Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2012: Samos to Leros

This web page contains the logs of a 20 day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean of Greece. Other then an one day excursion to Samiopoula with Samian friends I sailed from Samos Marina to Partheni in Leros, where Thetis was hauled-out and will spend the winter. On the way I stopped at Mycale in Samos, Vitsilia & Petrokopio in Fourni, Agriolivadho, Livadhi tou Geranou, & Panayia tou Geranou in Patmos, Marathi, Tiganakia, Katsadia in Lipsi, and finally at the small island of Archangelos.

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

Route Samos to Leros
Route Samos to Leros
Route Patmos to Leros
Route from Patmos to Leros

Monday September 3 to Friday September 14, 2012

Thetis was at the marina.

Saturday September 15, 2012

Today we had a day trip to Samiopoula. This time we had company. In addition to Alice and myself we had our friends Dimitris and Vanessa Vourliotis and Yiorgos and Artemis Tsesmetzi. Yiorgos, a well respected ophthalmologist in Samos, used to own a sailboat and is an avid sailor. He was delighted to be on a sailboat once again. Unfortunately there was no wind, just a 2-5 knot SW breeze.

At Samiopoula
From left to right: Alice, Vasilis, Yiorgos, Aetemis, & Vanessa
Courtesy Dimitris Vourliotis

We departed from the marina at 1000. After some trouble with the contacts of the autopilot we motored without any problem the 8.5 M (nautical miles) to the NW bay of Samiopoula which is called by the locals Psalidha (Ψαλίδα) [37° 38' N 26° 47.7' E] at 1145.

We swam and then we all sat in the cockpit for a “light” lunch. All three families had brought lunch. There was so much delicious food that even if we were 12 instead of 6 people it would had been more then enough. After lunch Dimitris sat in the bow fishing, Alice and Vanessa retired in the cabins, and the rest of us stretched in and around the cockpit. Later there was more swimming as the water here was most attractive.

Unfortunately the days were now getting shorter and we had to leave early to avoid arriving at the marina after dark. We left at 1820. There was a 10-14 knots NE breeze and we could not sail so we motored instead. On the way we met two almost small fleets of little boats out fishing. One was near Ireon and the other off Pythagorio. They seemed to have a good time as there was a lot of shouting and jokes exchanged between the boats.

We arrived at the marina at 1945 after 9.1 M. Thetis was quickly secured and everyone left. She will be waiting for the next adventure.

Sunday September 30, 2012, Day 1

Today we left Kalami. Alice for Washington, D.C., and I for Thetis. I will be taking Thetis., slowly, to Leros for her winter haul-out. The appointment for this with Agmar Marine (has been renamed Moor & Dock) was for October 19. On October 24 I will fly to Athens and on the 25th back to Washington.

After driving Alice to the airport for her 4:25 PM flight, I drove to the town of Pythagorio. First, I visited the Limenarchio (Greek Coast Guard) for the requisite bureaucratic stamp on Thetis’ papers and Aramis Car Rental where I settled my account. After which they drove me to the Samos Marina.

For several days now I have been bringing clothing and provisions to the boat so she was ready to sail. We departed, without any difficulties, from the marina at 1718. The forecasts called for light winds until Friday. The wind at the marina was 12 knots from the SSE. Since it was late in the day, I just headed for Mycale (Μυκάλη) [37° 42.3' N 26° 59' E] only 1.8 M away.


It took me some time to stow my clothes, bottles of wine, and food. I sipped a small glass of ouzo while the moon, one day past full, rose from the Mycale Channel. But I was too tired to cook. I just made a small omelet.

I went to bed early and continued reading the third of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers series novel Louise de la Valliere on the Kindle, but not for long as I quickly fell asleep. It was a long day!

Monday October 1, 2012, Day 2

I woke up very early, still dark outside, although there was hardly any wind and the sea was calm. I suppose I woke up early because I went to bed last night very early.

I started making my morning coffee but the galley stove ran out of gas. I had to replace its CampingGaz canister using a flash light.

We departed Mycale at 0750 and headed to Fourni. There was only a slight 2-8 knot breeze from the NNE so we motored running the water-maker. After flushing out the biocide solution for the required 20 minutes, the water tanks were filled.

Although in the early morning it was cold, after two hours since the sun rose it got warm again and I put up the tent. Nothing happened during our 24.7 M passage to Vitsilia (Βιτσιλιά), Fourni (Φούρνοι) [37° 32.63' N 26° 30.6' E] where we arrived at 1200.

I anchored in 7.5 m depth again with 35 m of chain. It was good that I anchored deeper then I usually do here because later the breeze begun shifting direction and Thetis was blown some times towards the deep and others towards the shallow although the breeze was light at most 12 knots. This lasted all day. By the way, the new Rocna anchor held very well.

I started reading Evangelos Maroudis’ Επιστοφή στη Σμύρνη: Ittihat ve Terakki (Ένωση και Πρόοδος) - Return to Smyrna: Union and Progress (in Greek) the 2nd volume of the trilogy. This was a quiet day occupied with various boat keeping tasks and swimming.

For dinner I cooked two turkey cutlets that I had bought in Samos. One I prepared with mustard, capers, and balsamic vinegar and served it with some rice. The other I wrapped in aluminum foil and put it on the refrigerator for another day. The night was calm and quiet.

Tuesday October 2, 2012, Day 3

This morning there was not much of a wind but there was a very uncomfortable swell. All the forecasts predicted a mostly northerly breeze of force 2-3.

I received an e-mail from Alice, she had safely arrived in Washington, D.C. I took the garbage to the trash bin ashore. I had some trouble starting the outboard but it eventually did start. However, it still stalls when cold. I suspect the cause of its troubles is contaminated fuel.

I departed from Vitsilia at 0850. There was a very light NNE wind of 2-8 knots. I slowly motored and running the water-maker to the west side of the island. After 4.5 M we arrived at Petrokopio (Πετροκοπιό) [37° 33.6' N 26° 29.3' E] at 0940.

I deliberately dropped the new Rocna anchor over weed to test its holding. It went down in 7.5 depth and I let out 35 m of chain. I reversed the engine all the way to 3400 RPM and the anchor held solidly. After lowering the dinghy I went over the anchor and checked it with the mask, being cloudy and not very inviting for snorkeling. The anchor was completely buried in the weed. This was encouraging but time will tell.

Thetis Petrokopio
Thetis at Petrokopio, Fourni

There was another S/Y in the cove, a 50 Benetaeu First. She had no name nor flag and was inhabited by a father, mother, two teenage sons, and a little daughter. They waved to me in a very friendly way. I was intrigued and while I was still in the dinghy I went over for a visit. There were Israeli and very attractive but are afraid of terrorist hence they do not show the boat’s name and flag. The outboard was, once again, reluctant to start but after it warmed up it worked fine.

The GSM signal here is strong but, just like in Vitsilia, there is no 3G service and I cannot use Skype to talk with Alice. Although there were many clouds I put up the tent.

In the afternoon the sunshine came back and it was very calm. I snorkeled and looked at the anchor. It was still completely under the weed. At about 4 PM I removed the tent and went ashore for a walk which lasted about 1½ hr.


A fishing boat at Petrokopio


“Nudism and Camping are Prohibited”…

Cambi, Fourni from the road

Back onboard I pealed some potatoes which I later baked with crashed garlic in the oven for 1½ hr after coating them with olive oil and sprinkled them with oregano and salt. I had an ouzo with the sunset. By that time the sea was mirror-like calm and the sky full of gorgeous red shades. The breeze, such as it was, came from all directions and Thetis was just hanging from her loose chain slowly swinging 360°.

When the potatoes were cooked I warmed some γιουβαρλάκια (yiouvarlakia - meat balls with rice and mint) and their αβγολέμονο (avgolemono - broth and lemon juice thickened with eggs) sauce. These along with the potatoes made a wonderful dinner accompanied with Tsantalis Metochi red wine.

In the late evening the wind increased and came from the east at 8-13 knots. The boat settled in 11 m depth and the anchor was still holding well. This wind lasted for about 1 hr and then we were back to the calms. I read for a while and around 11 PM I went to bed.

Petrocopio Sunset
Sunset from Petrocopio

Wednesday October 3, 2012, Day 4

I decided to depart and go to Patmos where there is a good 3G signal that will allow me to have a Skype session with Alice, now back in Washington, D.C. After getting the dinghy raised on the davits and weighing the anchor we departed at 0808.

The wind was at first 5 knots from the SSE and I had to motor. Later it increased to 15 knots but by the time we were nearing Patmos it completely died. We arrived at Agriolivadho (Αγριολίβαδο), Patmos (Πάτμος) [37° 20.5' N 26° 33.5' E] after 19.1 M at 1115. I dropped the anchor in 7.5 depth and let out 40 m scope allowing for swinging in all direction but still clear of the shallows.

There was only one other S/Y here the Austrian flagged Kiore Moana with a couple. I snorkeled and checked the anchor. Then I put up the tent. It was very calm with a slight easterly breeze.

Later I did connect with the Internet and made a Skype call, via the iPhone, and talked for a while with Alice. All was well with her and she had a smooth trip. The outboard was still troublesome but after I drained a little of its fuel it seemed OK.

In the evening as the sun went down I removed the tent and had an ouzo. I then wanted to go ashore and eat at the local taverna. But the outboard, once again, would not start. I again drained some fuel and then it started. Just in case I took the tools with me and then went ashore. At the Taverna I had some fresh squid and 5 very small κουτσομούρες (koutsomoures - blunt-snouted mullet - Mullus barbatus) fried. They were delicious. After dinner I walked to the dinghy and the outboard did not start. Fortunately I had my tools and drained some fuel after which it started. This is ridiculous!

Back onboard Thetis, everything was nice and quiet. I listened to some music and read before retiring around 11 PM.

Thursday October 4, 2012, Day 5

I decided not to move Thetis today but stay here. But since there was very low wind I also decided to go to Skala, the main port of the island, with the dinghy and get some provisions and fresh bread. The outboard was bulky again. I drained all of its fuel and replaced it with fresh fuel from the canister. Eventually it started and I drove the dinghy to Skala, about ½ hour ride. I bought the provisions and got back into the dinghy. After 2-3 pulls to my great relief the blasted outboard started and I rode back to Thetis.

By the time I got back it was hot. I swam to cool off and then I put up the tent. The day was funny. The sky alternated from cloudy to clear. I had an idea concerning the outboard. I called Agmar Marine and asked to speak with the technician who services my outboard. I carefully explained to him the symptoms and what I had done. He confirmed my suspicion of bad fuel. It could be either dirt or water in the carburetor. The only remedy that he suggested was to drain the carburetor. I opened the engine, took it apart and did so. The result: worse then before. Now the engine, no matter what I did, started and then it stalled.

In the late afternoon I rowed the dinghy ashore and took a long walk. Then I rowed back because the outboard absolutely refused to cooperate.

In the late evening the wind picked up to about 15 knots from the N. For dinner I made some pasta with garlic and sun-dried tomatoes. I finished the last fresh grapes from Kalami.

Friday October 5, 2012, Day 6

Today’s forecast called for NW winds of force 4 and possibly up to 5. I slowly prepared to relocate to the Livadhi tou Geranou. The distance being very short I did not bother to raise the dinghy to the davits but towed it. I raised the anchor at 0940 and slowly motored out of the cove.

We had not gone more than ½ mile when I noticed that the engine was overheating. I checked the cooling water and it had stopped coming out of the exhaust. Right away I stopped the engine to prevent it from any damage. I opened the engine compartment and looked at the sea water intake filter. There was no water but there was a small piece of weed. I tried to open the filter’s lid but it was too tight. I had to use a tool but a small part of the lid broke off. I sealed it temporarily with electrician’s tape, removed the weed, and closed it. I then restarted the engine. No water came into the filter. I removed the the hose from the filter to the water pump and connected the pump directly to the sea water intake bypassing the filter, and re-started the engine. Still no water at the exhaust. Then I opened the pump. Its insides were a mess. The impeller had completely disintegrated. Fortunately I had several spare impellers. After clearing the pump of all the bits and pieces of the old impeller, I installed a new one. I closed the pump and reconnected it. After starting the engine only a small amount of water came out of the exhaust and the engine was once again heating up. I bypassed again the intake filter and re-started the engine. Joy! Plenty of water at the exhaust and the engine cooled down.

After this adventure, we arrived at the Livadhi tou Geranou (Λιβάδι του Γερανού) [37° 20.7' N 26° 35.3' E] at 1055. This must have been Thetis’ slowest 1.4 M passage. There were no other boats in the cove. I anchored in 6 m depth and let out 35 m of chain. I then snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was completely buried under the sand.

I glued the broken piece of the water filter’s lid and after the glue had set for a few hours I re-connected the pump’s intake via the filter. After starting the engine I verified that the water flow was back to normal. This was a great relief but I still have to watch it.

In the afternoon I spoke with Alice via Skype. Later I removed the outboard’s carburetor I then noticed that the short rubber hose from the fuel valve to the carburetor had a crack. I re-assembled the carburetor and replaced the hose with a spare. After I put the outboard together again I started it. It did not stall when I revved it up. Just to make sure I re-started it after a several hours. It worked!

Celebrating these apparent technical victories I went for dinner to the local taverna. I had another squid and a chicken souvlaki (shish-kebab). The engine started again and I returned to Thetis. I was tired and went early to bed.

Saturday October 6, 2012, Day 7

For no apparent reason I woke up very early while it was quite dark outside. I read for a few hours until there was some daylight. I then siphoned one jerry can of Diesel fuel to the fuel tank. Since the most reliable fuel pump that I had been using for many years had stopped working I had bought the only such pump I could find in Samos a cheap plastic one. Although it did work it leaked and the operation was messy. I had to use a bucket to collect the dripping fuel.

After that messy operation I took, with the dinghy, the trash to a bin ashore. The outboard did not start right away but after a few attempts it did and it did not stall.

Back on Thetis I checked the weather forecasts. They called for north winds of force 4-5 for today and 2-3 for tomorrow. No south winds were predicted for as far as these forecast went into the future.

I put up the tent and then started the engine. I ran it for about one hour charging the batteries and operating the water-maker but most importantly checking the engine cooling system. There was plenty of water at the exhaust and the engine temperature was normal.

Around noon another S/Y with a French flag arrived. I swam ashore and on the way I looked at the anchor. It was still buried in the sand at exactly the place it was dropped. I spent the afternoon mostly reading. Later I tried the outboard. It worked! Dare I hope?

For dinner I warmed the leftover meat balls and boiled some potatoes. After dinner I sat in the dark cockpit and watched the stars before the moonrise, although there was some glare from Skala and further south as well as from the streetlights to the north.

Sunday October 7, 2012, Day 8

The forecasts now called for today NNW winds of force 3-4 and southerlies of force 2 for tomorrow afternoon. Then for Tuesday they called for northerlies again. I decided to move to the next cove east of here and stay there the rest of today and tomorrow sail to Marathi.

I raised the anchor at 0940 and slowly motored, towing the dinghy, the 1.03  M to the Panayia tou Geranou (Παναγία του Γερανού) [37° 20.4' N 26° 35.9' E] where we arrived at 0955. I anchored in 7 m depth and let out 40 m of chain. The wind was a light 5-10 knot breeze from the NNW.

Later I snorkeled and checked the anchor. I was not satisfied. The chain was over a large rock and if the wind was to veer it might get tangled. In addition, the bottom where the anchor lay was very rocky and it was not well set. I re-anchored a little further at 6 m depth and snorkeled to check again. This time the anchor was well dug into the sand and its chain was clear of rocks.

This cove is very nice and Thetis had it all to her self. Later in the afternoon I once again tried the outboard. It worked! So, I went ashore and took a walk around the beeches.

In the late evening I had an ouzo and then cooked the remaining turkey cutlet. It was a calm and quiet night full of stars and just a little swell.

Sunrise Panayia tou Geranou
Sunrise at Panayia tou Geranou

Monday October 8, 2012, Day 9

Time to move on. The forecast called for light southerlies of force 2-3 for today and light northerlies for tonight and tomorrow. The calms look that they will last for the rest of the week. The sky was slightly cloudy. I prepared for departure. This time I raised the dinghy on the davits.

I pulled up the anchor at 0916 and headed for Marathi, about 8 M away to the east. There was a light SSE breeze of 4-10 knots and I opened the genoa and motor-sailed. We arrived at Marathi (Μαράθι) [37° 22' N 26° 43.6' E] at 1055. There were no other sailboats here. I easily caught one of Pandelis’ moorings.

Later I swam ashore and greeted Pandelis and Katina who were preparing to close down for the year. Pantelis remembered the days Thetis spent here about the same time last year during a bad SE gale.

The small S/Y Kricka with a British flag came under sail. She was expertly handled by the couple on her. She glided into the cove, headed upwind, and dropped her anchor in shallow water. To my great surprise the lady hailed me asking: “are you Vasilis?” It turned out that she knows our friend Frosso Vasiliades who had introduced her to this Web site. Later they both came to Thetis and we had a cup of coffee together. Sally and Niel Horner have a house in Samos, near Klima, and keep Kricka in Poseidonio. She promised to e-mail me her address and telephone as we must definitely get together next year. They soon left for Agathonisi because they were anxious to return to Samos while the N winds were weak as they were having engine troubles.

My outboard unfortunately continued to misbehave. I cleaned again its carburetor and it worked for a while but this did not last. When I went to Pantelis’ for dinner I had to row my way back. This is OK when the wind is light but with strong winds it can be dangerous. I was the only dinner customer. Katina made for me her famous salad with fresh vegetables and goat cheese. This was followed by very fresh fried squid and an absolutely delicious small fangropoulo (φανγρόπουλο - red porgy - Pagrus pagrus) grilled to perfection.

After returning to Thetis I enjoyed the quiet night which was marred by the high intensity “street lights” that the power company installed last year when they brought electricity to this small island. They are a blight and totally useless as there are no streets here and they not only ruin the ambience but waste energy illuminating goat paths which even the goats do not use as they are asleep.

Tuesday October 9, 2012, Day 10

First thing in the morning I went ashore for a hike. I walked the whole circumference of this small island for just under 1½ hour. By the time I returned 3 more yachts, besides Thetis had arrived.

I finished reading Return to Smyrna: Union and Progress and started the Greek book Andreas Karkavitsas’ Λόγια της Πλώρης - Bow Talk on the Kindle. Return to Smyrna: Union and Progress continues the saga of 2 families from Smyrna (Izmir). The first volume concentrates on the Greek family while the second on the Turkish family. It is fairly interesting because it illuminates a lot of Turkish history from the late 1880 to WWII covering the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the “Young Turks” movement leading to the genocide of the Armenians, their former allies.

Later, 2 sailboats departed. I spent the afternoon reading. I finished Louise de la Valliere and continued to the next of the The Three Musketeers series The Man in the Iron Mask. The afternoon was cloudy. Two new sailboats arrived and moored near Thetis.

In the evening I went to Pantelis’ for dinner and again I was the only customer. I sat with Pantelis and Katina. I had a nice salad, some fried zucchini balls, and katsikaki (κατσικάκι - young goat) in a tomato sauce with potatoes. It was a most pleasant evening. Miraculously the outboard started and I did not have to row back to Thetis.

Wednesday October 10, 2012, Day 11

In the morning I went ashore to say goodbye to Katina and Pandelis. The outboard did start but after we said our goodbyes and wishes for a good winter it refused to start again. Fortunately it was only a light breeze and rowing back was not a problem.

The forecast continued to call for a northerly light breeze of force 3 for this area but predicted thunderstorms for the sea of Rhodes further to the south. I prepared to depart.

I cast off the mooring at 0918 and motored slowly charging the batteries and running the water-maker and towing the dinghy. We arrived at Tiganakia (Τηγανάκια) [37° 21.6' N 26° 45' E] just 1.8 M away at 0950. I anchored in 7 m depth with 35 m of scope. The sky was rather cloudy and it was not hot, but I snorkeled and verified that the anchor was well set. Good anchor this Rocna.

Thetis was the only boat here. The rest of the day was very quiet and lazy. I spoke with Alice on Skype. Other then that, nothing much happened until dusk. Then a yawl flying a French flag arrived and after 2 unsuccessful anchoring attempts finally did so not too far from Thetis. I waved to them several times but they did not answer.

All was well and I made my dinner: an avgolemono (αυγολέμονο - lemon and egg) soup with the leftover sauce from the meat balls, followed by an omelet with small fried potato cubes.

There was a lot of distant lightning from the S but no sound of thunders. By then it was about 9 PM and I was reading in the cabin. The wind was 4-8 knots and now came from the south while Thetis had changed orientation but the anchor was firm. The French yawl also had shifted her position and instead of being to the right of Thetis was now to her left. I could not see the small buoy over my anchor. I turned on the flood light and looked for it but it was not there anymore.

Later while I was reading inside the cabin the French yawl must had very quietly left because next time I looked she was gone. Other then that it was a quiet night.

Thursday October 11, 2012, Day 12

I got up about 7 AM. The wind was coming again from the NW but there was no sight of the anchor buoy. I turned on the iPhone to get a forecast but it could not connect to the Internet. I tried calling Cosmote, my service provider. They suggested reseting the phone. I did so but it did not help. As a test I disabled its 3G reception. Now it did connect with 2G albeit very slowly. The forecasts were benign: force 2-4 here and in Leros, no rain but some clouds. These were the conditions that will prevail as far as next week.

Later I snorkeled to check the anchor. It had not moved at all but under the chain, about 8 m away from the anchor, there was the buoy held underwater and fouled. I dove and released it. The mystery of the disappeared buoy was solved. It must had fouled last night when the wind shifted direction by 180°.

The rest of the day was uneventful. I swam and read. In the late afternoon as the sun dipped low I removed the tent and had an ouzo.

For dinner I boiled some spaghetti and served it with a ready-made tuna sauce out of can (my homemade sauce is better) with lots of freshly graded Parmesan and a Kalami wine.

The moon now was in its last quarter and rose late so the sky here, away from most glare, it was very vivid and full of stars and the galaxy. I put on warm clothes, since the nights now were really cool, and stayed in the cockpit gazing at the sky for over an hour.

Friday October 12, 2012, Day 13

Tiganakia Sunrise
Sunrise at Tiganakia

Since the day of the scheduled haul-out was approaching I decided to move closer to Leros, although there was a week margin. I lifted the dinghy, raised the anchor, and departed Tiganakia at 0900. The wind was a light ENE breeze of 7-9 knots. I motor-sailed with the genoa and run the water-maker. It was a very calm and sedate passage to Katsadia in Lipsi other then a near mishap. On the way there is shortcut going via a narrow channel between two islets. At the end of the channel to the SE of the outer islet there is a submerged reef. I have transversed this channel numerous times and when I do so I always reduce the boat speed and go very carefully as it gets rather shallow down to 4 m depth. I did so also this time but I did not roll-in the genoa as I should had. It turned out that as the boat was going through the channel under 3 knots she drifted eastwards and to my horror I saw the ugly brown reef just a few meters in front of the bow. I frantically revved the engine in reverse and the boat stopped just in the nick of time. A close call!

We arrived in Katsadia (Κατσαδιά), Lipsi (Λειψοί) [37° 16.9' N 26° 46.3' N] at 1030 after 7.5 M. I did not anchor but instead I caught one of the moorings that belong to the local taverna which appeared to be closed for the season. All together there were 4 other sailboats here: 2 in Katsadia and the other 2 in the adjacent Papandria (Παπανδριά) including the French yawl that had anchored near Thetis two nights ago.

A couple of hours later I went ashore to get rid of the accumulated trash. In a well intentioned but ill conceived ecological fervor the mayor of Lipsi, few years ago, removed all the trash bins and now the locals are supposed to place their trash, sorted by categories, in different colored plastic bags that are collected at a designated time in the morning. The unfortunate result are mounts of trash bags that get attacked by flocks of hungry crows spilling their contents. I do hope that they do pick up my unsorted bag soon.

The afternoon was very calm but overcast. After the sun went low on the horizon I removed the tent and had a nice hot shower. I then, around 6:30, went ashore. The outboard actually did start. I walked for about ½ hour to the village where I bought some supplies and fresh bread. I then sat at my favorite Nick’s & Luli’s where I had an ouzo and their absolutely fantastic grilled octopus along with baked beans (γίγαντες - gigantes), and fried tomato balls. After that I walked back to my cove although being pitch dark it seemed to take a longer time. Amazingly enough the outboard, after some hesitation, did start and by 9:30 I was aboard Thetis.

The night was very calm and nothing moved.

Saturday October 13, 2012, Day 14

I slept a little late as the morning was cold, 18°C (64.4°F) inside the cabin. The deck was very wet with heavy dew. Again it was very calm and there was no wind. The forecasts called for today and tomorrow for force 2-3 winds from either the NW or the SW.

I read a lot and finished Λόγια της Πλώρης - Bow Talk. I then started Alexander Kent’s A Tradition of Victory, the 14th Bolitho novel.

I was not too satisfied with the water flow from the sea intake to the filter and engine cooling pump, so later I removed the filter’s lid that I had broken and had glued few days ago. Now I applied another layer of glue over the already glued piece and let it dry. I also repaired the lids of the right cabin’s berth over which sit the cushions. These lids have started to slip. Now I secured them by gluing cork sections so that they close with a tight fit. Then I went outside and washed down the cockpit.

After lunch I took a long swim. I snorkeled and looked at all the moorings. I did not like mine as it consisted of a large fisherman’s hook anchor and a long heavy chain. Should the south wind rise the moored boat could drift uncomfortably close to either the rocks on the E or the shallows to the N. So, I decided to relocate Thetis to another mooring consisting of 2 blocks of concrete and a shorter chain. By that time the glue on the water filter’s lid was completely set. I replaced the lid and started the engine. The water flow had very much improved.

I cast off the mooring and and caught the other one. Now Thetis was swinging in 4 m depth from either shoreline.

I finished reading The Man in the Iron Mask. For dinner I had an omelet with the left over spaghetti with tuna from two nights ago.

Sunday October 14, 2012, Day 15

The night was uneventful and warmer then yesterday although more humid. Not much happened during the day. I mostly swam and read.

In the evening I went ashore. The outboard refused to start and I rowed. I walked to the town but Nick’s & Luli’s was shut so I ate at the Tholari. They showed me there some amazing photographs of their building taken in 1919 when the sea, unlike now, was at their doorstep. I met there two British gentlemen of about my age who were also with a sailboat moored not far from Thetis. We walked back together to Katsadia.

The outboard did not start and I rowed to my boat.

Katsadia Sunrise
Sunrise at Katsadia

Monday October 15, 2012, Day 16

It was a calm night. In the morning I prepared to depart. My plan was to go to the small island of Archangelos next to the north side of Leros, spend few days there and on Thursday afternoon move to Partheni and tie to one of Agmar Marine’s moorings and be in place for the scheduled haul-out on Friday.

I raised the dinghy on the davits and cast off at 0900. The wind was 8-10 knots from the SE. I opened the genoa and sailed, most likely for the last time this year, to Archangelos (Αρχάγγελος) [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] where we arrived at 1010 after 5.7 M. I anchored in 7 m depth with 35 m of chain. This time I anchored in deeper water then I usually do here to allow for the southerly breeze which could drift the boat closer to the shore.

I met a couple, Antonis and Claudia, from Christina a 42 Sun Odyssey. He is from Crete. They are on the way to Lakki where they winter their boat at the Evros yard.

I did a lot of swimming as the water was a warm 28°C (82.4°F) warmer than the air. I finished reading A Tradition of Victory and started reading on the Kindle the 15th Bolitho novel Success to the Brave.

I had an ouzo in the evening and later Antonis, Claudia stayed back because she was cooking, came over with a bottle of raki from Crete. By then I opened a can of salmon for us to eat as a meze (tasty morsel accompanying a drink). After he left as it was late and by then I was not very hungry so I did not cook I just had a snack.

It was a noisy night because a charter boat, full of young people, anchored some distance away from Thetis played loud “music” accompanied by ear splitting yells way past midnight.

Tuesday October 16, 2012, Day 17

The anchorage at Arcgangelos

There was zero wind during the night and in the early morning the sea was very calm. I went ashore, rowing as the outboard did not start, and had an 1½ hour hike.

After I returned to the boat I send an e-mail to Agmar Marine confirming the haul-out appointment for Friday. Within minutes I had a response from Ms. Danae, Anastasis’ sister, with a re-confirmation. I put up the tent and idled enjoying my last days afloat. Lots of swimming.

There is a new small shack ashore and looks like they are preparing it as a a taverna, and I was not too pleased with this prospect as it will spoil the solitude of this lovely anchorage. One young man was working by himself almost round the clock. A small caïque, with a couple, comes once a day bringing supplies, mostly building material. The couple stays for about an hour and then they depart with the caïque leaving the young man to work all by himself. He must be either the owner or a slave.

I had the obligatory ouzo in the evening and then made spaghetti with tuna, olives, oregano, and capers. I read after dinner and finished Success to the Brave which, in my opinion, is the best of all the Bolitho novels that I have read so far.

Wednesday October 17, 2012, Day 18

Last night was very calm but also very humid. The cockpit this morning was drenched. The breeze this morning was from the N. I started reading on the Kindle Colours Aloft! the 16th Bolitho novel. I guess I am having a Bolitho festival.

When the day warmed up I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It had not moved which was good. But somehow I got water in my ear and no mater what I did I could not get rid of it, which was not so good. After the S/Y Christina departed I let out about 7 more meters of chain since the forecasts were calling for NW wind of maybe force 5.

While it was calm I opened the genoa and started lowering it because it is not a good idea to do this with either strong wind or while the boat is on her stands on land. All went well with this operation until the sail was ⅔ of the way down. At that point it got stuck. This is the point where the two sections of the roller reefing extrusion meet. No mater what I did I could not lower the sail below that point. I finally gave up and lashed to the lifelines the part of the sail that was already down. The yard will have to deal with this new problem.

I read and swam some more. In the evening I boiled some potatoes and after pealing and cutting them I added a little chicken stock, some olive oil, sliced onions, capers, tomatoes, salt, and pepper thus making a nice potato salad.

For dinner a made an omelet with the leftover spaghetti which I ate with some of the potato salad and an Ayiorgitiko Papaioannou red wine.

Thursday October 18, 2012, Day 19

Today is the last day that Thetis will be afloat this year since tomorrow morning she is scheduled for her annual haul-out. After that, there will be some frantic activity to prepare her for her winter lay-out.

The forecasts called for NW winds of force 5 and even 6 but this morning the wind here was from the NE at force 3. I ran the genset for about one hour and refilled some empty water bottles from the water-maker. My plan was to move the boat in the afternoon to Partheni and tie to one of Agmar Marine’s moorings and be in place for tomorrow.

It was more windy today with gusts from variable directions. I swam a lot since the water was a warm 27.7°C (82°F), warmer than the air, and since I will be missing swimming during the next months. Unfortunately my ear still had water in it but maybe less then yesterday.

I read a lot and finished Colours Aloft!. It was a good novel, with a lot of human interest in addition to the usual descriptions of naval battles. This was the last of the naval novels in my Kindle and I have to get some more. Other then the gusts this was a lovely day full of sunshine.

After 3 PM I started getting ready to depart for Partheni. I removed the tent and raised the anchor. We departed from Archangelos at 1555 and motored, towing the dinghy, the 1.6 M to Partheni (Παρθένι) [37° 11.3' N 26° 48.03'] in Leros (Λέρος). There was another S/Y with a Dutch flag in one of the Agmar moorings. I easily caught another mooring. The time was 1615.

The wind here was about 18 NNE and there was some swell. Thetis was bouncing. I was thinking of going out for dinner but after trying the outboard which did not start I gave up this idea not wanting to be rowing against the swell after eating. Instead I made some pasta with oil and garlic.

Friday October 19, 2012, Day 20

First thing in the morning, that is after my leisurely cup of Turkish coffee, I raised the mainsail and removed it from the mast and boom. I made a bundle of it and left on the deck. In the mean time the travel-lift came and hauled-out the Dutch sailboat that had already gone to the “pool.” Thetis will be next.

Thetis is being lifted

While waiting for Thetis’s turn I hanged the fenders, rigged docking lines, and raised the dinghy on the davits. Eventually the travel-lift returned and I cast off the mooring. I slowly eased the boat into the “pool” while the reliable Nicholas caught the docking lines. There was no problem. The travel-lift now has a new operator Dimitris. By 1010 Thetis was out of the water and on her way to her winter resting place on the hard.

The yard was much less full then in previous years. The Greek economic crisis, their increased prices, or both may be the reason for this. While Nicholas and Dimitris placed the supports for the boat I walked to the office. Both Angelos and Mastro Michalis were in Athens but Irene and Danae were there and so was Alexandros, Anastasis’ son. Anastasis is now the new partner of Agmar Marine in addition to Angelos.

By noon Thetis was secure on her stands. I hooked her to the AC electricity and to water. Also, since leaving Samos, I had not turned on my MacBook, I did so now and connected to the yards Wi-Fi. I attended to several tasks needing Internet access. I then started on my long winter layover check list.

I also had the office make the arrangements for a car rental. The car arrived in the early afternoon. In the evening I drove the car to Kamara, the closest village to the yard, where I filled the car with gasoline and bought some fruits for myself. I will do no more real cooking in the boat. After returning to the yard I walked to the Archontiko taverna which is right across from the airport. I had a reasonable meal and also met two Italians from a Halberg-Rassy standing near Thetis.

Saturday October 20, 2012

Today I mostly worked. The day was very windy with force 6 north winds.

  • I lowered the anchor and its chain, washed the chain locker, and then washed the anchor and chain.
  • I filled the dinghy with fresh water and placed in it all of the lines that had been used during the summer to soak and remove the salt water from them.
  • Panayiotis came and removed the genoa and then repaired the roller-reefing extrusion that prevented lowering of the sail. The problem was caused by a small rivet that had come loose.
  • Agmar took both sails to be washed but it was not clear when they will do so.
  • I drove to Lakki and had Thetis’ papers stamped by the the Limenarchio (Greek Coast Guard).
  • In the afternoon I removed the mainsail downhaul and sheet and soaked them in the dinghy.
  • I filled the water-maker with the biocide solution.
  • In the evening, before taking a shower, I transferred the last jerry can of Diesel fuel into the fuel tank and added to the tank a fuel preservative.

For dinner I joined my friend Anastasis Raftopoulos at the Petrino restaurant in Lakki. He too was a bachelor as his wife Moo was away visiting relatives. We had a fine dinner and brought each other up to date.

Sunday October 21, 2012

The wind was howling all day but the forecast had it calm down by tonight. It will be cloudy today and tomorrow and by tomorrow after noon there was expected light rain. My aim today was to push myself and finish with all items that need drying.

  • I took al the lines that had soaked overnight in the full of fresh water dinghy and hanged on the lifelines to dry.
  • I washed the fender covers and hanged them to dry.
  • Took the mainsail cover to the yards tiled area and washed it with soap and a brush, after which I hanged it to dry.
  • I emptied all the fuel jerry cans, Diesel and gasoline, and washed them with soap and water.

In the afternoon I took a brake from work and drove west past the airport and found the site of the Temple of Artemis. There is nothing much there other then a few fortification stones and the remains of an early Christian chapel. Back on Thetis I stowed all the by now dry items.

For dinner I went to the Mylos restaurant where I had an excellent fish soup followed by fried koutsomoures (κουτσομούρες - blunt-snouted mullet - Mullus barbatus).

Monday October 22, 2012

During the night the wind died out and the mosquitoes moved in and woke me up.

In the yard’s chandlery store they had a set of AirMarine wind generator blades. I investigated if these are suitable for mine generator whose blades were broken. I did not even know when or how they broke. At any rate the blades in the chandlery were for a different model wind generator. Mr. Parisis, the store’s manager, will look for the replacement set for my generator and will give me a quote. He will also be looking for a new autopilot tiller driver for which he will also give me a quote.

On Saturday, when I was in Lakki, I saw in the new Agmar chandlery store a folding passarella which after measuring I think will satisfy Alice who does not like the width of the old one. So, I told now Mr. Parisis that I do want it. He was not sure of its price so we will have to wait for Mr. Angelos to come back before they give me a discounted price.

On the boat I continued with the winterizing tasks:

  • I washed the fenders and the dinghy.
  • I washed the deck and the cockpit.
  • I stowed the now clean fuel jerry cans.
  • I stowed the clean fenders.
  • I covered the dinghy and raised it back on the davits.

By 5 PM I was done but I was very tired. I had a shower and called it a day. I did not particularly feel like going out for dinner so I just made an omelet with the last eggs and potatoes. While cooking the sky opened we had a rather heavy downpour. It rained all night.

Tuesday October 23, 2012

I settled my account with Agmar including an 8 month hardstanding storage contract. I also went over the “To Do” list with Antonis (customer relations) and Panayiotis (electrician) since both Mastro Michalis and Mr. Angelos were not there.

The rain stopped and the sun came, on and off. I continued with the last tasks:

  • I covered all the openings of the mast and the boom.
  • I covered the roller reefing.
  • I cleaned all electrical contacts and coated them with vaseline.
  • I covered the winches.
  • I checked the battery electrolyte, equalized the service batteries, and checked their electrolyte again.

With these tasks done I had completed my check list and I was all set for tomorrow’s departure.

In the evening I had a shower followed by an ouzo. I have finished all of the perishable supplies. Now with the work done I was able to finish the reading, that I had started couple of days ago, Honour This Day and to start the 18th Bolitho novel The Only Victor.

For dinner I had invited Panayiotis and his wife Mary to the Mylos restaurant. We had a great and convivial meal.

This was my last night this year on dear Thetis.

Wednesday October 24, 2012

Today I will fly to Athens and then tomorrow morning to Washington, D.C. I woke up early as there was a lot to do before closing down Thetis for the winter. Things that could not be done while I was living in her.

  • I stripped my bed and sorted the dirty clothes. These I later left in the office to be sent out for washing.
  • I removed the water hose and stowed it.
  • I shut the CampingGaz.
  • I disconnected the AC cable and stowed it.
  • I covered from the outside all the through-holes.
  • I packed, lowered my duffel bag, and put it in the rented car.
  • Finally, I returned the gate key to the office and gave them the spare set of the boat keys.

Then, after saying goodbye to all my Agmar Marine friends I drove to the nearby airport where I returned the rented car.

This ends the adventure for 2012.

2012 Vital Statistics
Total Distance 773 M
Time at Sea 78 days
Total Time Underway 154 hr
Total Solo Time 108 hr
Total Engine Time 146 hr
Total Fuel Consumed 312 L
Total Water Consumed 1279 L