Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

Thetis 2017: Samos to Emborios

This web page contains the logs of the first leg from a cruise in the East Aegean from Samos Marina to Emborios in Kalynos. This leg consistes of a 10 day singlehanded sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis. On the way there were stops in: Tsopela (Samos), Livadhi tou Geranou (Patmos), Lampsi (Patmos), and Levitha.

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

Route from Samos to Kalymnos
Route from Samos

Tuesday July 25, 2017, Day 1

We got up in Kalami before 5 AM. We closed the house and drove to the airport well in time for Alice’s 7:30 flight to Athens. She will then take a BA flight to Heathrow in the UK and then another flight to Washington, DC.

After leaving the airport I drove to the marina and prepared Thetis for the August cruise. When all was almost ready I drove to the near by AB super market, got some spring water and other provisions. Then I drove to the Aramis office in Pythagorio and settled my car rental bill. The nice office lady drove me and my provisions to the marina.

I cast off at 0925 and headed W to Tsopela. I put up the tent. The wind was a negligible 0 - 4 knot ENE breeze. Motoring was the only option. I turned on the water-maker to flush out its biocide preservative solution. All was well with the boat but the GPS/Plotter refused to show the depth and to control the autopilot. Thetis arrived in Tsopela (Τσόπελα) [37° 38.3' N 026° 49.9' E] at 1035 after 7.3 M.

I anchored in 5 m depth over sand and let out 30 m of chain. I lowered the dinghy and snorkeled to the anchor. It was very well set. The day was hot and there was a swell. Later the breeze kept changing direction now coming from the NW, then from the the SW, etc. The swell was less in the afternoon. I kept swimming rather frequently.

I made a screen for the right cabin port. This I attached to the port with tape from the outside, rather then the inside as I had done before.

In the evening I removed the tent and had an ouzo but several wasps were attracted. For dinner I cooked some rice and pan fried 2 turkey patties. They were pretty good along with the Lazarides Mavro Provato red wine. But as I was finishing my dinner a cloud of tiny insects were attracted by the light. They went everywhere and came into the cockpit while I was washing the dishes. I lit an insect repellent candle.

I had some trouble sleeping with my right elbow. I must had hit the elbow somewhere during the day because it became rather painful but I could not see any bruise. I proped it up with a pillow as it was sensitive to any pressure. I slept well after that.



Near Tsopela

The small beach W of Tsopela

Wednesday July 26, 2017, Day 2

I woke up some time after 6 AM. There was an e-mail from Alice. She had arrived safely and she was at home in Washington, DC. There was some wind, about 5 - 10 knots from the S. I had my coffee and read the news and the weather forecasts on my iPad. They predicted SSE winds for today and tomorrow but no stronger then force 4.

I prepared to depart from Samos. I had decided to go to the Livadhi tou Geranou in Patmos. I raised the dinghy and I put up the tent. We departed at 0815. The wind was a 4 - 8 knot ESE breeze. Once again not a chance of sailing. This was getting rather boring. The passage of 23.9 M was fairly smooth. At 1210 we arrived in Livadhi tou Geranou (Λιβάδι του Γερανού or Ποθητού) in Patmos [37° 20.7' N 026° 35.3' E]. There were 9 boats here including 4 gulets, most with the Turkish flag. I anchored in 6 m depth with 33 m of chain.

Later, after lowering the dinghy, I snorkeled to the anchor. It was well set. My elbow was much better today and it hurt less. I still could not figure out what caused this problem.

I did a lot of swimming and walked along the beach. By 5 PM all but 2 of the Turkish boats had left. I rigged the spray hood. I had a nice hot shower and an ouzo.

I was planning to cook pasta with tuna but changed my mind and went ashore instead to the local taverna. I had a very tasty fish soup, a salad, and a pot roast with tomatoes (κοκκινιστό - kokkinisto).

Back on board I was in my cabin by 10:30. Had less trouble with my elbow then last night.

Thursday July 27, 2017, Day 3

I was up by 6. There was a lot of humidity dew on the deck.

After I had my coffee I wanted to take advantage of the cool morning so I went ashore and took a 2 hr hike to the Panayia tou Geranou and back.

Some time later I read and finished the Planet Jesus Trilogy: Book One and started The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods on the Kindle. I just have the first 2 chapters of this book as I got it as a sample but I cannot download the rest without WiFi. Maybe when I go to Skala …

Livadhi tou Geranou
Livadhi tou Geranou

By late morning several S/Y had arrived. A small one with a French couple, an Italian with an elderly single handler. A Swiss S/Y tried, unsuccessfully, to cross the sand bar but ran aground. After extricating themselves they went around the small island. In the afternoon a good looking motor cruiser, almost a trawler, came and anchored very close to Thetis.

I swam several times. The wind came from either the ESE or from the WSW and raised some swell. The temperature was comfortable. I spoke with Alice on FaceTime. I also ordered from Amazon a barometer/temperature instrument to replace the old one that had stopped working. I also ordered a tiller extension for the outboard.

I had my evening ouzo and was planning to have pasta with tuna for dinner but I noticed that I had in the refrigerator 3 turkey patties so I figured that I better consume them before they spoil.

After dinner I started reading Admiral Miaoulis (in Greek). The wind changed direction and now came from the north.

Friday July 28, 2017, Day 4

It was a good night as I could hardly feel the pain on my elbow. After coffee I transferred 2 jerry cans of Diesel fuel to the main tank. Then I went ashore and cut a small watermelon from Kalami into bite size pieces and discarded the rinds in trash can.

I spoke with Panayiotis the Agmar electrician and discussed the problem with the GPS/Plotter that while transmitting SeaTalk messages to other instrument it was not receiving. The problem most likely is with a SeaTalk/SeaTalk2 bridge inside the chart table. There was nothing I can do with this and most likely need to replace the bridge.

Later I swam and then cleaned the dinghy that was full of dust. The wind was a very slight breeze now from the S. The 2 French boats as well as the Swiss left and were replaced by an Australian S/Y with a couple and a large British flagged S/Y with 2 couples and children. This was anchored further out.

The afternoon was very calm. Later I spoke with Alice on FaceTime. It was quiet day. By the evening the N wind returned but it was very slight.

For dinner I made pasta with tuna and had watermelon for dessert.

Saturday July 29, 2017, Day 5

After I got up and had my coffee I prepared to relocate to Lampsi which is the first cove N of the harbor Skala. By the way Thetis has consumed 110 Ah of electricity since our arrival in Patmos.

I raised the anchor at 0740 and motored slowly, towing the dinghy, to Lampsi (Λάμψι) [37° 19.6' N 026° 33.4' E] 2.1 M away where we arrived at 0805. I anchored in 4.54 m depth, on sand, and let out 25 m of scope.

After snorkeling and making sure that the anchor was well set I put the 2 empty Diesel jerry cans and an an empty gasoline canister in the dinghy and topped the fuel of the outboard. Then I dressed for the town.

After arriving in Skala with the dinghy I re-filled the jerry cans with 42 L of Diesel fuel (78 €) and the empty canister with 5 L of gasoline (10 €). Then I relocated the dinghy closer to the center of the harbor and did some provision shopping (bread, cold cuts, and fruits). After putting these provisions in the dinghy I sat at the Petrino cafe where I ordered a fresh orange juice and connected my Kindle to their WiFi and downloaded The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods of which I only had a sample.

After that I returned with the dinghy back to Thetis and unloaded the filled cans and provisions. Then I put on my bathing suit and jumped into the water to cool off. I put up the tent. Recently I noticed excessive water on the floor of the dinghy, I had that problem last year also. It was caused by the leaking plug of its keel compartment which is under its floor. I partially raised the dinghy with the davits and opened this plug. Torrents of water came dashing out. When the water stopped flowing I lowered the dinghy, just above the water line. I wrapped pipe tape around the plug and put it back on the keel. Lets hope this does the trick.

Maltese Trawler

A lovely red trawler with a Maltese flag came and anchored near by. Then a large Turkish schooner moored further out with 2 shore lines.

Later I took a hot shower and went with the dinghy to Skala. Te sea was choppy and was further aggravated by numerous wakes. I drove very slowly to avoid getting splashed. I went for dinner to the reliable Tzivaeri (Τζιβαέρι). I has a very tasty zucchini pie with home made crust. I was told that the owner’s mother had made it. Then I had a salad with red cabbage, sun dried tomatoes, and Parmezan shavings, and other goodies. This was followed by a small dish of tiny Simian shrimps. For desert they served a very good melon.

It was past 10 PM when I returned to Thetis and my berth.

Sunday July 30, 2017, Day 6

My plan for this day was to sail to Levitha. First I raised the dinghy on its davits. I then uncovered the mainsail in anticipation of sailing. Finally I raised the anchor and departed at 0750. I raised the full mainsail and headed out. But I made the mistake of not rigging the small bimini while we were in calm waters because after clearing the S of Patmos the sea became very rough and irregular. It was then impossible to rig the bimini. I ended spending most of the time inside the cabin to avoid the brutal sun. The wind was 15 - 20 knots from the S on our course of 188. We motor-sailed running the water-maker which filled the tanks in about 1:15 hr. I also filled 3 bottles of water directly from the water-maker output to be used for cooking.

As we were moving directly downwind I rigged a preventer to avoid any jibes. After reaching Cape Spanó, the easternmost point of Levitha (Λέβιθα), and turning west I lowered the mainsail and prepared a line for the buoy. Inside the inlet the large cruiser Noor with many “toys”, was anchored near its entrance on the western end. Also there were 2 fishing caiques and the 40 S/Y Αερικό (Aeriko) with a large Greek flag.

I had no difficulty catching a mooring. The time was 1205 and we had sailed 24.6 M from Patmos to Levitha (Λέβιθα) [37° 0.2' N 026° 28.1' E]. After that I lowered the dinghy and secured Thetis on the mooring with good line and a large cleat, I then loosen the original line but kept it as a backup. Being hot, I jumped in the water to cool off. I put up the tent, had lunch, and took a nap.

Later I met the couple Manolis and his wife from S/Y Αερικό. They are indeed Greek from Athens. They come here in Levitha every year and stay a couple of weeks.

In the late afternoon Tasos Kamposos came with his boat. His father Dimitris is still in a hospital in Athens recovering from a stoke. He is not mobile and has trouble communicating. His children take turns going in Athens and visiting him every day.

In the evening I walked to the Kamposos hamlet for dinner. Mrs Irene hugged me and so did her other son Manolis. The couple from Αερικό were already there eating. I had, as usual, a nice dinner and was entertained by Tassos’ children: lively 7 year old Dimitris and Katerina, a lovely girl of 10. She took me by the hand to show me her pet pig.

Monday July 31, 2017, Day 7

I wanted to take a hike around the E side of the island and possibly reach the light houses (a modern and an old one) at Cape Spanó on the SE. The S/Y Αερικό left shortly after I started my hike, they were going to Lakki where they were to receive a part for their ailing charger. My hike was in places rather rough going. There were lots of rocks and clusters of thick bushes causing diversions. At a high point there was an adequate Cosmote signal I was able to get my e-mails, send a message to the family, and get a weather report. After over an hour I gave up on reaching the point and turned back.

It was a windy day. A very large motor cruiser, a ship really, with 4 decks and the size of an apartment building entered the inlet and anchored on its west side. Lots of boats kept coming and going from the cruiser. It was rather cool under the tent (I had left it on from yesterday). My plan was to go to Kalymnos tomorrow. Thetis was the only boat on the mooring, most of the others hads left. Later an Italian S/Y came followed by a French and a British. The wind was gusty and the sea choppy. I removed the tent.

I had a hot shower and an ouzo then I walked to the hamlet. The children, lovely Katerina and the very talkative Dimitris took care of me. I had some wine, a salad with fresh soft goat cheese, and a good size grilled kefalos (κέφαλος - grey mullet - mugil cephalus). While Katerina served the other tables Dimitris interrogated me about everything, especially about Thetis. News: they now have WiFi here. Katerina put the password on my iPad and I got some e-mail and a weather forecast for tomorrow. It looks like force 5 to 6 for the area between here and Kalymnos. I met the French couple who own the S/Y Taro. They own a house in Lipsi.

Back on the boat I went to bed around 10:30.

Tuesday August 1, 2017, Day 8

It was past 6:30 when I woke up. I had my coffee and got ready for departure. I did not want to repeat Sunday’s exposure to the brutal sun and expecting a good sail I rigged the small bimini. Then I made preparation for the sail. Finally I went to the mooring with the dinghy and removed the line with the cleat, Thetis was now secured only by the double line. I raised the dinghy, secured it, started the engine, turned on the water-maker, and cast off at 0815.

I motored slowly to the middle of the inlet, turned upwind, and raised the mainsail. Then I motor-sailed out of the inlet and headed east. The wind came from the ENE at 15 - 22 knots. After the batteries were charged and the water tanks were full we were about 4 M away from Levitha. I opened about 60% of the headsail and turned off the water-maker and the motor. It was a lovely fast sail sometimes doing better then 7 knots. But the waves were large, short, and irregular. The autopilot, in the Auto Track mode, had a hard workout maintaining our course to Emporios, Kalymnos on a heading of 090.

About 1 M from our destination I rolled-in the headsail, started the motor, headed upwind, lowered and gathered the mainsail. This was hard going because although the waves were smaller since we were under the lee of Leros, they were still substantial.

Inside the Emborios (Εμποριός) cove [37° 2.7' N 026° 55.6' E] the sea was flat. The time was 1220 and we had come 24.4 M. I easily caught one of Barba Nikolas moorings. There were only 2 other S/Y here.

It was hot. Again I lowered the dinghy, jumped in the water to cool off and secured Thetis to the mooring buoy with a thick line and a large cleat. After another jump I put up the tent.

I decided not to have my usual lunch but to go ashore to Barba Nikolas instead. The proprietor, Pavlos, was very pleased to see me. His son, Nikolas, has grown a lot. He graduated from high school and is now applying to a naval school for marine engineers. I had a very cold beer and γεμιστές ντομάτες και πιπεριές (yemistes domates ke piperies - stuffed tomatoes and peppers).

Back on Thetis I had a deep nap. The only problem was a jet ski that made an infernal noise and waves. At least it kept its distance from the moored boats. I spoke with Alice on FaceTime.

The late afternoon and evening were quiet. I was not hungry at all. So, after the sun went down behind the hill I removed the tent and had a light ouzo with just a few pistachios. Later I made some rice and an omelet with Yiorgos’ wonderful eggs from his free ranging chickens. Then after some reading I went to bed.

Wednesday August 2, 2017, Day 9

Barba Nikolas’ mooring

Around 1:30 AM I was woken by a noise. The wind kept changing direction and strengthening and the mooring buoy was hitting the sides of the boat. Finally the wind came from the N at over 19 knots. Afraid that it may strengthen further I re-arranged the dinghy along side of Thetis and secured both its bow and stern. This was to prevent it from being flipped by the strong wind as had happened right here a few years ago.

When I woke up again, around 6 AM, the wind was down but not from the N it was now coming from the S. I had an email from Turgut. He had some complications with his decease but he was still planning to sail, although not clear as to where. At any rate he has to be in Huston in Texas before the end of the month.

Later I went ashore with my MacBook, I had a fresh orange juice at Captain Costas, and taking advantage of their WiFi I connected to the internet. I checked the pages of the CruisersLog that were edited since I had I left Samos and I also handled several pending requests for new member accounts.

Back on Thetis I had a light lunch. Then I cleared the water filters, from the line that empties the shower water, and the water intakes. By mistake while doing this I did not turn off the pressure pump and the fresh water valves from the tanks. As a result when I removed the filter under the sink there was a flood. I shut the pump and valves and cleaned the water. I also removed the floor boards and cleaned the bilges. Another task was to attach velcro strips on the cushion over the food storage bin in the front cabin. This was to prevent the cushion from flying away when the boat tips under sail.

For dinner I went ashore back to Captain Costas where I had their special Kalymnian salad, tasty fried octopus balls, and another specialty: stuffed baby goat cooked slowly overnight in their wood burning oven. All was very good and tasty. While leaving the restaurant I saw the French couple from S/Y Taro whom I had met briefly in Levitha. I invited them for an ouzo tomorrow on Thetis and then to go together for dinner to Barba Nikolas where they had not been before.

Thursday August 3, 2017, Day 10

The night was very windy but the sea was calm. Sunny morning but there were gusts from both N & S. After my morning coffee I went ashore for a hike.

Later I spoke with Alice on FaceTime. I called Agmar and tried to make an appointment with Panayiotis, the electrician, for fixing the problem with the GPS/Plotter but it was not possible for either Saturday nor Monday. I was annoyed.

After thinking for a while about the problem, I looked into how I can remove the suspected SeaTalk converter from the inside of the chart table. I noticed that its green LED was blinking although all the navigational instruments and the GPS/ChartPlotter were off. I turned off the “GPS” from the circuit breaker panel. Its green light, as expected went off. Then, following another thought, I turned on both the “Nav Instruments” and “Autopilot” circuit breakers. After waiting about 30 seconds I turned on the “GPS” circuit breaker and the GPS/ChartPlotter. It indicated that both send and receive were active. Problem solved! There was no problem with the bridge it was simply out of synch with the navigational instruments. They both need to be powered before powering the bridge.

By then that it was time for my French guests. I prepared to receive them: I removed the tent, set cushions, ouzo, and mezedes (snacks) on the cockpit table. Then I went with the dinghy to their S/Y Taro to pick them up. They are Monique and Roger Barltzer. She was raised in Guinea in West Africa. They used to run a bed & breakfast in France. After they sold it they bought their boat and a house in Lipsi. They are very personable.

After the ouzo we went to Barba Nikolas and had a nice meal with assorted appetizers.