Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2019: Samos to Leros

This web page contains the logs of a 12 day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean of Greece. I sailed from Samos Marina to Partheni in Leros, where Thetis was hauled-out and will spend the 2019-20 winter. On the way I stopped in Mycale, Agathonisi, Tiganakia, Livadi tou Geranou, and finally in the small island of Archangelos.

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 Samos to Leros
Route Samos to Leros

August 4 to September 3, 2019

Thetis was in the marina and the family was in Kalami. On August 17 the kids (Cynthia, Corinna, Siva, Rohan, and Leander) left for Athens while Alice and I remained.

On August 30 Alice and I flew from Samos to Athens and on the same day we flew to Paros to attend the wedding of Yiorgos Riginos the son of my first cousin Petros Riginos. We, along with my younger brother Byron and his wife Ive, stayed in our brother’s Nikos & Rozinas new house. There were a lots of social activities until September 2 when we flew back to Athens. We stayed that night in the Sofitel hotel across from the airport.

On September 3 I flew back to Samos while Alice flew to our home in Washington DC.

In Samos I stayed in Kalami to close the house and prepare Thetis for her trip to Leros.

Wednesday September 4, 2019, Day 1

First thing I called Alice. She had arrived home safely. I spent the day doing a lot of shopping for provisions and finally closed the Kalami house.

Thetis in the Marina

About a week ago there was a fire, not very far from the marina. The fire burned an area from the hill top all the way to the sea, past the road in the cove E of the marina. Now while motoring out of the marina towards Mycale I could see the devastation.

The Fire Devastation Near the Marina

I moved to Thetis around 6 PM. I first washed down her deck that had accumulated a lot of dust and debris from the resent nearby fire. Finally, I departed from the marina at 1907 and motored the 1.45 M to nearby Mycale (Μυκάλη) [37° 42.2' N 026° 58.7' E] where I anchored in 5 m depth over sand with 30 m of scope.

I was too tired even to eat dinner. I just ate some bread and cheese. By 9 PM I was in my cabin sound asleep.

Thursday September 5, 2019, Day 2

I woke up early, just before 6. After my coffee I spent few hours stowing my things and re-ordering the front and main cabins. Now Thetis was ship-shape.

I lowered the dinghy and removed its cover. It needed lots of air. Its outboard started right away. After testing the dinghy I raised it on its davits and prepared for departure.

By 1110 the anchor was up and Thetis was on her way to Agathonisi. The wind was 10-15 knots from the ENE which allowed me to open about 50% of the headsail and motor-sail while keeping the tent. It was was a pleasant sail. We arrived in the Gaidouravlako cove of Agathonisi at 1420 [37° 27.2' N 026° 57.66' E]. There was a French S/Y already there. I anchored further away from the shore in about 10 m depth and let out about 45 m of chain.

It was very calm here. I had an e-mail from Alice. After that I called her on Skype. Then I lowered the dinghy and swam for a while. I also snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was nicely set in the sand.

I started reading on the Kindle a science fiction novel by Mark Lawrence Limited Wish.

Yesterday I had purchased 4 turkey cutlets which I now pre-cooked. I also had purchased meat for a daube and I started cooking it. After browning I added some red wine, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, a bay leaf, and some thyme. Then I let it slowly simmer.

By the time the sun was going down I had a nice hot shower and then drove the dinghy to the harbor of St. Georgio where I had a nice dinner at the Glaros restaurant. I noticed that now the road from the harbor to the next cove SW (the cove N of Gaidouravlako) is lined with solar powered high intensity lights. These automatically turned on at dusk and ruined the ambiance of the whole area.

From Glaros

By 9:30 I was back in Thetis and in my cabin falling asleep. It was a long day!

Friday September 6, 2019, Day 3

My plan was to spend the day here. After I got up, had my coffee, put up the tent, etc. I then checked the dinghy and went ashore for a hike. I could not find my hiking boots so I wore my old docksides. Also, I forgot to take with me my walking stick. I walked uphill for about ¾ of an hour following the dry river bed. It was rough going. In the past I walked past the stream and then turned right and went to the “Small Village” (Μικρό Χωριό). But this time I turned back fearing a fall. All together I did walk over one hour.

Thetis in Gaidouravlako, Agathonisi

After I returned to the boat and having received no communications from Alice I decided to move closer to Leros, just in case that I might have to speed up my return. I raised the dinghy and the anchor. The time was 1002. The wind was alight 2-5 knot breeze from the NNW. There was no chance of sailing. We motored, running the water-maker. the 12.3 M to Tiganakia (Τηγανάκια) [37° 21.6' N 026° 45' E] arriving at 1205. There were 2 other S/Ys, both French, in my favorite anchorage between the 2 islands. I dropped the anchor some distance from them in 8 m depth letting out over 40 m of chain and marking the anchor location with the small buoy. I had some nice long snorkeling.

In the early afternoon the wind increased to 15-18 knots. I let out 10 more meters of chain and installed the spray hood to shelter the cockpit from the wind.

I waited until 8:30 AM EDT and managed to call Alice, via Skype, in DC. She was about to visit the dentist. I asked her to call me with FaceTime after her return. She did not. Around 6:30 I did manage to call her on FaceTime. She sounded very distraught. She said that she had trouble with the telephone and the Internet. I was worried. I sent an e-mail to my friend Dr. Chris Mahle, who lives close by, asking him if he could drop by our house and help Alice with these problems.

I continued cooking the daube that I had started yesterday. I also boiled some spaghetti to go with it. At sunset, just after 7 PM I had my ouzo. After dinner I sat for a while in the cockpit. It was about 10:30 when I went to my berth.

Saturday September 7, 2019, Day 4

Landing in Makronisi

I had a good sleep but I decided to stay here for the day and go tomorrow to Marathi, the larger island in the Tiganakia channel. I had a FaceTime session with my oldest daughter Cynthia. After that I took the dinghy ashore and took nice hike on Makronisi. This time I did take my walking stick.

By the time I returned, around 11 AM, all the other boats in the narrows between the 2 islands were gone and only Thetis remained. The Northern wind started blowing. At about 18 knots and later gusting to the 30’s. There were still problems in our home in D.C. Neither Cynthia nor Corinna could call Alice, all they got was a recorded message that private calls were not accepted! Also, none of us had received an e-mail from Alice for the past few days. Nevertheless I did call her yesterday on FaceTime so her internet was working. I tried calling her today on the phone using Skype. And had no problems, so the home phone was working. I had received an e-mail from my friend Dr. Chris Mahle. He was in Austria so he could not help with this problem. I called my ex-colleague from COMSAT Labs Ron Johnson and ask him to help us. Ron went to our D.C. home right away and we talked on the phone. He could not find any problem. I called from my Greek mobile phone, not from Skype which can be a local call, and still no problem. He also called me back. Again no problem. He used Alice’s computer and called me with FaceTime. No problem.

Later in the evening both my daughters tried calling and had the same message: no private calls allowed. I could not get a coherent story out of Alice and I became very, very, worried.

In the early evening the wind had calmed down and it was calm in the cove but still Thetis was being tossed around. I had no desire for a swim. I removed the tent and had an ouzo watching the sunset. I prepared 2 of the pre-cooked turkey cutlets and fried a few potatoes. By 10:30 I was in my berth.

View of Tiganakia channel from Makronisi

Sunday September 8, 2019, Day 5

The same story today from Cynthia and Corinna: they were not able to communicate with their mother either with the telephone or via e-mail. I started thinking that I may have to change my ticket and fly back to Washington, D.C. sooner than my plan for October 25. With this thought I decided not to go to Marathi as planned but to relocate to Patmos where there are Internet cafés from where I can change my tickets if needed for Athens and for D.C.

I raised the dinghy and by 0740 the anchor was up and we departed for Patmos. The wind was strong at 19-27 knots from the NNW. I opened about 30% of the headsail but it was so gusty that I could not keep it in trim, so I rolled it back in and motored. At least I ran the water-maker and re-filled the water tanks.

After 10.3 M we arrived in Livadhi you Geranou (Λιβάδι τού Γερανού) cove [37° 20.7' N 026° 35.3' E] at 0948. I anchored in 6 m depth and let out 35 of scope. I raised the dinghy higher on the davits which allowed me to lower the swim ladder and snorkel in order to check the anchor. It was well buried in the sand. The sea here was calmer than in Tiganakia. There were 2 other S/Ys: a catamaran with maybe an Austrian flag, and a SunKiss with a British flag.

In the afternoon I tried to call Alice at home via Skype. There was no answer. There have been several problems with the home communications. She can neither read nor send e-mails while both Cynthia and Corinna when they try calling the house phone they get get a a message “No private callers”, so they cannot get through. Yesterday I did manage to call her via FaceTime. I had been very worried about her health and now I begun to panic. In desperation I called our neighbor Jill Brett and asked her to please go over and check on Alice. She right away sent me an e-mail asking for for the alarm security code. In about ½ hour later she called me back using our house phone. Alice was there and happy. I spoke with her but I was still worried. I spoke with Cynthia and after discussing the situation I decided to go to Leros tomorrow and after advancing the haul-out day to use their internet and reschedule my airplane tickets and hotel reservation in Athens so that I can be back in Washington, D.C. as soon as possible.

Later in the evening I had my ouzo and watched the sun set. I warmed the daube and had it with pasta. It was a quiet, but somewhat windy, night.

Monday September 9, 2019, Day 6

I woke up spontaneously around 4:30, I read little and checked the news and the e-mail. The BBC announced that the BA (British Airways) pilots will have a 2 day strike starting tomorrow. If the strike continues it may complicate my departure. I made my coffee and prepared for departure.

First I siphoned 2 jerry-cans of Diesel fuel to the main tank. Then I uncovered the mainsail and prepared it, I opened the bimini. Then it was the anchor’s turn. The wind was ferocious reaching 35 knots from the NNW. It took some time to raise the anchor because I did not want to overload the windlass. After the anchor was secured I headed to the SE off the the little island and then back to the N while I started to raise the mainsail. It took 3 times doing this: head S, then head back N, raise some sail, head S, again, and so on. Finally the mainsail was up and on its 2nd reef. I then headed out from the cove. It took a little time to tidy up the sail and its reefing lines. But at last we were on our way to Leros. The time was 0750 and I turned off the motor since we were sailing.

When we were about 5 M from Partheni I called Irene in the yard and warned her about the situation. My tentative plan was to tie, if possible and the waves allowed, to one of the yard’s moorings otherwise to anchor in the protected area E of the yard. Then go to the yard with the dinghy and use the office facilities to change my airline tickets. After that to decide on a new haul-out date.

At about 0950 while approaching the E side of Archangelos island the wind diminished to 15-22 knots NNW and after the boat speed was reduced to almost 2 knots I started the engine and motor-sailed the rest of the way to the Moor & Dock shipyard where we arrived at 1050 after 15.2 M. The sea was fairly calm but there were wind gusts. I had some difficulty with the gusts catching a mooring buoy. It took 3 attempts before I succeeded [37° 11.3' N 026° 48' E]. I launched the dinghy and replaced the temporary line that I had ran through the buoy cleat with a stronger line with its own cleat.

After that I prepared my brief case with my MacBook computer and several travel related documents. I went ashore, and walked to the yard’s office where I was installed. Angelos was not there, he was in Athens. It took me some time to change the airline tickets. While doing so I kept the BA on one screen and the Olympic/Aegean on another. The problem was the Aegean was fully booked from Leros to Athens until next Monday. So, finally I booked my Athens flight at 2 PM on Monday September 16. Changing the BA from Athens to Washington, D.C. via Heathrow, for September 17, was easy but there was an extra charge of $500. After these bookings I changed the Sofitel hotel reservation from September 24 to September 16. Then Irene re-scheduled Thetis’ haul-out day to Friday September 13.

After all the business was accomplished I walked back to the dinghy and went to Thetis. It was past 2 PM and I was very hungry. I put up the tent, removed the bimini, and ate my lunch.

When the time in D.C. was 8 AM I tried several time to call Alice. There was no answer. I called our cleaning lady Evelyn, since Monday is one of the days that she cleans our home. She promised to go to the house as soon as possible. Sone time afterwards she called back and told me that Alice was at our next door neighbors, the Scots, and told me their number. I called right away and did speak with Alice. I asked her to call our daughter Corinna who had been trying to reach her. Soon after that Cynthia called me. She told me that Alice had a car accident. She hit a wall or boulder. Soon after that I had e-mails from our neighbors Suzan Scott and Jill Brett. Yes, Alice not only had an accident but was found by another neighbor aimlessly walking in a daze a few blocks away from our house. Both Corinna and I exchanged frantic e-mails. Since I will not be going back home until next Tuesday Corinna decided to fly to Washington, D.C. and be with her mother. She booked a series of flights that will get her in D.C. at 5 PM tomorrow, and home by 6.

Since there was nothing more that I could do and it was rather rocky at the buoy, I cast off at 1720 and motored slowly, towing the dinghy with its outboard to nearby Archangelos [37° 11.8' N 026° 46.4' E] where I arrived at 1750. All together I had travelled today 16.7 M.

Tuesday September 10, 2019, Day 10

I woke up at 3:30 AM being too worried about Alice to sleep. I read on the Kindle Belief, a psychologist’s explains the way people form and irrationally maintain their beliefs, including religious faiths. And I started The Outlaw Ocean, a long and shocking story of fishing and exploiting the open oceans. I also snoozed a little. Not so windy this morning 5-15 knots from various northerly directions.

I spoke with Cynthia on FaceTime. She was very agitated about her mother. I had a lot of talks with Corinna who seems to have taken charge of the situation, she spoke with her mother and then with Alice’s physician Dr. Thomas with whom she made an appointment for tomorrow. Dr. Thomas said that Alice definitely had not had a stroke but she will need a brain scan. We all are keeping our fingers crossed. I was not sure where Alice spent the night. It most likely it was at Jill’s. Just in case, I called our home number on Skype and Alice answered. She was very pleased that Corinna is on her way. Later I had a number of SMS contacts with Corinna. She was on her way to Washington, D.C.

After all these communications I went ashore and took a 1 hour hike up the hill. Also I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It had not moved but was buried even more deeply in the sand.

The Anchorage in Archangelos

In the evening, while there was a relative light wind I removed the large headsail and lashed it on top of the fore deck. This was a relief because removal of the sails has to be done before the haul-out. The headsail (genoa) is the largest sail and the more difficult to remove especially with a strong wind. By the time all this was done I was too tired and lazy to cook, so I went ashore to the Stigma taverna and had a nicely grilled fresh tuna steak.

Back on Thetis I read a little and went to bed by 10:30.

Wednesday September 11, 2019, Day 11

This morning I woke up around 5. I had an SMS from Corinna that she had arrived safely in our home in Washington, D.C. This was a relief. Now she will take charge of her mother and fix whatever computer/telephone related problems.

Later in the morning I called the Moor & Dock yard and rescheduled the haul-out for tomorrow instead of Friday afraid that the weather may deteriorate. My only worry was that the extended forecasts predicted force 8 in Leros for Monday and Tuesday. These may jeopardize my Olympic flight to Athens on Monday. On the other hand the British Airways strike ends tomorrow and their pilots announced that if they do not reach an agreement with the airline they will strike again on September 27. This means that my flight on next Tuesday is safe.

Because I was afraid of draining the batteries I ran the genset for about 1 hour. During this time I took advantage of the AC electricity and ground the rest of the coffee beans for my filtered afternoon coffee.

After these activities while it was still early morning and calm I removed without any problems the mainsail.

In the evening I cooked for dinner the last of the turkey cutlets and had them again with potatoes.

Thursday September 12, Day 12

This was the haul-out day. I woke up fairly early and prepared the boat. By 0730 the anchor was up and we motored (no sail now) the 1.44 M to the “pool” area of Moor & Dock. I caught one of the yard’s mooring buoy [37° 11.3' N 026° 48' E] and secured Thetis. There was only one other S/Y on another mooring buoy. But soon another S/Y arrived, caught a mooring buoy to be followed by a motor cruiser that caught the last mooring.

Around 8:30 the travel-lift came to the “pool” with a S/Y. After they lowered the S/Y and she left the “pool” they called the last to arrive S/Y. They hauled her out and departed with her. About an hour later the travel-lift was back, empty this time. They called the motor cruiser and lifted her. They returned after another hour. Now they called the S/Y that was there before us. Thetis was the only boat left waiting. During this waiting time I read and had my lunch. When finally the travel-lift returned I was waved and moved into the “pool.” Thetis was hauled out at 1330.

Thetis is being hauled-out

While she was slowly moved to her resting place I went to the office and got a card for opening the gate. Soon Thetis was in her place [37° 11.2' N 026° 48.1' E] and was being secured. At that time my rental car arrived.

While waiting for the boat to be secured I had several exchanges with Cynthia concerning Alice. Today, in the late afternoon, Alice was scheduled for her MRI brain scan. Most likely we will not have the results until tomorrow. I finally moved in the boat.

I had invited for dinner Panayiotis, the ex Agmar Marine electrician who now works in Evros. He came and picked me up from the yard and we drove, after picking up his wife Mary, to Xerocambos. We had a very good meal, mostly of mezedes in a small new taverna, right next to the E side of Aloni. By the time I was back in the boat it was almost 11:30.

Friday September 13, 2019

As usual I got up early, just a few minutes before 6. I looked up the e-mails, checked the weather, and read the news on my iPad.

After coffee it was time to work. I updated the Thetis “To Do” list for Moor & Dock. Then I lowered to a pallet, on the ground, the anchor and its chain to be washed. I also lowered the dinghy, and removed its straw floor covers. I took a dongle (Greek στικάκι - little stick) with the “To Do” list and took it to Antonis (the customer relations person) who read it and printed it. Back on the boat I dug in the left cabin, which I use as a store room, and dug out the bags for the sails. I collected items to be washed, and I put the genset on the deck to be collected by Moor & Dock.

I was getting ready to wash the dinghy when it started to rain. It was a real downpour and it lasted for almost 6 hours.

I had invited Irene, the customer relations lady and her husband Michalis for dinner. We met at about 8:00 PM at the Gourna taverna where we had a very nice time with plenty of mezedes (tasty treats usually appetizers) and a grilled τσιπούρα (tsipoura- Gilthead seabream). I got back on the boat at about 11:30.

I had an e-mail from Corinna: bad news. Alice’s condition is worse than we thought. I spoke with her on FaceTime. I also had another e-mail from Cynthia. She will be coming to Washington, D.C. for a few weeks to be with her mother and me, so that we can relieve Corinna who has work back in WY and need to take care of her children.

Saturday September 14, 2019

I slept later than usual getting up at 6:40. First thing I did was to remove the tent because it was flapping and I was afraid that it may get damaged. After that, I had my usual coffee and checked my e-mails.

Later in the morning I drove to Lakki and visited the Limenarchio. It turned out that I did not need to do anything until May 28, 2020 when my present stamp expires. Then I will need a new stamp from them. After this, I went to the National Bank of Greece ATM and withdrew some cash. I also bought some fresh bread and fruits.

I returned back to Thetis. While I was gone some people from the yard took for washing, service, and storage: the sails, tent, spray hood, genset, outboard, bimini, and the passarella.

After a light lunch I washed down the deck and the dinghy. Then I covered the dinghy.

I had an ouzo in the evening and since there was plenty of food in the refrigerator I made for dinner a large omelet with Parmezan cheese. After dinner I worked for a while on the computer and then at about 10:30 went to my berth.

Sunday September 15, 2019

After coffee etc. I concentrated on the fuel. First, I topped the main tank from one of the jerry-cans. It took about ¼ of the can so now I had one full can plus a ¾ full one. I then took the 2 empty cans from the left sail locker and transfered to one of them ¾. Then I put the now empty can back in the sail locker. After that I washed the other 2 empty ones and after they dried stowed them on the left cabin together with the partially full one. I then washed their straps and hung them to dry. I then collected the water hoses and stowed them in the right sail locker.

I removed all of the lines from the mast that run through the spin-locks, washed them and hung them by the mast hooks. I also washed all the docking lines and the ones with the metal springs and put them on the deck to dry.

The day was windy and hot. Not having the tent made sitting with the strong sunlight on the cockpit and the deck rather uncomfortable. Today’s forecasts called for less strong winds so my chances of flying to Athens are pretty good.

In the afternoon I sprayed with a special lubricant, not oil, all the rollers, spin-locks, reefing pulleys, etc. I completely covered the roller reefing mechanism and secured the canvas cover with elastic cords. I did the same with the mast reefing lines. I then raised the chain and the anchor and stowed them in the bow chain locker.

While trying to close the small right hatch next to the bathroom its cover came off. I asked Mastro Michalis to have it repaired before there is another rain.

In the evening I had my ouzo and then drove the rented car to a fuel station in Kamara and topped its tank. On my way back I stopped for dinner at the Archontiko taverna across from the airport. The proprietor, Mr. Vasilis, served me a steak with an onion and wine sauce along with freshly fried potatoes.

Back in Thetis I killed some time working on the computer. By 10:30 I was in my cabin falling asleep.

Monday September 16, 2019

This was my last day with dear Thetis. There were a lot of things to do before going to the airport. After I removed my duffle bag from the left cabin I lowered it with the mast winch to the ground and put it in the car. Now that the last line from the mast was not needed anymore I completely covered the boom neck and all ropes with a piece of old canvas and secured it with elastic cords. I stowed the dried lines from yesterday in the right sail locker.

I packed my carry-on bags and took a bag of left over vegetables to Antonis to be shared with the “boys.” Mastro Michalis told me that the hatch cover will soon be ready and will be installed. I went over with Antonis the details of my “To Do” list and how to handle the batteries. Back on the boat I collected my laundry and took it to the office.

I had a light lunch and a coffee. After that I took all the left over cheeses, bread, jars etc. to the office for the “girls”. Back on Thetis I turned off the Camping Gaz and cleaned the refrigerator.

Finally I drove to the airport, returned the car, and checked-in for my 14:10 flight to Athens. While waiting in the airport I realized that I had forgotten to turn off several switches in the distribution panel. So I called the yard and asked to please attend to this.

This is the end of the 2019 cruises.

2019 Vital Statistics
Total Distance 223.5 M
Time at Sea 22 days
Total Time Underway 47.05 hr
Total Solo Time 13 days
Total Engine Time 49 hr
Total Fuel Consumed 140 L
Total Water Consumed 110 L