Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

Thetis 2016: Leros to Samos

This web page contains the logs of a 6 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 the Kyriakou cove in Samos.

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

Thursday June 2, 2016, Day 1

Not having fully adjusted to the 7 hour time change from Washington I woke up at about 3:30 am and started doing various errands inside the boat to get her ready for the launching.

The new GPS/Plotter looks good and has a gorgeous display but it has a lousy built-in manual. I downloaded its manual, such as it is, to my iPad, so at least I can read it and do searches.

When there was some daylight I installed the headsail sheet lines and the roller reefing line in preparation, after the launch, for the help of the travel-lift operators in installing the large genoa.

Before Launch
Thetis before her launch.

The travel-lift came and and all went well. By 0930 Thetis was in the water.

Michalis, the travel lift operator, and Nicholas, his assistant, helped me to put up the Genoa.

Angelos, the yard’s owner, had invited me for lunch. We drove to the Gourna area and sat at the Sotos seafood taverna. There we were joined by his wife Angela and son Alexandros. We ate a number of tasty seafood mezedes.

Back on the boat I cast off at 1622 and motored to Archangelos 1.54 M. The autopilot worked and it did get a waypoint from the new eS75 display E70263, but its track mode had some problems. I will need to investigate these when sailing in open water. No current was delivered to the starting battery.

We arrived in Archangelos (Αρχάγγελος) [37° 11.9' N 026° 46.3' E] at 1640. I dropped the anchor in 6 m depth over sand and let out, I estimated, 30 m chain, since the new chain did not have any markers yet. There were 3 other S/Y here. I lowered the dinghy and snorkeled to the anchor.

I re-programed the MaxSea MC 612 alternator regulator and set it for Gel batteries. Now both the service and starting batteries are charged properly.

I spoke, via FaceTime, with Alice. All is well with her in Washington, DC.

After the late lunch I was not hungry. I just had an ouzo and ate some strawberries laced with Samos Moschato wine and a sprinkling of sugar.

Friday June 3, 2016, Day 2

I had a quiet night except for some mosquitoes. I woke up at 6:30.

After my coffee I installed the mainsail. The wind was up and very variable but mostly from the S at 5-11 knots.

I re-arranged the left cabin, which we use as the storage room, and I stowed all the parts that I had brought with me. I then cleaned the deck.

I swam and checked the anchor. It had not moved from yesterday. Nevertheless when a nearby downwind S/Y left I let out 10 more meters of chain. I called Agmar Marine (renamed Moor & Dock) and asked if they had the colorful plastic chain markers that I had forgotten to get. They did not have them but they will order them and send them to Samos.

In the evening, after my ouzo I went ashore to The Stigma (Το Στίγμα) taverna. I was met by the proprietor Yiorgos (Γιώργος), his wife Evrope (Ευρώπη), and daughter Demetra (Δήμητρα). They served me a nice salad and a κοντοσούβλι - kontosouvli (grilled meat on a spear and cut into small pieces), very tasty. I was the only customer but they told me that they had a lot yesterday.

Back on Thetis I burned some mosquito repellent in my cabin before going to bed. I had no problems with mosquitos. By 10 PM I was asleep.

Saturday June 4, 2016, Day 3

I got up around 6. After a slow start I prepared to depart. I raised the dinghy on its davits.

I had a hard time to use the new GPS/Plotter effectively. It has a myriad of options scattered in various menus, not very logically organized. Its manual is one of the worst that I have encountered in my over 40 years reading and writing manuals professionally. Its “find” feature on its built-in manual is awful. Fortunately I already loaded it as a PDF on the iPad and that is a help. But even then, relevant information is scattered in different chapters. For example I cannot find if it gives you the ETA as most other GPS units do.

I raised the anchor and departed from Archangelos at 0840. We motored slowly to Papandria (Παπανδριά), Lipsi (Λειψοί) [37° 16.8' N 026° 46.2' E] 5.2 M away arriving at 1010. On the way I ran the water-maker and filled the tanks and 2 bottles. I also did manage to get the autopilot’s track mode to work getting the waypoint signal from the eS75 display.

I anchored over sand in 6 m depth with about 40 m of scope. Before dropping the anchor I attached to it the small buoy to mark its position. I then put up the tent.

After lowering the dinghy and checking the anchor, I re-organized all the boat equipment manuals throwing away old ones, no longer applicable.

In the afternoon I spoke with Alice on FaceTime.

In the evening I removed the tent went ashore and walked about 40 minutes to the town and had my usual ouzo and grilled octopus in the Nikis' & Louli's café. They greeted me warmly and asked if I was on my way to Samos. I made a nice meal with other mezedes (tasty appetizers). I then walked to the bakery and got a loaf of fresh bread and some crisini. Then I walked back. On the way I noticed that now there were several trash bins and the harbor and road are much cleaner, unusually so for a Greek island.

By 10 PM I was in bed.

Sunday June 5, 2016, Day 4

I slept well, there were no mosquitoes last night. After a slow start, I went ashore and put our trash to one of the new bins, marked for general trash. Then I raised the dinghy and pulled up the anchor. The time was 0855. Before leaving I replaced the autopilot driver with the second unit so that I could test it. I also turned on the water-maker.

We motored slowly along the E side of Lipsi against the 8-16 knot NNW wind and there was some spray. I lowered the speed and went past the submerged reef (ξέρα), barely visible. It was not well marked on the new C-Map chart and also, of course, the new plotter did not show last year’s tracks to guide me. I now added a waypoint marking the reef. By that time the water tanks were full. I filled also 2 bottles of water for cooking, and turned off the water-maker.

We arrived in my favorite place in Tiganakia (Τηγανάκια) [37° 21.6' N 026° 45.1' E] at 1024 after 7.4 M. I anchored in 6 m depth over sand and let out about only 25&nbs;m of chain since my plan was to stay here for the afternoon and then relocate to Marathi.

I lowered the dinghy, not because I was planning to use it, but to free the swimming ladder. I then snorkeled and looked at the Rocna anchor. It was completely buried in the sand. I put up the tent and relaxed.

I raised the anchor at 1520 and motored slowly, towing the dinghy, the 1.3 M to Marathi (Μαράθι) [37° 22' N 026° 43.6' E]. There were several free moorings, not the usual crowd. Nevertheless I had some trouble catching the mooring that I had chosen because of the gusts. A nice gentleman from a near by French S/Y came with his dinghy and helped me. Other then that, all was fine.

I swam a little and then I went ashore to greet Mr. Pandelis and his family. His daughter Toola was there and so was his wife Kyria (Mrs) Katina. Lots of hugs and questions about Kyria Aliki (Alice). They now have a dog! This is a first. But actually it belongs to their son Manolis.

Back on Thetis I listened to music and read. In addition to the downloaded GPS/Plotter manual on the iPad, I read the fascinating book Gene: An Intimate History on the Kindle.

After a hot shower, a shave, and a small ouzo I went ashore. The French couple from their S/Y (I forgot to write down her name) were already at Pandelis’s. There was plenty of good will but their english was limited and we could not carry much of a conversation. They are coming now to Marathi for 10 years.

Kyria Katina made for me her usual salad with fresh caper leaves and soft goat cheese. I also had as an appetizer a small dish of tiny fried shrimps. This was followed by a very tasty tsipoura (τσιπούρα - Gilthead seabream - Sparus aurata), grilled to perfection. It was a wonderful meal and it was nice to see again these hardworking people. Business they told me had been slower this year. Fewer charter and Turkish boats.

Back on board I went to bed early anticipating an early start tomorrow for Samos.

From my table in Pandelis.

Monday June 6, 2016, Day 5

I got up, no alarm, at 5:30. I had my obligatory large cup of Turkish coffee and prepared for departure. Hoping for a sail I had already removed the tent last evening and had programmed a route in the hard to use GPS/Plotter despite its lousy human interface. I wished Raymarine had read the Apple Human Interface Guidelines published more then 30 years ago. I then went with the dinghy to the mooring buoy and removed the line with the cleat but left the double line through the buoy’s ring allowing an easy escape. After that I raised the dinghy on its davits, and in anticipation of sailing, I uncovered the mainsail. I then cast off at 0635.

I tried to activate the route programed in the GPS/Plotter. The result was a disaster. It had the autopilot sometimes erratically going towards the small islands and then wildly swinging in the opposite direction. I had to stop the track mode on the autopilot and go into auto. When we cleared the island I was finally able to go back to track mode and let it follow the route. Then, it worked well.

There was hardly any wind to sail by, just 6-8 knot NNW breeze. It was motoring all the way. I ran the water-maker, topped the tanks, and filled one bottle. Now I have 4 full bottles and 200 L in the tanks. I also I put up the tent.

On the way to Samos I called the marina and advised them that Thetis will be arriving tomorrow morning around 8:30. I also called Aramis and asked them to deliver a car at the marina at 9:30.

We arrived without any problem in the Kyriakou (Κυριακού) cove [37° 38.3' N 026° 51.8' E] in Samos (Σάμος) at 1010 after 22.5 M. I anchored in 6.5 m depth and let out about 35 m of scope.

It was very calm here. I lowered the dinghy and checked the anchor. It was well set.

In the afternoon there was a SW breeze, around 14 knots and I could see some white caps at a distance.

In the evening the breeze became even weaker, now from the WNW, and I went ashore for a walk. During my walk I saw a large, maybe 1.5 m long, dark brown snake.

Back on Thetis I had my last ouzo and made a cheese omelet. Tomorrow morning we will be going to Samos Marina.

The night was quiet with a light 4-6 knot WNW breeze.

Thetis in Kyriakou
Thetis in the Kyriakou cove in Samos

Tuesday June 7, 2016, Day 6

I got up fairly early. After my coffee I covered the dinghy and raised it on its davits. The modified dinghy cover is excellent. It is very easy to put on while the dinghy is still in the water but attached to the davits block & tackles. I was very pleased. I then did some preliminary packing. I also serviced the water-maker by filling it with a biocide solution.

By 0730 the anchor was up and we were under way. There were no problems other then no sailing wind. I kept the tent and motored.

By 0845 Thetis was in Samos Marina [37° 41.45' N 026° 57.49' E], bows-to. We had come from Kyriakou 6.7 M. Unfortunately not in her usual and preferable berth on the E side but right in front of the café. Mike, the attendant, promised me that we would relocate her in a few days.

I set the bow ladder, put the thick docking lines with the steel springs, and spring lines. While doing these I met my marina neighbors the Browns with the M/Y Voyager and my Austrian friend Alfredo with the S/Y Ricki.

Soon Alexis from Aramis delivered my rented car and by 8 PM I was on my way to Kalami.