Travels with S/Y Thetis


Thetis only

2008: Kalymnos to Leros

This web page contains the logs of the third leg of a 25 day singlehanded sailing trip with S/Y Thetis in the Eastern Greek Aegean and in the Northern Dodechanese. This leg took 11 days and originated from Emborio, Kalymnos. The places visited are: Leros (Xerocambos, Vromolithos, Alindas, Partheni), Archangelos, Lipsi (Papandria, Platys Yialos) and Marathi. At the end of this leg Thetis was hauled out for the year at the Agmar Marine Shipyard in Partheni, Leros. The logs are illustrated with photographs and maps. They also include links to other related web sites.

Route Near Leros
Route to Leros

Friday September 26, 2008, Day 15

Satellite View of Leros New Life II departed from Emborio around 8 AM. We all had a good time together in the past few days and promised to sail again together next year, as we have been doing for the past 10 years.

I ran the genset for about ¾ of an hour to replenish the batteries. I then checked the weather. Now the forecasts have been revised. They still predict northerly winds but these are not to exceed 5 on the Beaufort Scale. I decided to follow up on my plan and sail to Xerocambos.

I cast off at 0940. The wind was light 2-5 knots NE. We motored slowly while running the water-maker. After 5.9 nM we arrived in Xerocambos, Leros [37° 06.5' N 26° 52.2' E] at 1100. There were several free mooring belonging to the Aloni restaurant and I tied Thetis to one of them. As the day was getting hot, I jumped in the water to cool off and then I put up the tent.

Near Thetis was the S/Y Gordian Knot belonging to my British friends Mike and Nikola. They keep her in the winter in Partheni and in the summer here in Xerocambos as they now have a flat here. I swam ashore and inquired about them in Aloni. Yes, they are here but away for the morning. Later they came aboard Gordian Knot. I swam over and we had a nice chat. We agreed to meet tonight for dinner. Once more, my plans for cooking aboard had to be postponed.

After a nice long walk I did meet Mike and Nikola in Aloni along with Lefteris and Evelyn, the proprietors. We had a nice get together of old friends. Lefteris’ and Evelyn’s oldest daughter has grown to spirited young lady. She has finished high school and is about to go to Athens to study design.

The night was quiet with a very light breezy.

Saturday September 27, 2008, Day 16

After my morning coffee I logged on the Internet and tried to make a reservation to fly with Olympic Airways on October 11 from Leros to Athens. I had a great amount to difficulty with their server and could not do it. After that I went ashore and walked for about ¾ of an hour to Lakki. There I tried a travel agent. No, they do not handle Olympic tickets but she did give a lot of information on ferries. I then called the OA reservation number. All their flights were booked. The best they could do was place me in the waiting lists for October 11 and 12. On the way to the super market I met Lefteris with his truck who offerer me a ride back to Xerocambos but I declined since I wanted to do some shopping first. In the Spanos super market I met Mike and Nikola who were also shopping there. I did accept their ride after we were all done. At Xerocambos they proudly showed me their small but comfortable flat.

Back aboard Thetis I checked the weather reports. All forecasts agreed on force 4-5 northerly winds. I decided to move further N and stop in either Vromolithos or Alindas, but still in Leros.

Thetis in Vromolithos We left the mooring at 1120. The wind outside the cove was 10-18 knots NNE, a head wind, so we motored. Headed towards the Pandeli area moving slowly along the easter coast of Leros. I spotted a possible anchorage [37° 07.8' N 26° 50.9' E] but there was too much swell to be comfortable. We proceeded to Vromolithos [37° 08.8' N 26° 51.7' E] where we arrived at 1230 after 4.8 nM. I anchored on a patch of sand in 5 m depth and let out 30 m of chain. I then snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was nicely set.

It was calm here but somewhat gusty with an occasional swell. Soon two other boats arrived and anchored near by: a French flagged Turkish build caïque, Tramdana, with a couple on board and a German double-ended, the S/Y Prodomos III. This is a lovely spot. The water is crystal clear. I put up the tent, had lunch, swam, had a nap, and swam some more.

In the early evening I went with the dinghy to the harbor of Pandeli. It was very crowded with fishing boats and 3-4 yachts, along side in 3 tiers. Not for me this. I took some pictures and then walked up the hill to Platanos, the capital of Leros, where I bought some fruits. It is only a 10 minute walk from Pandeli.

The Harbor of Pandeli

The Harbor of Pandeli

In the Harbor

In the Harbor

Pandeli and Platanos
Pandeli and Platanos

After returning to Thetis I had an ouzo and prepared one of my pre-cooked turkey cutlets with fresh tomato sauce and linguine. I had a pleasant dinner in the cockpit. The tranquility was broken occasionally by some swell or a strong gust of wind.

The night was quiet with a very light breeze.

Sunday September 28, 2008, Day 17

Sunrise at Vromolithos It was a gusty morning with a lot of swell, not too comfortable but not dangerous either. As if to compensate for this there was a glorious sunrise with deep, deep, reds and vermillions over the E Turkish coast. The late morning, however, was cloudy and windy and the swell kept getting worse. I decided to go.

We departed at 0905. The wind was 15-20 knots from the NNE once again, a head wind. We motored out of the Pandeli bay. Once cleared of Cape Pandeli there were significant short and confused waves causing some spray. We entered the cove of Alindas and anchored at 0945 in 6 m on the NE side of the cove [37° 10' N 26° 50.4' E] and let out 40 m of chain. Total distance 3.1 nM.

The French caïque Tramdana was already there and soon the German Prodomos III also arrived. It looks that we all just relocated a few miles to a more comfortable anchorage. I checked the forecasts: not very different from yesterday, northerlies of force 4-5 but mostly 5 with possible attenuation by tomorrow. I paid several outstanding bill via the internet. I spent the afternoon reading. Later I snorkeled and looked at the anchor, it was well dug-in.

In the late afternoon I went ashore mostly to get rid of the trash and to walk a little. I noticed that my favorite Italian restaurant Guisi et Marchelo was opening. Have to come for dinner, another postponement of the turkey cutlet consumption.

Back on Thetis I took a hot shower and had an ouzo to salute the setting sun. Later I went ashore again and had a very good dinner at the Italian restaurant. Guisi was her usual friendly self but Marchelo was not there. I was told that he is in Italy. I did notice, however, that they had printed a new brochure. It gives the name of the restaurant as “Guisi Italiana,” not sure what that implies. Have they separated?

Thetis in Alindas

Thetis in Alindas (looking north)

Alindas

Alindas (looking south)

Monday September 29, 2008, Day 18

I was woken up by mosquito bites, other than that it was a good night. After checking the e-mail and the weather I went ashore and bought a fresh loaf of bread and 12 bottles of spring water. The weather predictions are for force 5 NW wind.

Satellite View of Archangelos & Partheni I raised the anchor and left Alindas at 0910 heading for Archangelos. The wind was about 10 knots from the north. I motored and run the water-maker, even with its reduced output, because I want my water supply to last me for at least one more week. The sea was choppy but nowhere as bad as yesterday’s. After 6.3 nM we arrived in Archangelos [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.4' E] at 1035. I anchored in 5 m depth and let out 30 m of chain.

Other than Thetis there was here only a sponge caïque from Kalymnos with a diver down fishing. While we were protected there were strong gusts mostly from the W, and an annoying chop. The sky was partly cloudy and the gusts were too strong for the tent. I opened the bimini instead. I snorkeled to checked the anchor. It was alright but not as well dug-in as I would have liked.

Later in the afternoon I raised the anchor and moved the boat closer to the west of the cove for better protection. I anchored in 2.5 m and let out 35 m of chain. Again I snorkeled to check the anchor. This time it was nicely set in the sand. All together in this position it was much more comfortable. Another sail boat, with a tiny British flag, came. After 4 unsuccessful anchoring attempts they left.

In the evening the wind direction kept changing, often coming from the NE. Since I had anchored in 2.5 m depth near the W shore and now Thetis was in 3.2 m with this wind she kept on drifting closer and closer to shallow water and the rocks near the shore. Not sure if the wind will stay NE or change again to W, I decided to deploy the 2nd anchor. I took this anchor with 20 m chain and 40 m line on the dinghy and dropped it E of the stern. After securing it, I tied its line on the stern cleat. Now I could sleep with ease. This was a wise move because there were fierce gust from 0 to 25 knots from the NE and the NW.

For dinner I baked some potatoes from Kalami with garlic and thyme. These I served with a turkey cutlet in a lemon sauce. They were very good and I had a nice dinner accompanied with Kalami wine, vintage 2007. The night was very clear and the stars shone with extra brilliance. Despite the wind I spent some time out in the cockpit admiring the sky.

I finally retired inside the cabin, read and listen to music. It was very windy and I had to turn of the wind-generator because of its noise. Went to bed around 10 PM.

Tuesday September 30, 2008, Day 19

I woke up at 5:30 because of the noise made by the howling wind and the dinghy banging on the side of Thetis. It was good that we had two anchors at different directions, otherwise we would had surely drifted to the rocks. It was cold, 18°C (64°F) inside the cabin and even colder outside. The wind was now around 30 knots with higher gusts. I usually like to drink my morning cup of coffee sitting in the cockpit and watching the sunrise but not today, it was too cold.

After daybreak I started thinking what would be the safest and easiest way to raise the anchors since both now were holding the boat as the wind was pushing on the port side. But whatever I would do will have to wait until the temperature became more comfortable. I looked at the weather reports. All forecasts agreed on light, no more than force 4, NW wind for today. But the local conditions did not conform to this. I hoped that the wind will calm down as the day progressed and that I would be able to lift the anchors without too much effort.

Finally, later in the morning, as the wind did not seem to abate, I arrived at a plan of action. I will let out chain on the primary anchor at the bow which will loosen the secondary anchor at the stern allowing me to bring its line to the bow. Then, while securing the primary chain and loosening its capstan, I will use the windlass to pul the line of the secondary anchor while letting out the chain of the primary as needed. A little before 9 AM I started executing this plan after raising the outboard from the dinghy. The plan did work up to the point that the two separate lines I used on the secondary were tied together. The knot would not go to the windlass. I had to tie a hitch knot with another auxiliary line on the water side of the anchor line. This held it and I was able to untie the original knot. Then the windlass slowly raised it and I untied the auxiliary line. I kept raising it and letting go of the primary chain until the secondary’s line reached the splice of line to the 20 m chain attached to the anchor. Then, I used the snub line to hold the primary chain and moved the secondary to the capstan. Thus I was able to raise painlessly and with minimum muscle effort, albeit slowly, the secondary anchor. The primary now with over 60 m of chain in the water kept the boat from drifting quickly towards the rocks and allowing me time to stow the secondary anchor, its chain, and all the lines that I had used. After that, it was easy to raise the primary anchor with the windlass. By the time all this was done and we were free from the ground it was almost 10 AM.

Satellite View of Lipsi Thetis departed from Archangelos at 1000. We headed N to Lipsi. The wind was now 15-20 knots from the NNE, again a headwind, so we motored the 5.6 nM to Papandria, Lipsi [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E], one of my favorite anchorages, where we arrived at 1115. It was very calm here. I anchored easily at 6 m depth and let out 40 m chain scope. It was pleasant and the gusts, although present, were much more civilized. Still it was too cold for the tent yet there was too much sun for sitting out in the cockpit for too long. I snorkeled and checked the anchor. No problem there.

I sat mostly inside the main cabin reading. I finished Donald Alexander Mackenzie’s Myths of Crete & pre-Hellenic Europe on the Kindle. It was, of course, interesting but out of date as it was written before the Thera finds, and it totally ignored the tsunami theory for the destruction of Minoan Crete. I continued reading, in a Greek translation paperback, of Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul: Memories and the City. It is absorbing and gives a lot of inside to contemporary Turkey.

As the afternoon progressed several boats arrived in the anchorage. A French, then a German sailboat, followed by a chartered catamaran with 3 attractive Czech families, then another catamaran, quite large, with out a flag and a crew. In the mean time the barometer reached 1015 mB up from the 1009 of two days ago.

In the evening I had an ouzo along with several mezedes (tasty snacks) in the cockpit. I then prepared a fresh tomato sauce to go along with pasta and Parmezan cheese. It was a lovely and very calm evening.

Papandria, Lipsi
Papandria, Lipsi

Wednesday October 1, 2008, Day 20

It was a very calm and peaceful night. I slept late until 6:30. After coffee I checked my e-mail and the weather. The forecasts called for very light variable winds, 3-4 on the Beaufort Scale slowly becoming southerlies. I decided to stay here for the day and rest.

Our Lady of Charon
Our Lady of Charon

I went ashore around 8 o’clock and first walked exploring the the N side of Katsadia. Then I walked to the town where I sat in a café and had a fresh orange juice. After buying a loaf of bread I walked back to my cove. By the time I was on board Thetis it was past 10 AM. The day was clear and I put up the tent but later it became overcast. It was very, very calm. The water was like glass.

In a fit of boat-keeping I rearranged two storage bins. Until now I have been keeping all my clothes under the bed of the right cabin, the one that was flooded by the water-heater hose failure. It had always been a nuisance to get at my clothes since I had to disturb the already made bed. The flood got me to think. I have been keeping all sorts of safety equipment, harnesses, jack-lines, flares etc, in the bin under the right couch of the main cabin. These are equipment that is very rarely used, if ever, yet it had been stowed in much easier assessable bin than my clothes. So now, I swapped the contents of these two bins. But, at the same time I had to update the inventory list that I keep on my MacBook computer. This list is very useful because it easily searchable so that if I need some items that I do not remember where it is stowed I just look it up on my computer. This operation kept me busy for a while.

Later I ran the genset for about an hour to keep the batteries from being heavily discharged. Depending on the outside temperature, Thetis consumes anywhere from 60 to 90 amp-hours of electricity in a 24 hour period. The heavy consumer is the refrigerator. If there is wind, and I have kept the wind-generator on, some of this is replenished. While the service batteries have a capacity of 450 Ah and they are deep discharge models which can discharged to 50% without harm, I try to avoid discharging them more than 30%.

Around 6:45 PM I went ashore again and walked back to the town, a 40 minute walk. I sat at my favorite ouzo place. A small kafenio by the harbor that spots blue chairs and has no name. The proprietress was glad to see me and asked me how long I had been to Samos, about my wife etc. since she had not seen me since May. I almost did not had to place an order, she knew. I had ouzo along with their terrific grilled octopus and other assorted mezedes (tasty snacks). After I walked back to Papandria and Thetis, it was almost 10 PM.

Best Octopus here
The kafenio with the best octopus in the E Aegean

Thursday October 2, 2008, Day 21

Today’s forecasts call for force 4-5 SE winds but here and now we have only an 8 knot E breeze. The barometer, still rising, is now at 1016 mB. It is not as cold as it was in recent mornings, the cabin temperature is 20°C (68°F). I started preparing for departure. My plan is to go to Marathi, the furthest north that I will go before turning S for Partheni, Leros.

We departed from Papandria at 0912. The wind, outside the cove, was 10-15 knots ESE. I opened the genoa and motor-sailed at low RPM, along the W side of Lipsi, while running the water-maker. We arrived in Marathi [37° 22.1' N 26° 43.6' E] at 1045 after 7.5 nM. I caught one of Pandelis’ moorings without any trouble.

It was fairly calm here. I swam and put up the tent. I read and updated the computer inventory for 2 lockers. There are now only two more spaces to go before updating all of the boat’s inventory.

In the evening I witnessed the arrival of a very fancy looking and large S/Y flying the British flag, but with Turkish crew and Italian passengers. She was equipped with an Inmarsat terminal about $20k worth. Her crew of 3 wore immaculate white uniforms. First they caught, with some trouble, one of the moorings. Then, they left it and caught another one. Ten minutes later they left that mooring too and anchored off. Then they proceeded to deploy 2 shore lines. The problem here was that the wind was from the S and according to this evening forecast is expected to strengthen. They moored with the anchor at the SE and both shore lines at the NNW, the exact opposite of what any experienced sailor will do. Professional crew indeed! Later the chartered catamaran with the Czech families that was two days ago in Papandria, also arrived and after considerable difficulties they caught a mooring.

In the evening I went ashore and had, as usual, a very nice meal at Pandelis: salad, melitzanosalata (eggplant spread), and a very tasty grilled fangropoulo fish. I also met a couple from the British motor cruiser Diva. They too are faithful Pandelis’ customers and they winter their boat in Partheni.

The night was fairly quiet and uneventful.

Friday October 3, 2008, Day 22

I was waken up at 0330 by a howling wind. Their were gusts over 10 knots from ESE. The mooring line did hold well but I had to turn off the wind-generator to keep the noise down before I could go back to sleep. At 0500 I was woken up again. Torrential rain had been added to the already increasing in strength wind, 18-20 knots with higher gusts. The barometer had fallen to 1012 mB yet inside the cabin it was surprisingly warm 23°C (73°F). I closed all the hatches and the companionway to keep the water out. It rained on and off all morning.

The catamaran with the Czech families cast off their mooring but somehow they managed to wrap the line of another mooring around their propeller. I watched them diving and trying to disengage for some time. Despite the rain I got into the dinghy and went to their help. I was not sure if they wanted any help as communications were not very good. Eventually they got free and left.

By the afternoon the barometer was down to 1008 mB but the wind was less strong, about 8-12 knots. In the evening, while the wind did not increase, it veered to the S and there was appreciable swell.

After dark I went ashore to Pandelis. The Divas were already there as well as two very attractive German couples who they had chartered from Samos and were now on their way back. I had fried calamari, salad, and baked young goat with potatoes. After saying good-bye to these good people and wishing each other a healthy winter and wishes for seeing each other next spring, Katina gave me, as usual, one of her breads.

Thetis was rolling with the swell all night.

Saturday October 4, 2008, Day 23

During the night the wind decreased and so did the swell. I slept rather well and did not wake up until 6:30. The forecasts call for 5 on the Beaufort Scale winds from the SW. I wanted to move S and be closer to Leros for Monday’s haul-out but debated whether to go to Lipsi harbor and anchor off or to go to a cove. Finally I decided to go to Platys Yialos on the NE side of Lipsi. It is an attractive cove and well protected from the S to W winds.

Satellite View of Lipsi Thetis departed from Marathi at 0900. The wind was 8-10 knots form the SSW. We motored the 3.2 nM to Platys Yialos, Lipsi [37° 18.8' N 26° 44.4' E] where we arrived at 0945. It was nice and calm. There was no one ashore save 3 hunters with their dogs who occasionally ineffectively blasted their guns at some bird. Otherwise it was very quiet. I dropped the anchor in 4 m depth and let out 20 m of chain. I then snorkeled to check the anchor. I was nor pleased with what I saw. The anchor had dragged about 2 m away from where I had dropped it and it was now held by a bunch of weed. This is not good because if there is a strong gust the weed can be unrooted and then the anchor will surely drag. So, I got back on the boat, started the engine and re-anchored in 6 m depth and let out 30 m of chain. Once again I snorkeled to check it. This time the anchor was nicely embedded in the sand and away from the weed.

The barometer had risen to 1011 mB. The cove is very nice and all the rocks, bushes, and the few trees sparkled under the bright sun after being washed by yesterday’s heavy rain. By now the hunters had been replaced ashore by a few bathers. I put up the tent. I swam ashore where to my surprised I was greeted by name. It was the British couple from M/Y Diva. They too had left Marathi earlier and gone to the harbor of Lipsi. There they had rented a motor scooter.

Back on board I read. I finished Istanbul, which I have enjoyed very much, and the 6th of the Alexander Kent’s Bolitho novels Command a King’s Ship which was also fun. I called Olympic Airways: I am still wait listed for next Friday.

In the evening, after the traditional ouzo, I was not very hungry so I just made a simple rice-pilaf. All was well with the cove and the boat and everything was nice and peaceful until I looked at the Navtex. The Greek weather service had issued a gale warning for this region valid for tonight and tomorrow. They called for SW winds of force 8.

After I went to bed, I kept waking up to check the wind. There was none here.

Platys Yialos
Platys Yialos

Sunday October 5, 2008, Day 24

At 0300 there were some gusts but it was still calm. At 0430 I woke up too worried about deteriorating weather to go back to sleep. The Navtex had issued a further gale warning. I turned on the computer and looked at the weather reports from several sources, they all agreed the coming gale is real. I decided to depart early while the wind was still light and to go directly to Partheni in Leros. Partheni is the best all around anchorage in this area. On the other hand I did not want to venture in the dark near the many reefs of this, the E side, of Lipsi. So, I had my coffee and waited.

We departed from Platys Yialos at 0640. It was still dark but by the time we were to reach the reef area it would be light. The wind was about 12-18 knots from the SSW. After we cleared the reefs and the small island we were exposed the SW and the wind reached 30 knots, not force 8 but certainly 7. It being a head wind motoring was the only option. It was not too bad, however, there was some spray and a little banging but Thetis did maintain almost 5 knots.

All would have been fine except that when I went inside the cabin I noticed water oozing from the floorboards. Immediately I turned off the fresh water pressure pump and tasted the oozing water. It was not salty which was of course a relief. There was no danger. Most likely we had the same problem as before: a burst water hose. By turning off the pressure-pump the flow must have stopped. It was good that I had moved my clothes from the right cabin bin that also houses the hot water heat exchanger. I opened the bin and sure enough there was the cold water input hose broken in the exact location as before. I got the hand pump, lifted the floorboards, and started pumping out the water into a bucket. Every few minutes I looked around for traffic and at the radar. Altogether I pumped at least 10 buckets of water. By that time we were entering the bay of Partheni.

We arrived in Partheni, Leros [37° 11.3' N 26° 48' E] at 0900 after 10.3 nM. The wind here was less strong, only 22 knots. Despite this I had no trouble tying to one of Agmar Marine’s mooring just on the E side of their lifting “pool.” Now Thetis is in place for tomorrow’s haul-out.

Clearing the mess caused by the flood took over an hour. First all the water had to be sponged out of the bilge. Then the wet rugs as well as all the wet safety gear form the right cabin bin had to be spread in the sunshine to dry. I cut off the faulty section of the hose and reconnected the hose to the heat exchanger. I then turned on the pressure pump. No leaks. The offending hose has to be replaced of course. In the mean time the fresh water tanks were almost empty. But there was a bonus. Under one of the floor boards I found 6 bottles, that is 9 liters, of mineral water, purchased in Madeira, and stowed there for such an emergency for the Transatlantic crossing of 2005. I now emptied them into the depleted tanks. This water should be sufficient until tomorrow.

I spent the rest of the day puttering around doing various small things in preparation for the winter layover but mostly I read because I was somewhat tired from the morning activities. I continued reading A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons by Robert M. Sapolsky which I had interrupted when I had left abruptly in May for Washington, D.C. It is the memoirs of a young primate researcher in Kenya. It is well written and particularly poignant for me because my youngest daughter Corinna is a fresh PhD ecology researcher also in Kenya.

In the evening I had my last ouzo afloat and made dinner: Pasta alla puttanesca using the last tomatoes from Kalami. I still have some potatoes left but these will have to used at another time. By the evening the wind had calmed down from the upper 20’s to 5-7 knots and the Navtex had canceled the gale warning and was issuing much more benign forecasts. I could had stayed in Platys Yialos after all and come here early tomorrow morning but given the weather information I had this morning that would have been risky. It is just as well that I am here. The pasta was good and so was the wine.

Monday October 6, 2008, Day 25

There are 3 boats here this morning, I suppose all waiting a haul-out. But an Italian sailboat, with lots of crew, came last evening and docked right in the “pool.” This is kind of brash since the rest of us were already there and were politely waiting for Agmar to calls us. At 0800 the travel-lift slowly made its way to the “pool.” I could see that the operators Panayiotis and Nicholas were arguing with the Italians. I went over with the dinghy to see what was going on. It seems that Agmar was expecting another Italian boat to be hauled-out first and then Thetis. The other boats, already there, were scheduled for the afternoon. In the mean time, Mastro Michalis, the technical chief arrived. He wanted them to move out and Thetis to move in. Well, since they were already there and the first one was not he finally relented and they proceeded to lift her. At that time, the one which was scheduled did arrive and her owner, a rather pushy short American started arguing. As a result of these shenanigans and since her owner is an understanding fellow and a friend Thetis moved to third place.

I swam and read and swam some more and read some more, had lunch, did some more work on the boat and nothing happened. At about 1 PM I went ashore again to see what was going on. Well it turned out that after the second boat was hauled-out the unpleasant short man declared that her keel-stepped mast had to be removed. This operation, done very carefully by the Agmar personnel took a long time. It was not until 1500 that finally Thetis was hauled-out.

This is the end of Thetis’ sailing for 2008.

Monday October 6 to Saturday October 11, 2008

Nicholas, the travel-lift assistant operator promised me that he will find me some one to help me with the heavy tasks. I rented a motor-scooter. In the mean time on Monday evening, after the wind had calmed down, I removed the headsail and tied it in a bundle ready to be lowered for washing. Had a shower and then an indifferent dinner at the restaurant across the airport.

On Tuesday morning, very early, I lowered and bundled the mainsail. Still no progress from Olympic about getting on the October 11 flight to Athens. I then spend several hours lowering all the shore lines and the running rigging into the dinghy which was on the ground next to Thetis. I filled it with fresh water and let the lines soak to remove from them all the salt. I rearranged the storage bin on the left cabin and completed the update on the computer inventory. Nicholas did produce a friend of his, Alekos, who can start helping me on Wednesday morning. He is a diver and a fisherman but does not seem to mind doing an odd job now and then. For dinner in the evening I went to the Mylos restaurant where I had some very tasty tiny barbounia (red mullets).

On Wednesday morning I filled the fuel tank from the jerry cans and then I added some Diesel fuel preservative. At 9, as he had promised. Alekos came and we washed both sails and hanged them on the Agmar mast to dry. We also hanged on the life lines all the shore and running rigging lines that had been soaking inside the dinghy. We then washed all 4 jerry cans, dried them, and stowed them. In the afternoon when the sails were completely dried we folded then, bagged them, and raised then on Thetis’ deck. In the evening I cooked a pork cutlet with a lemon sauce and ate it with the last of the Kalami potatoes nicely baked in the oven.

On Thursday Olympic Airways finally dropped me from their waiting list. No chance of flying on Saturday to Athens. I went to Lakki and bought a ferry ticket. The ferry departs from Leros on Saturday morning at 3:30 AM and in order to get a single cabin I had to pay €80 for myself and €40 for my “child” as the agent told me while winking. This is about twice the cost of the airfare. On the positive side, Alekos came, as promised, in a few hours of hard work he had thoroughly washed the dinghy, he helped me cover it, and move it under Thetis. He also washed all the fenders and their covers. Now all of these are clean and stowed waiting for next year. I paid Alekos €80, a little more than he asked.

In the past few days I have become rather friendly with my neighbors the Dutch couple Annalou and Edward Storm from S/Y Alcar. I also met the French couple from the caïque Tramdana, my neighbor in Vromolithos and Alindas. It turned out that they had also met my brother Nikos and the Faneromeni earlier in the summer in Plomari, Lesvos. Also I met an old acquaintance, John Richmond from S/Y Rick, better known among his friends as Long John, and his friend. We had a gin and tonic together on S/Y Rick, also now on land. For dinner I went to the nice Italian restaurant in Alindas Guisi. I was planning to invite tomorrow for dinner there Mary, the accountant, and Panayiotis, the electrician, but they preempted me by inviting me instead to their house.

On Friday there was very little left to do. I washed the deck, the bimini, and the spray hood. I packed and stowed everything for the winter. I covered the boom and all the holes where birds could make a nest. Angelos, Agmar Marine’s owner and manager was away but I gave my “to do” list to Antonis at the office and settled my account. Dinner at Panayiotis’ and Mary’s was a success. I met her father and Panayiotis’ parents. We all had a jolly good time. Back on Thetis I had a nap and waited for the taxi due at 2:30 AM. The forecasts called for 8 Beaufort gale along the way.

Finally the taxi came and took me to Lakki. The ferry came somewhat late and had trouble mooring because of the high wind. One of her shore lines snapped, fortunately no-one was hurt. It took 3 attempts before she was moored and ready to board. Finally by 4:30 we boarded. The trip was long and rough. It was good I had splurged to have a private cabin to myself as there were sea-sick people everywhere including a large group of Arab refugees, some with children. While most of the passengers were sick lying all over the ship’s lounges (this was a one class ship) the rest were all seemed to be heavy smokers. There was a cloud of smoke almost everywhere despite all the “No Smoking” signs which were totally ignored not only by the passengers but by the crew as well. When I saw the ship’s purser in his white and gold laced uniform blissfully sitting under a “No Smoking” sign and chain smoking I broke down and made a comment. His brash response was typically Greek. “The signs are a formality dictated by law and are not to be taken seriously.” After stops in Lipsi, Patmos, Naxos, and Paros the good ship F/B Milena made it finally into Piraeus after 11 PM on Saturday night. The whole trip took over 20 hours.

This is the end of the 2008 sailing. Let us hope that 2009 will be a better year and that Thetis will be better used.

2008 Season’s Statistics
Total Distance 357 nM
Time at Sea 38 days
Engine Time 65 hr
Solo Time 64.5 hr
Fuel Consumed 295 L
Water Consumed 751 L