Travels with S/Y Thetis


Thetis only

2011: Samos to Leros

This web page contains the logs of the final for 2011 singlehanded sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the Aegean Sea in Greece from the island of Samos (Samos Marina) to the Agmar Marine Shipyard in Partheni on the island of Leros where she was hauled out for the winter. This log covers a period of 17 days. Along the way we stopped in Tsopela on Samos, in Fourni (Vitsilia), Marathi, Patmos (Agriolivadho), Lipsi (Katsadia), and Archangelos. The logs include photographs and some descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to related web sites.

Route to Leros
Route from Samos to Leros

Monday October 3, 2011, Day 1

Cruising and vacationing in Samos for this year are coming to an end. Today my wife Alice flew to Athens and in two days she will fly to Washington, D.C., via London. I too prepared to depart from Samos and take Thetis to her winter resting place in Leros. But before our departures history repeated itself. Last year we had to completely empty Thetis because she had to undergo a drastic overhaul. This year it was our Kalami house’s turn. It needs a new roof so we had to practically empty it. As a result both of us were exhausted this morning. At any rate, after taking Alice to the airport I drove to Pythagorio and after I paid off the rented car to Aramis, Mr. Yiannis drove me to the marina and helped me take my stuff to the boat.

Before departing from the marina I bought 2.5 L of gasoline for the outboard. The weather forecast is very benign: 2-5 on the Beaufort scale NE for this morning and later in the day down to 2. We departed for the last time this year from Samos Marina at 1050. My plan was to go to either Samiopoula or Fourni depending on sea conditions and on the mood of the tired skipper. I had already replaced the autopilot controller with the old spare, but I kept its fluxgate compass, which has a low deviation, and actuator. The speed log did not work and after exiting the marina I had to stop, remove its sensor, clean it, and re-install it. After that it worked.

The wind was gusty, 10-15 knots from the NE. The autopilot exhibited some fluctuation in its AUTO mode but since I did not have the old controller’s instructions handy I could not test it in the TRACK mode nor could I re-calibrate it for compass deviation. I opened about 50% of the headsail and motor-sailed. When we were near Samiopoula there were very strong gusts and the sail was overwhelmed and Thetis almost broached. I rolled in the headsail and decided to go right across to the Tsopela cove on Samos coast, instead of stopping in the Psalida cove of Samiopoula that was exposed to the NE.

Tsopela, Samos
Tsopela, Samos

We arrived at Tsopela (Τσόπελα) [37° 38.3' N 26° 50' E] at 1225, having come 7.8 nM. It was calm inside the cove but very gusty. I anchored in 5 m depth with 35 m scope. Thetis swung in every direction. I put up the tent. Soon another S/Y arrived, a 34' Etap. I lowered the dinghy to free the swimming ladder and then snorkeled and checked the anchor. All was well. Later I went ashore with the dinghy and took a walk taking some pictures.

In the late afternoon the other S/Y left, and after preparing an ouzo, I watched the lovely sunset. For dinner I had a few slices of a pork roast that I had bought and cooked with garlic and tomatoes in Samos. I served it with linguine. I finished reading Jules Verne’s Godfrey Morgan: A Californian Mystery and started Dudley Pope’s Ramage & the Renegades on my Kindle. It was a quiet night but there was some swell into the cove.

Tsopela, Samos
Tsopela, Agathonisi in the background

Tuesday October 4, 2011, Day 2

The night was quiet but rather roly because of the swell. I raised the anchor and departed from Tsopela at 0850 heading for Vitsilia, Fourni. Last night I found the instructions for the old ST4000 autopilot controller. So, as soon as Thetis was outside the cove I calibrated the autopilot by making three 360° turns at a low speed, under 2 knots. The deviation that was found was 7°. After this the autopilot behaved normally, no fluctuations, in its AUTO mode. After we cleared the channel between Samos and Samiopoula I set the autopilot in the TRACK mode with a waypoint at the entrance of Vitsilia. Again the autopilot worked properly thus verifying that the ST4000+ controller is faulty. Do I dare hope that my autopilot problems are behind?

The forecast called for force 3-4 NW winds. But we actually faced stronger winds but today they were indeed from the NW. We motor-sailed with 40% of the headsail doing better then 7 knots speed over ground. I put up the tent and sat comfortably in the cockpit. On our way we crossed paths with several ships in the Samos-Fourni channel but thanks to the AIS there were no surprises. We also encountered 2 large Greek fishing trawlers. These had no AIS, unlike the Turkish trawlers that we had encountered before.

We arrived in Vitsilia [37° 32.6' N 26° 30.4' E] at 1140 after 15.8 nM. I anchored in 4 m depth over sand and let out 30 m of chain. But, as luck would have it, as soon as the anchor was set the wind veered to the NE and Thetis settled in 3.2 m depth rather close to the head of the cove. There was no one here.

Later some bathers arrived but they all left by the late afternoon. I spoke with Alice over the phone. She is stuck in Athens and cannot leave tomorrow as planned because of an air controllers strike. She is now re-booked for Friday. The wind backed back to the NW but it was very light.

I had a nice ouzo which was followed by dinner. I made an omelet with linguine left over from yesterday. It was a very peaceful and quiet night.

Wednesday October 5, 2011, Day 3

Sunrise over Vitsilia
Sunrise over Vitsilia

First thing this morning I went ashore and walked, past Petrokopio and back, for about 2 hours. Now that portion of the road is much cleaner since I picked up all the plastic refuse. Why do people just throw everything from their cars as they are driving by: their cups, plastic bags, bottles, cigarette boxes, etc? What is wrong with them?

Back on board Thetis I put up the tent. The wind, like yesterday morning, was light but from ENE. In the late afternoon the anchor dragged and I had to re-anchor further out from the shore at 5.5 m depth with 45 m of chain. Thetis settled at 19 m since the bottom here is very steep.

Taking advantage of running the engine for re-anchoring and because of that the availability of hot water, I took a nice shower. For dinner I had some pork roast with rice and a Tsantali Μοσχόμαυρο (Moschomavro) red wine. I went to bed fairly early.

Thursday October 6, 2011, Day 4

It was good that I went to bed early because around 1:30 AM something felt wrong. I got up and checked. The wind had now veered to the E but it was still a light 4-8 knot breeze. Nevertheless it was strong enough to cause Thetis to drift near the cliff at 7 m depth instead of the 19. As I watched she kept on drifting closer and the depth decreased to 6 m. I had to be vigilant but there was no immediate danger. As I stayed awake for the next 2 hours on anchor watch, the breeze kept changing direction and the boat made at least three 360° rotations while the depth went from 6 to 17 m and back to 6. Eventually at 3:45 the breeze stabilized from the NW and Thetis was at 17 m depth and I went back to bed.

In the morning I connected to the Internet and checked the forecasts. They predict fairly calm, winds force 3-4 from the NW, for today but from tomorrow they predict SE winds, force 4-6 and thunderstorms during the weekend. Based on this information I decided to go to Marathi which has good moorings and can handle wide directional wind fluctuations. Unfortunately, however, it is exposed to the SE.

Ayios Minas & Kerkis
Ayios Minas, Fourni & Mt. Kerkis in Samos

We departed for Marathi at 0945. The wind was a 2-8 knot light breeze variable between NW and SW. I tried to motor-sail but it was hopeless. We motored at slow, 2100 RPM, speed running the water-maker and topped the tanks. The autopilot with the old ST-4000 controller worked perfectly. We arrived after 15 nM in Marathi [37° 22.1' N 26° 43.6' E] at 1215. A couple of Pantelis’ moorings were missing but there were no other boats there, except for a small motor cruiser at the pier. I caught the innermost of the remaining moorings and tied to it a temporary double line. Then, after lowering the dinghy from the davits, I secured on the mooring a thicker line with a large shackle, to prevent fraying. The wind here was almost nil and the sea was flat, although during our passage there was an appreciable swell.

I swam ashore and greeted Pantelis, Katina, and their son Manolis. There were all busy shutting down their establishment for the winter but they will stay open until the end of the month.

Back onboard I had a pleasant quiet afternoon mostly reading. Two other S/Y arrived, both chartered: a 52' that docked to the Marathi pier and a 40' catamaran with a large family of 9 people. In the late afternoon I went ashore and walked along the S perimeter of the island. For the first time here I found some trash which I was able to pick up. After this walk I went Pantelis’ for dinner, Other then the catamaran’s crew I was the only customer. I had an ouzo followed by Katina’s wonderful salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and green caper leaves toped with a local soft goat cheese), and a perfectly grilled small but very fresh φαγκρί - seabream (Pagrus pagrus).

The night was very quiet and I slept very well.

On Pantelis' mooring at Marathi
Thetis riding comfortably on Pantelis’ mooring at Marathi

Friday October 7, 2011, Day 5

Egret
An Egret near Thetis was wathing me…

First thing in the morning I connected to the Internet and checked the weather forecasts from various sources. Although there were differences between them in some details, they all predicted SW winds starting later today and reaching force 6 and then 7 with thunderstorms by Sunday when they will back (change direction counterclockwise) to the SE. They also predicted that by Monday the wind will lessen and back further to the N. Now this cove is fine here with S to SW winds but is exposed to the SE. As of now, this morning, I plan to stay put and see how the forecasts develop.

During the morning it was calm and I did various computer and boat tasks. I finished reading Alexander Kent’s Signal-Close Action!, the 12th Bolitho novel, and started Alexandros Papadiamantis’s Η Φόνισσα- The Murderess on my Kindle. This is a Greek classic. It is the story of an old woman who, in order to help poor families with many children, started murdering their little girls. The story takes place in the island of Skiathos, where Papadiamantis lived. It is written in katharevousa (καθαρεύουσα) a form of archaic modern Greek and it is somewhat hard to read. I found this book in the Greek original on the Gutenberg site that scans books whose copyright has expired and, using volunteers, prepares them for free downloads. What a boon to a sailor!

By the afternoon the sky had scattered clouds and the wind became a stiff SW breeze. Pantelis had removed the buoys from two of his moorings because the supply caïque complained that they impeded her maneuvering. I snorkeled and tied a fender to one of those moorings which was closer to the shore and more to the S. After that, I started Thetis’ engine and relocated her to that mooring which was in a position somewhat better protected. Later in the afternoon the wind blew stronger but still came from the SW.

For dinner I went to the restaurant where I had a fresh grilled squid for an appetizer, a salad, and a small portion of pot-roasted young goat. The night was bouncy but I had no trouble sleeping.

Saturday October 8, 2011, Day 6

The forecasts continue to call for strong SW winds and thunderstorms for today and tomorrow, maybe back to SE for a while, then SW and weakening by Monday. In the mean time the barometer has been falling. It was 1016 mB on Thursday, then 1013 yesterday, and this morning is down to 1009 mB. I have no thought of departing until the weather either changes or improves.

Later in the morning I went ashore for an 1 hour walk, this time around the N side of the island. Again I collected some trash. I received an e-mail that Alice is now safely at home in Washington, D.C. Thetis was the only boat here.

By the early afternoon the wind kept increasing but it was still from the S to SW, like yesterday and not from the dreaded SE. The barometer down to 1008 mB. There is also a lot of swell into the cove.

Around 5 PM I got new forecasts. The Greek Meteorological Service is now issuing gale warnings for the seas of Ikaria and Samos as well as for most of the Aegean. Meteo (Athens Observatory), unlike this morning, is now predicting for Marathi force 9 SE winds and thunderstorms between 9 AM and 3 PM tomorrow, then back to force 6 to 7 SW by tomorrow evening. This alarmed me. I had mixed feelings. The cove here in Marathi is indeed exposed to the SE and a wind of force 9 is a strong gale that cannot be taken lightly. On the other hand, the nearest anchorages protected from the SE are Moschato in Lipsi and Partheni in Leros. Moschato would be fine and it is closer but it has narrow inlets and one must not only anchor but because of the thunderstorms that can have strong winds from several directions one must take several lines to the shore. I could not get there this evening and put the lines before dusk around 7 PM. Partheni, further away, can be crowded and many boats are on permanent moorings. Because of this and because of the thunderstorms I would have to deploy 2 anchors. Not sure as what to do, I went ashore to ask Pantelis his opinion concerning the moorings here. He told me that the moorings are safe and if I were to also tie a line to a second mooring I would be very well protected but uncomfortable because of the incoming waves. I decided that this would be the wisest and safest choice.

Mooring arrangement

I went back to Thetis and then snorkeled with the end of a long line which I tied to the nearest mooring (it had no buoy). I then tied the other end to Thetis’ bow. And just for good measure I took a small line from the pier to Thetis’ stern. This was to prevent wide swings caused by shifting winds during the expected thunderstorm. I also felt more comfortable to be near people like Pantelis and Manolis who could, in an emergency, help, rather then being all by myself. At any rate, the gale is not expected tonight but tomorrow morning.

Having secured the boat I went to Pantelis’ for dinner. I had a dish of octopus salad and stuffed peppers and tomatoes. I returned back to the boat at around 10:30. The wind was about 15 knots now from the SE but other than the swell rocking the boat everything was fine. So far so good! I went to bed.

Sunday October 9, 2011, Day 7

I was woken at 4:00 AM by a noise that sounded as if a door was banging. The wind had risen to a higher pitch and Thetis was rocking up and down, but there was no problem that I could see. Nevertheless, I could not go back to sleep. The barometer was down to 2002 mB. I read and finished reading Η Φόνισσα- The Murderess. To my delight, in addition to the Fonissa (The Murderess) the e-book contained a few other delightful short stories that I had not read before.

By 6 AM the barometer had dropped further to 999 mB and the wind had reached a new crescendo. Thetis was pitching wildly and moving around. The depth sounder indicated depth ranging from 3 to 1.5 m. Both mooring lines, right and left, were tight like violin strings. Although the wind meter was not working properly, I estimated that the wind was indeed force 9 as forecasted. By 7 AM there was a lot of lightning but no thunder sounds yet. At 7:20 the barometer was up to 1001 mB and there was a tremendous downpour accompanied by thunderbolts. The wind veered now once again to the SW.

At 9:30 the the worst was over. The barometer was up to 1003 mB, the rain had stopped, the sea was much calmer, and the wind was light and from the SW. I pumped out the considerable amount of water that had accumulated during the gale in the dinghy. I then checked the forecasts. They mostly agree and predict now SW winds of force 4-5 for the rest of today, but we could get more SE winds up to force 7 tomorrow. I hope the worst is indeed over.

The day was cloudy and it was cold outside, too cold to sit in the cockpit. I mostly stayed inside the cabin with the companionway closed. I started reading Alexander Kent’s The Inshore Squadron the 13th of the Bolitho novels, and Alexandre Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo. The sea was fairly calm but there were several drizzles.

In the afternoon I spoke with Alice over Skype. I also had to ran the genset because the solar panels did not produce very much and we had used plenty of electricity. I kept reading inside the cabin.

In the evening I went ashore and ate with Pantelis and Katina. I tried to pay for my meal but they both adamantly refused. They said that they considered me as part of the family and were glad of the company and that most of the establishment has been winterized.

By 10 PM I was back on board and ready to go to bed.

Monday October 10, 2011, Day 8

I got up at 6. The wind is back but it is a much less violent repeat of yesterday morning’s performance. Now it is from between S and SW instead of the SE. There are waves but smaller then yesterday’s. The barometer is slightly down to 1000 mB. I am getting tired of this and wish that the wind would veer (change direction clockwise) to the N so that I can change venue.

It had rained during the night and continued to do so on and off during the morning. The wind increased and Thetis danced to its screeching tune. Around noon darkness descended and we had another thunderstorm which lasted for about one hour. All thoughts of escaping to another anchorage were abandoned. Anyway from inside the cabin, where I have been confined, everything is the same and gray. At least here the boat is secure.

It is 4 PM and it is still raining. If only it could stop for a while so that I can sit and read outside in the cockpit. I am reading and listening to classical music inside. More and more rain but the wind backed (changed direction counterclockwise) and is now from the W.

The line from Thetis’ stern to the pier fouled under the rudder and I had to dive to untangle it. After that, I let it go since it really was not needed. After this diving expedition I turned on the engine for a few minutes to warm some water and then I took a nice hot shower.

In the evening, as it started to rain again, I went ashore to Pantelis. Soon the rain developed into a thunderstorm with many near-by strikes. Katina served her last fresh fish. She very reluctantly accepted 20€ for it.

I returned aboard around 9:30. The wind was by then very light and finally from the N. Everything here was wet. The temperature inside the cabin was 19°C (66°F) and the barometer steady at 1000 mB. Once again, despite the on-off rain I had a quiet night.

Tuesday October 11, 2011, Day 9

Clouds
The clouds are still with us

There was heavy rain in the early morning but the wind was not very strong and it came from variable directions. The forecasts still call for force 7-8 gales in a good part of the Aegean but for the first time in the last few days they do not predict any gales for the sea of Samos. They also predict diminishing southerlies and, by this afternoon, winds from WNW.

Later in the morning there was no wind at all and the sea was calm. I decided to finally depart from Marathi and go to Agrio Livadhi on Patmos. After pumping out the considerable amount of water that had accumulated in the dinghy I went ashore and said goodbye to Pantelis and Katina.

Back on Thetis, I raised the dinghy and cast off at 1050. There was no wind but some swell. I motored running the water-maker. There was sunshine and the barometer was up to 1004 mB. We arrived in Agriolivadho (Αγριολείβαδο) [37° 20.5' N 26° 33.4' E] at 1240 after 9.5 nM. The anchorage was calm and empty—no other boats. I dropped the anchor in 4.5 m depth and let out 30 m scope. There was a mild breeze from the SSE and Thetis settled in 2.8 m depth. After lowering the dinghy I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was fine but there was a lot of debris in the not so clear water. This must be the result of the S winds.

Rainbow
After the drizzle there was a lovely rainbow

In the afternoon I went with the dinghy to Skala, the main harbor of the island. The ride was about 40 minutes. There I bought some provisions. The ride back was wet with spray and some drizzle, the wind now from the NW, but I estimated that it was less then 10 knots.

After my return I found that Thetis was now floating in 5 m depth. I finished reading The Inshore Squadron and started Dudley Pope’s Ramage's Trial, 14th of the Ramage novels, while continued reading The Count of Monte Cristo. Later the clouds rolled in and it started to drizzle again. But I did manage to have my evening ouzo out in the cockpit before the drizzle.

For dinner I heated some of the pork roast and boiled linguine. It was very good along with a Naousa Boutari red wine. While reading and relaxing after dinner something did not feel right. I was closed inside the cabin because of the rain and the cold. I went outside and saw that the anchor had dragged. I started the engine and raised the dragging anchor. The deck flood light was fortunately bright enough to illuminate the sea and allow me to find a good and wide patch of sand at 3 m depth. I dropped the anchor and slowly let out 40 m of chain. I then reversed vigorously to snag the anchor. Even at high RPM Thetis was stable in 5 m depth.

The rest of the night was fine other then my frequent checks on the anchor and the depth meter.

Wednesday October 12, 2011, Day 10

Agriolivatdho S
Agriolivadho from the south

This morning’s forecasts were relatively benign. No gales and they predicted NNW winds of force 4-5. This was fine but it did rain throughout most of the morning. Not too much fun.

It was almost 11 when the rain stopped and I was able to go ashore and take an 1½ hour walk. It was a gray morning. But in the early afternoon the sky cleared and there was sunshine obscured only by a few scattered clouds. A chartered sailboat came. She had two German couples and boy and a girl. They anchored near Thetis. The children had a wonderful time jumping in and out of the water and driving their dinghy.

The wind increased somewhat and veered to the N. I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was still on its patch of sand but maybe it had moved from the exact spot where I set it last night. Just for my peace of mind I set the 2nd anchor to the NE. The whole operation took less then 20 minutes.

Later I spoke on Skype with Alice. The evening was fairly nice but a little cold. The temperature inside the cabin was 19°C (66°F) and the barometer up to 1011 mB. For dinner I made a salad and roasted 3 potatoes in the oven with garlic, olive oil, pepper, and thyme until they were crisp. I had a good night’s sleep.

Thursday October 13, 2011, Day 11

Agriolivatdho, N
Agriolivatdho from the north

Today the sky was clear, not a single cloud was to be seen, and the visibility was phenomenal. The forecasts called for force 4 NNW winds for today and tomorrow but for Saturday they predicted force 6 and for Sunday force 7.

In the morning I went ashore to the small pier at the east side of the cove and took a 2 hour walk up the dirt road into the small village overlooking Kampos and beyond.

My iPod stopped working but I can still connect the iPhone to the boat’s radio. In the afternoon I sat in the cockpit absorbing the glorious sunshine while reading and listening to music. I swam with a mask and snorkel and checked the anchors. The 2nd anchor (Brittany) was perfectly set in the sand but the primary (CQR) was too close to the weeds, even closer, I thought, then it was yesterday.

Later I spoke on the phone with Mr. Angelos, Agmar’s owner, and asked him to assign someone to wash Thetis’ sails after her haul-out on October 19.

After the sun was down I ran the engine for 20 minutes to warm water for a hot shower and to re-charge the batteries. At 7:30 there was a fantastic moonrise over NE Patmos. The moon was a large red disk. For dinner I warmed the last of the pork-roast that I had cooked before leaving Kalami and the remaining linguine in their open box. When I am alone I usually cook about ¼ of box of pasta at a time so the box lasts for a while.

From Patmos N
The view from the north side of Patmos; Fourni & Samos

Friday October 14, 2011, Day 12

The wind veered again and in the morning it came from the NE but it was weak. The forecasts predicted low winds for today and tomorrow but NW force 6 for Sunday, 7 for Monday, and down to 6 by Tuesday. I took the accumulated trash ashore and prepared to depart for Lipsi. It took me about ¾ of an hour to raise the 2nd anchor, stow it and its line and chain, and then raise the primary. During the time it took to raise the anchors, since the engine was running, I also ran the water-maker, and by the time we were ready to depart the tanks were full.

Katsadia
Katsadia, Lipsi

By 1013 we were underway. The wind was about 5-8 knots from ENE. We motor-sailed with the headsail. The sea was calm. We arrived after 10.5 nM at Katsadia, Lipsi [37° 16.9' N 26° 46.3' E] at 1225. There was no other boat, neither in Katsadia nor in the adjacent Papandria. The taverna ashore looked shut. I caught one of their moorings and thus I did not have to anchor.

The day was gloriously sunny but the visibility was not as sharp as yesterday’s. I spent a very pleasant afternoon swimming and reading.

In the evening, around 6 PM while there was some daylight, I went ashore and walked to the town. There at Nick’s & Luli’s I had an ouzo together with their wonderful grilled octopus. A French lady, of some years, was sitting by the table next to mine. She seemed pleasant enough but after she left I was told that she is or was the wife of the notorious convicted terrorist Yiotopoulos. After my ouzo I bought some bread and walked back to Katsadia just as the moon was rising.

The night was calm but somewhat windy.

Saturday October 15, 2011, Day 13

Today’s forecasts continue the same: calm today but starting tomorrow afternoon winds of force 6 reaching force 7 by Sunday. Just in case I went to the mooring next to mine and tied a line to it from Thetis’ bow. Now the boat is secure with two moorings.

For lunch I made a pine-nut omelet, consuming my supplies before the haul-out. In the afternoon another sailboat, the Arabella, flying a Greek flag came and moored near Thetis. Later 2 other sailboats also came and anchored in Papandria. I spoke with Alice on Skype. I then had a pleasant swim and enjoyed the sunshine in the cockpit.

In the evening just before sunset, while I was in the cockpit having an ouzo the couple from S/Y Arabella came over and introduced themselves. They are Greek, he is called Yiorgos Fraciscos and knows my brother Nikos and his boat the Faneromeni.

For dinner I made a pilaf with a small amount of leftover tomato sauce from the pork-roast. The night was reasonably quiet but had occasional gusts.

Sunday October 16, 2011, Day 14

Although the forecast was for strong winds today, this morning was fairly calm. I checked the new forecasts. Now they predict only force 5-6 NW winds for both today and tomorrow and then calms by Tuesday. The sky in the morning was cloudy.

I took the trash to a bin ashore and then prepared to depart. First I cast off one mooring, then raised the dinghy, and finally cast off the other mooring. The time was 1020. The wind was a light northerly breeze, maybe 5-10 knots, downwind for our heading to Archangelos, but not strong enough to sail. We motored and ran the water-maker. The sea was confused and rather unpleasant. After just 5.2 nM we arrived at Archangelos [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] at 1110. To my surprise and delight the S/Y belonging to the Australian couple John and Angelawas in the cove. We waved to each other as I proceeded to anchor. I anchored in 3.5 m depth with 30 m of chain. But as soon as the anchor went down the wind backed to the NE instead of the predicted NW, and Thetis settled too close for my liking to the west shore. So, anticipating stronger winds, I also set the 2nd anchor with 15 m of chain and 60 m rope line.

After I felt that Thetis was secure I visited my friends and we brought each other up to date with our activities since we last met in late August. By the afternoon it was gray and cold and later rather windy.

In the evening the Slaks came aboard Thetis and we had some ouzo and wine with some snacks. All this had to be inside the cabin because it was too cold to sit in the cockpit.

I went to bed fairly early and got up frequently to check the GPS on its anchor watch and the depth. Thetis was most of the time at 4 m depth.

Monday October 17, 2011, Day 15

It was very cold in the morning just 15°C (59°F) inside the cabin. The forecasts were essentially the same as yesterday’s. The rest of the morning was cold and gray. I stayed inside reading.

By 10 AM there were strong gusts from the ENE and I shortened by 2 m the scope of the 2nd anchor because I did not like Thetis’ proximity to the rocks. She was now in 3.3 m depth.

Thetis & Amzer Zo
Thetis & Amzer Zo in Archangelos

Later, in the early afternoon Angela and I took a nice hike around about ¾ of the island. By the time we returned the wind had backed to NW, as it had been forecasted, but I was not sure if it would stay there. There were fierce gusts and the inside temperature never got above 19°C (66°F).

The Navtex received the following message:

KITHIRA SEA
S/Y 'EALI'
WITH TWO (2) PERSONS ONBOARD
IN PSN: 35 45,57N - 023 10,48E
SOUTHWEST OF ANTIKYTHIRA ISLAND
IN DIFFICULT SITUATION DUE TO
NOT UNDER COMMAND - FLOODING
ASSISTANCE REQUIRED - RESQUE
SHIPS IN VICINITY ARE KINDLY REQUESTED
TO PROCEEDED AND RENDER IMMEDIATE
ASSISTANCE REPORTING TO
JRCC PIRAEUS ACCORDINGLY

I had been invited to dinner aboard Anzer Zo, but while I was getting ready and dusk was falling Angela, who was snorkeling, informed me that my primary CQR anchor had dragged and was about to foul the 2nd Brittany anchor. In the mean time, Thetis had drifted closer to the shore and was at only 2.2 m depth. Daylight was fast failing and the wind was howling and continuously changing direction. I decided to re-anchor while there was still some light. I pulled, by hand, a good part of the Brittany’s line and then raised the CQR with the windlass. The Brittany’s line was wrapped 4-5 times around the CQR’s chain. After tying a small line with a rolling hitch and securing it on a bow cleat I loosened the Brittany’s line and then I went with the dinghy and unwrapped it from the chain. Back on board I engaged the engine forward and moved away from the shoreline while paying out the Brittany’s line. I then dropped the CQR on a patch of sand at 5 m depth. Then I pulled the Brittany and let out 30 m of the CQR’s chain. Not totally sure how well these arrangements were and despite the fast failing light, the wind, and the cold I put on my bathing suit and snorkeled to check the anchors. The Brittany had remained on its original position and was very well dug-in the sand while the CQR was reasonably dug-in. I watched the boat and all seemed well except that now Thetis and John and Angela S/Y were rather close to each other.

I dressed and, although late for the dinner engagement, I went to my friends boat. Angela had made 2 wonderful pizzas and we all had a fine evening although both John and I were anxious about the proximity of the 2 boats. After I returned to Thetis, which was stable, John and Angela re-anchored their boat further away.

All was well but during the very cold night I kept getting up to check the anchors, depth, and the boat’s proximity to the shore and my friends’ boat.

Tuesday October 18, 2011, Day 16

I woke up at around 6 but all was well with the boat save for the cold. It was 13°C (55°F) inside the cabin. I went back to bed under the 2 blankets and fell asleep. I slept until 7:30. The day was partly cloudy but it was too cold to enjoy any sunshine in the cockpit.I read inside the cabin.

Later in the morning I peeled 3 potatoes and put them in the oven with olive oil, garlic, and thyme. This not only cooked the potatoes but warmed the cold cabin.

This afternoon, unlike yesterday’s, was bathed in sunshine. The cockpit, although cold, was pleasant to sit in and read. I did so for a while and then I went to my friends’ S/Y with the dinghy to say good-bye to Angela and John. After I returned to the boat I prepared for the final departure.

First I lifted the Brittany anchor, the dinghy, etc. We departed from Archangelos at 1615 and motored the 1.5 nM to Partheni, Leros. There I caught one of Agmar Marine’s moorings [37° 11.3' N 26° 48' E]. The time was 1640. I am to wait here until tomorrow for the haul-out. This is the end of this year’s cruising.

I had my final ouzo afloat but I had to stay inside because after 6 PM it was cold to stay in the cockpit. Another S/Y with a Swedish flag came and tied to the adjacent mooring, obviously they too are to be hauled-out tomorrow.

I read and listened to music. This is the “calm before the storm” because after Thetis is on land there will be frantic activities to prepare her for her winter layover.

I boiled some spaghetti and ate it with a tuna and capers sauce (I usually also put pitted olive but I had run out of them) and with plenty of graded Parmesan cheese.

It was very calm and I slept soundly.

Wednesday October 19, 2011, Day 17

This is the last day afloat this year for Thetis. After my morning coffee I started preparing for the haul-out and when all was ready I started various pick up tasks in the boat while waiting for the travellift.

Thetis was hauled-out at 0940 and slowly moved to where she is to spend the winter.

The haul-ou
Thetis is being hauled-out

Wednesday October 19 to Monday October 25, 2011

During this time I did a lot of work to prepare the boat for her stay on land. I removed the sails, soaked all the docking lines and dried them, washed the fenders and their covers, washed the dinghy, covered it and raised it on the davits, cleaned and covered with vaseline all electrical contacts, equalized the batteries, washed the tent, the bimini, and the spray hood, etc. What I did not do but let Agmar Marine handle it instead was washing the sails. This is very difficult to do all by one’s self.

Although I worked hard during these days I also did some pleasant socializing. The catamaran Fromo with my cruising friends Detrich and Monika Rohrmann was at the yard. It was nice to see them again after a few years. We did manage to go out to dinner together for a nice meal at the Mylos restaurant. Also, I found that my other friends Anastasis and Moo Raftopoulos were with their M/S Vassiliki in Lakki. We, too, spent one pleasant evening together at a new family restaurant in Lakki. Finally, I invited Panayiotis, the Agmar electrician, and his wife Mary to dinner at the Petrino restaurant in Lakki.

On Monday October 25 I took the 10:00 flight to Athens.

2011 Vital Statistics
Total Distance 930 nM
Time at Sea 63 days
Total Time Underway 181 hr
Total Solo Time 114 hr
Total Engine Time 167 hr
Total Fuel Consumed 296 L
Total Water Consumed 1062 L