Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2003: Fourni to Samos & Leros

This web page contains the logs of the fifth and final leg of a 37 day sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the Greek East Aegean. During this leg I was accompanied by my wife, Alice Riginos. The leg covers a period of 6 days of sailing from the island Fourni (Kambi, Agridio) to Leros (Partheni) via the islands of Samos (Tsopela, Klima), Arki (Glipapas), and Lipsi (Katsadia).

The logs are illustrated with photographs and maps and also include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites.

Route to Leros

Saturday July 5, 2003 Day 32

Local transport in Kambi
Local transport in Kambi

We were running kind of low in provisions so we departed Petrokopio at 0745 and motored 1.4 M north to Kambi [37° 34.2' N 26° 28.6' E] where we moored (after getting tangled on one of the moorings) at 0820. In the past there were three permanent moorings here but now there were only two and these had been tangled together, one of the buoys totally submerged. This made it difficult. But after tying down, I swam with mask and snorkel and I untangled them.

We went ashore and walked to the town of Fourni, a 40-minute walk up and down the steep hill. We got bread, fruits, fresh local cheese, etc. The day was already very hot and we took a taxi back. As soon as we returned to our boat we jumped into the sea to cool off. We then went ashore again and had an indifferent lunch at the Sklavos taverna, the people who had provided the moorings. At least it was pleasant and cool under the tamarisk trees on the beech. We had a pleasant if hot afternoon, mostly swimming.

At 1740 we cast off the mooring and went 2.9 M south past Petrokopio to the cove [37° 32.2'N 26° 30' E] just SW of Agridio where we arrived at 1820. We anchored without any problems. We had the cove all to ourselves. At night there was some light wind but a very strong and uncomfortable swell.

Sunday July 6, 2003 Day 33

This was another long day. The north wind came this morning with a vengeance. There were violent gusts to 26 knots. We dragged our anchor while we were inside the cabin listening to the AM radio marine forecast. The forecast promised winds of force 5-6 from the NW for the Samos sea. In the mean time, and before we realized that we were dragging, we had drifted almost to the other side of the cove, uncomfortably near the rocks. We sort of left in a hurry at 0720 and we just motored 1 M to Agridio or Agridió [37° 31.9' N 26° 30.3' E]. We anchored there at 0740. It took two attempts for the anchor to hold. This gave us a brake to raise the outboard from the dinghy, siphon fuel from two jerry cans into the main tank, and uncover the mainsail. We raised the main while still anchored.

We departed Agridió, Fourni at 0845 heading for the SW side of Samos. The wind was anywhere from 7 knots to 45, mostly from the NW, but most of the time it was around 35 knots. We had a fast sail with the main in its first reef and the headsail unrolled to about 30% or less. During a period when the wind was over 40 knots I had to hand steer because Yiakoumis, the autopilot was overwhelmed. During this passage we met two large dolphins with a baby one. They stayed with us for several minutes frolicking with our bow wave.

We arrived at 1215 in Tsópela, a cove [37° 38.4' N 26° 49.9' E] in Samos just NE of the small island of Samiopoula. We anchored and I put up the tent. Here we swam and had lunch. I was, however, not too happy with the anchoring arrangement since the wind was gusting a lot.

Tsopela in Samos
Tsopela in Samos

We departed from the cove at 1415 heading for Klima. We motored with the tent since by then the wind had veered E. At first it was around 30 knots creating a very nasty chop. We took down the tent and continued motoring making very slow progress toward our destination. By the time we reached the Mycale Channel the wind was a sustained 38 knots with gusts into the upper 40s. We arrived in Klima [37° 42.6' N 27° 02.6' E] at 1700. We had come 29.5 M from Fourni. It was calm here but gusty, well into the upper 20s. We had difficulties anchoring. In our third attempt the anchor held but after I snorkeled over and I inspected it I was not satisfied that it would hold. We deployed the second anchor also. Now at least I felt that Thetis was secure.

Our plan was to spend tomorrow here with the boat and prepare her to be left for a week, most likely in the harbor of Pythagorio. Later in the evening we went ashore to the taverna Kaduna, highly recommended by the Alpha guide. We had several appetizers and their specialty astakomakaronada (spaghetti with lobster) for 61 €. We felt that the taverna was overrated. The night was windy but after midnight the wind quieted down.

Monday July 7, 2003 Day 34

Both the Navtex and the AM radio broadcast issued gale warnings forecasting “winds of force 7 locally 8” for Samos sea which are exactly the conditions we experienced yesterday! The conditions here and now are calm sea and a very low wind of about 5 knots from the ENE.

We spent a quiet day but full of boat keeping tasks. By the afternoon I started thinking that I may leave the boat here and avoid the hustle of mooring in Pythagorio. I checked the anchors; they were both very well buried into the sand. The advantages of leaving the boat here are: less work—no need to raise both anchors and the dinghy, avoid the maneuvers in the round harbor of Pythagorio, less chance of dragging because of another boat dislodging our anchor (something that happens very often in Pythagorio). The disadvantages are: here Thetis could possibly be less secure from winds and waves especially if we get southerlies, and no electricity and water which we had been consuming in the last two days.

July 8 - 14, 2003

Finally we left Thetis in Klima after making arrangements with the owner of Kaduna to keep an eye on her while Alice and I moved to our house in Kalami and to call us should anything appear amiss. During this period I checked several times on Thetis. There were no problems. During these visits I cleaned the deck and the inside cabins.

Tuesday July 15, 2003 Day 35

Alice and I came early in the morning to Thetis from our house in Kalami. Our plan was to sail her to Partheni in Leros and have Agmar haul her out and keep her on the dry for the next few weeks while we will be staying in Kalami.

The forecast for today called for N winds of 4-5 on the Beaufort Scale. We raised both anchors and departed Klima at 0950. Our immediate destination was the small island of Arki. The wind was variable 2-18 knots mostly from the N. We started the water-maker and motor-sailed with 40% of the headsail but kept up the tent because it was hot. After the water tanks were filled, we turned off the engine and sailed for a while.

After a distance of 26 M we arrived in Glipapas [37° 22.4' N 26° 44.4' E], Arki at 1425. We anchored over our usual patch of sand in 3.8 m depth without any problems. It was very gusty with the wind varying from 9 to 21 knots and occasionally even reaching 35.

In the evening Alice made for dinner pasta alla puttanesca. It was a pleasant but rather windy night.

Wednesday July 16, 2003 Day 36

We departed from Arki at 1000. The wind was 10-35 knots from the NNW with gusts reaching into the 40s. We sailed with the mainsail still set in its first reef along the E side of Lipsi. We arrived to our destination Katsadia [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E] at 1200 after 8.7 M. We anchored without any difficulties.

Katsadia in Lipsi
Katsadia in Lipsi

Despite the strong wind we put up the tent because it was hot. In the afternoon I ran the water-maker and after topping the tank I filled the water-maker with biocide solution in anticipation of its inactivity for the next few weeks. I also spoke with Agmar on the GSM phone. They will be expecting us for the haul-out at 0800 tomorrow.

In the evening we went ashore and walked to the town where we, once again, had a great meal at the harbor of assorted mezedes (appetizers) and lots of their particularly good grilled sun-dried octopus. The night was nice but windy.

Eating Octopus in Lipsi
Eating Octopus in Lipsi

Thursday July 17, 2003 Day 37

We departed at 0720 for Partheni, Leros just 7.2 M to the south where we arrived at 0820. We anchored temporarily and waited for the travel-lift. By 1000 Thetis was on her stand and on land.

We hosed down the deck and all the running lines with fresh water. A fuel truck delivered fuel to the travel-lift and we took advantage of its presence and also we too filled our tank and jerry cans with 90 L of Diesel fuel for 70 €.

By 1400 we had had a hot shower and fresh clothes and we were on a taxi to Ayia Marina where we boarded the 1530 hydrofoil for our return to Samos.

July 18 - August 19

While Thetis was waiting in the Agmar (renamed Moor & Dock), Alice and I enjoyed our stay in our Kalami property in Samos.

During this time we had an unexpected two day visit from Stavros Theoharides who sailed into the Vathy harbor with his 33' S/Y Theo’s Place II. Stavros has singlehandled Theo’s Place II across the Atlantic and he still singlehandles now in his seventies. He is an inspiration to all sailors. We spent a wonderful evening together in Kalami eating freshly baked food from our wood oven, drinking wine from our own vineyard, and listening to Stavros’ repertoire of romantic Greek and English songs to his own accompaniment on his accordion.