Travels with S/Y Thetis


Thetis only

2014: Kea To Samos

This web page contains the logs of the second leg of a 27-day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis to the Cyclades in Greece. The logs cover a period of 17 days of sailing from the island of Kea or Tzia (Koundouros), back to Samos (Samiopoula, Samos Marina) via the islands of Kythnos, Syros, Rhinia, Levitha, Leros (Partheni, Lakki), Archangelos (3 Times: first, second, third), Lipsi (Papandria), Patmos, Tiganakia, and Marathi. The logs include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites.

Route from Tzia
Route from Kea (Tzia)

Friday August 8, 2014, Day 11

Despite my late return I woke up close to 6:30 AM. After my ritual coffee I prepared for departure which was rather complicated with the two shore lines. I went ashore with the dinghy and was about to untie the first line when the gentleman from the small cruiser next to Thetis came to help. I do not know the name of his cruiser because it was not displayed. With his much appreciated help both lines were untied and hauled aboard Thetis. Nevertheless, while still at anchor the two long lines had to be coiled and stowed in the sail locker and the dinghy had to be raised on its davits. Then, the anchor was finally raised.

Thetis departed Koundoouros, Tzia (Kea) at 0850. Our destination the small cove of Ayia Irene (Αγία Ειρήνη) near the harbor of Loutra (Λουτρά) in the island of Kythnos. The wind, as had been forecasted, was a very light 5-10 knot breeze from the NNE. I kept the tent and opened about 50% of the headsail and motor-sailed charging the new gel batteries. These behave quite differently from the old deep discharge conventional lead-acid batteries. After being continuously discharged for 5 days with the only charge provided during the day by the two 90 W photo-voltaic panels and the wind-generator, they had consumed 180 Ah but their voltage was still 12.5 V. Now with the engine running during the bulk charging stage the alternator fed them 35-25 A and during the absorption stage less 10 A. After about 3 hours of motoring only 30 Ah had been restored.

We arrived in Ayia Irene in Kythnos (Κύθνος) [37° 26.4' N 24° 26' E] at 1220 after 15.7 nM. I dropped the anchor in 4.5 m depth over sand and weed and let out 25 m of chain. After lowering the dinghy I snorkeled and looked at the anchor. It was buried under the weed alright but it was pointing in the wrong direction because the wind although only 3-8 knots had already shifted. It kept shifting all day.

After a snack I had a nap. Later I spoke with Alice in D.C. I finished reading The beautiful Hellen of Tzia, (in Greek). It is a story from Tzia based on real events taking place before and after the Greek War of Independence of 1821. This story has become part of the Tzia folklore. I swam a lot.

In the evening I had a shower and I removed the tent. After that I had a relaxing ouzo. For dinner I boiled some spaghetti and warmed the never-ending pork roast. They made a nice meal. I went to bed early and there were no mosquitoes.

Saturday August 9, 2014, Day 12

After coffee I raised the dinghy and prepared to depart. My plan was to go to one of my favorite anchorages Grammata on the NW of the island of Syros.

Sometime after 6:30 I started raising the anchor. Few days ago while anchoring I had noticed a hairline crack on the windlass’ pedestal. Now the disaster happened. When the anchor was out of the water there was a crashing sound and the pedestal broke. The windlass tumbled into the chain locker and the anchor went back into the water. Fortunately the breeze was weak and there were no other boats nearby. I managed to secure the anchor’s chain with the snub line and started raising the anchor by hand. It was not easy as the anchor itself weighs 25 kg and the chain is not light either. But I did have a second snub line so, I would pull up a couple of meters, snub, release the non-weight carrying snub line, and repeat the process. When I the anchor was once again out of the water I used the boat hook to straighten it and with great effort got it onboard and then lashed it down.

This adventure caused me to change my plans. Instead of going to Grammata I headed for Finikas, in the SW of Syros. The time was 0730 and the wind was 10-15 knots from the NNE. I opened the genoa and motor-sailed. I called my Syros friend Lefteris Boyatzoglu who has inherited the chandlery store of the unforgettable George Orologas. I told Lefteris my problem and that I urgently needed someone who works with fiberglass. He gave me the number of Frangiscos (+1 30 6932 360 672) whom I called right away. Frangiscos promised to come to Finikas sometime this afternoon after finishing the job he was working on and see what he can do.

After 24.2 nM we arrived in Finikas (Φοίνικας), Syros (Σύρος) [37° 23.8' N 24° 52.8' E] at 1120. I managed, with some difficulty, to anchor offshore by hand in the large bay in 6 m depth over sand and let out 40 m of chain. I then launched the dinghy and snorkeled to the anchor. It was well very well set. I put up the tent and waited and waited for Frangiscos’, the fiberglass repairman, call.

After 4 PM I called him again. He was still on another job. Finally he did call. It was past 7 PM. I went ashore with the dinghy and picked him up. He had no tools nor anything else. He came aboard and looked at the damaged windlass pedestal. He said that repairing it with fiberglass will take several days and he suggested to have fabricated a stainless steel plate to be mounted on the broken pedestal and re-enforced with braces. But he could not to this himself. He suggested another man Stamatis Greparis (+30 6937 022 901), a machinist. He called him and described the problem and the proposed solution. Stamatis however flatly refused to come while the boat is anchored offshore. He only works with boats in the marina. Frangiscos, to his credit, volunteered to help me move Thetis to the marina but I was very reluctant to accept his offer. This was for several reasons. First Frangiscos’ leg had a problem and his help would be marginal at best and I would have to raise the 30 m of chain by hand and by myself. Then we would have to anchor, again by hand, and moor stern to, a daunting maneuver without a strong man at the bow. Finally the prospect of spending an extra night at the brightly lit and noisy marina was unattractive. I explained all this to Frangiscos. He then called the marina attendant Nikos Halavazes (+30 6937 147 248) and once again explained my predicament. Nikos said that tomorrow morning after some boats depart he will send his assistant to help me relocate to the marina without the need to anchor and either use of one of the few permanent moorings or to moor side-to. All this sounded very good and I felt that I was in good hands. I took Frangiscos back ashore and thanked him for his help.

I had a glass of ouzo and then called on the iPhone my friends Yankos and Sue Krinos and told them that I was in Syros and of my problem. We agreed that Sue will pick me up tomorrow evening and we will have dinner together in their lovely house in Episcopio.

I had an omelet and went to bed and slept very well.

Sunday August 10, 2014, Day 13

This was a very frustrating day. I went ashore to the marina and met the marina attendant Nikos. He told me that as boats depart around 10 and 11 there will be room for Thetis to moor side-to. He will call me (I gave him my mobil phone number) so that I can come and pick up his assistant who will help me raise the anchor and then moor in the marina.

After returning to Thetis I kept my iPhone next to me and waited. I did not want to put up the tent because it would impede during the expected maneuver. I waited, and waited. Boats did leave the marina but there was no call from Nikos. Around 1 PM I called him. His answer: “I am trying to find someone to help you, I will call you soon.” I waited some more. Nothing. I put-up the small bimini to at least have some shade and swam very close to the boat to cool off not daring to go any further less I missed the expected call. By that time several new boats had arrived in the marina. In desperation I called Stamatis, the recommended machinist, and begged him to at least come see what is needed and to take measurements so that he can start the fabrication. He was very rude and flatly refused.

After 7 PM I gave up on Nikos. I took a shower and got ready to meet at the marina with Sue Krinos at 8. She came and drove me to their house in Episcopio. Sadly Yankos’ Parkison’s has progressed and now he, aged 93, has deteriorated to the point that he can only walk inside the house with a walker and needs a wheelchair when outside the house. Nevertheless we had a very pleasant evening watching the full moon from his verandah. By the time Sue drove me back to Finikas it was past midnight.

Monday August 11, 2014, Day 14

Yesterday while waiting for a call from the unreliable Nikos, the marina attendant, I thought of a way to raise the anchor. So, early in this morning I experimented using the block and tackle which before installing the davits I used to raise the dinghy on deck. The use of this block and tackle together with the two snub lines made possible raising of the anchor without too much muscle power and risk to one’s hands. But, it was very slow. Encouraged by this I decided to give up on the uncooperative and rude Stamatis and the need of assistance from the the unreliable Nikos. Instead I will sail fairly quickly to Leros and have the reliable Agmar Marine do a proper repair of the broken windlass pedestal. To this effect I sent an e-mail to Ms Irene and asked her to tell Mastro Michalis, the head technical officer, to give me a call.

I then went ashore to get fresh bread, fruits, bottled water for drinking, and other provisions. While shopping Mastro Michalis called me back. After I described to him the problem he promised to take care of it as soon as I arrive in Partheni. I returned to the boat with the provisions and stowed them. There were several emails waiting for me. They were from Alice, Corinna, and my brothers Nikos and Byron all of them asking me not to take any risks. I spoke with both my brothers and let them know of my new plan. I will sail from Finikas to Rhinia, about 20 nM away, and anchor there, in relatively shallow water, for the night. Then I will sail to Levitha, about 60 nM, where there are good moorings and no need to anchor. From Levitha I will sail to Partheni, only 30 nM away. I looked up the forecasts. They predict force 4-5 NW winds for today and tomorrow.

I started raising the anchor. To speed up the process I engaged the engine forward for a few seconds and then went to the bow and took in the slack chain before securing it with a snub line. I repeated this until I had raised close to 35 m of the chain and the boat was almost over the anchor. I then raised about 1 m of chain with the block and tackle, secured it with the second snub line, and repeated the process. In the mean time, with the anchor off the sand Thetis started drifting south and I kept an eye so that she did not get near any other anchored or moving boats. Finally the anchor was up and securely lashed.

We departed, motoring, from Finikas at 1020. It was fairly calm and the wind was under 10 knots from the NNW. After rounding Cape Velostasi, the southernmost point of Syros, the wind, still from the NNW, increased to 15-20 knots. I opened 60% of the headsail and turned off the engine. It was a nice and relaxing sail all the way to the South cove of Rhinia (Ρήνεια) [37° 23.1' N 25° 14.4' E] where we arrived at 1340. The distance from Finikas was 20.6 nM. After rolling-in the sail we motored slowly into the cove until we were at 4 m depth. The cove is all sand. I anchored by hand, a rather slow process, ending at 4.5 m and let out 25 m scope while Thetis settled in 5.7 m depth.

There were 3 other boats here. I put up the tent and lowered the dinghy. The wind was gusting into the middle 20s. The 3G signal was weak and allowed only the use of voice and not the exchange of emails. I called Byron and asked him to inform the rest of the family that I had arrived safely and that I am secure.

I spent the rest of the day reading and swimming. To sail from here to Levitha is close to 62 nM. But I will have to arrive there no later then the early afternoon so that I can be sure of finding a free mooring. To do so I will have to depart around midnight. Last time I did this run was in 2011 with a favorable wind. I had left at 0210 and had arrived in Levitha at 1245. But today I was too tired for a midnight departure and the slow raising of the anchor so I postponed this for tomorrow.

In the evening as the sun went down I had my ouzo. Then I just warmed the remaining pork roast, made an omelet and ate them with some bread and another glass of ouzo. By 10 PM I was in bed.

Tuesday August 12, 2014, Day 15

I woke up, as usual at 6, very refreshed and full of energy. This was somewhat dampened when the head pump refused to draw water. It must had lost its prime yesterday when the boat was a tipping and I soon fixed it. I cleaned the cockpit and transferred 1 jerry cam of Diesel fuel to the main tank. I put up the tent and the spray hood to shelter the cockpit from the wind that was blowing at 20 knots. For a while I contemplated going this morning to Aegiali in Amorgos which is 45 nM from here but after looking at my notes and seeing that I will have to anchor in at least 6 m depth I gave up the idea. I now plan to leave tonight close to midnight.

The GSM signal here was very spotty but my brother Nikos did manage to call me. The data over the 3G is even spottier but I did manage to get a text only forecast on my iPad. It called for 4-5, on the Beaufort Scale, possibly 6 near Amorgos but less so near Naxos and S of Amorgos. It should be a good sail.

I read a lot. Continued reading Φως εξ Ανατολών (in Greek, Light from the East) swam and in general took it easy. More and more boats kept coming including a sleek “ship” with the Italian flag. Later a S/Y arrived with no flag but her name written in very small letters was Tropic. They anchored in front of Thetis and were right over her anchor. I went to them with the dinghy and told them that my windlass does not work and I planned to depart at midnight and if they were to stay where they had anchored we will have a problem. Their skipper stared at me and yelled “Do not touch my boat.” Fortunately his Canadian charterers had listened to me and more reasonably told me that they will not be staying overnight but had just stopped for swimming. So, no problem. Indeed after a couple of hours they left.

In the evening I had an extended ouzo and a cheese omelet. After which I went to sleep in the cockpit. I was woken up by a call from my brother Nikos. He had looked up the forecast and had seen that between Naxos and Amorgos there could be a force 6 wind. He advised me not to depart tonight as planned but to wait for tomorrow when the forecasted wind will be only force 4. Being half asleep I thanked him for his concern but having a force 6 wind on the quarter would be no problem for Thetis but a force 4 would most certainly mean no sailing but motoring. I decided to stick to my plan and went back to snoozing.

Wednesday August 13, 2014, Day 16

A little before midnight I started preparing for the departure. Earlier I had already raised the dinghy on the davits. But raising the anchor, securing it, and then raising the mainsail and taking 2 reefs took a very long time.

We departed from Rhinia at 0115. The wind outside the cove was 12-25 knots NNW. I sailed for a while with just the mainsail but the boat was doing less then 5.5 knots. As we were approaching Naxos I opened 25% of the headsail and we gained one more knot. But at 0730, about 35 nM away from from Levitha, our destination, we lost the wind. The actual wind went down to 5-12 knots NNW which resulted in an apparent wind of less then 7. The sails started flapping while Thetis was doing less then 3 knots. I started the engine, rolled-in the headsail, and started motor-sailing.

By 1020 even motor-sailing with the mainsail was hopeless. The sail was flapping violently doing no good other then possibly damaging itself. The following seas by that time were very irregular and it took extra effort and extra care not to lose Thetis’ crew overboard while lowering the mainsail.

Finally at 1240, and after 66.6 nM, we motored into the East Cove of the small island of Levitha (Λέβιθα) [37° 0.1' N 26° 28.2' E]. There were several free moorings and only 3 sailboats. I easily caught one of the moorings. After that I replaced the mooring line with a heavier one ending with a cleat. This was to prevent any abrasion.

I put up the tent and took a much needed swim. There was no GSM signal. Later I thought I was dreaming. I saw at a distance the Faneromeni entering the bay. This was impossible. First of all she was with Nikos in the Ionian sea and second this one she was dark blue, but Nikos had changed Faneromeni’s color several years ago to red. As she approached I could see that that she was not a perama but a trechandiri (these are traditional hulls of Greek caïque designs). But she, like Faneromeni was a schooner. She moored several mooring away from Thetis.

I took a nap and then had my afternoon coffee. Following this I went with the dinghy to check the trechandiri. She is owned by an Italian couple, Gian Lorenzo Fiorentini and Erica who had bought her from her previous owner. She was built 18 years ago in Turkey near Bodrum. While I was with the Fiorentinis, Manolis Kamposos came with his boat to collect the mooring fees. He was surprised but pleased to see me on the trechandiri. His father and mother are doing well and we will see them in the evening. I promised to come and pick up the Fiorentinis because their outboard had a problem.

Back on Thetis I had nice hot shower, an ouzo and then went and picked up the Fiorentinis. We walked up the hill to the Kamposos hamlet. Both sons Tasos and Manolis were there with their wives and children. The father Dimitris was tending the grill. The mother Irene was presiding in the kitchen. There were many hugs and kisses. We had not seen each other for 2 years now. Everyone is in good health including Dimitris a fellow heart attach survivor. As usual we had a simple but very good meal. My new Italian friends, the Fiorentinis were a good and lively company. We exchanged many sea stories. They winter their caïque in Diakofti in Patmos, so there is good chance that we will meet again.

Back on Thetis I had a very good sleep. It had been a very long day.

Route Leros-Patmos Region
Detail of the Leros-Patmos Region

Thursday August 14, 2014, Day 17

I was eager to go to Partheni in Leros and have the windlass pedestal repaired so that I can go back to my normal cruising. I got up at 5 and started getting ready for the passage to Leros.

By 0613 we were under way. I had already decided that I was too tired to raise the mainsail. We motored east along the S side of Levitha. The wind was 8-15 knots from the WNW. This was a good wind for sailing after clearing Cape Spano, easternmost point of Levitha. I opened the genoa and turned off the motor. It was a good sail until 0830 when the wind lessened and not wanting to lose speed and be late for the repairs and realizing that tomorrow being a big Greek holiday the yard will be closed, I turned on the engine and motor-sailed. Soon the headsail was flapping and I had to roll it in. As soon as there was a 3G signal I sent an e-mail to Agmar Marine advising them of Thetis’ ETA of 10 AM.

Indeed at 1005 we were tied on one of Agmar’s moorings [37° 11.3' N 26° 48' E]. We had come 22.4 nM from Levitha. As soon as the boat was secured I called Mastro Michalis. His phone was out of service so I called the office and spoke with the reliable Irene and asked her to let Mastro Michalis know that Thetis is here. I then started lowering the dinghy. I was almost done doing this when Vasilis, the technician who usuallyy works with fiberglass, arrived and called me. I went ashore with the dinghy and picked him up. After he climbed onboard and looked at the damaged pedestal he told me that we will need to move the boat alongside the launching “pool.”

With Vasilis’ help Thetis was quickly moved and moored along side the “pool.” Vasilis then went back to the yard to report. I started putting up the tent. Once again I was half way doing this when the cavalry arrived. There were Mastro Michalis, Panayiotis the electrician, Vasilis, his assistant Yiannis, Michalis the carpenter, and his assistant. We all conferred on what was to be done. It was decided to strip all the upper section of the pedestal where the windlass mounts. Then to fabricate a wooden platform and a stainless steel plate. These then will be enclosed with a good layer of fiberglass and bonded to the solid part of the pedestal.

Soon a portable electric generator was brought and the work started. The stripping was very messy with fiberglass dust flying everywhere. I packed my MacBook Air computer and went to the nice air-conditioned office. I had a nice chat with Angelos Gaitanides, the yard’s owner. I was about to ask Irene if my German friend Dietrich Rohrmann with the catamaran Fromo had arrived when Detrich himself walked into the office. He commiserated with my troubles and we agreed to get together this afternoon. I sat in the cool office, the day was hot, and did my banking over the internet.

By 3 PM all the work on Thetis was completed. It was like a miracle. I am so glad that I came here and not spent days in Syros waiting for unreliable repairmen with dubious results. After I returned to Thetis I was visited by Angelos’ children, Alexandra aged 11 and Alexandros aged 6. They were waiting for their father to take them with their small cruiser to Archangelos for swimming. They were very inquisitive about everything on the boat and about life onboard. It was fun to have them.

In the evening Dietrich and his wife Monika came and we had an ouzo. After they left I walked to the local taverna the Archontiko where I had a salad and some moussaka along with a glass of cold beer.

It was a long but very satisfying day. I slept well.

Friday August 15, 2014, Day 18

I spent the day waiting to give a chance on the new fiberglass of the restored windlass pedestal to completely dry before departing in the afternoon.

First I changed my bedding and took out from storage clean sheets, pillows, pillow cases, towels, etc. for the expected guests Andonis and Jane Ephremides due to arrive next Saturday August 23. I then walked to the facilities in the yard and had nice shower and a shave. Back on Thetis I read under the tent. Later I chatted a little with my neighbor an Austrian with a Janeau Trinidat the S/Y Duana. She was in the launching “pool” and she is about the same age as Thetis. She spends her winters in Agmar Marine and he has been, like me, ofter sailing solo in the Aegean for many years now and speaks fairly good Greek. I made a potato salad to be eaten for lunch.

Later I spoke with Alice on Skype. In the late afternoon, after I got ready, I untied the various lines and departed from Partheni at 1540. I motored slowly running the water-maker and towing the dinghy all of the 1.6 nM to Archangelos [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] where I arrived at 1650. I anchored in 5.5 m with 30 m chain scope. The windlass worked perfectly. I met a Greek couple, Christos and Christina Kypraiou, with the S/Y Minou.

In the evening I had an ouzo and then made spaghetti with garlic in olive oil.

Saturday August 16, 2014, Day 19

Sunrise in Archangelos
Sunrise in Archangelos

This morning there was a glorious sunrise.

I needed some supplies such as bottled spring water for drinking, cold cuts, cheese, fruits, etc. So, after getting ready I pulled up the anchor and departed at 0900 heading for Lakki in Leros. To my delight the new windlass pedestal under the strain of lifting the anchor was solid as a rock. I am very glad to have regained the ability to anchor and then raise the anchor with my accustomed ease. The wind was almost nonexistent, just 0-3 knots from variable directions. We motored the 8.8 nM to Lakki where we arrived at 1020. I anchored off [37° 7.8' N 26° 51.1' E] in 8 m depth and let out 40 m of chain.

After anchoring, I lowered the dinghy from the davits and went ashore. Shopping took some time but by 1209, the dinghy was on the davits, the anchor was up, and Thetis, once again, was under way back to Archangelos. The wind was a little fresher, 4-8 knots WNW, but again we had to motor running this time the water-maker. After 8.6 nM we were anchored again [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3'] in 5 m depth with 35 m scope.

The forecasts call for winds of 4 NW on the Beaufort force Scale for tonight and tomorrow morning, then for force 5, and by Monday possible force 7 NW. My plan is to stay here today and move tomorrow N to Papandria in Lipsi which is well protected from the northerlies. There I will wait out the predicted strong winds on Monday.

I spent the afternoon reading under the tent with frequent swimming. In the evening I had an ouzo and removed the tent. After that I went ashore to the Stigma taverna. There were many customers but the family managed to serve me a nice meal.

I went back to Thetis but because the cabin was hot I slept mostly in the cockpit.

Sunday August 17, 2014, Day 20

For some reason I woke up around 5. Not having anything better to do I sat in the main cabin and read as it was dark outside. There was a glorious sunrise and I took some photographs. Then I slowly prepared to depart for Papandria. I put up the tent.

We departed from Archangelos at 0840. The wind was 8-12 knots from the NW, a head wind for our 347 heading. At 0945 we arrived in the lovely cove of Papandria (Παπανδριά), Lipsi (Λειψοί) [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E] after 5.8 nM. I anchored in 4.5 m depth over sand and let out 35 m of chain. Since this is a rather popular anchorage I also marked the anchor with the small buoy. After lowering the dinghy I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was nicely buried in the sand. Just to be sure, I also checked the anchors of the nearby boats.

I spoke with both my brothers in the iPhone. During the whole day boats kept coming and going. By 5 PM there were 10 S/Y in Papandria (German, Austrian, French, and 2 Greek). In the adjacent cove of Katsadia there were 7.

As the forecasts had predicted the wind increased to 15 knots with gusts into the middle 20s. Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be stronger.

After 7 PM when the sun was low I removed the tent that was making an awful noise being blown by the gusts. I had an ouzo with two slices of loza and other mezedes (tasty snacks). I was thinking earlier of walking to the town but now I decided to postpone this for tomorrow unless I will be prevented by the wind. For dinner I had left-over spaghetti and 2 eggs and potato salad.

I went early to bed but I got up several times to check the boat. She was swinging about 40° and from 5.2 to 6.5 m depths but the anchor was holding well.

Monday August 18, 2014, Day 21

As predicted by the forecasts the wind did increase and this morning it was gusting into the low 30 knots, but Thetis had not moved.

I went ashore and had a nice hike while the day was still cool. Back on board I opened the bimini instead of the tent that would had been very unhappy and banged with these gusts. All morning the wind howled. I temporarily suspended reading Φως εξ Ανατολών (in Greek, Light from the East) and started and finished Ο ξωτάρης της Τζιάς, (The peasant of Tzia, in Greek). It is the story of a rural family in pre-WWII Tzia.

The Turkish flagged S/Y Fender came and anchored off in Katsadia. Soon after I saw 2 men in her dinghy frantically trying to start their outboard while the strong wind blew them S out of the cove and towards Leros. As I did not see anyone going to their rescue I got into my dinghy and went after them. They passed me a line and I started to tow them back when a much larger inflatable from a big Turkish motor cruiser also came to the rescue. So, I passed them the tow line and went back to Thetis. It was a wet ride. Later S/Y Fender moved to Papandria, anchored, and took 2 stern lines ashore. By that time they had gotten their outboard back working. They passed several times with their dinghy near Thetis. They not only did not thank me for going after them by they did not even wave back to me after I waved. Strange people!

I started reading Kerry Greenwood's Murder on the Ballarat Train: A Phryne Fisher Mystery. In the afternoon I snorkeled to the anchor. It had not moved since yesterday despite the wind and gusts.

By the evening the wind was less strong. I took a shower and then went ashore. I walked to the harbor, about 20 minutes, and sat at Nick’s & Louli’s (Blue tents) and had my usual grilled octopus and ouzo. It was very, very windy in the harbor. The harbor was full of S/Y that were all bobbing uncomfortably in the in-coming swell. It was fun to watch the boats and the people coming and going while sipping my ouzo and nibbling the mezedes (μεζέδες - appetizers).

Before walking back to my anchorage I got some fresh bread from the always open bakery. All was well with Thetis and I slept very well.

Tuesday August 19, 2014, Day 22

The night was fairly quiet but windy. I decided to stay here one more day because the forecast predicted that the N wind will go down tonight to force 5 and force 4 by tomorrow morning. I will then sail to Patmos stay there for a couple of days and then sail back to Archangelos/Partheni to be there on Saturday morning for the arrival of Jane and Andonis Ephremides.

I kept on reading Murder on the Ballarat Train: A Phryne Fisher Mystery a good mystery taking place in Melbourne Australia. I put up the tent. Later in the morning I met Yașar Oğünç and his wife with S/Y Sea Spray flying a US flag (Delaware). They came from Istanbul. Sea Spray is a lovely Halberg Rassy 38 and is over 30 years old but in immaculate condition.

Around 5 PM I observed a fire. It seemed to be either on Archangelos or on Leros. It was hard to tell. I also spoke briefly with Alice on Skype. I finished Murder on the Ballarat Train and started reading Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Trafalgar: Richard Sharpe & Battle of Trafalgar a historical novel during the Napoleonic wars.

In the evening I had invited the Oğünçs for an ouzo on Thetis. They are very pleasant people and we had a very good time. He is a retired surgeon. By the time they left it was past 9 and we had had so many mezedes (μεζέδες - appetizers) that I was not hungry. I was planning to depart from here fairly early in the morning and head for Agrio Livadhi in Patmos but the Oğünçs as they were leaving invited me at 9 AM for a Turkish breakfast onboard Sea Spray. I could not refuge.

Wednesday August 20, 2014, Day 23

I slept well and when I woke up it was after 6. I had my coffee and then I went ashore for a hike. While walking I stumbled upon a hare. He stared at me frozen in place. I too froze and stared back. After a minute or so he ran away and hid under a bush.

When I returned to Thetis it was 8:45. After I put up the tent I saw Yașar was waving me to go over to Sea Spray for the breakfast. It was a nicely turned out Turkish breakfast with a salad, eggs, olives, cheeses, etc. I did not eat very much (I seldom do eat any breakfast) but it was fun. After exchanging addresses and telephones we bid each other goodbye and fair winds and I went back to Thetis.

I prepared to depart. I raised the dinghy etc. We departed Lipsi at 1055. The wind was 12-16 knots NW. I kept the tent and opened some of the headsail and motor-sailed for a while but at our course of 291 the wind was almost a headwind and the sail was of little help and was flapping so I eventually rolled it back in. My plan was to anchor in Agrio Livadhi in Patmos and go with the dinghy tomorrow to Skala and get fuel and some provisions. But as we were getting near to Agrio Livadhi I noticed there a very large motor cruiser, almost a ship. It was dominating the cove. I then changed my plans and headed to my favorite Livadhi tou Geranou (Λιβάδι του Γερανού) [37° 20.7' N 26° 35.3' E]. We arrived at 1250. The cove was empty. I anchored in 5 m depth and let out 30 m of scope. We had come 10.6 nM from Papandria.

Alas the solitude was broken. An hour later a Turkish gulet (large wooden 2-masted boat usually with many passengers) came and anchored not too far from Thetis, and after another hour a second gulet arrived and that one anchored very close, uncomfortably so, to Thetis. Fortunately by 6:30 PM both gulets had left.

I had a shower but just as I was rinsing the cold water stopped coming and the pressure pump kept on pumping. I turned off the pump. I will look into this problem tomorrow. I then had an ouzo and went ashore to eat in the local taverna. I had good fish soup and a salad.

The night was very quiet and there was hardly any wind.

Thursday August 21, 2014, Day 24

I woke up before 6 and read for a while inside the cabin sipping my coffee. After that I looked into the problem of the stuck pressure pump. After removing all the pots and pans from under the galley sink I shut off the water from both the left and the right fresh water tanks. Then I disassembled the small water filter at the input of the pump. It was very clogged. I cleaned it and put it back together. Problem solved, or so I thought.

Dinghy
The loaded dinghy in Skala

I then prepared for my planned shopping expedition to Skala, about 2 nM from here. First I transferred one jerry can of fuel to the main tank and put this one and the other already empty can in the dinghy. Then I topped the outboard with gasoline and left the small gasoline canister in the dinghy. I put up the tent, locked the cabin, and off I went with the dinghy. I took me about 40 minutes to get to Skala. The first stop was in a small dock near the filling station where I filled the jerry cans with 45.7 L of Diesel fuel for 70.6 €. Then I bought a fresh loaf of bread from the near by bakery and a 6-pack of spring water. The next stop was at the quay closer to the town. I walked to the A&B supermarket where I bought some San Michale cheese and several slices of ham. Then I drew some money from an ATM and sat at a café in the main square and had a fresh orange juice. After another 40 minute ride with the dinghy I was back in Thetis.

I transferred one of the full cans to the main tank and stowed everything else. Mission successful! I had a cooling off swim and spent the rest of the morning and afternoon reading and swimming. I finished Murder on the Ballarat Train and continued reading Φως εξ Ανατολών (in Greek, Light from the East).

In the evening I had an ouzo and then I cooked spaghetti and made a tuna, onion, caper, and garlic sauce to go with it. This I served with plenty of graded Parmezan and a Biblia Chora (Βιβλια Χώρα) red wine.

Friday August 22, 2014, Day 25

Today I have to return to the Leros area because I am expecting Andonis and Jane tomorrow morning in Leros. After my morning coffee I took the accumulated trash to a bin ashore. Then I raised the dinghy and I put up the tent.

Archangelos
The Archangelos cove is crowded

We departed Livadhi tou Geranou at 0833. The wind was a very light NW breeze of 5-9 knots. We motor-sailed with 40% of the headsail and also run the water-maker. Half way to Archangelos, our destination, the wind died completely and I had to roll-in the sail. We arrived in Archangelos at 1055. We had come 15 nM from Patmos. This increase in milage was due to some tacking I did to accommodate the sail. The usual anchorage was very crowded, at least 4 large motor cruisers, one almost the size of a small cruise ship, several sailboats, and 2 gulets. So, I anchored in the small cove [37° 11.7' N 26° 46.2' E] W of the larger one, in 7 m depth with 45 m of chain.

All was was well except that the connections between the water tanks and the filter, that I had cleaned yesterday, and the pressure pump were leaking. I tried to fix the leak but then I noticed that it came from the plastic filter enclosure which had a crack. I will have to see if I can find a replacement filter tomorrow in Agmar Marine. In the mean time I had to shut off the water from the tanks and turn off the pump.

All day the anchorage was very busy. Tenders to the large cruisers kept coming and going non-stop. The peace and quietness of this most attractive anchorage was shattered by the continuous roar of the outboards. I continued reading Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Trafalgar: Richard Sharpe & the Battle of Trafalgar.

In the evening I had the obligatory ouzo and then an omelet with the left-over, from last night, spaghetti and tuna. Despite all the strong lights from the cruisers, which fortunately were not too close to Thetis, I slept well.

Saturday August 23, 2014, Day 26

After I woke up and had my coffee I started boiling some potatoes to make a potato salad in anticipation of the expected guests. I also removed the cracked water filter from the fresh water pressure pump hoping to find a replacement in Agmar.

At 0750 I raised the anchor and slowly motored towing the dinghy to Partheni, 1.6 nM away. By 0815 Thetis was tied to one of Agmar Marine’s moorings [37° 11.4' N 26° 48' E].

I put up the tent and then went ashore and walked to the yard’s office. Mr. Parisis the head of the chandlery did find an equivalent water filter but it was not a direct replacement of the cracked one, its intake and output were of a larger diameter. He found some fittings and a combination of hose sections to adapt it. I went back to Thetis to see if this combination will work. It needed a 90° elbow. Back to the yard I left the combination filter, adaptors, and hoses with Mr. Parisis to find the needed elbow because I had to go to the airport to meet my friends. The incoming 9:45 flight from Athens had just landed.

I walked to the airport and met my guests Andonis and Jane Ephremides who had just gotten off the plane. I had sailed with Andonis back in 1999 to the Black Sea. Jane had joined us in Istanbul, on our way back, together with my daughter Corinna, and we all sailed to Limnos. The day after we left Istanbul while we were in Erdek the terrible 1999 catastrophic earthquake happened in the early hours. After collecting their luggage all three of us walked to the yard and collected the filter assembly. Then to the dinghy and Thetis.

While Andonis and Jane were getting settled I installed the filter assembly. Alas it still leaked but less then before. The leak this time was not from the new filter but from the copper fittings. I will need to re-install it more carefully and with plumber’s tape in all the threads.

We raised the dinghy and at 1130 we cast off the mooring. The wind was 5-11 knots NW. We motored to Platys Yialos in Lipsi. The plan was to stop there for lunch and swimming and then proceed to Marathi. I had already called and spoken to Pandelis who promised to reserve a good fish for us. The narrow cove of Platys Yialos was crowded and so we did not stop but continued to Tiganakia (Τηγανάκια). We arrived there [37° 21.6' N 26° 45.1' E] at 1330 after 12.5 nM. We anchored in 8 m depth with 40 m of scope.

We had lunch and after lowering the dinghy we all had a very refreshing swim in the cool water. It was a hot but pleasant day because of the breeze. I called again Pandelis and told him that we were near-by and asked him to keep a mooring for us. He told me that all moorings were occupied but one boat will be leaving and the mooring will be free for us if we arrived shortly after 5:30.

We raised the anchor and left Tiganakia at 1645. Again motoring slowly the 1.4 nM towing the dinghy to Marathi 1.4 nM away. Indeed there was one mooring with a row-boat attached to it. With Andonis at the tiller I easily caught the mooring [37° 22' N 26° 43.6' E] at 1715 and tied Thetis.

We swam and then I went ashore where I was greeted by Pandelis and Katina. Pandelis’ grandson Odysseas came with me to retrieve the row-boat. The cove was crowded. there were at least 25 boats including many large and small motor cruisers and 2 very large S/Ys. Most of these boats were flying either a Turkish flag or a US (Delaware).

After washing up we had an ouzo in the cockpit and then went ashore. The Pandelis restaurant was very crowded but Pandeli’s daughter Toola had already set a my favorite table inside the garden and we had some privacy. We had many good mezedes (μεζέδες - tasty appetizers) and then came the fish: 2 good size and perfectly grilled tsipoures (τσιπούρες - gilt-head seabreams) that were swimming earlier this morning. It is hard to get any fresher. Along with the fish we an excellent Gerovasiliou Asyrtiko white wine. Even gourmet Andonis was impressed.

Sunday August 24, 2014, Day 27

First thing in the morning while Jane and Andonis were still asleep I attacked the pressure pump. I removed it and made sure that all threaded connections had plumber’s tape and were tight. After re-attaching the pump assembly there was still some dripping. When we get to the marina in Samos I will have to work some more on this problem.

At 0820, after the dinghy was on its davits, we cast off the mooring and left Marathi and sailed along the S side of Arki. After rounding the island the wind was 10-18 knots from the NW. We raised the mainsail and motor-sailed, with some tacks, to the small island of Samiopoula (Σαμιοπούλα). After lowering the sail we anchored in the Psalida (Ψαλίδα) [37° 38' N 26° 47.4' E] in 4 m depth with 40 m chain. The time was 1215 and we had come 20.3 nM.

We put up the tent and removed the bimini, swam, and had lunch. We then rested until 6:30 when I covered and then raised the dinghy.

We departed from Samiopoula at 1725 and motor-sailed with 50% of the headsail to Samos Marina where we arrived at 1910. Altogether we had come 30.2 nM from Marathi. I already had made arrangements with Aramis for a car rental which they delivered shortly after Thetis was secured in her usual berth.

We all went directly from the marina to the Tasos taverna in upper Vathi and then drove to Kalami where we arrived around 10:30.

This is the end of our August cruise.