Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

Thetis 2014: Leros to Samos

This web page contains the logs of an 11 day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean. I sailed from Partheni in Leros, where Thetis was launched, to Samos Marina via Archangelos near Leros, Papandria in Lipsi, Marathi, Tiganakia, and a short stop in Mycale, Samos.

After a 3 day stop in Samos Marina I sailed in Eastern Samos stopping in the coves of Psili Ammos, Mikri Lakka, and Kerveli before returning to the marina.

The logs include either some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited or links to these descriptions. Also included are links to other related web sites.

Route to Samos from Leros
Route to Samos from Leros
Route Patmos to Leros
Route in Samos

Saturday May 17, 2014, Day 1

I slept well but unfortunately I woke up at 4 AM and I was unable to go back to sleep. So, I did some more work inside the cabins. I also checked the navigation lights, the anchor light, the tricolor, and the deck light. It is good I did so because the red bow navigationlight did not work.

Later I drove back to Lakki for provision shopping. There I bought among others two pork chops, cold cuts, cheeses, and fruits.

Fortunately I did not have to go to the the Limenarchio (Greek Coast Guard) for my spring pilgrimage. The laws have changed for the better. The requirements for a haul-out/launching permit as well as the port arrival/departure declarations have been suspended.

I was planning to draw some money from my bank’s ATM but unfortunately I had forgotten to bring my card. But I did bring the two gasoline canisters for the outboard and the genset which I filled in a gas station.

Back at the yards, in anticipation for an early afternoon launch I took out from the sail lockers the docking lines and the fenders. Two of the fenders were totally deflated. Also, last year I had ordered 2 fender covers. I went to the chandlery but Mr. Parisis, the manager could not locate the covers. He promised to have them by Monday morning. Of the two deflated fenders one was totally defective. Fortunately Mr. Parisis found a replacement. The next prelaunch crisis was a missing bailout plug from the dinghy. Again a replacement was found. In the mean time, Panayiotis had replaced the inoperative red bow light and left me 3 LED spares.

By that time Manos and Jenny, with their adorable little pooddle Rexa, had arrived and offered their help. The travel-lift came and Thetis was prepared for the transport to the launching "pool."

Thetis was launched at 1230. There were no leaks.

Manos, Jenny, and Rexa came aboard. We motored out of the “pool” and moored the boat on one of the yard’s moorings [37° 11.3' N 26° 48' E]. We then lowered the dinghy from its davits and checked the outboard. Then Manos helped me install the genoa. We made several false starts, mostly because of my faulty memory, but eventually we got it done. By that time it was almost 4 PM. I took them ashore and we agreed to meet for dinner at 8:30 at the Mylos restaurant.

I did some more work in the boat, took a shower at the yard, had an ouzo and then left for our dinner engagement. Before going to the Mylos however I first drove to Lakki and drew much needed cash from the ATM. As I was parking Manos and Jenny arrived. We walked together to the restaurant where we had, as usual there, a very good seafood meal along with an excellent Γεροβασιλείου Gerovassiliou white wine. This was a treat celebrating Thetis’ launch.

By the time I made it back to the boat it was past 11 PM. I was totally exhausted and fell asleep right away.

Sunday May 18, 2014, Day 2

I woke up around 7 after a good night’s sleep. The wind here was less then 5 knots but it was cold inside the boat, 16°C (61°F). The barometer was a fairly high 1014 mB. I stowed all the clothing that I had left last October with Agmar Marine (renamed to Moor & Dock)for washing. This took some doing because while personal clothes go in a central cabin bin the bedding go in a bag way in the left cabin and the towels go in a duffle also way in the left cabin, our storage room. To access the bag and the duffle one has to empty almost everything from the left cabin. I then stowed the refilled fire extinguishers.

When it got warmer I went outside and installed the mainsail with its battens and reefing lines. After lowering the sail, I covered it with its cover. This operation took me a couple of hours. I then strapped down the passarella and the jerrycans. After this I installed the spray hood. Its snaps were working much better than last year.

I brought on the cockpit the genset and tested it. It was working well.

Tonight I was invited by Panayiotis and his wife Mary to their house for dinner. They are very hospitable. Mary had prepared some delicious prosciutto briskets, a seafood based Russian salad, and finally the piece de resistance: a grouper (ροφός), speared by Panayiotis, slowly baked in the oven in a bed of okras. These along with a Limnian white wine and lots of good conversation. The long meal was followed by sweet desserts and fruit. After I got back onboard Thetis I realized that it was past midnight.

Monday May 19, 2014, Day 3

I went ashore to the yard’s office and paid my considerable bill. Mr. Parisis had the new fender covers. I then asked him to order for me a set of poles and cord to fit on the new passarella that I bought last year. They form a sort of railing. This should make Alice very happy.

After saying goodbye to all my Agmar Marine friends, especially Angelos and Mastro Michalis I went back on board and prepared to depart from Partheni. I cast off the mooring at 1120 and headed out towing the dinghy. Although I wanted to go to the nearby anchorage in Archangelos I made a fairly large loop testing both autopilot drivers. They both worked. I also turned on the water-maker and ran it for 20 minutes until I was satisfied that it worked and made fresh water. Finally I arrived in Archangelos and anchored over my usual spot [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] in 6.5 m depth letting out 35 m of chain. The Rocna anchor held very well. The wind was a light 4-6 knot breeze from the NW.

Later I spoke with Alice over Skype. She was now back in Washington, D.C. after her conference in FL. After that I opened the rudder compartment to inspect the new batteries. This was not so easy. To access the compartments you have to open both sail lockers, remove the life raft cover, and remove the life raft. Then you must unscrew the 12 Philips screws that hold the compartment cover. After all that I had my first look at the new gel batteries and their container box. I took several photographs. One large advantage of these over the conventional lead-acid batteries is that although the gels do not have a longer lifetime they require no maintenance.

After the batteries it was the turn of the wind-generator. I untied it and let the breeze turn it. It did generate a few amperes and it did not make that horrible rasping noise. Further, when I threw the generator’s shorting switch the generator stopped turning as it was supposed to. I was now satisfied that its repair was successful.

Later as the sun went down I had an ouzo. After that I took the dinghy ashore and went to check the new taverna, To Stigma. I had done so last year and had met its owner. The taverna had not opened yet and he and his family were preparing it for a June opening. Now he was there and he did remembered me from last year. With him were his attractive wife Mrs. Europe, a retired school teacher, and their daughter Demetra as well as a small dog. We talked for a while and then Demetra prepared for me a very tasty dish of pan fried peppers, onions, and small pieces of pork.

I was back on Thetis by about 10:30 and I was soon fast asleep in my cozy cabin.

Tuesday May 20, 2014, Day 4

Last night while looking over the detailed list of charges from Agmar Marine I came across an item concerning the repair of the small bow-boarding ladder. I then realized that I had not seen this ladder anywhere inside the boat. So, this morning I called Miss Irene at the office. She promised to look for it. Since I also had a few questions regarding the charges I decided to head back. Then I could get the ladder and discuss my questions, which would be easier to do in person rather then on the telephone.

I raised the anchor at 0845 and motored, towing the dinghy, back to Partheni [37° 11.3' N 26° 48' E]. By 0900 I was tied on the same mooring I had vacated yesterday. I went ashore and walked to the office. The ladder was right there waiting for me and Miss Irene patiently went over my questions and addressed them to my satisfaction.

By 1023 I was back on board, had raised the dinghy on its davits and cast off from the mooring. The wind, once again, was a light 4-8 knot breeze from the NNW, a headwind for our course of 346 to the island of Lipsi (Λειψοί). We arrived there at 1125 motoring all the way. I anchored in my favorite cove of Papandria (Παπανδριά) [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E] in 5 m depth and with 35 m of chain. This time I also deployed the little buoy marking the anchor’s location. There was only one other S/Y, with a German flag, some distance from Thetis.

As there was sunshine and the temperature 25°C (77°F), it was more comfortable then yesterday, I put up the tent. The barometer however had fallen from 1014 to 1009 mB. I lounged under the tent reading. I finished I Am Livia, a historical biographical novel, narrated in the first person, by the first Roman empress Livia and written along the lines of I Claudius. I then started Snow by Orhan Pamuk. This book was in pile of used paperbacks, available for the taking, in the Agmar Marine office.

In the afternoon I took a swim and checked the anchor. The anchor was well embedded in the sand but the water was not very warm at 22°C (72°F) although after several vigorous strokes it did not feel too uncomfortable.

Around 6 PM I launched the dinghy and went ashore. I walked, about 20 minutes, to the town and had an ouzo at Nick’s & Louli’s. Nick i.e. Nicos had already lit the charcoal fire and after a while he served me his memorable grilled octopus. He was very pleased to see me again. After I bought a loaf of bread I walked back to my cove.

Back onboard I made myself a cheese omelet and then I had a dessert of fresh strawberries sprinkled with sugar and sweet Samos Moschato Wine. This has been a good and relaxed day. Now I am really back to cruising.

Are they selling horses or hoses?

Wednesday May 21, 2014, Day 5

I slept very well. The night was warmer and this morning the cabin temperature was 19°C (66°F) while the barometer had fallen to 1007 mB. The forecasts were calling for force 6 NW winds and here it was rather gusty up to 25 knots. I prepared to depart and sail to Marathi which is nicely sheltered from the NW.

I raised the anchor at 1030 and motored, running the water-maker, around the E side of Lipsi. I thought briefly of stopping for lunch and a swim at either Platys Yialos NE of Lipsi or at Tiganakia S of Arki but there were substantial waves and the Arki channel was rather angry with a lot of white caps. So, I proceeded directly to Marathi [37° 22' N 26° 43.6' E] where I easily caught one of Pandelis’s moorings. The time was 1210 and we had come 9.2 M from Papandria. By that time the fresh water tanks were full.

There were here one British S/Y and one Turkish. The Turkish soon left and an Austrian arrived followed by a German. Later in the evening I met the couple from the German S/Y, the Brouns, and actually had dinner with them at Pandeli’s. They too are regulars here but I had not met them before. I put up the tent and spliced the chain hook and my new snub line but I mostly spent the afternoon reading.

In the evening I took a nice hot shower and had an ouzo. After that I went ashore. Pandelis was not there, having taken his workmen earlier to Patmos, but Katina greeted me with hugs and kisses. The Brouns were already there. We three were the only customers so we sat together. They were delightful and we exchanged many cruising stories. Soon Pandelis returned and there were more hugs all around. Both Pandelis and Katina looked good and healthy. I had, as usual Katina’s special salad, zucchini balls, and a fantastic Sargos (Σαργός - White seabream) grilled to perfection.

After our meal the Brouns and I left at the same time. But after I got back to Thetis I noticed that they were not back to their boat and were doing something on their new electric outboard. I went back with my dinghy to check. They were alright but their outboard did not work. So, I gave them a much appreciated tow. Other then that, it was a calm and uneventful night.

Thursday May 22, 2014, Day 6

The forecasts today were more benign and predicted even less northerly wind for tomorrow. After my coffee I went ashore and walked around the island for about 1 hr. Then I sat down with Pandelis and we had a long chat.

I had decided to depart from Marathi but I had not made up my mind yet whether to go directly to Samos or to stop in Tiganakia. I raised the dinghy and cast of the mooring at 1050. The wind was 10-16 knots form the NNW. Tiganakia (Τηγανάκια) did look very attractive and after motoring for just 1.7 M I anchored there [37° 21.6' N 26° 45.1' E] in 6 m depth with 35 m scope. The time was 1105.

I spent the day rather pleasantly in this lovely anchorage. Pamuk’s novel Snow, while very well written and interesting was kind of heavy going and I needed a brake. So, I stopped and started reading on the Kindle Kerry Greenwood's Cocaine Blues the first of the Miss Fisher’s mysteries that Alice and I had been watching during the winter on the television.

In the evening, after washing up, I had an ouzo and then I warmed in the oven the fish with okras that Mary and Panayiotis kindly pressed on me in a plastic container after dinner at their house on Sunday. To go with it I had chilled and then opened a bottle of Moschofilero Mantinias white wine. It was a most pleasant dinner and evening. Nevertheless I went to bed early.

Friday May 23, 2014, Day 7

I woke up early at around 5 AM and started getting ready for the sail to Samos. We departed from Tiganakia at 0635 heading E of Arki and then NE. After setting the autopilot to its Track mode for a waypoint to Samos Marina, a heading of 022, I opened the headsail and motor-sailed very closed hauled as the wind was 12-16 knots NNW. But a short while later the wind veered to the NNE, a headwind, and I had to roll-in the sail and motor. There were appreciable waves.

We were in a collision course with a freighter. I tried hailing her on our new DSC VHF, using her MMSI number, but they did not respond. When we were within ½ M from each other I drastically changed our course and avoided her. Other then that it was an uneventful passage. I noticed that there was a 15° discrepancy between the heading shown on the autopilot and the one shown on the GPS. When we were near Aspri Cavi in Samos I slowed down the boat and re-calibrated the autopilot by performing several 360° turns. This brought the discrepancy to an acceptable 4°.

We arrived in Mycale (Μυκάλη), Samos (Σάμος) [37° 42.3' N 26° 58.9' E] at 1110 after 27.4 M. I dropped the anchor in 5 m depth with 25 m scope. It was overcast and so I did not put up the tent, but later the sky cleared and it was a glorious sunny day. But I was too lazy to put up the tent so I stayed inside the cabin to avoid a heavy sun exposure to my still untanned skin.

Around 5 PM I started getting ready to go to the marina. I hanged the fenders and prepared the docking lines. The dinghy was still on its davits so I did not have to lift it. When we were ready to move, I tried hailing the marina on the new VHF. There was no answer and I called instead on my iPhone. Angela, the receptionist, told me that she could hear me on the VHF and she did answer but I could not hear her, just like last year. This got me rather upset, I did change the VHF after all. I tried using the old VHF but the results were exactly the same. I then changed the antenna switch position and tried again with the new unit. Joy! She immediately responded. It turned out that the coaxial switch had been disconnected during the installation and then reconnected backwards so its labels were reversed. I quickly fixed it. So that the position “Main” was now connected to the new VHF and the position “Aux” to the old one.

At 1750 I raised the anchor and motored to the marina, less then 2 M away. The attendant Michalis met me with their inflatable and told me to proceed to Thetis’ old berth C05, right next to the M/Y Voyager. By 1810 the boat was safely berthed [37° 41.45' N 26° 57.3' E]. We had come 29.3 M from Tiganakia.

I called Aramis the car rental company where I had already reserved a car and soon the car arrived. It was too late for me to go to our house in Kalami so I decided to sleep onboard and move to the house in the morning. I regretted this decision because I was completely assaulted during the night by vicious mosquitoes.

Saturday May 24 to Monday May 26, 2014

Thetis during this time was at the marina while her master was in Kalami. The painter was still there finishing up after a lot of work that had been done in the old house over the winter. This included new retaining walls, new wooden shutters, clearing of the stream, repairing walls from water damage, etc. Also, after an unbelievable amount of bureaucratic hustle we were now in the process of removing the ugly electrical pole in front of the guest house and rerouting the cable underground.

It was my impression that during this severe economic crisis in Greece the bureaucracy instead of decreasing had increased. The inefficiency and waste, not to mention the corruption is hard to comprehend.

On the good side, I bottled 129 bottles of last year's Kalami wine.

Tuesday May 27, 2014, Day 8

Having ran out of things to do in Kalami I decided to spend a few days with Thetis visiting coves near the marina.

I brought two bottles of wine and gave them to my marina neighbors Bob and Ann Brown of M/Y Voyager who had helped us with last year’s harvest. I also gave a down payment for the marina berth covering Thetis until October.

I received an e-mail from Alice. Today is her birthday but the poor thing left at 5 AM her brother’s home home in Chicago, where she was visiting, and went to the airport for her flight back to D.C. She had a connection via Detroit. But this flight was canceled and she was booked to another, later connection via Atlanta. That flight was also canceled, and she was rerooted again via Detroit. To make the long story short it took her over 12 hours before she made it home.

At 1620, after re-installing myself on the boat and stowing my clean clothes and provisions, I untied the lines and headed out of the marina. It was rather calm and the wind was a 8-12 knot NE breeze. We motored running the water-maker to Psili Ammos (Ψιλή Άμμος) [37° 42.4' N 27° 01.2' E] just 3.97 M from the marina. We arrived at 1710 and anchored in 4.5 m depth with 25 m of chain.

It was a quiet evening. I first had an ouzo which was followed by a cheese omelet. This was made from eggs, given to me by our caretaker Yiorgos, that were produced by his free ranging chickens. It was delicious. I continued reading Snow and started The Samantha Project a science fiction novel about a teenage girl whose DNA had been designed by a sinister corporation.

Wednesday May 28, 2014, Day 9

The GSM signal here was not so strong so I decided to relocate to another cove. Before departing however I re-arranged the left cabin which was our storage room and removed the storage items from the front cabin to the left. Now every cabin was neat and was as it should be for cruising. I then washed the cockpit that had accumulated lots of bread crumbs.

At 0810 I raised the anchor and motored for 7.4 M to Mikri Lakka (Μικρή Λάκκα) [37° 45.459' N 27° 01.654' E] where we arrived at 0915. The wind was 2-6 knots from the ESE. I anchored in 6 m depth with 30 m of scope. The forecasts for today and tomorrow called for variable winds of 2-3 on the Beaufort Scale.

I launched the dinghy and put up the tent. Later I spoke with Alice on Skype. She was now in Washington, D.C. and somewhat rested after her ordeal getting there yesterday from Chicago. I then snorkeled and checked the anchor. The anchor was well embedded in the sand and the water temperature was comfortable but I did see a lot of small jelly fish so I did not swim anymore.

Later a tourist caïque came. I had seen her here last year. In the afternoon her skipper entertained his guests by playing his bouzouki. It was fun. I swam some more seeing that none of the tourists had been stung by the jelly fish. The sea was clear and I really enjoyed this swim. The water temperature was a comfortable 24°C (75.2°F).

After the tourist boat left I went ashore and took an hour hike up on the hill. When I returned onboard I started cooking in the pot a round beef roast that I had bought yesterday. I cooked it slowly with fresh lemon juice and a lot of garlic. I then had a hot shower followed by an ouzo. For dinner I boiled some pasta and ate it with two slices of the roast. To accompany this I opened a bottle of Agiorgitiko - Αγιοργίτικο red wine. By 10:30 I was in bed.

Thursday May 29, 2014, Day 10

There was a N breeze of 8-10 knots during the morning but everything was fine with the boat despite having been blown to deeper water and settled in 11 m depth which was not ideal for the 30 m scope I had let out yesterday when the breeze was from the S. I checked my email and looked over the Internet at the forecasts. They predicted southerly winds of 3-4 on the Beaufort Scale. I thought that I may relocate later in the day, most likely to nearby Kerveli which is well protected from the S and W but open to the SE.

I spent some time re-arranging charts under the chart table. I try to keep then in numerical order but entropy increases and they get somewhat scrambled. Having done that I now felt that Thetis was ready to receive guests.

It was a lovely morning with plenty of sunshine. I was waiting for the temperature to rise so that I could go swimming but the sky got clouded and the day became uninviting for swimming. New forecasts were now still calling for southerlies but of force of 4-5.

In the afternoon I finally did decide to move to Kerveli. I raised the anchor at 1535 and motored slowly, towing the dinghy. The wind was now 17-20 knots from the SSE. After 2.5 M, at 1610, we arrived in Kerveli (Κέρβελη) [37° 43.8' N 27° 02.3' E]. I anchored in 8 m depth which allowed for plenty of swinging room and let out 50 m of chain. Thetis settled at about 10 m depth. There was here only one other S/Y here with a German flag and it appeared with another singlehandler. Later 2 more S/Ys came: an Austrian with a large crew and another German with a singlehandler.

Around 6 PM while I was getting ready to have my evening ouzo it started to gust. The gusts kept increasing reaching into the upper 30s. The Austrian and the recently arrived German S/Y dragged while the other German re-located closer to the shore. To my relief Thetis stayed put thanks, I think, to her Rocna anchor. The gusts kept getting fiercer and fiercer now reaching 45 knots and the boat was tipped but still her anchor held. It was an anxious time but nevertheless I did manage to have my ouzo in between the gusts. After that I did remove, just in case I needed to quickly maneuver, the cockpit table.

For my dinner I moved inside the cabin. I had two more slices of the roast along fried potatoes and a salad. For dessert I had apricots from our trees in Kalami. By 10 PM the gusts were below 20 knots but it started to drizzle. I went to bed. At around 11:30 I woke up. There was heavy rain and Thetis was dancing. The wind was from the SW and not very strong but a large swell kept coming from the E. The waves hit the boat’s stern and made a terrific noise. She was bobbing violently up and down. I was afraid that her anchor may be dislodged or even that the chain may brake or that her new snubber may get shaken off and then the windlass would cary all the load. I crawled in the heavy rain to the bow and set a second snubber.

Friday May 30, 2014, Day 11

I hardly slept during the night frequently getting up to check the the chain. Sure enough the snubber did get dislodge but the second one held. I reset the original snubber and then the second one. As the anxious night progressed the swell decreased but when I relaxed and went back to bed within an hour the swell increased. This went on until almost 6 AM. By that time the sea had miraculously calmed down as if the all night terrible swell had never happened.

After my obligatory morning coffee I went ashore and took a long walk. Since I wanted to be back in Kalami before Saturday morning when I was expecting the cleaning lady to prepare the house for Alice’s Monday arrival I decided to go back to the marina before the day got too hot. So, at 0952 I pulled up the anchor and motored back. After rounding Cape Gatos the wind was 8-15 knots WSW and I was able to open about 60% of the headsail and motor-sail. In the mean time I ran the water-maker.

When we were about 2 M from the marina I hailed them on the VHF channel 9, using the new unit. They answered right away. We arrived at the marina on 1110 after 9.2 M. With the help of Mr. Yiannis, the senior attendant, Thetis was moored very easily.

I packed my clothes and various other belongings and left dear Thetis for a while.