Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2002: Kalymnos to Leros

This web page contains the logs of the fourth leg of a 53 day sailing trip that I took, together with Alice Riginos, with S/Y Thetis from Emborios in Kalymnos to Partheni in Leros. The logs cover a period of 7 days. Places visited are: the islands of Leros (Lakki, Partheni), Archangelos, Lipsi (Katsadia, Hochlakoúras), Patmos, and Marathi.

The logs are illustrated with maps and also include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites. The usual photographs are missing because my digital camera broke down.

Route from Kalymnos
Route from Kalymnos

Saturday September 14, 2002 Day 24

We let go of the mooring at 0800 and motored out of Emborios heading for Lakki, Leros. There was absolutely no wind. After 9.1 M we arrived at 0940. We docked in the Agmar Marina. The reason we stopped in Lakki was because we wanted to take fuel. Nikos, the attendant, called for the delivery truck and we took 55 L. We also gave 3 bags of dirty clothes to a laundry establishment which promised to have it ready by Monday evening. After some shopping for provisions we ate lunch at the marina restaurant and were ready to leave.

We departed Lakki at 1445. Outside the deep bay there was a good wind of 15-22 knots from the SSW. We opened the genoa and sailed for 8.2 M to the little island of Archangelos [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] which is just north of Partheni. We dropped the anchor in 11.5 m over sand and let out 55 m of chain.

In the evening we just had a light snack since we already had a substantial lunch. We were entertained for several hours by a display of lightning and thunder from the north. Later we learned from our daughter Corinna that more than 10 cm of rain fell in Samos, and that a retaining wall in our Kalami property collapsed. Here in Archangelos it was windy but our anchor held firmly.

Sunday September 15, 2002 Day 25

Today was cloudy. We went ashore and took an hour walk on the small island. Alice was feeling much better and we thought that the medication was working. The zodiac was still leaking, the glue from Kalymnos was not very effective. This is a very pleasant anchorage and we did have it all to ourselves. We felt no need to move. In Lakki I had bought a pork roast which today I cooked with fresh tomatoes and garlic.

All was peaceful and pleasant until our daughter called us from Samos and told us that our old friend Leandros Metaxas died. He was sick and we were not surprised but nevertheless this news put a heavy cast over us. On the other hand I called Stavros Theocharides, who had sailed his small S/Y Theo’s Place II across the Atlantic, and he was fine. I was a little concerned because I had not heard from him this year.

In the evening we were hit by a most violent thunderstorm. There were extremely high winds from all directions and lightning and thunder all around us. The noise was deafening. The barometer had dropped from 1012 to 1005 mB within just a couple of hours. Thetis was tossed here and there. We were poised to start the motor but the anchor held. It was very scary. We had a great dinner and played backgammon (τάβλι) while the storm still raged but with nothing like its earlier ferocity.

Monday September 16, 2002 Day 26

With the GSM phone we made a reservation for Alice to fly from Leros to Athens with Olympic Airways, but it was only valid for a few days because they did not accept credit cards over the telephone. We had to pick the ticket up at the Olympic office. Since we also had to pick up the laundry this afternoon we hoped to combine both errands. However, any time I tried calling Olympic in Leros there was no answer. Finally I called and inquired at Agmar. Yes, I did have the correct number but the Olympic office opens after 11:30 because the single employee is occupied with the arrival and departure of the Athens flight in the airport. Indeed when I called around 12 the phone was answered. The Olympic employee informed me that she is at the office daily (except Saturdays, Sundays, and various other holidays) from 11:30 to 15:30. There was no way that we could be there and combine both errands because the laundry would not open until the evening.

We raised the anchor at 1300 and motored 0.9 M to Partheni, Leros. We anchored in 7 m depth at 1325. It was very calm. The wind had backed from SE to N but it was weak. After an hour we called for a taxi and went ashore with the dinghy. The driver, a rather young man, drove us like a fiend to Platanos while listening to a series of scatological jokes on his radio. We were glad to escape him. We walked to the Olympic office and bought Alice’s ticket, then looked for another taxi. The new driver was an elderly man and he sedately drove us back to our waiting dinghy. We arranged with him to pick us up again later, at 6 PM, and drive us to Lakki for our second errand.

The taxi came on time and we went to Lakki. We did some shopping, sat at a café and had an ouzo, and picked up the clean clothes at the laundry. Then we took another taxi back to Partheni. By the time we got back onboard Thetis it was dark. We ate dinner, left over pork roast with rice, listened to some music, played tavli (backgammon), and went to bed early.

Tuesday September 17, 2002 Day 27

We left Partheni at 0835 for Lipsi. The wind was 8-12 knots NE, not good enough for sailing unless we were willing to put up with a lot of slow tacking. So, we motored for 6.4 M to Katsadia [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E] where we arrived at 0955. We had the whole anchorage to ourselves since there were no other boats there. We anchored in 5 m over sand. This is one of our favorite places. It is lovely. On the way, we ran the watermaker and replenished our water supply.

Later, 6 other sailboats came but the anchorage was still quiet. We spent a peaceful afternoon. If only Alice would feel better and be her old self again.

In the late afternoon, just as we were getting ready to go ashore and walk to the town, all sense of peace and quietness was shattered. A speed boat, with large loud speakers blasting, and towing a skateboarder zoomed into the cove. It circled the anchored yachts, which by now were 10 in number, creating havoc with its wake and endangering many people who were swimming near their boats. This was a clear violation of Greek law which states that a boat going over 8 knots should stay 100 m clear from other boats and swimmers. The law provides that the operator of such a boat looses his license and the owner faces a very stiff fine. I called to the speed boat, waving it away, but to no avail. In its 3rd pass through our anchorage I yelled at them that I will inform the Limenarchio (Coast Guard). The answer, from the skateboarder, was an obscene gesture.

After we landed ashore, we walked the 40 minutes to town. The first thing we did was to go to the Coast Guard station and make a complaint against the speedboat. I was extremely annoyed with them. Unfortunately the speedboat had left and was not in Lipsi harbor and, the officer said, that there was nothing he could do. We had an ouzo along with excellent grilled octopus. Here in Lipsi they make the best of grilled octopus. While sipping our ouzo and enjoying the octopus we were treated to a spectacular sunset with the clouds illuminated red and gold, while the moon peaked between patches of the azure blue sky. By the time we walked back to Thetis it was past 9 PM and it was dark. The night was fairly windy.

Wednesday September 18, 2002 Day 28

We departed from Lipsi at 0930 heading for Patmos. The wind was 10-18 knots NW and it allowed us to sail all the way up to the entrance of Skala [37° 19.7' N 26° 32.7' E] the harbor of Patmos. We arrived at 1155 after 13.1 M. We did not dock but anchored off in 7.5 m depth over mud.

We went ashore and bought fresh bread and fruits. After this expedition we had lunch and rested aboard Thetis. It was windy and cold, just 24°C (75°F) 35% relative humidity and 1011 mB. In the afternoon we did some more errands. We exchanged an empty Camping Gaz canister for a full one (these cannot be found in Leros because of some obscure bureaucratic reasons) and refilled the small jerry can with gasoline for the outboard.

In the evening while getting ready to go ashore for dinner—we had made a reservation at the famous Benetos restaurant—what do we see docking at the gas station? Our “friend” the speedboat that had harassed us yesterday in Katsadia. We rushed ashore and walked straight to the Limenarchio (Coast Guard) where we lodged a complaint. They wanted it in writing. This took some time. By the time we wrote it and it was duly stamped and archived, the speedboat, according to the officer, was gone. There was nothing they said that they could do but the complaint should be filed in Lipsi. The officer there yesterday had said no such thing. They tried to fax our statement to Lipsi but the Lipsi fax machine was not responding. So, I am to mail it. I am not sure what good it will do. Judging by the keen interest shown by the officers one cannot but wonder whether the owner of the speed boat is not their friend.

After this frustrating interlude we took a taxi to Benetos, which is a few km SE of the town. We had a very nice meal. Much more elegant and sophisticated then the meals we have been having recently.

Thursday September 19, 2002 Day 29

I received a message from my friend Dimitris Gekas, a fellow Athens College alumnus, who had sailed with me last year. He will be in Greece from October 2 to 17 and would like to come to Thetis for a few days. This will be great. While still anchored, and while listening to the morning news on the radio we saw a rusty tanker bearing down on us. Next thing there was a white uniformed official in a row boat whistling at us. It turned out that we are anchored right on the spot where the tanker wants to drop her anchor. We made a very hasty departure.

We left Skala, Patmos at 0825. There was a nice 18-22 knot NW wind and we opened the genoa and sailed the 9.6 M to our destination Marathi [37° 22' N 26° 43.6' E]. We arrived at 1025 and tied to a mooring belonging to Pandelis restaurant.

It was very nice here. We swam but it was too cold under the tent and too hot in the sun, so we had lunch inside the cabin. In the late afternoon we went ashore and took a walk on the hills. Dinner was at Pandelis. This is a most pleasant restaurant and its food is very respectable. It turns out that Mr. Pandelis was born and raised in the village of Spatharei in Samos. He emigrated to Australia as a young man and lived there for several years. Then he and his family moved to Worcester, Massachusetts. His daughter, who was serving our table, has a biology degree for the University of Massachusetts and is married in Athens but spends her summers here in Marathi helping her parents. Nice people.

Friday September 20, 2002 Day 30

This is Alice’s last day with Thetis. We have to get back to Leros for her to catch her plane for Athens tomorrow morning. She will then go on back to Washington D.C. We cast off at 0915. The wind was anywhere from 12 to 27 knots mostly coming from NNW. We raised the mainsail and opened the genoa and had a very nice downwind sail to south Lipsi. We tried the cove just E of Katsadia [37° 16.9' N 26° 46.6' E] and we actually drooped the anchor at 1055 in 3.5 m depth over weed and rocks but the cove was very shallow and we did not like it very much. Up came the anchor and we motored back E to another cove that looked appealing as we were coming. We anchored there at 1120 in 4 m depth over sand, we had come 9.75 M from Marathi.

This cove [37° 17' N 26° 47' E] is called Hochlakoúras (Χοχλακούρας) and is very attractive with crystal clear water. It was deserted except for a couple of bathers some distance away. We put up the tent and had lunch and swam.

At 1630 we departed Lipsi heading for Partheni, Leros. Nice 10-20 knot NNW wind on the way, and once again we raised the main and opened all of the genoa. It was a fast 6.7 M run, and we sailed almost to where we were to drop the anchor. We arrived in Partheni [37° 11.6' N 26° 48.4' E] at 1810. We anchored in 4.5 m depth over mud. The holding here is excellent. Now we are in place for Alice’s departure and we can relax.

We had our last ouzo together on Thetis and then she started packing. For dinner we made pasta ala puttanesca.