Travels with S/Y Thetis


Thetis only

2014: Samos-Kalymnos-Samos

This web page contains the logs of two day excursions and a 14 cruise with S/Y Thetis originating from the island of Samos:

  1. To Mikri Lakka in the Eastern part of Samos,
  2. to the small island of Samiopoula,
  3. and a cruise to Emborios in the island of Kalymnos via: Patmos (Livadhi tou Geranou and Skala), Lipsi (Ayios Nickolaos and Papandria), Leros (Partheni and Lakki), Archangelos, Marathi, and Samiopoula.

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 near Samos
Routes near Samos
Route Samos to Kalymnos
Route Samos to Kalymnos

Saturday May 31 to Friday June 13, 2014

Thetis was in the marina. During this time I treated the water-maker with an alkaline solution and I removed from the water the knot meter sensor.

Saturday June 14, 2014

Yiorgos & Vasilis
Yiorgos & Vasilis
Courtesy Dimitris Vourliotis

Alice and I together with our Samos friends Dimitris & Vanessa Vourliotis and Yiorgos & Artemis Tsesmetzi took a day excursion with Thetis. We departed from the marina at 1010 and motored for 11.2 nM to Mikri Lakka [37° 45.5' N 27° 1.5' E] where we arrived at 1210. The wind was an 8-12 knot ESE breeze, a head wind, and to our regret sailing was out of the question.

Everyone had brought lots of food. After a pleasant swim we all sat at the plentiful cockpit table and had a feast. The rest of the afternoon was spent with more swimming and pleasant conversation.

We departed from from Mikri Lakka at 1710 and motored back to the marina. The wind now was 10-14 knots from the WSW, again a head wind and against the current flowing in the Mycale channel. So, to everyones regret there was no sailing. We arrived in the marina at 1950, after 10.2 nM.

Friday June 20, 2014

During this week we had house guests: Alice’s sister Eleanor, known within the family as Noye, and her husband Bob Cole. Both Noye and Bob are retired law professors from the University of California, Berkley.

Today we took our guests for a day trip to Samiopoula with Thetis. We departed at 1012. The wind was was 5-15 knots from the the W, a head wind, and so we motored. After 9.8 nM we arrived in the Psalida cove in Samiopoula [37° 38' N 26° 47.4' E] at 1220.

Again there was a lot of swimming, eating, and more swimming. After 4 PM when the day-trip boats left with their passengers we went ashore with the dinghy and walked to the lovely SW sandy beach of Katsakas where we swam in the surf.

We departed Samiopoula at 1820. We even managed to sail with the headsail for a while. At 2000 we were back in the marina, all together we had covered 10 nM.

The engine’s tachometer, both in the morning and in the evening was intermittent. This is a new instrument replacing the old one that had failed last year.

Thursday June 26, 2014

In preparation for our next cruise I washed down the deck and the cockpit with the power hose. I the siphoned 2 jerrycans of Diesel fuel to the main tank and took the cans to a fuel station and re-filled them with 40 L for €60. I also re-filled the small gasoline canisters for the outboard and the genset. I then vacuumed and dusted the inside cabins.

Saturday June 28, 2014, Day 1

Today Alice and I started a cruise to islands south of Samos. After a heat wave in the past few days it was a pleasure to be aboard and in close proximity to the cooling water.

We left the marina at 0910 and headed to the island of Patmos. The wind was from the WSW at 1-4 knots, a direct head wind for our course of 215. We motored. We put up the tent to stay cool. The engine tachometer was still intermittent. I did some troubleshooting: opened the instrument panel and checked all the wires and fuses to the tachometer, I also checked the connections to and from the alternator. Everything appeared normal. I called Agmar Marine and informed them of this problem and told them that we will arrive at the yard on either Monday or Tuesday to have them look at this trouble.

At about 1130 the wind veered west and increased to 8-11 knots and we were able to open about 50% of the headsail and motor-sail. Our water speed was terrific and we were making better then 7 knots with reduced RPM.

We arrived in the Livadhi tou Geranou (Λιβάδι του Γερανού) cove [37° 20.7' N 26° 35.3' E] in Patmos at 1335 after 30.4 nM. We anchored in 5 m depth and let out 40 m of scope. I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was completely buried under the sand. During the afternoon the wind kept increasing.

In the evening, after the sun was behind the hills we removed the tent and had an ouzo. For dinner we had a cheese omelet. In the mean time the wind kept increasing to over 20 knots. It howled all night.

Sunday June 29, 2014, Day 2

We spent the day in this lovely anchorage. In the early morning we went with the dinghy to the cove of Panayia tou Geranou, E of us and took a nice hike.

After our rerun Alice spent the rest of the day editing the next issue of the Torch. I swam and checked the anchor. It had not moved from where it was yesterday. In the mean time the wind kept increasing and there were strong gusts reaching into the 30s.

I cooked a beef roast in the pot with fresh lemon juice. When the sun was down we had our traditional ouzo. Alice had prepared some potatoes which she roasted in the oven with garlic, olive oil, and grated Parmezan. These we ate with the roast. It was a very tasty meal along with our Kalami wine.

During the night the wind stopped howling and we slept very well.

Monday June 30, 2014, Day 3

We left Patmos at 0905 and headed for the nearby island of Lipsi. The wind was 15-20 knots from the WSW and we motor-sailed with the full genoa. We arrived at 0950 in the cove in front of the Ayios Nickolaos chapel [37° 17.8' N 26° 45.3' E] just west of the harbor. The distance was 9.6 nM. We anchored in 5.5 m depth with 30 m of chain.

After snorkeling I verified that the anchor was well set. We both swam and had lunch. Then Alice was back editing the Torch. I changed the setting of the battery monitor meter to account for the new gel 500 aHr batteries.

We were thinking of going later to the harbor for the night but we changed our minds and at 1650 raised the anchor and headed S, towing the dinghy, to our favorite Papandria (Παπανδριά) cove [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E] where we arrived after 1.8 nM at 1715.

We swam some more. For dinner we ate some of the left over pot roast. It was a very calm and lovely night.

Tuesday July 1, 2014, Day 4

The plan for today was to go to Partheni in Leros and have Panayiotis, the Agmar Marine’s electrician, look into the intermittent problem with the tachometer. While there Alice will go to the office and taking advantage of the WiFi send emails and download photographs for the Torch.

We puled up the anchor at 0810. The wind was just 2-6 knots from the ENE and so we motored running the water-maker. After 6.3 nM we arrived in Partheni where we tied on one of Agmar Marine’s mooring [37° 11.3' N 26° 48' E] at 0910. I had already called the office and advised them of our coming and they were expecting us. We lowered the dinghy and went ashore and walked to the office. Alice and her computer were installed and I talked with Angelos, the owner, and to Panayiotis the electrician.

Although we were expected Panayiotis was very busy and it was past 12 when he came on Thetis. He did find a loose connector on the starting battery which he tightened. This had escaped me. He also installed a switch so that I can turn off the photovoltaic panels which may confuse the alternator regulator when the batteries are fully charged. He then looked at one of the autopilot drivers. The arm of the driver, since last year, had been coming loose. I had asked them to look into it but Panayiotis had not found anything wrong. Now, at my insistence he opened it and found that its bearings were defective. He ordered new bearings from RayMarine.

Finally by 3 PM we were finished. We cast off at 1508 and headed to the nearby Archangelos (Αρχάγγελος) [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.4' E] where we anchored at 1520 in 6 m depth with 40 m of chain. The wind here was 4-8 knots with gusts coming from several directions. The forecasts call for strong NW winds, possibly reaching gale force by Friday, starting tomorrow afternoon.

For dinner we went ashore to the new To Stigma taverna. Mrs Europa and her daughter Demetra welcomed us and served us a nice meal of grilled calamari, tiny Simian shrimps, pickled small fish gavros (γάβρος - European anchovy), and a salad.

The night was gusty.

Wednesday July 2, 2014, Day 5

At 0755 we raised the anchor and left Archangelos. Our plan was to go to Lakki where Alice could use the Agmar Marine marina’s WiFi while I will do some light provision shopping. The wind was 3-15 knots NNW, a downwind on our heading of 145. We motor-sailed with 30% of the headsail and also ran the water-maker replenishing the water of the tanks.

We arrived in Lakki (Λακκί), Leros at 0920 after 8.6 nM and we anchored off [37° 07.8' N 26° 51.5'] in 5.5 m depth with 35 m of chain. After anchoring I noticed that I had received an SMS on my iPhone from Karin and Andrew of S/Y Cresswell Jane. There too were in Archangelos and had seen Thetis. Too bad we had missed each other. As we were launching the dinghy we saw S/Y Cresswell Jane entering Lakki. We went close to her and spoke with them. They will be staying at the Evros Marina, haul out, and depart form Leros on the 15th of the month.

We then went ashore to the Agmar Marine marina where Alice connected to their WiFi and I went shopping. We decided not to spend the night here as we had planned but to go to Emborios in Kalymnos where not only we will be protected from the forecasted NNW gale but where they have very reliable moorings.

We raised the dinghy and departed from Lakki at 1230. The wind now was 15-20 knots from the NNW, again a downwind for our heading of 135. I opened the genoa and we motor-sailed very fast a very low RPM. We motor-sailed just as a precaution to prevent jibbing with the wind shifting direction. We arrived in Emborios (Εμποριός) [37° 02.7' N 26° 55.6' E] at 1345 after 9.3 nM. We easily caught one of the Barba Nicholas’ moorings.

Here it was calm and the wind was just a light variable breeze. After lowering the dinghy from the davits we had a much needed cooling-off swim. Then we put up the tent and had our late lunch. After that we both fell asleep.

In the evening we went ashore and had an ouzo at the Captain Kostas restaurant/café. The proprietor’s daughters have now grown to teenage hood and are serving their customers. To Alice’s surprise they do have free WiFi for their customers. We also learned that the truck that brings produce every day arrives at 7:30 PM.

Back on Thetis we had more of the pot-roast this time with rice. We slept very well.

Thursday July 3, 2014, Day 6

The wind this morning was gusting into the lower 20’s but was nowhere near the forecasted force 7 for this area. But the forecasts called for force 8 NW wind covering tonight and tomorrow morning. I untied the wind-generator to help the replenish the 140 aHrs that we have consumed since yesterday’s arrival to Emborios. I also put up the tent.

Alice continued working on her computer while I read. I have been reading two books on my Kindle: Dorothy Dunnett’s The Ringed Castle, the 5th of the Lymond Chronicles, and Dane Cameron’s A Software Engineer Learns HTML5, JavaScript and jQuery. We swam a lot as the day was rather hot, 32°C (90°F) inside the cabin. By the late morning the wind had died and it was very calm here.

In the evening we went ashore and sat at the Barba Nicholas taverna. The proprietor, Pavlos, greeted us very warmly. He had seen Thetis yesterday and he was almost sure that she was his “friend’s Vasilis” boat. Pavlos’ son Nicholas whom I remembered as a very serious little boy is now a smiling adolescent high school kid helping his father by serving the customers. He served us fried octopus balls, a Kalymnian salad (tomato, cucumber, peppers, and onions, on a bed of rusks) and a very tasty grilled tuna fillet with skordalia sauce (σκορδαλιά - a spread of pulverized garlic and bread soaked in olive oil and vinegar). After we finished eating Pavlos came over and we exchanged our news since I last met him two years ago. I asked him about Michalis, the pastry chef whom I had met here before and who had invited me to his small house overlooking the Aegean. Pavlos smiled and said “he is sitting right over there” and he called him. Michalis joined us, I introduce him to Alice, and we had a long talk. It was past 10:30 when we returned to our boat.

The night was very gusty.

Friday July 4, 2014, Day 7

The predicted NW wind of force 8 on the Beaufort Scale must have arrived outside our sheltered cove. Here while the water was calm there were ferocious gusts up to 35 knots. They arrived from several directions and raised a lot of spray. The wind went from over 30 down to 5-10 knots and few minutes later the next gust arrived. It was impossible to put up the tent so I rigged the small bimini to give us some protection from the strong sun.

Alice worked on her computer inside the cabin while I read, sometimes under the bimini and others inside. A small US, Delaware, flagged motor cruiser, arrived and tried to anchor upwind from Thetis. Most US flagged with the Delaware or Wilmington home ports are owned by Turks who are avoiding paying the heavy tax imposed by their authorities. After anchoring she dragged. I spoke to them and advised them to take one of the several available moorings. They raised their dragging anchor and headed for a mooring but had trouble catching it. I went with the dinghy and helped them. There was a lot of spray during my upwind return.

As the day continued the gusts got even stronger and by the afternoon they were reaching in to mid 40’s. We went ashore and had a light lunch at Captain Kostas after which Alice used their WiFi to send a batch of e-mails and coordinate the next edition of the Torch.

Back on Thetis the wind was screaming and we retreated for a cup of coffee inside the cabin. While seeping our coffee Alice heard someone whistling. We went outside and realized that the crewman of the German yawl S/Y Slampamper, moored near us, was calling and pointing towards our dinghy. The last gust, he later told us, came like a tornado. It picked up the heavy dinghy with its also heavy 4-stroke outboard and overturned it. There it was now floating upside down and the new outboard was immersed in the water. I quickly attached the block and tackle from the davits and raised the dinghy’s bow. In the mean time the German crewman had swam over to help. Together we righted the dinghy. Now I had to deal and salvage the outboard.

I opened the outboard and poured over it two buckets of fresh water to rinse away the sea water. I then doused it with a liberal amount of gasoline to remove the water. Then I removed the spark plug and squirted WD-40 oil into the cylinder while pulling the starter cord thus coating the cylinder. In the mean time Alice was reading the motor’s manual confirming that I was doing the recommended actions for a submerged outboard. A lot of the engine’s oil had been lost but I did not see any water in the oil so I just refilled the oil tank. Next, I drained the carburetor and the fuel pump and sprayed all of the engine’s exterior with WD-40 oil. After that I cleaned the spark plug and spayed it as well as the high voltage cable with contact cleaning spray. Then, I verified that there was a spark when pulling the starter cord, so the sealed high voltage electric components had not been damaged. I screwed the spark plug to the cylinder and connected it to its cable. It took me several pulls of the starter and 2 drains of the carburetor until the engine came back to life. It was music to my ears. I ran it for a couple on minutes and then shut it down to allow the heat to evaporate any remaining water. Half an hour later I pulled again its cord. It started right away. What a relief! I drove the dinghy several times around Thetis just to make sure. After that I raised the dinghy and outboard on its davits not wanting to risk another mishap.

For dinner we had the last of the pot-roast. It was a windy and gusty night.

Saturday July 5, 2014, Day 8

It was still windy and gusty this morning but less so then yesterday. The forecasts now called for force 7 NW winds during the day and down to force 6 in the evening.

At noon we even managed to put up the tent long enough to have lunch in the cockpit. The water temperature was about 21°C (69.8°F) instead of the 27°C (80.6°F) of the past few days. Nevertheless we did swim in the afternoon although the water felt rather cold. We then launched the dinghy and went ashore and bought some fruits and tomatoes from the truck that comes here every 7:30. After that we walked to the Barba Nicholas taverna and had dinner. Alice had stuffed tomatoes and peppers while I had some lamp chops. It was a very good meal.

Back on board, the wind was less then before but it was still windy. We did sleep well.

Sunday July 6, 2014, Day 9

Today the wind here was certainly less then the forecasted force 6. Alice wanted us to stay here one more day instead of our plan to move on to Lakki. Later in the morning the wind went down to 4 knots still with gusts but these were not stronger then 15 knots. I put up the tent.

In the late morning we decided to take the dinghy to the little beach west of Emborios and swim there. So, I lowered the dinghy from the davits. I then noticed that the outboard oil, as seen from its small inspection window, was white. This means that the oil was mixed with water. I had no choice but to change the oil before using the outboard. It took me some time to locate, since I had not done this before on this new engine, the oil drain plug. While draining the oil the friendly crewman from S/Y Slampamper came to see if I needed any help which was very nice of him. He suggested that I do not replace the oil but put a small quantity and operate the engine for a few minutes. Then drain the oil again and fill its oil tank. This was a very good suggestion and I did so.

Eventually the outboard was back in operation and we did go swimming in the little beach W of here. While swimming we saw 2 dolphins. They came very close to the beach and then headed towards Thetis.

In the late afternoon we went ashore and Alice used the Captain Kostas WiFi. Back onboard we had dinner: tagliatelle with a fresh tomato sauce that Alice had prepared earlier in the day. It was delicious. This we washed down with a Ktima Averof red wine.

It was a quiet but cold night.

Monday July 7, 2014, Day 10

I was a little cold in bed with just a single sheet for cover and woke up early. After the morning coffee I prepared the boat for departure. We departed from Emborios at 0705. The wind was 2-4 knots from the S. We motored running the water-maker to replenish the 104 L of water that we had consumed while we were in Emborios. We headed N, along the west side of Leros, back to Archangelos.

We arrived in Archangelos at 0920 after 15 nM. Instead of our usual place we anchored in the small W cove [37° 11.7' N 26° 46.2'] in 7 m depth and let out 50 m of scope. Thetis settled in about 10 m depth.

We were the only boat here but around 12:00 the large Turkish gulet Carpe Diem V arrived and after anchoring took a line to a rock ashore very close to us. She had a crew of 5 and as passengers an elderly couple along with 5 young men and 3 girls. Soon they launched the inevitable jet-ski, a float to be towed by their powerful inflatable, and other annoying and noisy “toys.” Worse, as the light breeze kept changing direction Thetis was swinging very close to them. We were convinced that they will depart before sunset and leave us in peace but they did not seem to be about to do so. Finally we we decided to relocate ourselves. It is good that we did so because Carpe Diem V spent the night there.

We pulled up our anchor and motored less then a mile to our usual cove [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.4' E] in front of the tiny chapel. After dark Carpe Diem V illuminated her masts with garish red and blue flood lights.

We had our usual ouzo and then ate left-over pasta from last night. Before going to bed I raised the dinghy on its davits.

Tuesday July 8, 2014, Day 11

Today’s forecasts called for NW winds of force 5 to 6. We departed from Archangelos at 0720. After rounding the group of islets west of Archangelos we set our course to 310 for Skala the harbor of Patmos. I wanted to go there, not only to buy some new provisions, but to have Alice try the new and expensive passarella that I got last year especially for her. The wind was 14-18 knots NNW and later it increased to 24 knots. We motored running the water-maker. There were appreciative waves that caused some banging and spray.

Passarella
Alice is happy with her new Passarella

After 17.3 nM we reached Skala [37° 19.7' N 26° 32.6' E] at 1100 but before docking we had to prepare the boat. First we lowered the dinghy and moved it to the side of Thetis. Then we rigged the fenders and docking lines. Finally we deployed the passarella and and prepared the anchor. It was rather windy, 18-26 knots. I maneuvered the boat and then dropped the anchor. I took over the tiller while Alice at the bow payed out the chain. Two gentlemen from nearby boats came to help and caught our docking lines. It took us 2 attempts but finally we were moored. During these maneuvers, and without either one of us realizing it the dinghy somehow got loose. Now the large inflatable Tender to Dolce Vita flying the Turkish flag came towing our dinghy and asking to which boat it belonged. We were very grateful to them. It was a close call to a disaster but “all is well that ends well.”

We went shopping and after we returned I called and got a Diesel fuel delivery. We refilled the fuel tank with 62 L for €96. We put up the tent and had a light lunch after which we rested and had a cup of coffee. Alice went to an internet café and send her e-mails while I had a haircut. Everything was fine and most importantly the passarella was a success, Alice was very happy with it.

We had already decided to spent the night in the harbor. Later, after hot showers, we had an ouzo in the cockpit and then went to the Tzivaeri (Τζιβαέρι) taverna for dinner, leaving the tent on. Their small mezedes (μεζέδες - tasty appetizers) dishes were as usual very good. We had Spanakokeftedes (Σπανακοκεφτέδες - spinach croquettes), smoked marinated chunks of pork, and fried liver morsels.

Surprisingly during the night there was not the usual motor-scooter noise and the night was fairly quiet.

Wednesday July 9, 2014, Day 12

After we got up I went ashore and got a fresh loaf of bread. Then we prepared to depart from Skala. We raised our anchor at 0810. We then motored slowly rowing the dinghy and running the water-maker heading north. The wind was less then 4 knots from the N. We first went to Agriolivadho and then headed, following the coast line, to our favorite Livadhi tou Geranou or Pothitou [37° 20.7' N 26° 35.3' E] where we arrived at about 0900 after 4.6 Nm.

We anchored in 5 m depth and let our 30 m of chain. It was very calm and we were the only S/Y here.

We swam a lot and had a very pleasant day reading. The forecasts call for the next few days for very slight southerlies and westerlies.

For dinner we had spaghetti with tuna and capers served with lots of grated Parmezan cheese and Kalami wine.

Thursday July 10, 2014, Day 13

Today we had a slow start, but by 1030 the dinghy was on the davits and the anchor up. The sea was very calm and the wind was 0-4 knots from the SW. We motored running the water-maker, which soon filled the tanks, on a heading of 070 to Marathi.

We arrived, after 9 nM, in Marathi [37° 22' N 26° 43.6' E] at 1150. We easily caught the last available of the Pandelis’ moorings. The small anchorage was a zoo. There were several Turkish motor cruisers, a very large S/Y with a Turkish flag, and several S/Ys of other nationalities. In addition to these there were a number of small cruisers and large inflatables. These were scrambling for space at the piers because all the moorings were occupied. Then the usual day-trip boats arrived…

All afternoon there was an endless dinghy traffic, and wakes, from the larger boats on the moorings or anchored off coming and going to the piers. Although the sea was very calm there was hardly any time that Thetis was not rocked. It was almost 6 PM when the anchorage calmed down somewhat after the insanity of the afternoon.

I finished reading The Ringed Castle and started reading Alexander Kent's For My Country's Freedom the 21st book of this Napoleonic wars series.

We took hot showers and went ashore around 8:30. Pandelis, Katina, and their daughter Toola were exhausted from serving customers all day but nevertheless gave us a warm welcome. Toola’s boys Pandelis and Jason have grown since last year.

We were served a salad, with soft goat cheese and caper leaves, melitzanosalata (μελιτζανοσαλατα - aubergine spread), and fried calamari. Then they brought the piece-de-resitanse: a good sized very fresh sinagrida (σιναγρίδα - Common dentex) perfectly grilled. These we washed down with a an excellent bottle of Gerovassiliou Malagousia (Γεροβασιλείου Μαλαγουζιά) white wine. The food, as usual, was outstanding but the anchorage is now way too crowded and unpleasant during the day. Although it is less frantic at night the “street lights” that were installed last year illuminating the goat paths have spoiled its previous ambience.

Friday July 11, 2014, Day 14

We got up fairly early and prepared to depart. We cast off the mooring at 0715 and motored rounding the south side of Arki. Once we rounded the island the wind was 0-12 knots from the SW. I raised the mainsail, for the first time this year, and we motor-sailed. At about 0900 the wind, still from the SW, increased to 5-14 knots and after opening 30% of the headsail we turned off the engine. Alas this blissful quietness lasted for only 30 minutes as the wind decreased.

At 1010, after 21.8 nM, we reached our destination the Psalida cove [37° 38' N 26° 47.3' E] in Samiopoula where we anchored in 10 m depth and let out 45 m of chain.

For a while we were the only boat here. Then the two regular day-trip boats with their tourists arrived but after discharging their passengers it was quiet. But later two large S/Ys, over 30 m with a Greek flag, arrived. After anchoring they both took shore lines, fortunately not too close to Thetis.

At 1705 we raised our anchor and motor-sailed with 40% of the headsail to Samos Marina where we arrived at 1840, after 10.8 nM.

This is the end of our July cruise.