Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2013: Samos to Plomari, Lesvos

This web page contains the logs of the first leg of a cruise from the island of Samos to the island of Lesvos in the northeastern Aegean. This leg consists of 11 solo sailing days that I took with S/Y Thetis. The places we stopped are: Mourtia in Samos; Kirdilim and Alaçati Bay in Turkey; Kato Fana, Elindas, and Limnia in the island of Chios; and finally Plomari in Lesvos.

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.

Routes from Samos to Lesvos

Monday July 22 to Sunday July 28

During this time I prepared for my usual August cruise. First, I removed the faulty kitchen faucet and amazingly enough I managed to find in Samos a near replacement. It was a close but not an exact match to the original and I had to modify it since its valve is vertical rather than horizontal and also opens at the rear rather then the front and there was no clearance for the valve at the rear. It took me a couple of hours to modify and install it. But at the end it was in place and most importantly it worked. This was a critical failure because without the faucet there would be no water in the kitchen sink and I could not go on a cruise.

I also transferred 2 jerry cans of Diesel fuel to the main tank and re-filled them at a fuel station. The new siphon hose is very easy to use and not a drop was spilled.

I located in Samos a tent/cover maker and had him make for me 2 straps to extend the davit tie-down straps. The new straps are 2 m long and have a grommet in the middle to attach a sinking weight, a cleat at one end and a strap connector to the other.

I finally used the pressure hose and thoroughly cleaned the deck and the cockpit.

During this time we also invited to Kalami Thetis neighbors Ann and Bob Brown from M/V Voyager. They are very nice people. Bob used to manage a shipyard in north England. Now they are living year round in Samos using Voyager as their home.

Monday July 29, 2013, Day 1

I drove Alice to the airport. She was catching the 7 AM flight to Athens and then a connection via London to Washington, D.C. She will be gone until the end of August. After the airport I drove to the marina and got ready for cruising.

The plan was to go tomorrow to Alaçati and visit my friends Arzu and Turgut. But for the past few weeks there have been very strong winds with high gusts. The forecasts today called for force 4-5 northerlies but I plan to take it easy and wait and see what the actual conditions are before deciding where to stop for the night.

We departed from the marina at 0805. The wind was 8-15 knots from the NNE. We motored E through the Mycale channel. The sea was rather calm and it looked encouraging. I hoped to be able to sail to Kirdilim, spend the night there, and then tomorrow sail to Alaçati. But, after rounding Cape Praso, the easternmost point in Samos at 1015 the wind was 15-20 NW and the sea very choppy. Had I continued it would be motoring all the way in an uncomfortable ride with banging and spaying. I turned around and and headed to the Mourtia cove [37° 45.7' N 27° 01.8' E] avoiding my favorite Mikri Lakka because it was dominated by a large gulet. The arrival time was 1035 and we had come 12.6 M from the marina.

I anchored in 6 m depth, over sand, and let out 35 m of chain. Thetis settled in 7-8 depth. Here it was calm. After lowering the dinghy and freeing the swimming ladder I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was well set.

Last week when we were anchored in Klima we saw a number of fire fighting planes scooping water near Heraion and then flying over us heading towards the Zodochos Pigi peninsula. It turns out there was a deliberately set fire by some illegal immigrants on the desolate peninsula who wanted to attract the attention of the authorities. They did that but it took the combines efforts of 4 planes, 2 flown from Athens, and a helicopter plus many volunteers fighting the blaze until the night. Altogether a large area was devastated. Today as I was sailing by the peninsula, near Cape Prasso, I could see the extend of this devastation. I took several pictures. The perpetrators were arrested but the damage was already done. How many years will it take before the wonderfully luxuriant pine forest is back?

I spent the afternoon reading and swimming although by then there were strong 10-27 knot gusts. I later communicated with Turgut. He will be expecting me in Alaçati around 4 PM tomorrow. I went ashore with the dinghy and cleaned a watermelon that I had brought from Kalami and after cutting it into bite chunks I put it in a plastic container and then disposed of its skin in a trash bin. I then raised the dinghy on its davits so that I can leave early in the morning. The new strap extenders worked very well and made this operation much easier.

I had an ouzo and then ate a leftover roast that I had brought with me from Kalami. I went to bed early. I had not yet received any news from Alice.

Fire devastation near Cape Prasso
Fire devastation near Cape Prasso

Tuesday July 30, 2013, Day 2

One of the four Dolphins that kept me company

I woke up early and prepared for departure. At 0545 we were underway. After rounding Cape Prasso we set course for Alaçati. The wind was 8-14 knots WNW, a headwind. I opened the bimini, uncovered the mainsail, and raised it. We motor-sailed until 0830 when the wind was reduced to 4-8 knots NNW and the sail was flapping wildly. Not wanting to do tedious tacks I lowered it and motored. At 0945 four dolphins came and kept us company for about 10 minutes. The wind by then came from the NW. I opened the headsail and motor-sailed on and off, but mostly it was motoring. Nevertheless we were making good progress and I estimated that we will be arriving in Alaçati by 2 PM. Not wanting to get there so early I changed course and headed to Kirdilim.

We arrived, after 35.8 M in Kirdilim, Turkey [38° 08.6' N 26° 33.8' E] at 1230 and anchored in this lovely sandy bay in 5 m depth with 25 m scope. I raised the dinghy from the davit’s stands as high as possible which allowed to lower the swimming ladder. It was hot inside the calm bay and a cooling off swim was most welcome.

After several jumps into the water I secured the dinghy on its stands and raised the anchor. It was 1345. We motored the rest of the way and finally entered Alaçati Bay. It was full of kite skaters and wind surfers. We slowly entered the marked channel and approached the marina. I hailed Turgut as we had arranged on VHF channel 71 but there was no response. Suspecting a radio malfunction I switched to the backup unit and hailed again. He responded right awayy. It turned out that he could hear me when transmitting with either unit but I did not receive his transmissions on the primary radio. At any rate I followed the marina and fishing harbor breakwater and entered the canal. By that time Turgut had called the marina personnel and 4 hefty youths arrived with an inflatable to help. In no time Thetis was moored right next to New Life III in front of Turgut’s house [38° 15.55' N 26° 22.76' E]. The time was 1640 and we had traveled 16.3 M from Kirdilim and 52.1 from Mourtia in Samos. With Turgut’s help we connected Thetis to the AC.

Entering Alaçati Bay
Alacati1 Alacati2

We had a most welcome glass of raki in front of the boats while waiting for Arzu to arrive. She soon did come together with their son, my friend Orhan, who especially wanted to see me. After I had a nice hot shower in the Ayker’s house we all got into Turgut’s car and went to Alaçati town for dinner. The town was bustling with people, restaurants, cafés, and shops. After dinner we drove to Çesme and walked around the marina. By the time we returned to their house it it was almost 12:30. I fell asleep in my cabin in no time.

New-Life and Thetis
New-Life III and Thetis in front of Turgut’s house
Courtesy of Turgut Ayker

Wednesday July 31, 2013, Day 3

Turgut’s favorite sandy cove, from New Life III

After a good night’s sleep and a cup of coffee I did some house cleaning and set the AC battery charger in its battery equalization mode. By that time I noticed that Turgut was already in New Life III.

Eventually the plan for the day emerged. Arzu will be meeting a group of friends and they will go swimming while Turgut and I will walk around the development and then go to the marina and visit Taner who few years ago moved his Bavaria Yacht dealership from Çesme to the Alaçati marina. We walked a good part of the morning stopping to introduce me to the friends we met along the way. While the walk was pleasant it was getting hot as there was no shade anywhere. It was a pleasure to then sit inside Taner’s air-conditioned office and chat with him.

When we returned to the house Arzu was still there and she had made a tasty fish pasta. We all had a nice light lunch. After lunch Turgut and I boarded New Life III and motored to the marina where we re-fueled. Then we had a very pleasant short sail, with the headsail, to Turgut’s favorite sandy cove just two miles W of Alaçati Bay. We swam and had coffee and enjoyed, as usual, each other’s company. On the way back we had a fast upwind sail.

By the time we secured New Life III to her berth it was almost 8 PM. We later drove to Alaçati village and had a pleasant dinner at an upscale restaurant served by the friendly owner’s daughter. Once again by the time we returned and I got back into Thetis it was almost midnight.

Thursday August 1, 2013, Day 4

In the morning I got ready for departure by removing the tent and rearranging the docking lines for an easy escape. Turgut had already left for Izmir and Arzu made repeated calls to the marina so that an attendant can meet me at the fuel pump. Eventually she did get through. Because the wind was over 15 knots down the canal and since Thetis was between New Life III and a cruiser getting away could be a problem, so she also asked for the marina dinghy and a crew to help. The dinghy arrived and I cast off at 0830 reversing clear of the cruiser. The help was not needed but “better safe then sorry.” I slowly motored to the marina and with a little difficulty with the docking line did dock by the fuel dock. The tank was filled with 33 L of Diesel duel for 146 TL which I charged to my credit card.

By 0900 we were under way. The wind at 20-30 knots from the N made for a good fast reach on our heading of 250. I only used 25% of the headsail afraid of the violent gusts and the large seas. After rounding Cape Masticho in the S of Chios we changed course to a heading of 300 now with a head NW wind of 18-25 knots.

While underway with a good GSM signal and expecting a weak signal in the anchorages of SW Chios I sent an e-mail to my friend Manos advising him of my short term and wind dependent plans. He called back right away and we agreed to meet, subject to further confirmation, in Plomari, Lesvos next Thursday.

Thetis arrived in Kato Fana (Κάτω Φανά), Chios [38° 12.3' N 25° 55.5' E] at 1320 after 26.1 M. Here it was calm and in the cove were the British S/Y Cynasure and a Greek fishing trechandiri. I anchored in 6 m depth letting out 35 m of chain scope. While anchoring my sunglasses fell apart. That is the small screw that holds the lens sheared. Fortunately the lens did not break and I had another pair.

Later I spoke with the crew of Cynasure, Margaret and Glenn, and asked them for a test of my VHF. As I suspected, my newest Simrad RD68 radio while it transmits it does not receive. In the mean time, my ancient Sailor is working very well. After the radio test we had an ouzo aboard Cynasure. It turned out that she too was hauled out and wintered in Agmar Marine (renamed to Moor & Dock). Glenn is a retired British Airways pilot.

After I returned to Thetis I removed the tent. It was a windy evening. For dinner I had a simple cheese omelet and a salad since I had a lot of fancy food during the past two days in Alaçati. The night was quiet but windy.

The cove of Kato Fana
The cove of Kato Fana

Friday August 2, 2013, Day 5

This was a relaxed and uneventful day but somehow a lot of wasps were attracted to Thetis. So far I avoided being stung.

Fairly early in the morning I went ashore and walked for about an hour taking pictures of the little chapel and the ruins of the sanctuary of Faneos Apollon - Φαναίος Απόλλων. After I returned to the boat I put up the tent and washed the cockpit that had accumulated a lot of crumbs.

The rest of the morning was surprisingly cool and the wind was less strong then yesterday, seldom reaching above 15 knots. In the middle of the morning S/Y Cynasure departed. They had told me that they wanted to go and see nearby Salagonas. They opened their headsail but soon rolled it back in before disappearing behind the cove.

I read and finished the book I was reading on my Kindle, The Disorderly Knights, and started Tess Gerritsen’s Body Double, a Rizzoli mystery.

In the afternoon I had a long swim with mask and snorkel. Thetis’ anchor was completely buried in the sand and had not moved since yesterday. I swam ashore and sunbathed for a while and then swam back to the boat. Cynasure returned and anchored exactly on her previous location.

At sunset I had an ouzo and while listening to classical music cooked some rice with a spicy tuna sauce. A little past 11 PM I retired to my cabin.

Kato Fana
The remains of the sanctuary of Faneos Apollon

The remains of the sanctuary of Faneos Apollon

View of the cove from the Sanctuary

View of the cove from the Sanctuary

The door of the Ayia Markela Chapel

The door of the Ayia Markela Chapel

The icon of Ayia Markela

The icon of Ayia Markela

An old water fountain

An old water fountain

A local fishing boat

A local fishing boat

Saturday August 3, 2013, Day 6

There was no GSM signal here and the only forecast that I got was yesterday’s on the Navtex but this morning the sea did look calmer and the wind was not so gusty. So, I decided to move further N along the west side of Chios. Before departing I washed the cockpit and raised the dinghy. I pulled up the anchor at 0845. Before heading out I circled Cynasure and waved to them. Glenn told me that they too will be leaving going N and we should be in touch via the VHF channel 6.

Outside the cove the wind was 20-25 knots from the NW, once again a headwind at about 35° to our course. Although I had uncovered the mainsail and opened the bimini I hesitated to raise the sail since I was expecting to have the wind even closer after rounding Cape MestaM away. So we motored and I ran the water-maker. The water-maker needed to run for at least 20 minutes in order to flush out the biocide preservative solution I had infused it with a few weeks ago when I expected a period of inactivity.

The sea was rough and irregular. We moved ahead slowly, the waves braking our speed. About half an hour later Cynasure also left Kato Fana. They opened their sails and followed an indirect more westerly course. On and on we went, at least the 20 minutes were over and now we were making water. I filled 5 plastic bottles with fresh water from the water-maker to be used for cooking. The tachometer was back into showing the wrong RPM. We finally rounded Cape Mesta, and now totally against the wind, headed to the islet of Xylopetra. I spoke with Glen and told him that I will go to Lithi but if the conditions there are not inviting I will head further north to Elindas. In the worst case I will go to Limnia, the harbor of Volissos. Cynasure was tacking.

After Thetis rounded Xylopetra (Ξυλόπετρα) I was able to open 30% of the headsail and although now we had a close reach the sea was so rough that I was reluctant to raise the mainsail afraid that I may have to lower it or take some reefs for sure and I did not want to do any deck work with these seas. Instead we motor-sailed to Lithi (Λήθι). It looked rather uncomfortable for anchoring off and even if we were to moor in the small harbor there would be, for sure, a lot of swell. I now headed N to Elindas (Ελίνδας) [38° 23.4' N 25° 59.4' E] where we arrived at 1220 after 16.6 uncomfortable miles.

It was calm in the cove but I had to go fairly close to its head just to anchor in 9 m depth. I let out 50 m of chain and Thetis settled in about 12.5. I hailed Cynasure and told them where I was. Glenn said that they too will come here. I lowered the dinghy and snorkeled to the anchor. It was well set but the water was frigid. I put up the tent and soon Cynasure arrived and anchored nearby. Later I spoke with Alice in Washington, D.C. on Skype and to Manos in Athens. We confirmed our plan to meet in Plomari on Thursday.

In the evening Glenn and Margaret came to Thetis and we had an ouzo pleasantly exchanging stories. Glenn’s other hobby is to fly gliders. He was pleased to know that I too was flying small airplanes during my student years. By the time they left it was past 9 PM. I made a simple fresh tomato sauce and served it with spaghetti.

The cove of Elindas devastated by fire
The lovely cove of Elindas devastated by fire

Sunday August 4, 2013, Day 7

In the morning I did some troubleshooting of the tachometer problem. I first unscrewed the instrument panel and checked all the contacts to the tachometer. They were solid. I then checked all the connections from the alternator to the tachometer—it gets the RPM input from the alternator. Again these were solid. Just in case I put everything back and started the engine. Same problem, bad RPM indication. My tentative conclusion was that the instrument was faulty.

I did some swimming but the water was very cold. I read and finished Body Double on the Kindle and started Arthur C. Clark’s The Fountains of Paradise. This reminded me of when I met Arthur C. Clark many years ago. He, in addition to being a celebrated science fiction writer, is considered the father of communications satellites. In a paper he published in the late 1940s he proposed that 3 satellites in a geosynchronous orbit with the proper transponders will cover the world. His vision became reality in the middle 1960s and the US government by an act of Congress created the Communications Satellite Corporation, COMSAT, with the mandate to establish worldwide communication coverage. So when Arthur C. Clark visited COMSAT Labs, where I was the manager of the Transponders department, he was quite a celebrity and I was very excited to guide him in my lab. I was very pleased to witness his touching reunion with my colleague Arthur Standing whom he knew during WWII when they were both young civilian scientist, known as “buffins”, developing radar systems.

At 1450 I raised the anchor and slowly motored 6 M of rough sea to Limnia (Λιμνιά) the harbor of Volissos (Βολισσός). I anchored off in the cove [38° 28.1' N 25° 55.4' E] just E of of the harbor. The time was 1620. During the short passage the speed log stopped working. It had stopped briefly yesterday also. So, I did some troubleshooting while underway. I first opened the instrument holder and checked the electrical connections. No problem there. Then I removed the sensor and plugged the through hole. The sensor’s impeller was dirty. I cleaned it and then put it back. The meter worked. I hope this is the end of this story.

I anchored in the cove in 5 m depth and let out 35 m of chain. When I snorkeled the anchor was buried under the sand. Soon Cynasure also arrived and anchored nearby.

After a welcomed hot shower I ferried Margaret and Glenn from Cynasure to the harbor where we enjoyed nicely grilled meat at the taverna. It was again a very windy night.

The anchorage Near Limnia
The anchorage Near Limnia

Monday August 5, 2013, Day 8

Today is my youngest daughter’s, Corinna, birthday. Where has my little girl gone? Now she is married and has a darling little boy. I sent her an e-mail and I hoped that I will be able to have a video Skype session with her and little Rohan, but here we are 9 hours ahead of her.

I took the dinghy to the harbor and walked uphill for about 25 minutes to the pretty village of Volissos. I was pleased to see that the old fashioned wood burning bakery was still operating. I bought a still hot loaf of bread. I then, at the butcher’s, bought a small beef roast and some fruits. There was now a new small but very attractive archaeological museum in an old mansion. It is dedicated to wine and to its god Dionysos. After my visit to the museum I had a leisurely glass of fresh orange juice and then I walked back to the harbor and returned to Thetis.

I had a phone call from Turgut. He was with New Life III and another sailboat in Oinouses and they were planning to come here this afternoon. In the mean time there were ferocious gusts and the forecasts were bleak calling for more of the same. Nevertheless around 3:45 New Life III arrived and was shortly followed by their friends in S/Y Borea. Both boats anchored next to Thetis while earlier this morning Cynasure had moved inside the harbor. Borea had a family, friends of the Aykers. The father is an orthopedic surgeon. With him were his wife, her girlfriend, and their very personable and vivacious 13 year old son Kann. He came later all by himself and visited Thetis. He was curious about the instruments, the engine, the water-maker, etc. I did miss having a child onboard.

Turgut made a number of phone calls to Maria his Greek friend in Chios. She speaks Turkish fluently as well as French and English. Her husband was the captain of a freighter and she went with him all around the world as the cook. After many consultations she recommended that we all meet for dinner in the Akroyiali taverna in Limnos (a cove in Chios, not the island), the cove is W of Limnia. Turgut and I took my dinghy and went to Limnos and found the taverna. We made a reservation for 12 people and Turgut chose several fish: 3 large tsipoures (τσιπούρες - Gilthead seabreams - Sparus auratus) and 10 red mullets (μπαρμπούνια - mullus surmuletus. The taverna owner agreed to come to Limnia at 9 PM and drive us over to Limnos.

At around 8 we all congregated in New Life III for an ouzo. Arzu put out a very impressive spread of mezedes: figs with prosciutto, cheeses, etc. Just before 9 we all went with 2 dinghies to the harbor and called the taverna for a pickup. Maria with her 2 charming daughters, Athena the oldest who lives in Sacramento and teaches biology in Davis where my daughter Corinna got her PhD, and Marina also a biologists who lives and works in Paris. Soon 3 cars arrived from Limnos and we were all driven to the taverna. It was a very jolly evening but Turgut had gone overboard by over ordering. It was impossible to consume what he had ordered. At the end Maria and the girls took 3 bags of the uneaten food. By the time we all returned to our boats it was well past midnight.

The dinner party in Limnos
The dinner party in Limnos

Tuesday August 6, 2013, Day 9

There was some swell during the night and the boat was rocking but not too badly. After I got up in the morning I heard the thumping sound of what passes as music, that was at 6 AM or so.

Arzu & Turgut in Volissos

At about 8 AM I picked up Arzu and Turgut. We went ashore and walked up to Volissos. There was a special service at the church presided by the bishop of Chios. Loudspeakers blasted the chants all over the town. We wandered in the upper old section. The fancy resort with its lavishly restored houses rented at extravagant rates was now defunct. I guess there was a lack of customers.

After we returned back to our boats New Life III and Boreas departed. Also I noticed, while walking back to Limnia that Cynasure was heading out west. This morning it was amazingly calm here and maybe I too should had left because in the afternoon, once again, it was very windy. I looked at the forecasts: Poseidon and Weather on Line promised force 4-5 winds for tonight but Meteo predicted 5-6. I spoke to Alice on Skype. It was not a very good connection because the GSM signal was fading off and on.

In the evening and in anticipation of an early morning departure after I removed the tent, I uncovered the mainsail, raised it, and set it on its 2nd reef, then lowered it. But here and now the wind was gusting over 20 knots. I had an ouzo and since I was not very hungry I just made an omelet and ate it with some of the wonderful bread from Volissos.

Wednesday August 7, 2013, Day 10

The wind howled all night. While I did get up at 5:30 there was no way that I could depart as the gusts were close to 28 knots. I looked up the forecasts once more. They, including Meteo showed winds mostly of force 5 between Chios and Lesvos but Meteo also showed force 7 on the NW side of Chios which is what it was here and now. But it looked that it will diminish in the late morning.

I waited and indeed the wind did lessen. So, I prepared to depart. My plan was to see how things were out there and if conditions were really bad to turn back. I lifted the dinghy and raised the anchor at 0837. The wind at that time was 20-28 knots from the NNE. We motored west running the water-maker and then turned northwest. Soon the wind was under 15 knots and even less.

By 0955 we had covered 9 M and rounded Cape Ayios Nikolaos or Melanios. The wind after the cape was weeker, 15-20 knots N, but the sea was very rough and I was tempted to turn back. Nevertheless I kept on going which was good because the wind started slowly to lessen down to 5-10 knots NNW and the sea became appreciably calmer. Things aboard Thetis changed from being unpleasant to being rather pleasant.

Thetis> moored in Plomari
Thetis moored in Plomari

At 1250 with the wind 3-10 knots now from the NW I raised the mainsail, on its 2nd reef, and motor-sailed the rest of the way. We reached our destination Plomari (Πλωμάρι) [38° 58.4' N 26° 22.1' E], Lesvos (Λέσβος) at 1648. After lowering the sail I entered the harbor and appraised the situation. There was plenty of room to moor stern-to which I had to do because I needed to use the anchor. I exited the harbor and while drifting prepared for the singlehanded mooring. First, I lowered the dinghy and because it would be on the way I moved its painter about ⅔ of the way to the bow. Then, set up the new and unused passarella to the stern and raised it with a sling. This I had to do because I may need to quickly step ashore to tie a mooring line. I then hung the fenders and set stern mooring lines and kept some spares lines ready if needed. Finally I prepared the anchor for fast dropping and I also connected and tested the second set of windlass controls in the cockpit. Now all was ready and with some trepidation we slowly motored back into the harbor. I maneuvered the boat to the chosen spot, dropped the anchor, and backed to the quay between two Turkish flagged S/Ys while letting out the chain via the second windlass control. Fortunately a crewman from the S/Y Bosphorus came at the zero hour and caught the stern lines. So, I did not have to jump ashore after all. By 1730 Thetis was securely moored and the passarella was deployed. We had come 45.6 M from Limnia in Chios.

I called Manos and he was very relieved that I was in Lesvos. He and Mary will be arriving tomorrow with the noon flight from Athens due in Mytilene at 1 PM. I also send e-mails to Alice and my brother Nikos advising them that Thetis was now in Plomari the source of good ouzo. As I was stepping off the passarella a Greek gentleman came and spoke to me. He too was sailing in the Aegean singlehanded for 6 months with his S/Y Bandonimo and spends the rest of the year in South Africa. Alltogether there were 3 Turkish flagged boats, 2 US-Delaware i.e. also Turkish, and 2 Greek. It was hot. I went to a café and had a cool and refreshing fresh orange juice.

Later a familiar S/Y entered the harbor. She was the Cynasure. I helped her moor. They had gone yesterday to Marmaro, a harbor on the NE of Chios. I then connected Thetis to the AC but was too lazy to string out a long water hose to the outlet far away. I found out that fuel was available. Also the Limenarchio (Greek Coast Guard) came and asked me to bring the boat papers to their office but I told them I will do so tomorrow morning.

I started cooking the roast I had bought in Volissos. I cooked it in the pot with lemon and garlic. I also wanted to bake some potatoes to go with it when I realized that I had not bought a replacement pyrex dish of the one that broke in Tsopela. I went ashore and I was very gratified to find one right away in a glassware store. Both the roast and the potatoes were delicious. I then had an indulgence. I went to a pastry store and had a plate of loukoumades - λουκουμάδες (dough fritters with honey). By 10 PM I was in my cabin.

Thursday August 8, 2013, Day 11

A fishing boat in Plomari

A very bad swell developed during the early hours, the dock lines started making a lot of noise as they were stressed and then released. Reluctantly I got up from my cozy berth and replaced the lines, which were doubled, with my more substantial lines with shock absorbers. The problem was solved but I had a hard time falling asleep again.

When I finally got up in the morning I did some re-arranging in preparation for the arrival of my guests and removed many things from the front cabin. I finished reading The Fountains of Paradise. Although the book was written in the 1970s it still makes a good reading. It is a story taking place, in the 22nd century, of the construction of a space elevator from a fictitious Indian Ocean island, resembling Sri Lanka, to a geosynchronous satellite. I did enjoy it. I started another book on the Kindle the A.G. Riddle’s The Atlantis Gene: A Thriller.

In the late morning I went to the the Limenarchio (Greek Coast Guard) as I had been requested. They did not even bothered to look at the boat papers. I gave them a piece of my mind on how counterproductive their service is in harassing yachts especially now when Greece can use all the tourist income it can get. They seemed incapable of understanding what a bad impression they make in asking yachtsmen to come to their overstuffed bleak offices and watch them filling in forms by hand and then decorating them with multiple stamps. They were also blissfully unaware of the practices in other EU countries and in Turkey.

Following this delightful visit I went for a walk. I bought some supplies and 2 baskets from a Gypsy lady. The town was very quiet this morning. But as the day progressed it became very hot, oppressively so. I had to splash water over my face just to cool off. I had a light lunch and then went to the shade of the nearby café and had a fresh orange juice while reading my Kindle. Finally Manos called. They had arrived in Lesvos and they were in a taxi on their way to Plomari but it may take them an hour or so before coming. It was a very hot hour. I tried staying awake but I kept on drifting into a snooze. Eventually they came.

After catching their breath under Thetis’ tent we all went to nearby taverna and while Manos and Mary had a light lunch I had a cold beer. By change Glenn and Margaret from S/Y Cynasure were also having their lunch on the next table. I introduced them. Back onboard while they were arranging their things I prepared the dinghy and then we all got on it and went to a beech, just outside the harbor, for a refreshing swim. The cold water did revive us. Back on Thetis we had coffee. Then Manos and I went to a supermarket and bought more provisions. While stowing these I came across an unopened bottle of gin that Manos had bought in January of 2005 in Gibraltar. His idea was that after crossing the Atlantic we will be having gin & tonic in the tropics of the Caribbean. But we did not have them because we had forgotten the tonic… So, this bottle had not only crossed the Atlantic but had gone several times around the Aegean. We decided to definitely open the bottle now. We invited Glenn and Margaret to join us. They brought the tonic water while Manos went ashore looking for ice cubes and lime. We had a jolly time.

Later we went to a taverna in the inner square under a plane tree and had a nice meal. It was past midnight when we went to bed.

Plomari, Lesvos
Plomari3 Plomari4