This is a very personal account of approximately six months, May to October 2006. During this time I sailed my boat, S/Y Thetis, in the Aegean. There are four separate trips:
- A six day trip when I singlehanded Thetis from Leros, where she was launched, to Samos, where we maintain a summer house.
- A 20 day trip together with my wife Alice to the NE Aegean from the island of Samos to the island of Lemnos and back. There are two legs of this trip: Samos to Lemnos and Lemnos to Samos.
- A 23 day singlehanded trip to the Cyclades from the island of Samos to the island of Syros and back. There are two legs of this trip: Samos to Syros, and Syros to Samos.
- A 20 day singlehanded trip from the island of Samos to the island of Leros where Thetis was hauled out for the winter. There are two legs of this trip: Samos to Lipsi, and Lipsi to Leros.
2006 would had been a good sailing year had I not lost two good sailing friends.
The first to go was my old college roommate Lewis Unger. Lewis and I have been very close friends since 1961. We had been on two memorable trips together. In 1965 we left the US with very little money for Frankfurt where we purchased for $50 an incredible vintage WWII used motorcycle with which we went to Greece after touring France, Spain, Italy, and Yugoslavia. Then in 1996 he and I sailed Thetis to Malta and Sardinia. This was my first long distance sailing venture and Lewis was a vital part of it. The loss of Lewis has left a deep void in my heart.
The second friend to go was Stavros Theoharides. I first met Stavros and his 33 foot sailboat Theo's Place II in Mitilini in 1993. Stavros had already crossed singlehanded the Atlantic with his little boat. Since then we have been meeting each other in various harbors. He has been sailing sometimes with friends and sometimes by himself into his late seventies. Last time we met was in Samos in 2003 but we have been in contact every year. He had been very encouraging while I was planning my Atlantic crossing. Stavros disappeared near Lesvos in September 8 while Theo’s Place II was found aground few days later, still with her sails up, in the southeastern shore of Lesvos. There was no sign of Stavros despite a 96 hour search by air and water. While I will miss Stavros, I envy him. I too would like to keep on sailing to my late seventies and I would much rather be lost in the sea I love rather than die slowly on a hospital bed.
Fair winds dear Lewis and Stavro. Wherever you are, rest assure that while I am sailing both of you will be sailing with me.