Travels with S/Y Thetis


Thetis only

Thetis 2013: Leros to Samos

This web page contains the logs of a short 5 day sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean. I sailed solo from Partheni in Leros, where Thetis was launched, to Samos Marina via Archangelos near Leros, Papandria in Lipsi, Platys Yialos also in Lipsi, Marathi, and a short stop in Mycale in Samos.

The logs include either some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited or links to these descriptions. Also included are links to other related web sites.

Route to Samos from Leros
Route to Samos from Leros

Thursday May 16, 2013, Day 1

This was a long but very satisfying day. Although I went to bed early last night I still feel the jet-lag and I woke up about 5 AM. After slowly drinking my coffee I worked outside re-installing the running lines for the mainsail and the headsail.

After I was done with the lines I went to Mastro Michalis’ office and made sure that Thetis was to be launched later in the morning. At the office Irene had my bill ready. It was substantial but about what I was expecting. After that I drove the rented car to Kamara, the nearest town to Partheni, and filled the 2 small jerrycans with gasoline for the outboard and the genset. I also bought some more provisions and a fresh loaf of bread.

Around 10 the travel-lift came. I disconnected the AC electricity and rigged the fenders and docking lines. Then while Nicholas and Spyros, the travel-lift operators, were raising the boat and applying the final touches of the anti-fouling paint I drove to the office where I left the car, settled the bill, and talked for a while with Angelos.

My plan was to just move the boat to nearby Archangelos island, check everything thoroughly and not go too far, just in case, until I am completely satisfied that everything is working and I do not need any further service from the yard.

Thetis was launched at 1100. There were no leaks and everything including the head worked. While still in the launching “pool” and, with the help of Nicholas and Spyros, I installed the headsail. This took longer then I expected because I had by mistake wound the roller-reef in the wrong direction.

By 1215, the headsail was installed and Thetis was underway. It was very calm but some forecasts, not all, were calling for stiff S to SE winds for later tonight and tomorrow. While Thetis was out of the water I had not realized that the speed log impeller sensor was not installed. So now when we were clear of the shore I stopped and installed it, pumping and sponging the sea water that entered during this operation. The speed log worked fine and so did the autopilot. At 1230 we had motored the 1.5 nM to Archangelos (Αρχάγγελος) [37° 11.9' 26° 46.3' E]. There was one other boat here a S/Y with the British flag. I dropped the anchor on a sand patch at 6 m depth, some distance from the shore, and let out 35 m of chain scope making allowances for a possible S wind.

The new outboard
The new outboard

The taverna that was being prepared last year looks open. I had my lunch and took a well deserved nap. Later I lowered the dinghy, cleaned it, and inflated it. I was eager to try out the new outboard but restrained myself and first read its rather short manual. It requires a 10 hr break-in period the first hour of which it is to be operated only at idle speed. Armed with this knowledge I filled its gas tank and its crankcase with oil. Being a 4 stroke engine it does not require gasoline-oil mixture. It started right away. I drove around for ½ hour at idle speed after which I returned to Thetis. I then installed the mainsail.

All seems well. It was very calm here at 10 PM and I went to bed. Earlier I had a celebratory ouzo and an omelet followed by strawberries laced with sweet Samos Moschato wine and sprinkled with sugar.

Friday May 17, 2013 , Day 2

The night was calm despite some of the forecasts. In the morning, after my obligatory cup of coffee I tested the new passarella after which I made two new shock cords and strapped it on the life lines. It is at least half as short, when folded, then the old one but much wider. I also covered the mainsail that I had installed last evening.

I drove the dinghy with the new outboard to the W beach where I left it and walked a little on the island. Then I drove to the pier of the new taverna just to inspect it. I met there the proprietor Mr. Georgos Agonos from Leros. He told me that 4 years ago his then teenage son had a motorbike accident that had left him half paralyzed. So last year they started building this taverna for him. It is not ready yet. He also gave me some bread that he had made here yesterday.

Later in the day, after I looked at the forecasts I decided to relocate to the Partheni cove in Leros which is totally protected, especially from the southerlies. I think that it would be OK if I stayed here but since I am overall tired and still jet-lagged I want to play it safe. I raised the anchor at 1415 and motored the 2 nM to Partheni cove [37° 11.5' N 26° 48.3' E] arriving around 1440. I anchored in 7 m depth with 40 m scope. I also deployed the anchor buoy.

Later I ran the genset and determined that it is OK. After that I tidied up the left cabin which we use as a storage room. I took everything out, cleaned it, and stowed anything that will not be needed for a while under the berth and I arranged the rest neatly. This is not my favorite chore. I also put the cover sleeves on the fenders.

For dinner I made spaghetti with olive oil and garlic and pan grilled two pork chops; one for dinner and the other for another day. For dessert I finished the rest of the strawberries.

I am reading Helen Bryan's The Sisterhood, a novel set in modern times and on the 16th century Spain. It is the story of a convent. I went early to bed.

Saturday May 18, 2013, Day 3

I got up at 6. I dusted and vacuumed all the interior of the boat after which I lifted the dinghy on the davits and raised the anchor. It was 0940. We headed to Papandria in Lipsi (Λειψοί). The wind was 5-12 knots still from the SE but the forecasts called for almost no wind later today and the same for tomorrow. Once Thetis cleared Archangelos I opened the genoa and motor-sailed. I also turned on the water-maker and ran it. Both the water-maker and the autopilot worked perfectly, the later in its Track mode. But half way the alternator stopped charging the batteries. I opened the engine compartment and shook its regulator fuse box. I started working again. Later I cleaned the fuses contacts. I checked the bilge. No water.

We arrived in Papandria (Παπανδριά) [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E] at 1050 after 6.4 nM. There were no other boats either in this cove or in the adjacent Katstsadia. I anchored in 7 m depth to allow room for swinging because I expected the wind to change direction and come from the N. I let out 40 m chain. I then lowered the dinghy so that I could get access to the swimming ladder. I then put on a mask and jumped into the water. It was cold but after a few strokes it was tolerable, barely. I snorkeled over the Rocna anchor. It was beautifully buried under the sand. This was my first, if brief, swim of this year. I hope many more are to come.

After drying myself I put up the tent, another first. All was well other then the swell. There was no wind and the sea was calm. Now I feel that I am actually cruising. Today it is lovely: sunshine, clear blue sky, emerald-green and very translucent calm water. My plan is to go tomorrow to Marathi and then on Monday to Samos. I need to check on the house repairs and to bottle last year’s wine.

I spent the afternoon reading and I had a short nap. I also spoke to Alice on Skype. There were a lot of flies.

In the evening, after a hot shower, I went ashore and walked to the harbor. It is a 20-30 minute walk up and down a steep hill. While I do this walk every time I am here this time I was out of shape. There were a lot of “For Sale” signs in various properties. The terrible financial crises has hit Lipsi as well.

At the harbor I sat at Nick’s and Loulis’ where Mr. Nikos and his wife greeted me as an old friend. I had ouzo and the usual grilled sun-dried octopus along with an assortment of other mezedes (tasty morsels). As I was sipping my ouzo I heard a voice “Kyrie (Mr.) Vasili.” It turned out that it was Panayiotis the previous travel-lift operator of Agmar Marine. He introduced me to his 2 daughters. All 3 of them were taking their evening stroll. He retired from Agmar and he is now back to his native island Lipsi.

After the ouzo I indulged myself and had a portion of diples (a honey fritter) at the patisserie. Then I walked back to my cove and boat. I hardly read one page and fell asleep.

Sunday May 19, 2013, Day 4

After coffee I checked the weather forecasts—low northerly winds for the next 2 days. I then raised the dinghy and washed down the deck and cockpit. They were very dirty with dust and bird droppings. This was the last serious task of commissioning Thetis. Although there were thick clouds I put up the tent because my skin has not had any serious exposure to the sun and I am still afraid of a sun burn.

At 1030 I raised the anchor and headed out rounding the SE side of the island and avoiding the bad reef. The wind was 5-12 knots from the N so we had to motor. I ran the water-maker until the tanks were filled. I also filled a few empty water bottles. I use this water for cooking. There were no problems.

At 1145 and after 6.4 nM we stopped in Platys Yialos [37° 18.8' N 26° 44.5' E] on the NE side of Lipsi. I anchored in 5 m depth with 25 m of chain since this was only a lunch stop. After lunch and a short nap I pulled up the anchor. It was 1335. We headed N to Marathi. The wind had picked up and it was now 10-15 knots from the WNW. I opened the headsail and motor-sailed. We arrived in Marathi (Μαράθι) [37° 22.1' N 26° 43.6' E] at 1427. I easily caught one of Pandeli’s mooring.

I had a cup of coffee and read for a while under the tent. I then lowered the dinghy freeing the swimming ladder and swam for a while. The water, at 24°C (75.2°F), was not too cold. A large gulet schooner was anchored in the middle of the cove playing very loudly American music. Other then that, it was pleasant. There were here a French S/Y and 2 German yachts.

After a while a largish motor-cruiser with a US flag came. On her were 2 young women and a man. One of the women drove the boat while the other two, despite the hight of her bow, easily caught another of the Pandelis’ moorings. No fuss, no shouts. I later met them when I went ashore for dinner. They are Turks from Istanbul but keep their boat in Bodrum. One of the women is the man’s wife and the other his sister. They come frequently here.

When I went ashore Katina hugged and kissed me. The son Manolis, and daughter Toola along with the grandchildren are in Athens. Then Pandelis came: another hug. As always they took good care of me. They served me a very tasty φανγρόπουλο (fangropoulo - red porgy - Pagrus pagrus), a salad, and some octopus with pickled caper leaves as appetizers. Before leaving Katina gave me one of her homemade loaf of bread.

Monday May 20, 2013, Day 5

Fairly early in the morning I had my coffee and prepared to depart for Samos. There was no wind. I raised the dinghy and cast off the mooring at 0733. We had to motor all the way. There were few encounters with ships on the way but none were in a collision course with us. There was some swell but zero chance of using the sails.

After 9:30 I telephoned Samos Marina advising them of Thetis’ arrival this evening. I also called Aramis Car Rental and arranged for a car to be delivered at the marina tomorrow morning. I decided to, after arriving to Samos, stop in Mycale, spend the rest of the day there, and go to the marina in the evening. I would sleep in the boat, get the car and then drive to Kalami in the morning.

We arrived in Mycale (Μυκάλη) [37° 42.3' N 26° 58.8' E] at 1205 after 27 nM. I anchored in 4.5 m depth and let out 25 m of scope.

Later I spoke with Alice on Skype. Still I am not sure when she will come and meet me in Samos. I finished The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan. It turned out to be very interesting. A convent in Spain, found in Roman times by Salome, Jesus’ sister, is dedicated to help women regardless of religion or ethnicity. In the 16th century the nuns are prosecuted by the inquisition for having sheltered Jewish and Moorish girls. In an effort to evade the inquisition they send several of these girls-nuns along with a manuscript of the convents founding and history to the new world where they found a new convent. This convent survived to the 21st century and the manuscript is in the hands of an orphan girl, a descendant of one the escaped nuns, adopted by an an American couple. I started reading the Beyond the Reef by Alexander Kent, novel of a British naval officer during the Napoleonic wars.

After 6 PM I removed the tent and started getting ready to go to the marina. We departed at 1845. I hailed the marina in the VHF channel 9. There was no response on my newest Simrad RD68 VHF but after I switched to the old RT144C Sailor the attendant Michalis responded and addressed me as “Mr. Vasilis.” This had happened last year also. I had the new VHF unit checked and there were no problems found.

We arrived in the marina [37° 41.5' N 26° 57.3' E] at 1705 with a total 28.7 nM from Marathi. My last year’s marina neighbors the British small motor cruiser Voyager was there, in the same berth, and her couple were now waving to me to go next to them to berth C05, which was exactly Thetis’ last years’ berth. As I was maneuvering Michalis did come and with his helped Thetis was moored without any difficulty. The British couple told me that the marina was recently sold to the Turkish company that owns the marina in Kusadasi, that is Setur.

The taverna here at the marina is now closed. After a shower I made an omelet for supper with left-over pasta. I went to bed early.

Tuesday May 21, 2013

I woke up very early tyrannized by vicious mosquitoes. I packed my stuff and by 8 AM I was waiting for the rental car so that I could drive to Kalami and take care of things there. Thetis is in excellent shape.