This web page contains the logs of a 16 day sailing trip that I took with with my wife Alice on S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean in Greece. We sailed from Samos Marina to the volcanic island of Nisyros and then back to Samos. On our way to Nisyros (southbound) we stopped at the islet of Archangelos, Partheni (for some repairs) & Lakki in Leros, Emborios in the island of Kalymnos, and the small island of Yiali. On our return trip (nothbound) we stopped at Yiali again, at Palionisos in Kalymnos, Papandria in Lipsi, Glipapas in Arki, and at Marathi. The logs include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites.
Tuesday June 19, 2012, Day 1
We departed from the marina at 1008 for Archangelos. The wind was 12-16 knots NE and our course 193. Before our departure I had installed the small bimini. After we exited the marina I raised the mainsail and we motor-sailed. At about 1130 the wind changed direction and increased now coming from the NNW at 15-22 knots. This allowed us to turn of the motor and sail. After we opened the genoa and were doing close to 7 knots. The autopilot was well behaved. Later as the wind increased we reduced the headsail but we still made 7 knots.
We arrived at Archangelos (Αρχάγγελος) [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] at 1520 after 26.6 nM. We anchored in 5 m depth with 30 m chain. There were several sailboats here: 2 French, 1 Swiss,1 German, and a Greek charter boat. We put up the tent and swam. I snorkeled and checked the anchor. The Rocna was completely submerged in the sand. We had a pleasant afternoon.
When the sun went down we had an ouzo and then pan fried two meat patties which we served with a potato salad that Alice had prepared back home. These we ate accompanied with a Kyr Giannis Paranga red wine.
Wednesday June 20, 2012, Day 2
We raised the anchor at 0740 and motored the 1.4 nM to Partheni (Παρθένι) [37° 11.3' N 26° 48' E] with 5-12 knot NNE wind and tied to one of Agmar’s moorings. The purpose of going to the Agmar yard was:
- To check the cable harness from the engine to the engine’s panel because
- I had a problem with the starter, and
- the RPM meter stops working after a few minutes of engine operation.
- To fix properly the bolts and lock nuts of the wooden block that supports the dinghy’s stern on the davit arm.
- To check the operation of the VHF.
- To open the Navtex antenna’s unit and check for possible water condensation as has been suggested by an an e-mail from ICS support.
I launched the dinghy, went ashore, and walked to the yard and met Mastro Michalis. They were indeed expecting us. They had just hauled out one sailboat and after supporting it they were to haul out another one. After this second boat was removed from the lifting “pool” I was to move Thetis in the “pool” where Panayiotis, the yard’s master electrician will attend to her issues.
Around 10:30 the “pool” was free and with the help of the travelift attendant Nicolas and Panayiotis we moored Thetis without any problems. While Panayiotis was working on the boat Alice and I walked to the office. Angelos and Anastasis were away to Athens but Anastasis’ son Alexandros and his sister Danaë are now working for the yard. Alice stayed in the cool office to work on her AirBook computer while I returned to Thetis.
Panayiotis and I checked VHF reception from the yard’s unit. Both the old Sailor and the new Simbrad received properly in both channel 11 (yard’s channel) and channel 9 (Samos marina’s channel). Strange! What could had been the problem in Samos? Next, while the engine was cooling down, Panayiotis opened the Navtex antenna. Yes, indeed there was evidence of water damage on its circuit board. I will most likely need to replace it. He then removed the davit arm with it wooden block and took it to the shop.
After a while Panayiotis returned with the davit arm. The wooden block had been re-attached with 3 bolts and lock-nuts and looked very solid. He re-attached the arm. By that time the engine had cooled down and he crawled into the engine compartment and removed the instrument panel wire harness. He cleaned all the contacts both on the panel and on the engine ends. He did find a loose ground connection on the alternator. We started the engine and ran it for ½ hour without noticing any misbehavior on the RPM meter.
Panayiotis had also brought with him a new cabin light fixture. In April, just before launching the boat, the fixture over the galley had burned out. There was no direct replacement at hand in the Agmar yard so he installed an old one that I had kept as a spare and ordered for me a new fixture. So now, he removed the spare and installed the new one. Now all three main cabin fixtures are identical.
All work being completed we departed from Partheni at 1350 and motored back to Archangelos where we arrived at 1407. We anchored in 5.5 m depth and let out 35 m of chain. There were only two other sailboats in the anchorage: a French and one with a Polish flag. During this short trip the RPM meter behaved normally.
I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was amazingly well embedded in the sand especially since the wind was 5-16 knots almost from all directions and Thetis was swinging 360°.
Thursday June 21, 2012, Day 3
It was a fairly quiet and calm night. In the morning we decided to go to Emborios, Kalymnos but on the way to stop at Lakki in Leros and do some light shopping and get a loaf of fresh bread. We departed from Archangelos at 0810. Outside of the protected from the north area the wind was 10-22 NE. As we had not taken down the tent last night we opened about 30% of headsail and motor-sailed running the water-maker. Before we reached Lakki the water tanks were filled. We arrived at Lakki (Λακκί) [37° 07.7' 26° 51.2'] at 0940 and after 7 nM. We anchored off in 10 m depth and let out 50 m of chain.
After launching the dinghy we went ashore and did our shopping. By 1100 the new provisions were stowed, the dinghy on its davits, and the anchor was up. The wind now was 5-25 from every conceivable direction. We even managed to sail without the motor for all of 10 minutes. There was a lot of swell. We arrived in Emborios (Εμποριός), Kalymnos (Κάλυμνος) [37° 02.7' N 26° 55.7' E] at 1245. Our total distance from Archangelos was 14.6 nM. It took as three attempts to catch a mooring because the strong gusts kept blowing Thetis away.
After we were settled, I washed down the cockpit that was full of bread crumbs. We spent the afternoon swimming and reading. I finished reading Onjatje’s The cat’s table based on a ship journey to England of an 11 year old Sri Lankan and his subsequent reminiscences. I then started reading on the Kindle the 15th Ramage volume Ramage’s Challenge.
In the evening we went ashore and after a walk we sat at Costa’s restaurant where we had octopus, maridakia (μαριδάκια - Spicara smaris), a small tsipoura (τσιπούρα - Gilthead seabream - Sparus auratus), and a fangropoulo (φανγκρόπουλο - Common seabream - Pagrus pagrus). The night was windy and very gusty.
Friday June 22, 2012, Day 4
We had already decided that if the forecasts were not threatening to sail south to the little island of Yiali (Γυαλί) situated S of Kos and N of Nisyros. Well, the forecasts this morning, as I received them on the iPhone, all called for force 2-3 NW winds. So, at 0735 we cast off the mooring and motored south along the Kalymnos-Telendos channel. The wind was 1-6 knots from the SE but there was an appreciable swell.
As the use of the sails looked doubtful and although I had already uncovered the mainsail we put up the tent. Once we cleared Cape Trachelos (Τράχηλος), the south-westernmost point of Kalymnos, the swell increased but the wind now came, as forecasted, from the NW. Although the wind was a very light 2-8 knot breeze we opened about 30% of the headsail to mostly stabilize the rolling of the boat.
After we were abreast of the northernmost point of the west side of Kos, Cape Dafne (Δάφνη), the rolling subsided somewhat. At 1145 we rounded Cape Krikelos (Κρίκελος) and set our course for Yiali. The wind now was less then 5 knots and we had to roll-in the flapping headsail.
After clearing the reefs south of the island we arrived in the southwest cove of Yiali [36° 38.6' N 27° 06.9' E] at 1240 and anchored in 5 m depth with 30 m chain scope. We had come 30.8 nM from Emborios. The water here is always a most attractive very clear turquoise-blue. We swam and had a light lunch.
In the evening we went ashore to the small beach, just across from where we were anchored, and cut into chunks a large watermelon that we had bought in Samos. This way we avoided making a mess inside Thetis whose deck I had earlier scrubbed with a brush and soap. After we left the watermelon in the boat we went with the dinghy to the large beach further east and took a long walk. We met an Austrian couple with a small dog. Theirs was the only other sailboat anchored, about a mile away from Thetis, within sight.
After our return we took hot showers, had an ouzo and made boiled some linguine for dinner which we served with fresh tomato sauce we had brought from Kalami and Parmezan. By now all the apricots and figs (bouknes - μπούκνες) from our garden had been eaten but we still had some oranges. We had a good calm night.
Saturday June 23, 2012, Day 5
We did not move from our delightful anchorage here in Yiali. Alice did some work with her MacBook Air computer and I tried “tethering” my MacBook to the iPhone and it was already connected but there was no access to the Internet. I tried “tethering” Alice’s computer and that was a total success. I am beginning to think that there is something wrong with my operating system. When we return home I will re-load it.
The rest of the day was quiet with a lot of reading and swimming. In the evening we again went for a good walk. We were back just in time for having an ouzo while the sun was setting. It was a lovely red sunset.
For dinner Alice prepared some potatoes. She first soaked then for couple of hours in sea water. Then she cut them into chunks and coated them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. These she baked in the oven for about an hour. When they were ready she made omelets with leftover tomato sauce.
This was another very pleasant night. Our plan for tomorrow in mid morning is to sail to Pali in Nisyros.
Sunday June 24, 2012, Day 6
We waited for a while before leaving the anchorage to allow several yachts to depart from Pali and leave room for Thetis. At 1020 after we had raised our dinghy and anchor we finally departed. At 1100 we arrived in Pali (Πάλοι), Nisyros [36° 37.2' N 27 ° 10.3' E]. There was an appreciable swell so anchoring off near the harbor was not an option. We entered the harbor and ascertained that there was plenty of room. We then exited the harbor and while Alice made slow circles I lowered the dinghy, brought it to the bow, put fenders on both sides, and prepared the stern lines. Now that we were ready and we re-entered the harbor, we chose a berth and while I maneuvered the boat Alice dropped the anchor in 2.9 m depth. She paid out the chain while I reversed to the quay. A fellow yachtsman from a the British S/Y Eleni received and tied our stern lines. After deploying the passarella I set the stronger stern lines with spring shock absorbers. There was no sign of any attendant nor did the water and electricity outlets seem to work. We were told that a lady comes sometimes and connects, for a fee, boats that desire these services. We had come, including the circling 4.1 nM.
We walked to a car rental with a sign Eagle’s Nest and inquired about renting a car for this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Marilyn, the American lady at the desk, who also spoke very good Greek assured us that this would not be a problem and they will have a car ready for us when we need it. It will cost €25/day.
Back on the boat we had lunch and an afternoon rest. Around 5 we returned to the car rental. The proprietor and Marilyn’s husband, Michalis Zachariades, gave us a map of the island, a write up in both Greek and English of the island highlights and driving directions, and a CD of Nisyrean music. He also told us that Eagle’s Nest provides free Wi-Fi to their customers and gave us the password. Unfortunately their signal was too weak and we could not use it from Thetis.
We drove to the caldera but did not go to the craters since we had visited them several times in our previous trips. Instead we headed for the village of Nikiá (Νικιά) but first, following Mr. Michalis recommendations, we took a side street to a hill with a chapel of Profitis Elias (prophet Elijah) from where there is a fantastic view of the caldera below. Then on to the village, where we first visited the Volcano Museum. It has some nice exhibits and gives a comprehensive overview of vulcanology. They also played a video on the geological evolution of of Nisyros and Yiali. We bought a book Blue Volcanos and several postcards. After the museum we walked in the village which like Emborio, on the north side, hangs on the caldera on the south side and overlooks the the craters.
After Nikiá we drove to Emborios (Εμποριός). There we walked up to the small abandoned castle and then went to our familiar Μπαλκόνι της Κατίνας (Katina’s Balcony). This small restaurant has a balcony that literally hangs over the lip of the caldera. We had an ouzo with a plate of mezedes (tasty snacks) which was followed by stuffed tomatoes and vine leaves (ντολμάδες - dolmades) for Alice and a wonderful portion of roasted young goat for me.
The night onboard Thetis, however was not too good. The harbor lights were too bright and not inducing to good sleep.
Monday June 25, 2012, Day 7
First thing in the early morning I siphoned 2 jerry cans of Diesel fuel into the tank and then loaded them in the trunk of the rented car. Then we both drove towards Mandraki (the main town and harbor of Nisyros) but before reaching the town we turned in the road leading to Paleocastro, the castle on the NW side of the island.
We then drove into Mandraki where we walked the streets and did some minor provision shopping. On our way back to Pali we filled the jerrycans with 40 l (€65) of Diesel fuel. We also added 2 L of gasoline to the outboard canister and topped the car so that we could return it as we had received it.
Back in Pali we returned the car, stowed the jerrycans, and prepared to depart. We had decided not to go to Knidos across from Kos as we had originally planed, but, at least for today, return to our anchorage in Yiali.
We departed at 1245 and motored the 3.2 nM to Yiali (Γυαλί) [36° 38.6' N 27° 06.9' E] where we anchored in 5 m depth with 30 m of chain at 1325.
Later Alice cooked with wine a piece of pork tenderloin that we had purchased in Mandraki. In the evening we had our ouzo and then ate the pork with tagliatelle. It was delicious. Along with it we drank some Tsantali Rapsani (Ραψάνη) red wine and followed it with watermelon.
In preparation for an early departure we raised the dinghy and removed the tent.
Tuesday June 26, 2012, Day 8
Before our departure I uncovered the mainsail. We had decided not to go to either Tilos nor to Knidos as we were contemplating but to start on our returned to Samos and this time go from the east side of Kos.
We raised the anchor and departed Yiali at 0708. We right away raised the mainsail and anticipating strong gusts near Kos we set it to its first reef and then headed NE. We motor-sailed for about one hour running the water-maker, then as the wind increased to 14-17 knots from the NW we turned off the engine and opened about 60% of the headsail. It was a delightful sail but unfortunately it did not last as long as we wished.
At 0900 the wind died down to 5-10 knots NW and we had to roll-in the protesting headsail and in the interest of making some progress turn on the engine again. By 1200 we had cleared the Kos-Bodrum channel and headed for Palionisos in Kalymnos. In the meantime the wind had increased somewhat but now it was right on our nose so we lowered the flapping mainsail and motored the rest of the way.
We arrived at Palionisos (Παλιόνησος), Kalymnos [37° 02.5' N 26° 58.4' E] at 1515. We had come 43.1 nM from Yiali. There were 6 other sailing yachts and all but 2 were tied on laid moorings. We first anchored in 6 m depth with 45 m chain and while the anchor did hold I was nervous with all this scope less we swing into another boat. So, we raised the anchor and went after a free mooring. Alice drove the boat and I caught the mooring with the hook, but I was unable to hold it long enough to pass another line through its loop because the loop was too close to the water and I could not reach it easily and I was forced to let go of the hook. Fortunately a nice man from the nearby German boat Replay and who was already in the water retracted our hook and as we made another approach he looped our line to the mooring. After that I put a better cleat through the mooring’s loop. By the way, the loop could not be raised more then 10 cm from the water surface
In the evening we went ashore and sat at the balcony of the restaurant on the W side of the cove. There was some activity at the restaurant and several musician were setting up their instruments. Also, a very long table was being prepared to receive a good number of people. We ordered an ouzo and I asked if they were expecting a wedding party. No, but a young man who was born in Kalymnos but now lives in Australia and works for an Australian TV channel is making a documentary about life in Kalymnos. He and his crew took videos of a young goat being stuffed and baked in a wooden oven for a Kalymnian feast. This will be served later tonight accompanied by live traditional music from the island. Our intentions were to have an ouzo and then return to Thetis for dinner. But after hearing all this we decided to stay for the party. Soon we were joined by a Turkish couple from a British flagged S/Y and by the German couple who had helped us with the mooring. The goat was excellent and so was the fresh, if large, grilled squid. There was an abundance of wine. There were also many, very excited children milling about. Finally the music started. The songs were mostly from Kalymnos but there were also songs from other islands. By that time many local people, all dolled-up, had arrived. There was some dancing and overall lots of fun. By the time we returned to the boat it was midnight but the party was still going strong.
Wednesday June 27, 2012, Day 9
Although we did not have a good signal to get updated weather forecasts, the ones from yesterday were calling for strong winds for today. Also, the German couple had received a Navtex forecast also calling for very strong winds starting from 10 AM today. With these in mind we decided not to stay here but to sail north to Alindas in Leros.
After getting ready we cast off the mooring at 0808. Once we were outside the inlet the wind was 15-18 knots NNW and there was an appreciable amount of chop. As both the wind and the waves were almost against our course of 308 we had no option but to motor. It was slow going uphill on a very bumpy road.
After launching the dinghy I went ashore and bought a fresh loaf bread. On my return to Thetis I snorkeled and looked at the anchor. It was well embedded. Nevertheless, after waking up from an afternoon nap we realized that we had dragged although the anchor seemed to have reset. We re-anchored at 9 m depth and let out this time 65 m of chain. By that time the gusts were frequent and fierce some reaching 35 knots. The boat was swinging all over and our depth was anywhere from 15 m down to 5.
We had a nice dinner with leftover pork loin and pasta.
Thursday June 28, 2012, Day 10
Despite the howling gusts I did sleep but then a nasty mosquito tortured me until I finally located it and killed it. Thetis had not moved outside her swinging circle.
Later in the morning we went ashore and walked along the northern side of the bay. At the end of the road we sat at a new café-bar and had a fresh fruit juice. All was well during the morning and afternoon other then the tedious gusts. The forecasts predict the gusts lasting through tomorrow. We had decided to spent the night here and then to move to Lipsi tomorrow.
I finished reading Ramage’s Challenge on the Kindle. It was not as well written as the previous 14 books and had a lot of repetitions but I still enjoyed it. I started to read Ludlum’s Sigma Protocol a suspense cliff-hanger.
Around 5:30 PM I noticed that even our new amazing Rocna anchor despite its 65 m scope had dragged again for the second time here in Alindas. That did it! Right then we made up our minds not to re-anchor but to move on to either Archangelos or Lipsi. We raised the dinghy and then the anchor. At 1820 we were underway. The sea was rough and the wind was 15-25 knots NNW, a head wind again. We motored running the water-maker. There was a lot of spray.
We had a well deserved ouzo and boiled some spaghetti which we served with a ready made tuna and basil RioMare sauce. We slept well since the gusts here were much weaker then they were in Alindas.
Friday June 29, 2012, Day 11
Looking at the forecasts and expecting the northerly wind and gusts to increase later in the day we made up our minds to make an early run for Papandria, Lipsi. So, at 0755 we raised the anchor and motored. Because of the 14-20 NNW head wind and the choppy irregular waves our speed was low. The just 5.4 nM were a wet and not very pleasant passage. We arrived at Papandria [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E] at 0915. While there were a lot of boats on the moorings at the adjacent Katsadia, here there was only a German flagged wooden sailboat. We anchored over sand at 5 m depth and let out 30 m of chain.
The afternoon was, as predicted, gusty but unlike yesterday’s at Alindas the gusts never went over 23 knots. I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was nicely dug-in. Later our friend Stamatis Skoutas called. He, with a friend, are anchored in Arki. Maybe we will go there tomorrow and meet them.
In the evening we went ashore and walked for about 40 minutes to the main harbor where after getting some provisions we had an ouzo with their fantastic grilled octopus at the Nick’s & Louli’s cafe. The walk back to Papandria, under the half moon, was very enjoyable. We slept well.
Saturday June 30, 2012, Day 12
Our plan was to go to Arki today and meet our friend Stamatis Skoutas who is there with his sailboat but the wind was howling this morning and we did not feel having another slow motoring, like yesterday’s, against it. So, we stayed here.
In the late afternoon we went ashore at Katsadia and walked along the beach. Back onboard we had an ouzo and for dinner omelets with leftover pasta.
Sunday July 1, 2012, Day 13
The wind this morning was somewhat less then yesterday and the forecasts were not too intimidating. As a result we left Papandria at 0845 and motored to Arki. We were tempted to go to Marathi as it did not seem too crowded but fortunately we did not because later in the morning a number of motor cruiser descended there, one of them very very large and obscenely ugly. Stamatis’ sailboat was neither in Steno nor in Glipapas [37° 22.4' N 26° 44.4' E] where we arrived at 1040 after 8.4 nM. We anchored in 5 m on a patch of sand and let out 50 m chain, Thetis settling at 16 m depth.
We swam a lot although the water was only 24°C (75.2°F). In the afternoon we went ashore and walked for about an hour towards Tiganakia. When we got back onboard we took showers and had an ouzo. In the meantime, 2 sailboats had anchored nearby: a German flagged with two men and a lady and a US flagged (Delaware) with 4 Turkish gentlemen. These last seemed to have a great time drinking and grilling their dinner.
We, for dinner, went ashore to the little taverna where the proprietors Mr. Isidoros and his mother Theologia greeted us warmly and served us delicious green beans (ambelofasola - αμπελοφάσολα), grilled octopus, and two very tasty pork chops. A German family of four arrived. They had pre-ordered a large and very impressive sinagrida (συναγρίδα - Dentex dentex).
Back on the boat we had a quiet night but the wind and the gusts were still with us.
Monday July 2, 2012, Day 14
We waited until we could see some boats, especially a very large motor cruiser, depart from Marathi, less then a mile away from us, before raising the anchor and going there. It was not until 10:30 when the large cruiser and a sailboat left. We pulled up our anchor at 1047 and slowly motored the 0.7 nM to Marathi [37° 22.1' N 26° 43.6' E] towing the dinghy with the outboard still on it. Alice drove the boat and despite the rather strong gusts she made a perfect approach which allowed me to easily catch one of Pandelis’ moorings.
After securing Thetis on the mooring we put up the tent and swam. Later we went ashore and were greeted by Pandelis, Katina, and their daughter Toola, as well as Toola’s two little boys. We sat under the shade overlooking the lovely cove and had a great salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, pickled caper leaves, and soft goat cheese. While we were eating the staff, under Toola’s supervision were setting up a table because they were expecting 6 guests. Soon enough the magnificent sparkling new 56 m schooner, Regina, flying the Turkish flag arrived. These were the expected guests.
Later in the afternoon a motor cruiser, with a US flag and registered in Delaware arrived and moored next to the Regina. Other than a single crewman she was populated by a rather attractive Turkish family. After a couple of hours the Regina departed and the cruiser’s crewman took the family ashore driving their dinghy at a reasonable speed. But on his return he drove like a demon. I called him and as politely as I could explained to him that this driving in an anchorage, especially where people are swimming is not only against the laws of Greece and the US but it is dangerous and may cause a very serious accident. I hope he understood because after that his driving was much more subdued.
Alice and I swam some more and then walked along the small beach. After dark we went to Pandelis for dinner. We had a very nice eggplant salad (μελιτζανοσαλατα - melizanosalata), tiny fried shrimps, and a very, very fresh grilled στήρα (stira - Epinephelus costae). After dinner we said our goodbyes to the family since we were planning to leave for Samos very early in the morning.
Tuesday July 3, 2012, Day 15
We woke up just before 5 AM, and after a cup of coffee prepared our departure. Anticipating the forecasted NW wind, I uncovered the mainsail. We cast off at 0555. For a while we ran the engine and the water-maker while rounding Tiganakia, the group of islets south of Arki. Unfortunately after we set our course of 023 for Pythagorio, Samos the wind was dead head on and so were the waves. These were large, choppy, and very irregular. So instead of the expected nice sail we had to endure motoring, banging, spraying, and agonizingly slow speed, the waves acting as brakes.
Eventually the wind abated somewhat and we gained some speed but still no sailing. Taking under those conditions would have taken us many more hours and we wanted to arrive early before the day got very hot. Finally we arrived at Samos Marina [37° 41.5' N 26° 57.3' E] at 1145 after 24.4 nM.
July 4 to July 23, 2012
During this time Thetis stayed at the Marina. While there I vacuumed the interior of the boat, removed and washed the curtains, cushions and berth covers, the tent, spray hood, and the bimini. I pressure-hosed the deck and cockpit, washed all the dirty clothes, towels, and linen and re-provisioned the boat.
Tuesday July 24, 2012, Day 16
Alice and I took a day trip with Thetis. We left the marina at 0815 and motored 4.4 nM to Klima [37° 42.4' N 27° 02.3' E] where we arrived at 0910. We spent the day swimming and had a picnic. At 1830 we departed for the marina, again motoring, where we arrived at 1710 after 4 nM. We first tied at the fuel dock and topped the tank with 63 l of Diesel fuel (€100). Then we moored at Thetis’ regular berth.