Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2012: Astypalea to Samos via Syrna

This web page contains the logs of the second leg of a 29 day solo sailing trip that I took with on S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean in Greece. On this leg I sailed from the island of Astypalea to the island of Samos. On our way I stopped at the islet of Kounoupi, the desolate island of Syrna, the small island of Yiali, at Emborios in the island of Kalymnos, Xerocambos & Lakki in Leros, at the islet of Archangelos, then at Livadhi tou Geranou in Patmos, at Marathi, and Tiganakia. After I reached Samos I stopped briefly at Pythagorio, and spent some time at Mycale, Klima, Mikri Lakka, and finally ended the trip in Samos Marina.

The logs include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites.

Route Astypalea - Samos
Route from Astypalea
Route in Astypalea
Route in Astypalea

Sunday August 12, 2012, Day 13

Last night was fine except that one of the shore establishments, being Saturday night, had live music. Their live music, non classical, was exceptionally well amplified with massive loud speakers and the establishment was illuminated with high intensity beams. The whole cove was pulsating with the booming sound and one could almost read in the cockpit with the artificial light. It is amazing how people spoil nature’s gifts.

The cove at Kounoupi

I woke up at about 5:30 and got ready to depart. After checking the forecasts all of which were predicting NW winds of force 3-4 I decided to go to Syrna one of the the three Aegean islands that I had not visited. But first I wanted to check out the anchorage in the islet of Kounoupi just off Astypalea.

I raised the anchor at 0650 and after taking a few pictures of the dismasted S/Y I headed for Kounoupi. The autopilot with its new driver worked perfectly. The wind was 5-10 knots NW and I motor-sailed with the headsail. In the hope of better wind I opened the bimini but left the mainsail still covered. We arrived at Kounoupi (Κουνούπι - Mosquito) at 0755 after 5.1 M. We entered its west cove [36° 31.9' N 26° 27.9' E]. It was not too inviting but I took a few pictures.

After leaving Kounoupi I took advantage of the calms and calibrated the autopilot with its new tiller driver by making a number of 360° turns at slow speed and then choosing its autocalibration procedure. Then at 0815 we headed for Syrna.

There was no wind, not even to motor-sail, but there was a lot of uncomfortable swell. Having given up all hope of using the sails I put up the tent. Fortunately at 0950 the wind returned at 12-18 knots from the NNW and I was able to open about 40% of the headsail and motor-sail.

The cove where I anchored for a short time

As we were approaching Syrna (Σύρνα) or Ayios Yiannis (Άγιος Γιάννης) from the north it appeared as a very sinister black steep mountain. The only anchorage here is on the S side of the island. By 1105 we had entered this cove. The cove is very desolate with great depths. I did manage to anchor in 12 m depth at its NE corner [36° 20.1' N 26° 40.8' E] where there is a relatively shallow semi-sandy small beech. We had come 20.6 nautical miles (M) from Livadhia, Astypalea. But I could let out only 30 m of chain and that brought the boat too close to the rocks. To be comfortable with the anchor at 12 m depth I wanted to have at least 50 m of scope. I thought that the safe thing to do here was to anchor in 15 m depth and the take 2 lines to the shore on the north. Being all by myself to do so would take me a long time and then I would not be able to make a quick departure if such a need were to arise. Since the setting here was not particularly attractive and since I was not comfortable with my anchoring I decided not to stay and to go to my favorite Yiali.

South Syrna
Entering Syrna

Entering the cove

Departing Syrna

Departing the cove

We departed Syrna at 1125 and headed out of the cove. I was glad that I had done so because when we were less then 2 M away the wind came from the NW at 15-22 knots. This allowed me to open the genoa, keeping the tent, and to turn off the engine. It was a wonderful sail all the way to Yiali.

On the way we had a close encounter with a large cargo ship. She did not show up on the AIS but I did track her on the Radar and determined that if we were both to keep our course she would leave our stern with the closest approach of 0.8 M and this is exactly what happened. This was the first time since I got the AIS that it failed to show a large ship. I suppose either their unit had failed or they had not turne it on.

We arrived in Yiali (Γυαλί) [36° 38.6' N 27° 06.9' E] at 1650 after a total of 46.9 M from Astypalea. I anchored in 3.5 m depth on the lovely sand and let out 30 m of scope. Thetis settled at 4.5 m. After launching the dinghy I snorkeled and checked the anchor. All was well although the wind now was 16 knots, fortunately from the WNW, with high gusts. About a mile away was a motor cruiser and a sailboat with a German flag.

The rest of the afternoon, although gusty, was pleasant. I later had an ouzo watching the sunset and then I made a pilaf to go along with the last of the pot roast. I then ate apricots and figs that I had bought yesterday in Astypalea.

Tonight were the once a year Perseids meteor showers. Although I was tired and sleepy I sat in the dark cockpit and looked for a while at the clear sky. I only saw 3 meteors but these were spectacularly bright, large, and lasted for several seconds.

Monday August 13, 2012, Day 14

I had not made up my mind where to go next but as far as today goes I will stay here.

In the morning I washed the deck and the cockpit. Then I put up the tent and cleaned, with fresh water, all the stainless steel items like davits, stanchions, pulpit, pushpit, etc. The wind came from the NNW at 8-14 knots.

I have a hard time understanding how some boats anchor. A large catamaran arrived with several charterers and I guess a professional skipper. They stopped, moved forward, then moved backward, then stopped again. This they did for over ½ hour her skipper proudly at the bridge while the rest were lounging without doing anything useful. Eventually they lowered via the windlass the anchor without anyone going to the bow. After another ½ hour they raised it and departed. Last night, after dusk, a S/Y with the German flag and a couple arrived. The man was at the wheel issuing a stream of commands to the helpless looking lady at the bow. They circled for about 5 times and then came next to Thetis and dropped their anchor. It dragged. This they repeated for the next hour with continuous commands and criticisms from the gentleman. Eventually the anchor held. Why would people clueless about anchoring come after dark to try their luck? This morning when they pulled up their anchor it was fouled on a rock. That is why it held them all night. Fortunately for them a man from a French boat was already snorkelling and went to their help. He dove and freed their anchor.

I swam and read. The Child History of England was getting a little boring with all these English murderous kings and all the beheadings so, I started, as a brake, Θεανώ η λύκαινα της Πόλης - Theano i lykaina tis Polis (Theano the she wolf of Constantinople) a Greek novel that I had bought in Astypalea.

By 5 PM the wind had increased and was gusting to the mid 20s. I spoke on the phone with our Kalami caretaker. The grapes were ripening faster and he predicted that we may have to harvest them around August 25. I will be in touch with him but I better move north, closer to Samos, in case I am delayed by a gale. There has been no gale for over 2 weeks now but the wind has been very gusty at force 5-6 and sometimes 7.

I started cooking the chopped meat I got in Astypalea making a spaghetti ragù. I used a little olive oil, onions, fresh tomatoes, garlic, wine, salt, pepper, and thyme. After browning the meat I put the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer slowly.

In the evening I removed the tent, had a nice ouzo, and then boiled some spaghetti which I served with some of the ragù and plenty of freshly grated Parmezan. It was very good. This was followed, like yesterday, with apricots and figs.

Yiali Sunset
Sunset at Yiali

Tuesday August 14, 2012, Day 15

After I got up I got ready to depart. My plan was to go “uphill” (against the wind, that is north) to Emborios in Kalymnos. After raising and securing the dinghy we departed at 0650. There was a problem with the knot meter, it stopped showing the boat speed. Usually this is caused by tiny barnacles grown on its impeller. I stopped the boat, removed the impeller, and plugged the hole. Sure enough the impeller was fouled by tiny barnacles. I cleaned it and re-installed it. All was well and it worked fine but just to make sure I re-calibrated it via the GPS. I did not put up the tent but opened the bimini. The wind was 15-23 knots from the NNW, right on our nose. We motored to Cape Krikelos the SW point of Kos.

At 0930 the wind changed direction by a few degrees now coming from the NW and I was able to open 30% of the headsail and motor-sail, with making a few tacks, almost the rest of the way. The sea was rough but not violent.

We arrived in Emborios (Εμποριός) [37° 02.2' N 26° 55.6' E] at 1340 after a total of 33.1 nautical miles (M). I caught one of Barba Nicolas moorings without any difficulty. After the boat stopped moving it was hot. Right away I launched the dinghy and freed the swimming ladder. I then went with the dinghy to the mooring and secured Thetis with a strong line and a cleat to prevent any abrasion. After that I jumped in the water to cool off and then put up the tent and folded the bimini and the spray hood. It was calm here but a little gusty.

In the afternoon I spoke with my wife Alice on Skype. Little Rohan, I was sad to hear, was seen by his pediatrician who found that he has a hernia and she recommended an operation before returning to Kenya. They will be seeing a surgeon later today.

In the late evening I went ashore and climbed up the hill just W of the village to the Barba Nicolas (Μπαρμα Νικόλας) taverna. The proprietor, Pavlos, was very pleased to see me. He did not recognize Thetis because of her new solar panels. His son, Nicolas, who used to be such a serious little boy is now 13 and almost taller then his father. Pavlos asked me about Alice and Corinna. The place was almost empty. I was told that tomorrow being a big holiday, Assumption, everyone was at either one of the two big fiestas in other parts of the island. The food selection was limited but the fried zucchini and eggplants were light and delicious and so was the inevitable pot roast with tomatoes κοκκινιστο κατσικάκι (kokinisto katsikaki - young goat with red sauce). We were joined by a very pleasant elderly man, Michalis. He is related with the Kalymnian-Australian young man who was filming for the Australian TV in Palionisos in late June where there was such a feast in his honor. Michalis is a pastry chef and although he does not have much of a formal education likes to read. We discussed a number of mutually favorite Greek authors. We are both very fond of Fotis Kontoglou from Aivali and, of course, of the Kalymnian Yiannis Maglis. He has read and re-read Maglis’ Κοντραμπαζήδες του Αιγαίου - Traffickers of the Aegean and he was very pleased that I too was familiar with these stories. He invited me to visit him tomorrow evening in his house which is west of Emborios.

Wednesday August 15, 2012, Day 16

Today was a very lazy day. I hardly moved spending most of the day reading. I finished Child History of England. It is interesting but also a little boring and very bloody. As Dickens points out England has nothing to feel jealous about the “rein of terror” of the French Revolution.

Near Emborios
The cove east of Emborios

While entering the cove yesterday I noticed that there were several new moorings on the cove just east of Emborios. Today I went with the dinghy and investigated that cove. There were now 6 moorings and there was what looks like a new restaurant-bar under the tamarind trees that line its shore.

The afternoon was very gusty and also very hot. I did a lot of swimming just to stay cool.

In the early evening I went ashore and walked to the western peninsula. There almost by the edge hanging over the steep hill there was a neat little chapel and underneath the chapel a small house. Mr. Michalis Vouros and his two German shepherds were delighted to have a visitor. Michalis is the owner of a large pastry shop in Pothia, the largest in Kalymnos, and has 7 grown children. He built the chapel and the house as a place of refuge. It is a lovely little rustic house with a well equipped kitchen, a fireplace, a wood burning oven outside, and view to the NW. He offered me tsipouro (τσίπουρο - unscented ouzo) and mezedakia (tasty snaks) with which we greeted a gorgeous sunset. We had a nice conversation covering many topics: his interest in collecting antiquities, the evils of the illicit antiquities trade, fishing, poetry, and his rather colorful life. He had lived for several years in Boston but wanted to return to Kalymnos where he was born. He then took over his father’s pastry shop and expanded it. Before we knew it it was dark. He drove me to Barba Nicolas and then he went on to town for a festive event.

I was planning to eat aboard but seeing Pavlos and his wife without any customers I joined them and ate there.

Thursday August 16, 2012, Day 17

It was a very windy night with violent gusts. After looking at the weather forecasts this morning which more or less promised more of the same I decided to go a little further north maybe just stay for tonight at Xerocambos on the S side of Leros.

After a slow preparation, setting up the bimini, raising the dinghy, etc. we departed at 0835. It was windy indeed, the wind coming at strength anywhere between 15 and 30 knots predominantly from the NW. We motored slowly against this wind, running the water-maker, for the 6.2 M to Xerocambos (Ξηρόκαμπος) [37° 06.5' N 26° 52.3' E] where we arrived at 1005.

There were several free mooring. I chose one belonging to the Aloni restaurant. But, as I was approaching the mooring, and I was very close to it, a man swimming on his back and completely oblivious to the slowly approaching sailboat, cut me off. I had to turn around, wait until he went away, and tried again. This time I got the mooring and all was fine.

I jumped into the water to cool off and then I put up the tent. Afterwards I went ashore to inquire in the Aloni about my friends Mike & Nicola. I had heard that they had sold the S/Y Gordian Knot and now have rented, year round, a flat here in Xerocambos. Lefteris, Aloni’s proprietor, was very glad to see me, since I had not come here last year. He told me that Mike & Nicola were in UK for the past month but were due to arrive here this afternoon.

I spent the rest of the day swimming and reading. I started reading on the Kindle the The Three Musketeers. While reading I saw 3 men in a very small inflatable being blown by the strong wind to Kalymnos while two of them were frantically rowing and the third furiously trying to start their recalcitrant outboard. I got into my dinghy and towed them back to their boat. They were Italians and very relieved by the “rescue.” Later one of them came to Thetis and insisted on giving me a bottle of wine as a thank you.

In the evening I removed the tent, took a shower, and had an ouzo. I then went ashore looking for Mike and Nicola. Sure enough, they were there. We had dinner together and also talked a lot with Lefteris and his wife Evelyn. It was the same story as everywhere. All businesses are having a hard time with the austerity measures and are struggling to survive. No vacationing Greeks, very few Germans, and Englishmen. At any rate, we still had a nice evening with my sailing friends.

Friday August 17, 2012, Day 18

My plan for today was to leave fairly early, stop at Lakki for some shopping, and then go for the rest of the day to Archangelos. Then tomorrow, weather permitting, go to Patmos. But before doing anything else I checked the weather. Same as it has been for the past 2 weeks: force 5-6 NW with lots of gusts. But, the EMY (National Greek Meteorological Service) was forecasting very strong northerlies for all of the Aegean starting later tomorrow.

I cast off the mooring at 0805. The wind was from the N at 17-30 knots. We motored the 5 M to Lakki as there was no chance of sailing with this headwind. Fortunately the waves were not too bad. We arrived at Lakki (Λακκί) [37° 07.8' N 26° 51.2' E] at 0905. First I anchored in 6 m depth and let out 35 m of chain but the anchor dragged so I re-anchored in 5 m depth with again 35 m of chain. This time the anchor held.

I launched the dinghy and went ashore. First I carted the empty jerry can and re-filled it with 21 L of Diesel fuel for € 35. Then I got 6 bottles of spring water, some cheese, cold cuts, bread, eggs, and fresh fruit. After returning aboard Thetis I went inside the cabin to stow the fresh provisions in the refrigerator. Then, I went outside to stow the jerry can. To my horror I realized that the dinghy was gone. I almost panicked. Fortunately the dinghy was drifting away but it was not too far. I stripped off my clothes and jumped into the water after it. I swam as fast as I could. When I caught up with it I climbed in it and started its outboard. It was a close thing! I supposed that I had not secured the dinghy properly after I returned from shopping.

With all that it was 1200 when we managed to depart from Lakki. Again the N wind was contrary gusting between 17 and 32 knots. We motored again. We arrived at Archangelos (Αρχάγγελος) [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] at 1350. I anchored over sand in 4.5 m depth with 30 m scope. It was calm here and there were 5 other S/Ys.

The calm did not last and the strong gusts did return but they were less violent than the gusts at either Xerocambos or Emborios.

The rest of the day was rather pleasant but the gusts did increase and, even worse, the wind kept changing direction. In the evening, afraid of the anchor being dislodged, I snorkeled and checked it. It was well buried under the sand in exactly the same position it was set earlier. After I got back on the boat I transferred one jerry can of Diesel fuel to the main tank.

For dinner I made an omelet with some of the ragù that I had cooked few days ago. I did not have a good night because I was worried. The wind was coming from NE and Thetis had drifted not too far from the rocks although the anchor was holding.

Satuday August 18, 2012, Day 19

I had an uneasy night with frequent checks on the anchor and the position of the boat relative to the rocky western shore. Eventually I got up at 5 AM while the wind outside was howling at 25 knots from the NNE. I had my coffee and prepared to leave.

We departed Archangelos at 0615 and slowly motored against the NE wind to the east side of the island. After we rounded the island and I set a course for the Livadhi tou Geranou in Patmos I was able to open about 20% of the headsail and turn off the engine. It was a very close beat (sailing very close to the wind) but because of the gusts reaching 35 knots I did not dare to use more sail. We arrived at Livadhi tou Geranou (Λιβάδι του Γερανού) also known as Livadhi tou Pothetou (Λιβάδι του Ποθητού) [37° 20.6' N 26° 35.3' E] at 0940 and after 15.2 M (nautical miles).

There were 5 other S/Ys here. I anchored in 6 m depth over sand and let out 40 m of chain. Thetis settled at 6.5 m. I snorkeled and checked the anchor and then I put up the tent. The wind was 15-18 knots mostly from the NW.

The only significant event was that in the afternoon a jet-ski from a large motor cruiser anchored in the big bay south of here almost collided with Thetis. The two grownups riding on it were completely oblivious to anchored boats and swimmers. They were a public danger!

For dinner I boiled some spaghetti and served it with ragù and plenty of graded Parmezan. This was followed by fresh figs and prosciutto crudo. The night was windy but uneventful.

Livadhi Geranou
The anchorage at Livadhi tou Geranou

Sunday August 19, 2012, Day 20

Livadhi Geranou
Livadhi tou Geranou from up the hill

First thing in the morning I went ashore, while still cool, and walked for about 2 hours. It was a wonderful walk in this early hour. All the fragrant plants gave their smell and all the colors in this dry island were vivid.

After I got back onboard I had 2 small pieces of baklava (μπακλαβαδάκια) from the box that was kindly given to me by Mr. Michalis in Kalymnos. I then did some cleaning inside the cabins and washed down the cockpit that by now was once again full crumbs.

In the mean time, the Greek Weather service has issued gale warnings covering most of the Aegean. The forecasts for Patmos called for NW winds of force 7 with high gusts.

I got word from Alice that she was with our daughter Corinna and grandson Rohan who were now at Laramie, Wyoming. I also got word from my Samian sailing friend Stamatis Skoutas. He was in Lakki and will be sailing west. In the mean time, my other sailing friend Turgut Ayker was with a large group in a motor cruiser in Agathonisi and will also be going to Lakki and then SE. I guess I had missed them all by one day and will not cross paths with them this time.

In the afternoon there was entertainment. A chartered sailboat arrived full of young people of both sexes. One of them immediately started preparing to kite ski. It took almost an hour to get ready: inflate the ribs of the kite, arrange all the harnesses, etc. Eventually he was in the water and the kite took off to the air. He stood on his board and off he went with amazing speed and grace. He skied all over this cove and the next one, around the islets, on and on. What a show!

Kite Skiing
Kite Skiing

Getting ready…

Kite Skiing

Moving, fast

The day was windy and cool and I did not swim very much. I finished reading Θεανώ η λύκαινα της Πόλης - Theano i lykaina tis Polis. It was actually rather disappointing and very melodramatic. I suspect that it was written with the objective of becoming a TV soap opera. I continued reading The Three Musketeers.

In the late afternoon I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was exactly where it had been yesterday.

For dinner I cooked potatoes in the oven. These I had peeled and cut into small pieces, coated them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then added some crashed garlic. I cooked them in a medium oven for almost 1½ hour. They were crispy and delicious. I ate them together with a small omelet made with yesterday’s left over spaghetti and ragù. Along with the potatoes and omelet I drank the chilled white Boutari Moschofilero wine that the grateful Italians had pressed on me.

Monday August 20, 2012, Day 21

I had a quiet night and I slept a little late this morning. The gale warnings continued but now the forecasts for Patmos called for NW winds of force 6 instead of 7 and less gusts. They also predicted force 4 for tomorrow morning. We will stay here until then.

I washed the dinghy and the cockpit and I also vacuumed the main cabin.

In the late afternoon I went with the dinghy to the cove of Panayia tou Geranou (Παναγία του Γερανού), just east from here. I then walked up to the church.

After returning to Thetis I cooked a pilaf with tuna, olives, and capers. The evening was very windy with very strong gusts into the upper 20s.

By 10:30 I was in bed.

Panayia tou Geranou
Panayia tou Geranou

Tuesday August 21, 2012, Day 22

The wind this morning was down to about 8 knots N. I decided to move on to Marathi but first I took the trash ashore and placed it in the trash bin. Then I raised the dinghy and prepared to leave. Being an optimist I opened the bimini and uncovered the mainsail.

We departed Patmos at 0850. After clearing the cove I raised the mainsail and shook off the reef. While doing so I was running the water-maker. The wind was 8-14 knots still from the N. I opened about 60% of the headsail and turned off the motor. I had a lovely gentle sail all the way to Griousa (Γριούσα) an uninhabited islet just W of Marathi. Taking advantage of of the relative calm between the two small islands I rolled-in the headsail and lowered the mainsail.

We arrived at Marathi [37° 22' N 26° 43.6' E] after 8.1 M at 1000. The anchorage was crowded but there was one free mooring belonging to Pandelis. I had a hard time getting to it because the wind kept changing directions and by the time I moved from the tiller to the bow the boat had drifted away from the mooring. Fortunately a man from the Spanish S/Y Seobel came with his dinghy and gave me a helping hand.

The anchorage was a zoo! There were about 8 Turkish motor cruisers, a Turkish gulet, 4 S/Ys (a Turkish, an Italian, a Spanish, and a Greek). In addition there were 3-4 smaller speed boats and I lost count on the inflatables that kept coming and going.

I cannot help but observe that over the years the designs of modern motor cruisers have become uglier and uglier. Most now are sporting strange tear shaped large windows and bizarre non functional curves as if these have been drawn not by naval architects but by marketeers. Looking the local sample here in Marathi it seemed as if there was a competition as to which one will win the prize for the ugliest cruiser. There was, however, a noted exception. This was a 56' trawler which while very modern still looked good and functional.

Later I went over to Seobel to thank for the help. They were a couple; Antonio and Isabel. They sailed here from Spain 5 years ago and had been cruising in the Aegean since then.

By the afternoon the wind had decreased down to less then 10 knots.

For dinner I went, of course, to Pandelis. Toola (Pandelis’ daughter) and Katina (his wife) hugged me. I did not order but let Katina decide for me. They first brought their special salad and fried zucchini. While sipping the wine I was joined by Antonio and Isabel. While they were studying the menu Toola brought me a delicious grilled Sargos (Σαργός - Diplodus Sargus - Sea Bream). It was a fun evening that ended with a night cup on board Seobel. Tomorrow they will be going to Agathonisi and I, most likely, to nearby Tiganakia.

The only problem today was that the outboard which since Thetis was launched in April had been working flawlessly was balky in starting. I will see what I can do about this tomorrow.

Wednesday August 22, 2012, Day 23

I slept well. In the early morning there was hardly any wind just a breeze from variable directions. I decided not to stay another day in this busy place but also not to overeat because as long as I was here I feel obligated to eat at Pamdelis’ and their food is too good and too tasty not to indulge.

Before leaving I wanted to go ashore and say goodbye. Again the outboard was bulky. I checked its spark plug and drained some gasoline from its tank. It did start so I used it to go ashore. Katina insisted in giving me a loaf of her home baked bread. Again the outboard did start and I got back to Thetis. I closed the fuel cock and ran the outboard until all the fuel in its carburetor was burned.

Map of Tiganakia

After that, I cast off the mooring and departed from Marathi towing the dinghy at slow speed and running the water-maker. The time of departure was 1018. After covering the vast distance of 1.2 miles we arrived at Tiganakia (Τηγανάκια) and I anchored in 6.5 depth over sand with 40 m of chain in the very calm channel between the islets of Tsouka (Τσούκα) and Makronisi (Μακρονήσι) [37° 21.6' N 26° 45' E]. The time was 1045.

It is lovely here with emerald-blue green clear water. When I snorkeled to check the anchor I saw a large octopus. I was tempted to catch it and cook it but then I felt sorry for it and let it go. The anchor was well set.

I spent the rest of the day swimming and reading. Several other boats came and went including a day tripper and a motor cruiser. But by the evening there was only Thetis and another S/Y with an Italian flag.

For dinner I boiled some spaghetti and finished the remaining ragù that I had made over a week ago. That is the problem of a solo cruiser. Whatever he cooks last for ever…

The night was somewhat windy with 8-20 knots mostly from the NW.

Sunset from Tiganakia

Thursday August 23, 2012, Day 24

View from Makronisi
View of Lipsi from Makronisi

Fairly early in the morning I wanted to go ashore for a walk. I tried to start the outboard but it was still bulky. I totally drained its fuel and replaced it but it still had difficulties starting. Eventually it did and I went ashore to Makronisi where I walked and took some photographs. When I returned to the dinghy the outboard started right away. Maybe there is hope.

After I got back on Thetis I put up the tent. Several S/Ys came and left. In one of them, a Greek charter boat, there was a sympathetic family with small children, a boy and a girl. Acting on an impulse I went over with the dinghy (the outboard worked perfectly) and gave them most of the baklava that Mr. Michalis had given me in Kalymnos. While they were still tasty and good they were no help to my diet. The family were German and were appreciative of this offer by a strange Greek.

Nothing much happened the rest of the day which was spent with reading and swimming. When the sun started going down I removed the tent. While doing so the wind increased, gusting to 25 knots. I had a shower and an ouzo.

For dinner I made an omelet with the left-over baked potatoes. After dinner, in anticipation of an early departure for Samos, I raised the dinghy.

View from Makronisi
View of Arki from Makronisi

Friday August 24, 2012, Day 25

Route in Samos
Route in Samos

Today is our wedding anniversary. Alice and I have been married for 45 years! I woke rather early and prepared to depart. It was still dark and one of the cabin lights stopped working. I replaced it with an old one. This is the 2nd failure since all three fixtures were replaced with new ones last year. Being optimistic I opened the bimini and uncovered the mainsail.

I raised the anchor at 0605 and departed. After clearing Tiganakia I raised the mainsail. The wind was 8-20 knots at the beginning from the NNW and later from the NNE. At any rate, it was once again a head wind. Both wind and waves impeded our course. We motor-sailed and at least the tanks were refilled by the water-maker. It was a rather slow and bumpy ride.

By the time we were about 4 M from Pythagorio, Samos the sail was flapping and was very unhappy. I lowered it. We arrived at the outer harbor of Pythagorio (Πυθαγόρειο) [37° 41.3' N 26° 56.8' E] at 1040. The distance from Tiganakia was 22.2 M. I anchored in 7 m depth with 40 m scope. I then lowered the dinghy and after a cooling off jump in the water I put up the tent. The reason for stopping at the harbor was that I was out of fruits. I dressed and went ashore where I bought some. The outboard to my relief was well behaved.

After I returned back onboard Thetis, and after another refreshing jump into the water, I raised the anchor and motored out of the harbor. The time was 1220. We motored slowly for 2.1 miles towing the dinghy with its outboard attached to Mycale (Μυκάλη) [37° 42.2' N 26° 58.8' E] where we arrived at 1250. I anchored in 4.5 m depth and let out 35 m of chain. It was hot, even the air! Another jump into the water was a must. We had come 24.1 nautical miles (M) from Tiganakia. The wind was about 10 knots from the NE.

In the afternoon the wind came from the north at 15-19 knots and I let out 10 more meters of chain. Before doing so I thought that we had dragged because the boat was very far from her earlier position. But, after I snorkeled to the anchor I saw that it was well set and that it had not moved at all. This was the hottest afternoon during this cruise. The temperature inside the cabin which was shaded by the tent had reached 35°C (95°F). I swam very frequently just to stay comfortable. I also did a lot of reading. I finished the The Three Musketeers and started reading on the Kindle its sequel Twenty Years After. By late afternoon Thetis was blissfuly the only boat here.

I called our Kalami caretaker Yiorgos. The grapes were now ripe and needed to be harvested. I revised my plan. I will return to the marina on Sunday, rent a car, and be in Kalami for the harvest and crushing on early Monday morning.

For dinner I made pasta with one of the Rio Mare prepared tuna sauces. It was not too bad for a commercial sauce when accompanied with a lot of freshly graded Parmesan.

Saturday August 25, 2012, Day 26

The night was hot and I spent part of it in the cockpit. When I felt cool I went down to my cabin and when I felt hot back to the cockpit. This went on for most of the night. Other then that all was fine.

In the morning I cleaned all the stainless steel surfaces that had been showing rust stains from the spray of the last 2 weeks. I also, while the morning was still cool, I cooked the remaining Kalami potatoes and made a potato salad with onions, capers, olive oil, boiled eggs, and tomatoes. These I had for lunch.

At 1148 I left Mycale and motored slowly east for 2.3 M to Klima (Κλήμα) [37° 42.4' N 27° 2.3' E] where we arrived at 1230. I anchored in 6 m depth with 25 m of chain. Thetis settled in 4.5 m depth since by then there was a NE of about 9 knots. On the way the knot meter stopped again and I had to remove its sensor and clean it from sea growth. After re-installing it it worked well.

The afternoon was not as hot as yesterday’s and in fact it was rather pleasant. I read a lot. I also cleaned thoroughly the galley stove. In the late afternoon since the wind did not change to the forecasted NW but continued coming from the NE I re-anchored because I was uncomfortable being close to the shore with only 25 m of scope. I dropped the anchor in 7 m and let out 40 m of scope, after which Thetis was floating in 5 m depth. There were at least 4 S/Ys and the small trawler that I had seen at Marathi, about ½ M west of Thetis.

I did not have very much food; just some tuna, pasta, and some rice. And since I had tuna and pasta last night I thought of possibly going ashore for dinner at the Karduna restaurant. But although it is nicely situated over the sea and its owner and waiter, whom I have known for years, are very friendly, last time I ate there I was not very pleased with its food. Despite these thoughts eventually I decided to give them another try.

The good news was that the outboard gave no problems but the bad news was that once again Karduna’s food was disappointing. I could have done better by eating aboard. They have extended their pier and now docked there were 2 S/Ys, a trawler, and a small motor cruiser. All of these had either Turkish flags or US Delaware i.e. they were Turkish. The table next to mine was occupied with the crew of one of the sailboats with whom I spoke. With them was the owner’s elderly mother.

After I returned to Thetis I enjoyed a quiet night.

Sunday August 26, 2012, Day 27

In the early morning there was an incredible amount of dew. Inside the cabin the relative humidity was 87%, the highest during this cruise. I prepared to leave Klima. The plan is to sail back to Mycale and spend the day. Then, in the evening after getting ready go to the marina at about 6:30-7:00.

I raised the anchor at 0814. Despite the forecasts that called for a northerly breeze of 2-4 knots the wind was from the NNE at 10-18 knots. I quickly opened 50% of the headsail and had a lovely gentle downwind sail to Mycale [37° 42.3' N 26° 59' E] where we arrived at 0916 after 3.4 sea miles instead of yesterday’s 2.3 because of the opposing current. I anchored in 6 m depth with 35 m of chain. The sea was choppy but not too uncomfortable.

In the afternoon again contrary to the forecasted NW breeze of force 2 we had a NE wind of force 4 and then up to 5! I did some packing, washed the cockpit, covered the dinghy and then raised it on the davits, removed the tent, put out fenders and docking lines. Then at 1835, when all was ready I hailed the marina advising them of our arrival and departed. By 1855 Thetis was moored at her berth. The total distance today was 5.2 M.

Aramis Rent a Car delivered the car and after putting things in order inside the boat I left for Kalami.

Monday August 27 to Friday August 31, 2012

Thetis during these days was at the Samos Marina while I attended to wine making in Kalami.

On Monday morning Yiorgos came at 7 AM and we cut all the grapes, there were altogether 17 crates of them. We then, using a hand turned “crusher-stem separator” we crushed them and put the grapes with their skins but without their stems in two stainless steel vats for their preliminary preparation. We were assisted in these tasks by my childhood friend Rena Lyons and, her daughter, and granddaughter. The vats were “punched down” i.e. stirred with an old oar, once a day for the next 5 days.

It was good that Thetis was safely in the marina because on Monday evening there was a furious gale that lasted for 2 days. The gusts were ferocious well inside the middle 40’s.

On Friday Yiorgos and I pressed the grapes and filled a 150 L barrel with the must.

Friday August 31, 2012, Day 28

Now with the gale behind us and the wine barrel full and fermenting I decided to take a two day excursion to Mikri Lakka and enjoy the rising of the full moon. This is the second full moon this August, a blue moon.

We departed from the marina at 1210. The wind was 15-22 knots and on and off from the NNW. After we cleared the marina I removed the fenders and, opened 40% of the headsail, and sailed for about 5 miles coming across Poseidonio (Ποσειδώνιο). Then we motored to Mikri Lakka (Μικρή Λάκκα) [37° 45.4' N 27° 1.6' E] where we arrived at 1355 after 9.2 M. I anchored in 6.5 m depth and let out 35 m of chain. Thetis settled at 9 m.

I launched the dinghy and snorkeled to check the anchor. Then I put up the tent. It was calm here but a little gusty, gusts reaching once in a while 22 knots but most of the time under 10 knots. A day-tripper came, anchored near Thetis, and took a line to the shore. She was full of tourists. After they all swam and had lunch the crew of two entertained them one playing the bouzouki and the other drums. At about 5 PM they left and Thetis was left all by her self. This is remarkable for the usually crowded August.

Shortly after 6 I removed the tent and opened the spray hood to shield the cockpit from the wind. Then I slowly prepared an ouzo and some mezedes (tasty snacks) while waiting for the moon to rise. Sure enough, just before sunset the full moon in all its glory rose from the Anatolian mountains. It was greeted with ouzo and photographed.

Later I warmed baked potatoes that I had brought from Kalami and a stuffed tomato, also from Kalami. I had a very nice and quiet night the wind by then having calmed down.

Saturday September 1, 2012, Day 29

First thing in the morning, taking advantage of the still low temperature I transferred 2 jerry cans of Diesel fuel to the main tank. This was not so easy this time because the reliable siphon pump of many years finally failed and I had to siphon the old way by priming it by mouth. After this chore I put up the tent.

There were 2-3 bathers who came and went. In the late morning a cavalcade of 4 horses arrived. The riders dismounted and they as well as the horses swam. I snorkeled ashore on the way checking the anchor which had not moved at all. I recognized the lady with the horses, Adriani, who owns the Panuris Ranch in Vlamari. Alice and I had ridden with her a few times last year. She had been expecting us again this year. The ride from the ranch takes about 1½ hour. I told her that we will do this with her after Alice comes back to Samos.

Later, the same day-trip boat came, played their music and left like yesterday at 5. I had a nice shower and waited again for the moon. It rose later then yesterday and it was very red. For dinner I had a salad and a cheese omelet.

Sunday September 2, 2012, Day 30

I slept a little later then usual but I was not in any particular hurry because I wanted to return to the marina after 9 AM when the attendants would be there to help with the mooring line. They are supposed to be there at 8 but this is Greece…

After raising the dinghy to the davits and other preparations we departed at 0745. There was a NNW breeze of 5-12 knots so I opened all of the genoa and sailed off and on all the way to Samos Marina where we arrived at 0930 after 8.7 M.