Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2004: Chios to Kos via Aegean Turkey

This web page contains the logs of the second leg of a 31 day sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the Greek and Turkish Aegean. The leg covers a period of 16 days of singlehanded sailing from the island of Chios to the island of Kos via Çesme, Salagonas, Agriler Liman, Kirdilim Liman, Gökkavar Liman, Demircil Liman, Sigacik, Pythagorio, Altinkum, Gümüslük, Aspat Koyü, Mersinçik, Buyuk Cati, Bekar Liman, the region of Orak Island, and Bodrum.

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

Route from Chios

Tuesday August 3, 2004 Day 15

Manos packed his belongings while I prepared Thetis for departure. At 0920 Manos helped me with the lines and I departed Chios for Çesme. There was a nice 15-22 knot northerly breeze. I raised the main, but did not bother to remove the reef, and opened the full genoa. It was a most pleasant sail for the 8.8 M to the harbor of Çesme [38° 19.3' N, 26° 18.1' E] where we arrived at 1110.

Orhan, Turgut’s 18 year old son, and Turgut’s driver Mustafa were waiting for me. So was Mr. Taner Gümüs of Bavaria Yachts and two of his attendants. Despite the strong cross-breeze Thetis was moored stern-to, using one of Bavaria’s moorings, in no time. We were in Turkey!

Taner’s assistant took care of all the paperwork and in less then an hour he had returned with a new transit log for Thetis and my Greek passport properly stamped. Under no circumstances would Taner Bey let me pay any of these expenses. He said that he is a reader of this website and my Yachting World articles and that he considers me his personal guest. Hospitality in Turkey is nothing but lavish.

The Bavaria Yachts Quay in Çesme
The Bavaria Yachts Quay in Çesme

I soon had connected the battery charger to the shore AC power and put up the tent. I then had a light lunch together with Orhan in the cockpit. Later we went ashore and had a dandourma, Turkey’s wonderful ice cream, and then back on board for a session of tavli (backgammon). I was soundly defeated. Orhan, whom I have known since he was a pre-teen has now become a very serious young man. He has recently scored very high on the university entrance examinations and was anxiously awaiting admittance to the university of his choice in Istanbul.

In the evening Turgut came and Orhan and Mustafa left. Turgut, Taner Bey, and I got into Turgut’s car and he drove us to a very pleasant garden restaurant near the town of Alacati, a few km away from Çesme. After a sumptuous dinner we went to Alacati. It is a Greek village now meticulously restored into an upscale fashionable resort. We sat in a café and had tea and coffee. Time went very fast in conversation with this very convivial company. By the time I has deposited back in Thetis it was well past midnight.

The Old Town in Çesme
The Old Town in Çesme

Wednesday August 4, 2004 Day 16

Turgut in the Hot Spring

Turgut came around 8:30 and we drove to his mother’s apartment for breakfast. It was nice to meet again this peppy woman and Turgut’s younger brother. We then drove to the Golden Dolphin marina where Turgut keeps his boat the S/Y New Life. We boarded and cast off. We sailed New Life to a cove about 5 M away where we stopped for a swim and a cool drink at the shore-side bar next to a hot spring. We then sailed for another 6-7 M to Ildir where we anchored off shore. There we were met by Turgut’s friend Mustafa Bukey and his charming German wife Bigi, who arrived with their new small cruiser. We all went ashore and had a great leisurely lunch with lots of fresh fish in one of the restaurants.

Lunch in Ildir
Lunch in Ildir
The Ayker House in Izmir
The Ayker House in Izmir

After lunch, we raised the anchor and sailed New Life back to the Golden Dolphin marina. After securing the boat, Turgut drove me back to Thetis where I had a shower, changed clothes, and packed an overnight bag. He then drove me to his new house, a few km outside Izmir. It is a large and lovely house with separate apartments for their children, Orhan and Dilek, and a nice guest room. Arzu, Turgut’s wife, had set a terrific table by the swimming pool. We were joined by Dilek, Orhan having gone out with his friends. My, has Dilek grown since last year! She has changed from a delightful young girl to a very pretty and thoughtful young woman. After this nice long meal and long exchange of mutual family news we retired for the evening.

Thursday August 5, 2004

Arzu in the Izmir Museum
Arzu in the Izmir Museum

Today is my youngest daughter, Corinna’s, birthday. I sent her an e-mail via the GSM phone but I am not sure if she will get it in time before she leaves Kenya where she has been working on a research project. In the morning, Arzu drove me to the Izmir Archaeological Museum. They have mostly Hellenistic and Roman statues and statuettes, a few pieces of classical pottery, and some early Christian dedication inscriptions and tombstones. After our visit to the museum we were joined by Dilek and drove to an old pier that has been restored and converted to an upscale shopping gallery full of boutiques, bookstores, and restaurants. We sat for lunch in an Italian restaurant, very pleasant. After lunch we drove to the old Izmir market and wandered around its narrow and labyrinthine alleys. We got lost for a while. It was very interesting but it was also rather hot and humid.

Izmir Harbor
Izmir Harbor
Izmir Market
The Marvelous Izmir Market

By the time we made it back to the house we were ready for a cup of coffee and cool water. I rested in the shade by their pool. Turgut came from his office and he, Arzu, and I went to a simple near-by chicken restaurant for supper. There we discussed the plans for the next few days. The plan for tomorrow is to drive early to Çesme where the Aykers will prepare New Life for a two week sailing trip to the Greek Aegean. Then, they will sail her to Chios and get cleared into Greece. In the meantime, I will sail Thetis to Avloniá and if it is calm, wait for them there; otherwise I will proceed to Salagonas where we will visit the Olympi Cave and spend the night. On Saturday New Life will sail to Myconos and Thetis will start her slow return to Samos along the Turkish coast.

Friday August 6, 2004 Day 17

The Çesme Castle
he Çesme Castle

The Aykers packed their mini-van and we all drove to Çesme together with Mustafa who was to bring the van back to Izmir. They left me at the harbor. I went shopping for a few provisions while they drove off to the Golden Dolphin Marina to prepare New Life. Taner Bey of Bavaria Yachts would not even hear about me paying any harbor fees. The only payment he would accept was a bottle of sweet Samian Moschato wine and a CD with my harbor notes. Even so, he reciprocated with a bottle of Turkish white wine.

Thetis departed Çesme at 1040. There was no wind and the sea was flat. I motored, keeping the tent up. When we were near Cape Masticho there came a SW breeze of 5-12 knots but I kept on motoring. At Avloniá there was an appreciable swell and a motor cruiser already anchored. I anchored there but it was not very comfortable and within minutes I left for Salagonas, advising Turgut via an SMS message. He replied that they were at the custom house in Chios waiting for the slow officialdom to clear them. The breeze stiffened to 12-14 knots and I opened some headsail. Thetis arrived in Salagonas at 1550. The distance traveled was 26.4 M. There was only a Belgian sailboat in the cove and I anchored in 6 m depth over sand and let out 40 m of chain, allowing plenty of room for the boat to swing since I was expecting variable winds. There was some swell but not too uncomfortable.

I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was nicely set. Then, while I was still cool from the swim, I cleaned the deck. It was very dirty after all these days in the harbor. I also cleaned the hull and scraped off some barnacles from her bottom.

New Life did not arrive until 7 PM. They were all, however, keen on visiting the cave although it closes at 7:30. We rushed to the dinghies and landed in nearby Ayia Dynamis. Then we walked briskly up the steep road. At 7:30 we were still walking. Orhan wisely gave up and turned back. The rest of us went on. By the time we arrived in Olympi Cave it was 7:45 and it was deserted and shut. Too bad! We returned at a leisurely pace, watching a glorious sunset over the by then very calm sea.

Back on our boats we had an ouzo with various mezedes in Thetis’ cockpit and then rigatoni with tuna and tomato sauce along with a nice Turkish white wine in New Life’s cockpit. We were all very tired and retired early. Around midnight a charter boat with the family of Aykers’ friends arrived. They will be sailing to Myconos together early in the morning.

Saturday August 7, 2004 Day 18

For me this was a very lazy day. New Life and their friends left around 8 AM but I was not feeling very ambitious, I suppose that I was tired from all the socializing. I stayed here in Salagonas. There was no sailing wind anyways. I swam and read under the tent.

In the late evening I went ashore for a walk. More swimming after I returned, then a hot shower, and ouzo. For dinner I made rice with fresh tomato and wine sauce. Later I watched the stars. It felt good to be alone again.

Sunday August 8, 2004 Day 19

I started preparations to depart for Kirdilim Liman, a nice cove SE of Çesme. I raised the anchor at 0840. Outside Salagonas the wind was anywhere from 0 to 8 knots from various directions. Nevertheless I raised the mainsail and removed the reefs. I motor-sailed for a while and I connected the iBook computer with the GPRS and checked my e-mail and the weather. The forecasts from the Navtex, Poseidon, and the Wetter called for NW winds of force 4-5 for the Central Aegean and the same for tomorrow. In the meantime the barometer in Thetis had been falling. Yesterday it was 1011 and today it is down to 1008 mB. Along the way I exchanged some SMS with Turgut. They are now in the Ornos Cove on the S of Myconos and it is very windy there despite the weather reports to the contrary. At 1030, after rounding Cape Masticho, there was a 7-12 knot N breeze and I was able at last to turn off the engine and open 75% of the head sail. On the way, I entered Agriler Liman [38° 12.7' N, 26° 22.4' E], which according to Turgut, is the windsurfing capital of Turkey. It did look rather crowded, being Sunday, and I did not stop. I needed some solitude. The wind in the bay was 15-23 knots from the N and there were indeed many windsurfers. I continued sailing. There were some strong gusts and many lulls. I also checked some more of Turgut’s suggestions, Sarpede and Nerkis. We arrived at Sarpede [38° 10.1' N, 26° 30.6' E] at 1450. I did not like it. There were ugly concrete blocks on the W cove and while the E cove was more attractive, it is dominated by large high tension power lines which spoil its natural beauty. Nearby Nerkis [38° 10.1' N, 26° 31.1' E] is attractive and isolated, but there was a very uncomfortable swell and I did not stay there either. We left it at 1500 and continued to Kirdilim Liman [38° 08.6' N, 26° 33.9' E] where we arrived at 1610, after 43.4 M. Paradise was found at last! I anchored in 6 m depth, letting out 45 m of chain.

It was very calm here, despite the strong gusts. There were several other sailing yachts: a British, a German, and an Austrian. Later came a US, a Turkish, and an Australian S/Y with the distinct Greek name of Yioryia. I was sure I had seen that boat before.

By 6 PM there were some violent NW gusts topping 30 knots but Thetis’ anchor was holding. There was no GSM/GPRS signal here. I swam and checked the anchor. It was well dug-in. After an ouzo I cooked pasta with tuna, capers, olives, and Parmezan cheese. I went to bed early after watching the stars.

Kirdilim Liman
Kirdilim Liman

Monday August 9, 2004 Day 20

The wind was gusting and kept changing direction during the early morning hours but Thetis was fine. I got up early to listen to the radio weather broadcast. It was not very enlightening. I went ashore and took a walk. This is a wonderful place except for its vicious flies. I decided to spend the rest of the day here and not leave until tomorrow.

Later I met Cheryle Roilas from the Australian flagged schooner Yiorgia II. I have been wondering since she came yesterday where I have met this boat that looks so familiar. She has a very unusual rig. There are no booms or mainsails just two large roller-reefed jibs one from each mast. Later I also met Costas Roilas, Cheryle’s husband. They came over to Thetis to meet me. They have wintered their boat in the Agmar Shipyard (renamed Moor & Dock) in Partheni, so that is where I had seen her. Costas is Greek but has grown up in Australia. They sailed Yiorgia II, 4 years ago, from Australia to Greece via the Red Sea. Costas told me that there was earlier today an incident which I did not see. Yiorgia II dragged her anchor and drifted with the changing wind toward the German S/Y and actually made contact with her solar panel support, which was dented. The German owner went ballistic and demanded that both boats sail immediately to Kusadasi and have the damage assessed by a surveyor. Since it was just a dent, Costas offered to pay and gave the German 100 €. I advised him to photograph the damage and I offered to print the photograph and have both Costas and the German sign it. We decided to do so first thing in the morning.

In the evening I went to Yiorgia II for an ouzo. With mezedes (snacks), conversation, and nice company time flew and I did not return back to Thetis until it was almost 11 PM.

Tuesday August 10, 2004 Day 21

This evening Corinna is due to arrive in Athens and then catch a late flight to Samos.

First thing I got my digital camera and with Costas went to the German boat, the S/Y Lobos de Mer (I think this is the right name) to photograph the damage caused by Yioryia II. The whole damage turned out to be nothing more than a tiny dent to one of the stainless steel supports of her solar panel. I then met one of the most unpleasant persons I have ever met in my years of cruising. The German owner was raving mad. He would not allow us to board and take pictures and used abusive language. I could not help myself and I told him how lucky he was not to have sunk during the night after sustaining such terrible damage. He flew off his handle cursing me. He wanted to see Costas’ registration papers and his insurance policy, despite all this information being clearly written on a piece of paper that Costas had given him. Finally the cat was out of the bag. He demanded an extra 100 € to forget the whole matter. Costas had only 30 € and the German settled for that. Money it seems is at the root of all evil. He would not, however, give Costas a receipt. I think Costas made a mistake not to demand a receipt from such an avaricious person.

After saying goodbye to the Roilas, I raised Thetis’ anchor and departed Kirdlim Liman at 0910. The wind was almost gone by then, just 0-6 knots from every conceivable direction. I motored and ran the water-maker. After rounding Teke Burnu I entered Gökkavar Liman. Gone is the breathtaking fjord of a few years ago. It is now full of fish farms, high intensity lights, and large ships loading up, I presume with the fish. In other words the place has been raped and ruined. I took some pictures. At 1155 I anchored in a nice sandy cove [38° 12.5' N, 26° 39.2' E] west of Demircil Liman, and 13.1 M from Kirdilim Liman.

Gökkovar Liman

Gökkovar Liman

Cove West of Demircil

Cove West of Demircil

I put up the tent, swam, had lunch, and took a light nap. The day was very hot and I kept jumping into the water to cool off. I stayed in this cove until 1520, when I left for Sigacik. The wind was now a 6-14 knot NNW breeze. We arrived at Sigacik [38° 11.6' N, 26° 47' E] at 1635, total distance today 19.6 M. As soon as I entered the harbor an attendant indicated to me where to go and gave me a mooring line, I did not even have to provide stern lines, he provided those as well. All these, plus water and electricity cost me 15 Million TL (about 10 €).

Thetis in Sigacik
Thetis in Sigacik

This is a laid back and friendly place. I went ashore and had a nice cold beer in the shade of a waterfront establishment. I then took a little exploratory walk. Other than the expanded harbor, little has changed since our last visit some 10 years ago. A small day-trip boat came next to Thetis. Her crew of father, mother, and teenage daughter could not have been friendlier. They not only let me use their hose to wash down Thetis, but invited me aboard for a raki. The only problem here so far are the large number of flies.

After a rest and a shower, I went ashore again and after a longish walk sat in a nearby restaurant. I had a great meal: cheese burek, salad, calamari, and 2 small but very fresh barbounia (red mullets) which together with a small bottle of wine cost me 43 M TL (about 26 €). During this time I had been trying to call our house in Kalami to see if Corinna had arrived in Samos. No answer. I called Nikos in Athens, he had not heard from her, I called Alice in Washington D.C., the same. Desperately I called Yiorgos, our caretaker in Kalami. He lives right above our house, but he said he had seen no lights. As I was beginning to panic, Yiorgos called back. Now there were lights in our house. I called and spoke with Corinna. She had just arrived. Her flight from Athens was delayed for over two hours. What a relief!

Old House in Sigacik
An Old House in Sigacik

Back on board, while I was getting ready to retire, a crew ashore had erected a large screen onto which they projected a movie. Fortunately, either their large loudspeakers were not set at so high a volume or I was too tired, so I had no trouble falling asleep. My plan was to have an early start tomorrow and go to Samos.

Wednesday August 11, 2004 Day 22

Route from Sigacik
Route from Sigacik

I woke up at 4 AM, made coffee, took in the passarella, uncovered the mainsail, and readied the boat for departure. At 0500 I cast off the stern lines and pulled on the mooring line until Thetis was clear of the adjacent boats. At this hour the harbor was unusually quiet and dark. I slowly motored out of the harbor. Brought the dinghy astern, stowed the fenders, and engaged Yiakoumis, the autopilot. The wind was a light ground breeze of 8-15 knots. I raised the mainsail and opened 60% of the headsail. It was a nice and quiet sail for a while but soon the wind increased to 18 knots from the north with violent gusts, some reaching 47 knots. I reduced the head sail to 25% and we sailed very fast but the autopilot had trouble accommodating the gusts, so I hand steered for a while afraid that the autopilot might not be able to prevent an uncontrolled gibe.

After rounding Dogunbay, as I was expecting, the wind reduced to 5-11 knots N and the gusts subsided. I re-engaged Yiakoumis and we sailed very comfortably for some time. Later the wind increased again to 12-18 knots, still from the N, and I rolled in the headsail, leaving only the full main. By the time we were close to Samos the wind veered and reduced to 3-8 knots NE and I was forced to motor-sail, but after rounding Cape Praso the wind backed again to 10-18 knots NW and I was able, after opening some headsail, to turn off the engine. We had a nice sail down the Mycale Channel, which usually either has too gusty wind or no wind at all. But as soon as we were out of the S side of the channel the wind increased and backed further to WNW and I rolled in the headsail and once again fired the engine. The sea was now very choppy. We motor-sailed against the head wind to the Pythagorio marina.

Outside the marina I started lowering the mainsail. I had some trouble doing so. One of the sail tie-straps got fouled in the mainsheet pulley. It took some doing to release the tension and remove it. Inside the marina, while as always very calm, the wind was gusting to 30 knots. Fortunately the crew of a French sailboat came and helped me with the lines. Soon Thetis was moored side-to. Arrival time 1335 and distance traveled 42.8 M.

I will be staying here in Samos for 2-3 days.

August 12-13, 2004

Grape Harvest in Kalami I left Thetis in the Pythagorio marina and spent these days in Kalami. It was a very busy time because my daughter Corinna, a PhD student in ecology at the University of California, Davis, just arrived after a 7-week field trip in Kenya. On Friday, August 13, Corinna, Yiorgos, our caretaker, and I collected a bumper crop of grapes from our vineyard, pressed them, and filled the barrel for next year’s wine. This took most of the day. Also on that evening, with Corinna’s help, we moved Thetis to the newly opened marina fuel dock and re-filled her with 57 L of Diesel fuel. Then back to her berth, we changed the oil, and the oil filter. Then on to the messy process of changing the two fuel filters and bleeding the fuel lines. This job is much easier when the fuel tank is full.

Pressing of the Grapes in Kalami
Crushing of the Grapes in Kalami

Corinna was too tired from her field trip and will not be cruising with me but she will join me on Thetis in about 10 days.

Saturday August 14, 2004 Day 23

Last night the 2004 Olympic Games started in Athens so, it seems to me rather appropriate to go back to Turkey and avoid the whole madness. First thing in the morning I bought some provisions and a replacement camping gaz canister for the spent one, then I bought a new can of engine oil to replace the oil used in last night’s oil change, and I filled the gasoline canister for the outboard. I then returned my rented car to the friendly Aramis car agency in Pythagorio. An attendant drove me back to the marina. There I filled the sun-shower bag with fresh water and hosed down the deck. Now I was ready to go.

I cast off at 1120. Outside the harbor when I slowed down to remove and stow the shore lines and fenders in the sail lockers I smelled Diesel oil. After investigating I found the cause. The bleeding valves were leaking and there was a pool of fuel under the engine. I must not have tightened them enough last evening after the filter change. I tightened the valves and started the engine. No more leaks. Then, I had to clean the mess. Fortunately I had plenty of paper towels. It was very hot. I jumped into the sea to cool off and then put up the tent.

My plan was to go to Altinkum, anchor the boat, and then take a taxi to the village of Dogunnbey which used to be called Domatia. This is the village where both my paternal grandparents came from before immigrating to Samos. However, I was too hot and hungry to proceed to Altinkum directly. Instead I motored across the Mycale Channel to a small sandy cove [37° 39.8' N, 27° 00.4' E] just N of Dip Burnu where I anchored in 5.5 m over sand. It is a nice and secluded spot.

I swam and had lunch. I was still eating my fruit when I heard a siren. A Turkish army vehicle had come over the dirt road and two gun-waving soldiers were trying to attract my attention. I waved back to them. They were not friendly but were angrily shouting to me: “Go. Go away. Go.” I had no choice. I finished my fruit, stowed the cockpit table, raised the anchor and departed. The time was 1325.

Now there was a light, 5-8 knot, westerly breeze, not strong enough to sail downwind so I had to motor. We arrived in Altinkum (in older charts and pilots it is referred to as Skrophes) [37° 21.2' N, 27° 16.7' E] at 1815, a total distance from Pythagorio of 30.8 M. I anchored in 5 m depth, letting out 35 m of chain.

In Altinkum

It was too late to try for a taxi for Domatia so that expedition will have to wait for tomorrow morning. I rigged the dinghy, swam, had a shower, and an ouzo. This place has changed, not for the better, since we were last here. It is in fact quite a zoo. Ashore were two enormous masts. Originally I thought they belonged to a very large schooner but after looking with the binoculars I found that they were on land. They supported large bungee cords from which a small gondola was suspended. In the evening the contraption was operating. A victim was strapped inside the gondola, which was then released to the accompaniment of loud music and strobe lights. The gondola jumped up into the air and bounced up and down and gyrated for a few minutes, after which the dizzy victim was released and another, waiting in line, was strapped in. This was not the only source of strong lights or loud “music.” All along the shore were establishments bent on competing in garishness and which one will blanket each other’s cacophony. The combined effect was a total assault to one’s visual and auditory senses. One wonders what sort of pleasure the vacationers find in this?

In the evening, when the temperature cooled down, I went ashore and walked along the various stores. I ended up in what appeared to be a popular eatery. I tried to order a small luchmazun (a kind of pizza) as an appetizer, a salad and an Adana Kebab (a very spicy shish-kebab). The waiter brought the salad right away and shortly after that the kebab. I assumed that the luchmazun was forgotten and after some times I asked for the bill. Instead they brought the luchmazun, which while tasty I really did not want anymore. Other than the heat and the “music” it was kind of fun to watch the crowds come and go. Some were scantily dressed, almost in bathing costumes, while others were in full Muslim regalia: head cover, and for the women a very hot looking overcoat. But the noise was overwhelming. I do not think that I will be coming back here anytime soon.

Sunday August 15, 2004 Day 24

Domatia or Dugunnbey
Domatia or Dugunnbey

After coffee I checked my e-mail and the weather and then went ashore. I was looking for a taxi to take me to Dogunnbey. I found a taxi but I had some trouble explaining to the driver where I wanted to go. The name Dogunnbey did not seem to mean anything to him. I drew a map but no go. We then enlisted the help of an English speaking employee of a tourist store. He emphatically said that there is no such place. After I insisted, he called the store owner who was more willing to listen. I explain that it is a small town near Miletus and over the estuary of the Meander River (Menderes). Ah, he said Dogunnbey! I must have been mispronouncing it. He then gave a long winded explanation to the driver and off we went. Amazingly enough, after half an hour we arrived at a village clearly marked as “Dogunnbey”. It is a very modest place and I can imagine how it must have looked some 85 years ago when my grandparents were growing up there. I wandered around a bit taking photographs. The most impressive building is the mosque. The view of the estuary and the marshland was very good. After a while I got back into the taxi and we returned to Altinkum. The driver asked for 40 € which I gave to him with an extra tip since he was very patient with me.

The Meander Estuary
The Meander Estuary
Route from Altinkum
Route from Altinkum

After I returned back in Thetis I got her ready for departure. I had already received a message from Turgut. They were now in Kos and we agreed to meet tomorrow at Mersinçik, just NE of Cape Knidus. The weather forecasts for the region were fairly benign, with force 4-5 NE winds while for Ikaria and the Cyclades the wind was forecasted to be of force 6-7 and deteriorating. In the meantime the barometer in Thetis has fallen from the 1011 mB of yesterday to 1006 mB.

Dolphins S of Altinkum
Dolphins S of Altinkum

I raised the anchor at 1130. The wind was very light, 4-8 knots WSW. I put up the tent and opened 30% of the headsail and motor-sailed S. On the way we met with a school of dolphins. Later the wind increased to 10-14 knots and I opened all of the headsail and turned off the engine. Thus we sailed to my intended destination Gümüslük, where we arrived at 1515. The cove, however, was very crowded including several large motor-cruisers and many jet-skis. So, I decided not to stay but to push on for Aspat Koyü. We moved nicely under the headsail and the tent and arrived in Aspat Koyü [36° 58.4' N, 27° 18.2' E] at 1715, 22.8 M. There were several yachts there but there was plenty of room. I anchored in 7 m over sand and let out about 45 m chain.

It was fairly pleasant until the evening when the wind died and the “music” from ashore reached high levels. I stayed aboard, swam, had a shower, and the inevitable ouzo. For dinner I cooked a fresh tomato omelet and listened to music, just to blanket the cacophony emanating from the shore. There was an enormous projection TV screen showing some western, the actors being dubbed into Turkish and their voices competing with the various “musics” from the other establishments. The glare from all these completely blanketed the stars. I do not understand. There are here thousands of “vacation homes” along the shore. Presumably their owners use them for a country vacation away from the big noisy city. Yet, the city sounds and lights are brought right here. What sort of country vacation is this without the sound of the surf and the view of the stars?

Aspat Koyü
Aspat Koyü

Monday August 16, 2004 Day 25

I was rudely woken up at 5 AM by vicious bloodthirsty mosquitoes that, despite the net on my port (small window), had managed to enter into my cabin. We departed at 0850. Before leaving Aspat, I swung the boat into the N cove just to inspect it. There was a sailing/windsurfing establishment there and the inevitable large TV projection screen. Who knows? Is it better than the N cove or not? Outside the cove there was an 8-14 knot NNW breeze but it was too hot to be without the tent so I did not raise the mainsail but I put up the tent instead. I opened the full genoa and we sailed until 1040 when the breeze went under 6 knots at which time we motor-sailed. We arrived in Mersinçik [36° 45.2' N, 27° 28.45' E] at 1225 after 16.7 M.

There were two possible anchorages: a narrow cove NW and a larger bay to the S. The NW cove was occupied by a large gulet and in the bay there was a German flagged catamaran. I went to the bay, which was good because later another gulet came into the cove. I anchored in 8 m depth and let out 35 m of chain. I then took a stern line to a rock on the S shore. Thetis settled in 4 m of water. There was no sign of New Life and the GPRS signal here was too weak for communications but I manage to sent an SMS message to Turgut advising him of my location.

All 3 Boats in Mersinçik
All 3 Boats in Mersinçik

I had lunch and then I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was fine. Around 4 PM I received an SMS from Turgut. As I suspected, their departure from Kos was delayed by the “wonderful” Greek bureaucracy. According to Heikell: “For some reason Kos seems to get some of the most obnoxious port policemen in Greece.” Finally around 5:30 New Life, with the Ayker family, along with the 49' Bavaria Yachts S/Y Merlis, chartered by Turgut’s friends Ahmet and Saba Atay along with their lovely 15 year old daughter Melisa and their very active and charming 8 year old son Emre, arrived. The two boats rafted alongside Thetis.

Ahmet, who loves fishing, had caught a number of fish in Kos. He lit a fire ashore and grilled them. These we ate for supper along with the pasta prepared by Arzu, eggplants and zucchini prepared by Saba, together with Kalami wine and grapes contributed from Thetis. Later we all assembled on New Life’s spacious fore-deck and looked at the stars. I brought my iBook computer and ran the Stargazer program from which we tried to identify various constellations. Unfortunately the Big Dipper was too low over the hills to the N to be seen and even here there was an appreciable glare to the E so it was hard to distinguish many constellations. Nevertheless we all had a good time.

Tuesday August 17, 2004 Day 26

The night was uneventful and I slept very well. I woke up just before 6:30 and turned on the AM radio to listen to the marine weather forecast from Athens. No such luck. The news from the Olympic Games have usurped such trifles as marine weather. The Navtex, however, had issued a gale warning for the Central Aegean but for the Rhodos Sea it forecasted NW winds of only force 5 to 6. Because of the weak GPRS signal I was unable to get any forecasts over the internet.

It was a slow starting day as the crews of the other two boats slept late, with the exception of Turgut who came to Thetis and we had a cup of coffee together. I went rowing with the dingy and took some pictures. Around 10 we started preparing for departure. Since all 3 boats were rafted and had shore lines they had to depart in the inverse order of their arrival. Merlis went first, followed by New Life and finally by Thetis at 1045.

Outside the bay the wind was a brisk 18-28 knot NNW with occasional gusts reaching into the 40s. I raised the mainsail and opened 60% of the headsail. It was a fast downwind sail. Later I had to reduce the headsail. We spoke with New Life over the VHF. Turgut thinks that we should go to Buyuk Cati instead of Amazon Creek as we originally planned. He gave me the coordinates for the new destination. Thetis arrived in Buyuk Cati [36° 47.4' N, 28° 00.8' E] at 1600 after 28.2 M of good sailing. New Life was already there. I anchored in 4 m depth and backed up to New Life, rafting, while Orhan took a stern line from Thetis to a tree. Soon Merlis arrived also and rafted to the port side of New Life. We settled in 2.7 m depth.

The cove is totally land-locked, surrounded by pine trees, and it is very calm although the water is kind of murky. There was not even a ripple on the water despite the strong wind. It is a lovely place, almost unreal.

Later Arzu, Turgut, and I went for a long walk, reaching the ridge, and a had a view of the Gulf of Hisaronu to the S.

Dinner was served in Merlis’ cockpit: rice with artichokes from New Life, avocado salad from Merlis, potato salad, and grapes from Thetis.

Boyuk Cati
Buyuk Cati

Wednesday August 18, 2004 Day 27

S/Y New Life
S/Y New Life

The day had a slow start, even slower than yesterday’s. The GPRS signal here was good and I received my e-mail and weather reports. The wind was expected to be less strong than yesterday all over the Aegean but here in the Gulf of Gökova the wind will be the same. I went rowing with the dinghy and took several photographs. During this rowing excursion I met Oscar, the owner of a US sailboat from Florida. He is an aerospace engineer taking some time off. He crossed the Atlantic last spring. The barometer in Thetis has been rising, now it was 1014 mB up from 1005 mB of yesterday.

We departed Buyuk Cati at 1100. We were planning to go to the Seven Islands region, which is very popular with gulets. Turgut, however, knows of a cove there that is too shallow for most gulets. So the plan was for Thetis, which draws less than the other two boats in our group, to enter the cove first, explore its depth and if suitable, all 3 boats will enter. The wind outside the cove was a brisk 20-25 knots WNW, a head wind. Since Thetis’ batteries were more than 25% discharged, despite the wind generator, and the distance was short, I proceeded under power. Thetis arrived in Bekar Liman [36° 51.4' N, 28° 01.8' E] at 1300. The entrance to the cove was only 2.7 m deep but inside the cove it was deeper, about 3.5 m. I had arranged with Orhan and Dilek to go in the cove ahead of Thetis with New Life’s dinghy and take a long shore line to a tree while I anchored and backed upwind to the N shore. The maneuver was executed without any problem. Soon, both New Life and Merlis had joined Thetis. We had come 7.1 M.

I received an SMS message from Manos. He read in an Athens newspaper that the new government in Greece has decided that the Limenarchio (Coast Guard) should not demand anymore that private boats report to them their arrival and departures. Amen! Welcome Greece to the 21st century.

This cove is very nice and has very clear water and it is surrounded with pine trees. Later two other boats came into the cove, a Turkish and a French sailboat. The French, with an elderly couple, had great trouble anchoring and taking a line ashore. I went with the dinghy and helped them.

The rest of the day was spent very pleasantly. Dinner, once more, was served in Merlis’ cockpit: Saba had made a pasta with pesto sauce, Arzu a salad, and I brought a cold sliced chicken roll, wine and grapes. After dinner we all sat on New Life’s fore-deck and gazed at the stars. Melisa and Saba engaged me in a conversation about extraterrestrial life and intelligence.

Bekar Liman
Bekar Liman

Thursday August 19, 2004 Day 28

The Seven Island Region
The Seven Island Region

Early in the morning Merlis departed while New Life and Thetis spent a quiet day here in this nice cove. Turgut and I went with his dinghy to the N cove, about 1.5 M away, where there is a very basic restaurant/store. There we bought way overpriced bread, fruits, and tomatoes. We had a drink and we were told that they organize daily “donkey safaris” and at their completion issue to the participants “donkey driver’s licenses.” After leaving the supplies in the dinghy we had a fairly long walk. The view of the Seven Islands region was very good and we took several pictures.

After I returned to Thetis I received an e-mail from Corinna. She will be going from Samos to Rhodes for the weekend and then meet me in Kos on either Monday or Tuesday. Our plan here was to be in Bodrum by either Saturday night or Sunday morning, when the Aykers will leave New Life and go back to Izmir by car while I will be clearing Thetis out of Turkey.

I finished reading Maro Doukas’ book. A story set in Chania, Crete with 3 main characters obsessed with the past history of their families. One of them is a non-practicing Moslem Turk from England, the other a local US-returned aspiring film maker, and the third a police officer. They are all entangled with the murder of a Ukrainian young woman. Rather interesting but none of the characters is very engaging. I started a new book by the Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, My Name is Red. A mystery set in Istanbul of 1590.

The big news of the day was that Orhan had been accepted in one of the top universities in Turkey. Both his parents and sister were greatly relieved and very proud. Their phones had been ringing all day with congratulations from their numerous friends and relatives. Other than that, the day went very quietly, marred only by a large number of bees. Fortunately no one had yet been stung. For supper we had pasta with tuna, salad, and melon. Our plan was to depart tomorrow morning around 8 AM.

Friday August 20, 2004 Day 29

The night was uneventful. I got up around 6:30 and puttered around the boat until 0815 when we departed. Turgut untied my shore line. While I was coiling the line the inevitable happened. I was stung on my hand by a bee. Fortunately there was no wind and the sea was flat so I was able to ignore the boat long enough to remove the sting and put ammonia on my hand. Soon the pain eased and I was able to proceed with the coiling and stowing of the line. I then raised the anchor. At the beginning there was no wind and it was hot. So, I put up the tent and motored. But soon a 10-20 knot WNW breeze arose and I opened the genoa and turned off the engine. It did not last. In came the genoa and once again we moved to the sound of the motor. This did not last more than 10 minutes either. The breeze now came stronger from the NNW at 10-25 knots and once again Thetis was able to sail. The wind was far from being constant. At times we moved faster than 7 knots and at others we were hardly making 4. After 26.9 M we arrived at a cove [36° 58.8' N, 27° 34' E] in the Orak Island region. It was 1300.

New Life anchored and took two shore lines to the NW shore. I too anchored. It was fairly deep. I dropped the anchor in 18 m, rafted with New Life, and also took a line ashore. We settled in 9 m depth. The anchors of both boats did hold but I was uneasy because of the depth. Although I did let go about 55 m of chain and 10 m or rope I still felt that the scope was inadequate and that with a strong cross wind we might drag.

In the evening we put New Life’s 5 hp outboard on Thetis’ hard-bottomed dinghy and went around the headland for about 2 M to the E cove where there is a holiday village/hotel with a small supermarket. It was a fairly long uphill walk from the dock. We bought some provisions including Italian prosciutto and melon. When we returned to our boats, Arzu and I shared the cooking for dinner. She made a potato salad and I made rice with shrimps in a fresh tomato and wine sauce. As an appetizer I cut small slices of melon and wrapped with the prosciutto. Unfortunately this proved to be a rather dangerous task. No sooner did I cut the melon when Thetis’ cabin was invaded by a swarm of bees eager to eat it. I somehow managed, not very well, to wrap the melon and put it on a platter without being stung.

We had this appetizer, such as it was, with ouzo on New Life’s foredeck fearful of the bees. Fortunately it was soon dusk and the bees, to our great relief, went away. As soon as we finished the ouzo, I went back into Thetis’ cabin to finish the last stages of the rice.

I was hardly a few minutes into the cooking when I was called on deck by anxious voices. A large gulet, anchored upwind from Thetis, had dragged her anchor and was now drifting dangerously close, her passengers and crew blissfully oblivious. I ran with a fender but the gulet’s crew, finally aroused by our shouts, cast off her shore line, started her engine, and started moving forward to avoid the collision. Unfortunately by that time they were too close to Thetis and the gulet’s rudder got entangled with Thetis’ shoreline. We screamed and they stopped. I loosened Thetis’ line and the disaster of our line getting caught in their propeller was narrowly averted. It was a very close call!

By that time the wind had increased and was gusting from the ENE, reaching 40 knots. Both Thetis and New Life drifted towards the shore from 9 m depth to less than 7 m. While both of our anchors did appear to be holding we were all very uneasy. I suggested that we deploy Thetis’ second anchor upwind of both boats. Orhan and I took the anchor, with 20 m of chain, into the dinghy while Dilek on the bow of Thetis paid-out 50 m of line. Soon the potentially dangerous situation was stabilized and I went back to cooking.

Despite these misadventures and the delays, we all enjoyed our dinner. I was rather tired, however, and I retired early.

Saturday August 21, 2004 Day 30

During the night the wind died out and we had no further problems. The day was windless and hot. Fortunately we were able to cool off by frequent jumps into the water. I spoke on the GSM phone with Corinna in Rhodes. There are no ferries to Kos on Mondays, so she will be taking the morning ferry on Tuesday. I will stay tomorrow in Bodrum, our destination for tonight, and will then sail to Kos on Monday and wait for her at the marina there. The Aykers will be leaving from Bodrum tomorrow afternoon and drive back to Izmir.

At 4 PM we started preparing for our departure. I raised the second anchor with the windlass but the last 20 m of chain had to be raised by hand. I then coiled and stowed the 50 m line and the chain in the sail locker, and the anchor on its stern bracket. All this was tiring. Then, the 5 hp outboard had to be transferred from Thetis’ dinghy to New Life’s. All the stern lines now had to be untied from the shore, coiled and stowed. Finally I raised Thetis’ primary anchor.

Approaching Bodrum
Approaching Bodrum

We departed Orak at 1735. The wind was about 15-20 knots W, a head wind. I was too tired to raise the main and tack so I motored. Near Bodrum [37° 02.1' N 27° 25.5' E] I hailed the marina at VHF channels 16 and 72 but there was no response (now I know they monitor 73). I slowly motored to the marina entrance and I was met, right away, by an inflatable. After I told the attendant that I had a reservation and would be staying for two nights he directed me to a berth. The berth was very narrow but with the attendant on the inflatable and several more attendants ashore helping, Thetis was moored in no time. It was 1930 and we had come 8.9 M.

Soon, the passarella was deployed and the charger was connected to the shore AC power. New Life came and was moored not too far from Thetis. Turgut told me that we were invited for dinner by Ömer Bey, the marina director, at the Yacht Club. I had a great hot shower, with plenty of water, at the marina’s immaculate facilities and felt great. I put on respectable clothes and had a celebratory ouzo in the cockpit while waiting for the Aykers.

We walked to the Bodrum Yacht Club and met Ömer Bey who is also the club’s commodore (Turgut is the commodore of the Çesme Aegean Yacht Club). Ömer Bey is a delightful character, full of good stories. He is a retired officer of the Turkish Navy and his stories span both his Naval career and his recent experiences dealing with both the Turkish and Greek bureaucracies. He exudes his love of the sea, boats, sailing, racing, and cruising. The view from the club is great and so was the food. Time went by very quickly in this convivial setting and company.

After dinner we said goodbye to Ömer Bey, who will be going to Istanbul tomorrow, and Arzu, Turgut, and I took a long walk along the waterfront towards the castle and the old town. It was hot. Our plan was to wander in the old town for a while and then take a taxi back to the marina. While walking in the narrow hot streets of the old town I felt somewhat ill disposed, which I first attributed to the heat. By the time we reached the taxi stand I was definitely not feeling well. I felt hot, tired, and dizzy. None of the taxis would take us back to the marina because a concert had just finished and all the streets were clogged with traffic. While Turgut was talking to the taxis I broke out in very heavy sweat and felt that I was about to faint. Turgut practically carried me to a seaside café with a cool breeze. Soon, and after a cold drink, I felt much better. We killed some time and then Turgut procured a taxi that got us back to the marina following a long circuitous route to avoid the traffic.

By the time we got back to Thetis it was well past midnight. All seemed well, my ill-disposition over, except for the booming “music” from the nearby discos. I managed to sleep despite the noise.

Sunday August 22, 2004 Day 31

I woke up refreshed and feeling fine. The day promised to be hot. I put up the tent and invited Turgut on Thetis for coffee because the rest of New Life’s crew was asleep. Later I went for an exploratory walk. I found a laundry facility, within the marina compound, and took them a load of clothes which they promised to have washed by the evening.

Mustafa, Turgut’s chauffeur, arrived with Turgut’s mini van and started loading it with their belongings. I made arrangements with an agent, called by the marina office, to clear Thetis’ transit log and my passport for departure from Turkey for an 80 € fee. Ömer Bey had instructed the marina to give me a 50% discount. I also called Kos Marina and made a reservation for two days, arriving late tomorrow morning.

While I was walking back to Thetis I saw a rather familiar couple smiling at me. It took me a little time before a realized who they were. They were my German friends Monica and Dietrich with the catamaran S/Y Fromo whom I had first met in Lipsi and then in Partheni and other places. We only spoke briefly because they were about to leave Bodrum for Turgutreis. I hope to see them again.

Although the day was getting very hot, Dilek, Turgut, Arzu, and I got into their car and Turgut drove us to the new Turgutreis Marina, about 20 minutes NE of Bodrum, where there was a boat show. The plan was to see the show, have lunch, and after that the Aykers would return me to Thetis, and leave for Izmir. But that was not to be. After we arrived in Turgutreis and I got off the car, as the hot sun hit me, the sweat and dizziness of last night returned but even stronger. This was getting serious. After I recovered somewhat, my friends drove me to a private hospital.

At the Özel Bodrum Hospital they checked my heart because this was my first fear. The heart turned out to be fine but a blood analysis revealed that I was suffering from a severe anemia. The doctors suspected that I had an internal hemorrhage. To make the long story short I was admitted for further tests.

I called Corinna in Rhodes and asked her to come here since I cannot meet her in Kos and I will need to have somebody with me on the boat once I get discharged. She will be taking a ferry to Marmaris tomorrow morning and Turgut made arrangements for her to be driven to Bodrum. The whole Ayker family stood by me as solid as rocks. They changed their plan to drive to Izmir and stayed here to be with me and look after my comfort. I am very lucky to have such wonderful friends, in both good weather and bad. Ömer Bey, stopped by on his way to the airport and visited me in the hospital. He has instructed his staff to provide any assistance I or Corinna may need in the next few days.

The physicians have advised me that I will need to have a gastroscopy tomorrow morning and that I most likely will need a blood transfusion because I have lost lots of blood. I am very apprehensive of this because I am afraid of various infections such as HIV. The whole staff of the Özel Bodrum Hospital hospital had been very solicitous to my comfort and at my request had moved me to an air conditioned private room. I even managed to sleep during the night despite the serum dripping into my vein and the frequent interruptions for blood samples.

August 23-25, 2004

On Monday morning I was taken to an operating room and a gastroscopy was performed. This is a most unpleasant procedure; they force what looks like a black garden hose down your throat and into your stomach. Fortunately they did find the problem. My stomach was bleeding and a biopsy revealed that it was infected by the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori, but fortunately my stomach was not ulcerated. In the meantime, Turgut had roused his whole company that has branches all over Turkey and found 4 matching blood donors among his employees in Marmaris. He had the donors, along with Corinna, driven for over 100 km to Bodrum to donate their blood for me. The hospital immediately started intravenous medications and blood transfusions. I was very glad for Corinna’s presence and to receive blood from known sources. My gratitude to Turgut knows no bounds. He is a wonderful friend. At my insistence, the Aykers finally left for their home in Izmir.

Ömer Bey had also made arrangements before he left for Thetis and me to re-enter Turkey, with a new transit log so that when this ordeal is over we can exit properly and with Corinna duly entered into the transit log as crew.

All together I received 3 bags of blood and uncountable punctures for blood tests. The staff of Özel Bodrum Hastanesi have been very warm and friendly if not so easy to communicate with because of the language barrier. This was not the case with the very competent young lady specialist who had done her residency in the US. She was great. She meticulously and with great patience explained to me my condition and all the treatments. The other elderly doctor monitoring me regularly understands English but uses a British lady to translate his comments.

I stayed in the hospital until late Wednesday morning when I was discharged. I was given a bag of medicines, instructions, and a page describing a very strict diet regimen that I must keep for a while. The worst is that I am to have no coffee for a week. I have developed a headache from coffee withdrawal and a severe backache, most likely from a muscle spasm during the gastroscopy procedure and by being bedridden for all these days. Corinna and I walked out of the hospital into the hot sun and took a taxi to the marina. I could hardly move.

It did feel wonderful, however, to be back on Thetis. We put up the tent and sprayed it with water to cool down the boat. We visited the marina office and made arrangements for exiting Turkey, that is, clearing the second transit log and getting exit stamps on our passports. The whole process cost me 26 € for the new transit log and 170 € for the agency that handled the paperwork. I also paid the marina where Ömer Bey had graciously extended a 50% discount for Thetis.

In the evening I took a hot shower which helped my back a lot. So did a slow walk. But sitting in a restaurant for over an hour did not. I just have to tough out this back problem and not let it stop me.

Thursday August 26, 2004 Day 31

I slept very well and late. There is no place on earth where I sleep better than in my cabin in Thetis. But I was very stiff and had a hard time standing up straight. Once I started walking, though, I loosen up. Lack of coffee was a big problem.

We slowly prepared the boat for departure. We left Bodrum at 0945. The wind was light, 10-15 knots from the N. We motored for 7.2 M to the E cove of Aspat Koyü where we arrived at 1130. We briefly anchored there for a swim. Swimming was a great relief for my backache.

We departed Aspat Koyü at 1210. The wind was now stronger, 10-18 knots, still from the N. While keeping up the tent, we opened the headsail and sailed nicely the remaining 6 M to Kos Marina [36° 53.5' N, 27° 18.2' E] where we arrived at 1315. When we were about a mile away I hailed the marina on VHF channel 77. They responded immediately. At the marina entrance we were met by an attendant on an inflatable dinghy and he guided us to a berth, next to a large inflatable. The space, however, was too narrow for Thetis. So he took us to another, temporary berth, belonging to a charter company. This gave us a chance to rest before maneuvering again to a more permanent berth.

We got off the boat to go shopping. My back was killing me. After we got some provisions we had lunch in the cockpit. It was fairly hot but not as hot as yesterday in Bodrum.

Later the attendant came with his dinghy and we relocated Thetis back to her assigned berth, now freed from the large inflatable. I admired the skill of the attendant, pulling our bow, with the dinghy, against the wind while we made a sharp turn in reverse, in a very narrow space, and backed into the berth. A second attendant was already on the dock to receive our stern lines.

I truly felt now that I was in a haven away from the hospital and in Greece. While the people in Turkey were wonderful, it was still better to be back, especially when sick, among people who speak your language.

In the evening I took a long hot shower, which did wonders for my back, and then a long slow walk which also helped. Back on board Thetis, Corinna made a rice-pilaf which I ate plain, following my very restricted diet. It was wonderful compared to the hospital food.

Friday-Saturday August 27-28, 2004

We stayed in Kos Marina, resting and contemplating our next move. As I saw it, there were 3 options:

  1. If I feel strong enough in a few days, take the boat back to Samos, in a slow relaxed schedule. This, of course, was my preferred option but I will have to see the results of my next blood test which I will take on Saturday.
  2. Return to Samos by either hydrofoil or ferry and engage a professional delivery skipper to bring Thetis.
  3. Leave Thetis here in the marina, return to Samos, and come back for her later. The problem with this option was that I will have to leave the boat unattended for some time because on September 5 my wife Alice together with my oldest daughter Cynthia and grandson, Alexander, will be arriving in Samos. I wanted to spend time with them and so I will not be able to return anytime soon.

I discussed these options with Corinna and with my brother Nikos, who is one of the founders of Vernicos Yachts, a member of its board, and now the director of its subsidiary Veravia Aviation, a cargo carrier. Nikos can arrange to fly me on short notice to Athens, if needed, and can easily arrange for a delivery skipper. It will all depend on how I feel and on the blood tests. In the meantime, my back was still very painful.

Corinna and I walked to town and sent, via a courier, a copy of the medical report and the hospital bill to Alice in Washington D.C. A Veravia employee came later to the boat and picked up copies of my medical records to be flown to Athens. My younger brother Byron will give them to the cardiology professor Manolis Diamantopoulos, a childhood friend, for a review and recommendations.

Here I must state, once again, how grateful I feel to my friend Turgut Ayker for his support and for getting me in such a good hospital in Bodrum where I feel that I got excellent medical care. I am also very grateful to Turgut’s employees who so selflessly donated their blood to me. As we joked with Turgut, now I really have both Greek and Turkish blood. This is an extra good reason to love both of these countries and their long-suffering peoples.

On Saturday morning I asked at the marina desk for the name of a microbiologist who could perform the required blood test. They told me that, it being Saturday all 4 microbiologist’s offices in town would be closed until Monday. We called all of them and indeed 2 were closed and the other 2 away on vacation. My only bet, I was told, was to try the Hippocratio Hospital, named after Hippocrates the famous son of Kos. Well, if Hippocrates could only see the 21st century institution named in his honor, I am sure he would petition to Zeus to strike it off the earth with one of his thunderbolts. It is a most unattractive and dirty institutional building. There was no receptionist or anyone else in sight to receive and direct the in-coming patients, of which there were many and of several nationalities. They were sort of gathered in a bewildered cluster waiting for someone from the hospital to show up. There was a young Dutch man with a bleeding child, another young tourist with a broken leg in great pain, and a number of Greek elderly ladies. The only sign of life from the hospital was when a single attendant wheeled in an old lady who was gasping for breath and looked as if she was having a heart attack. She was taken to a room and from the open door we could see several hospital people who were leisurely smoking and drinking coffee and were engrossed in private conversation, totally ignoring the miserable mob in the corridor. I finally cornered a passing nurse and asked her what would be the prospects of getting a blood test. She told me that they only handled, if you could call what I had seen as handling, emergency cases on Saturdays and Sundays and that I would need to come back on Monday. What a far cry from the hospital in Bodrum! Frustrated, Corinna and I left, after already wasting several hours.

I decided that it would be too risky to undertake the sailing trip to Samos without the reassurance of a blood test that would confirm that all the bleeding had stopped. So, we headed to the harbor and made inquiries about boat tickets to Samos. The hydrofoil, due to the weather, had not arrived so that was out. That left a ferryboat which was due to depart Kos at 1:30 AM. However, there were no double cabins left and we would have to share a cabin with 3 strangers. I just bought us two deck tickets for 30 €. I then called my brother Nikos and asked to arrange through Vernicos Yachts for a delivery skipper. The whole Vernicos Yachts mechanism went into high gear and by 3 PM I was speaking with Geoff Thomas, a middle aged Britisher with a RYC certificate and three years of skippering for Vernicos Yachts. I showed him around Thetis and explained all her details and idiosyncrasies. It was very difficult for me to trust my beloved boat to someone else. After looking at the weather forecast we agreed that he, together with another crew member, would deliver her to Pythagorio Marina on Tuesday. I paid him in advance what he asked, 200 €, which I found most reasonable. We then went to the Limenarchio (Coast Guard) office and I signed a release so that he can legally sail Thetis from Kos to Samos.

Corinna and I prepared the boat and packed our clothes, computers, etc. We then had a surprisingly nice dinner at the marina restaurant and watched the Olympics on the large TV screen. We then called for a taxi and we were soon at the dock waiting for the arrival of the ferry. Once onboard I talked with the purser and managed, for an extra 57 €, to upgrade our ticket and we were given a 4 berth cabin of our own. We arrived very comfortably and reasonably rested in Samos at 7 AM.

Tuesday August 31, 2004

Thetis arrived in Pythagorio Marina at 1730. She was incredibly dirty and untidy with Diesel fuel spilled all over. I was very upset. Mr. Thomas and his crew of 2 felt my displeasure despite me giving him a 50 € tip because next day, after they had left, I found the cabin much more tidy and the worst of the mess cleaned. Nevertheless it took me several hours of cleaning before I could say that this was my boat. Despite that, I was very glad that she is now back in Samos and in one piece.