Cape Chameleon was named so mostly not because of its shape but because of its ability to change its colors depending on the sun position, weather, illumination and season. On contemporary geographical maps the headland is often has designation of “Cape Lagerniy” (“Camp Cape”), despite there are no camps in its vicinity. This cape separates Tikhaya (“Quiet”) Bay from Koktebel Bay.
Tikhaya Bay (the common name for Yenishar Bay) is limited with Cape Toprakh-Kaya (with modern name of “Chameleon”). The headland obtained its contemporary name not because of its shape, but due to its ability to change its color depending on the sun position, weather, illumination and season. And if you spend the entire day at sea, you will surely witness all tints of Chameleon – from dark blue to light ochre, then transforming into violet and lilac at sunset. And this play of colors can be seen not only in summer, but also on a fine winter day, and during autumn rain above the sea.
Original name of the headland was Toprak-Kaya of Toprakh-Kaya which can be translated from the Turkic language as “mud cliff” of “clay mount”. The word “toprak” means “clay, soil, mud, ground”. And the worst thing is that this soil is washed away into the sea by rain waters and the cape itself is criss-crossed with cracks.
That is why it is quite dangerous to walk along the “spine” of this Chameleon. Right near its “head”, on the “neck”, the passage is so narrow, more similar to a razor edge in appearance.
It’s very scary to go there, especially in foggy weather or after rain, when clay gets soaked. If this is going to continue, the passage will be surely closed for entrance, and Chameleon itself would “live” for not so many years.
The cape has been known for a long time – its image can be seen on many Italian navigation maps (Portolan charts) of 14th – 15th cc., as well as in old Russian navigation books, where we can see its description.