is also frequently conflated with Scylla, a fearsome sea monster from the mythology of ancient Greece.
Scylla and Charybdis – Two Other Famous Sea Monsters
Scylla appears in Homer’s Odyssey and is said to inhabit the rocks on one end of a narrow strait. Directly opposite Scylla was another monster called Charybdis. While the latter is depicted as a whirlpool, the former is described as a female monster with 12 feet and six heads, each attached to a long neck. Scylla’s mouths were each lined with three rows of sharp teeth, and her loins that were girded with the heads of baying dogs. The monster hid in a cave and used her six heads to snatch sailors from ships that passed too close to her lair.
A 19th-century engraving of the Strait of Messina, the site associated with the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis. (Mzilikazi1939 / Public Domain )
In the Odyssey, the hero Odysseus had to pass between Scylla and Charybdis and was advised by the sorceress Circe to choose Scylla over Charybdis, as it would be better to lose six men than the entire ship. Scylla and Charybdis are believed to be the personification of sea rocks or reefs, while Charybdis that of whirlpools, both of which were dangers faced by the ancient Greek sailors. Additionally, this myth is the origin of the saying ‘between Scylla and Charybdis’, which means being caught between two equally undesirable options.
The Ayia Napa Sea Monster Compared to Scylla
Compared to Scylla, the Ayia Napa sea monster certainly seems to be a tame creature . Locals have even given their beloved sea monster a nickname, ‘O Filikos Teras’, which translates to mean ‘The Friendly Monster’. Unlike the ancient Scylla, the Ayia Napa sea monster is reputed to have never harmed anyone. The only damage it has cause thus far is to the nets of fishermen, which sometimes were allegedly dragged and torn by the sea monster.
Furthermore, while Odysseus and his men did their best to avoid Scylla, people today are deliberately seeking out the Ayia Napa sea monster. Tourists to Cape Greco who embark on boating day-trips would not only enjoy the natural scenery the area has to offer but would also entertain the hope that they would be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the Ayia Napa sea monster.
Lastly, it may be mentioned that the hunt for such sea monsters was supposedly carried out by local authorities as well. In 2008, a sighting of a crocodile-like creature around the Kouris Dam (to the northwest of Limassol) was reported. Naturally, the authorities were called in to investigate the matter. While some have associated the creature with the Ayia Napa sea monster, others are of the opinion that the creature was just a crocodile that had been illegally released into the dam.
A recent sighting of the Ayia Napa Sea Monster described it as a crocodile-like creature. ( Kaulitzki / Adobe)
Top image: The Ayia Napa Sea Monster has never been photographed but is said to live in the waters around Cape Greco. Source: Olhapankiv / Adobe .
By Wu Mingren
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