Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2017: Samos to Tiganakia

This web page contains the logs of of the first leg of a 19 day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean of Greece. I sailed from Samos Marina to Tiganakia (Arki). On the way I stopped in Kyriakou (Samos), in Vitsilia (Fourni), in Livadhi tou Geranou (Patmos), and Lampsi (Patmos).

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 Samos to Leros
Route Samos to Leros

Tuesday September 26, 2017, Day 1

Early, 7:30 AM, I took Alice to the airport to catch the morning flight to Athens, and then connect to a London flight, and from there to another flight to Washington, D.C.

After leaving Alice at the airport I drove to the Samos Marina and prepared Thetis for departure. My plan was to move slowly to Leros where I have an appointment for the haul-out on October 14. I already had paid Aramis for the rented car and I was to leave it in the marina.

By 10 I was ready to depart. I tried to hail the marina on the VHF channel 9 but there was no response. After collecting most of the docking lines I cast off at 1006 and departed without any trouble. The wind was 3 - 8 knots from the SSW. Once again I had to motor. On the way I removed and stowed the fenders and docking lines. Then I put up the tent.

We arrived in Kyriakou (Κυριακού) [37° 38.3' N 026° 51.8' E] after 5.3 M at 1115. I anchored in 6 m depth with 30 m of scope. Then I uncovered and lowered the dinghy. I snorkeled and made sure that the anchor was well set.

In the afternoon it was very gusty the wind mostly southerly and not the northerly that was forecasted. There was some swell. I removed the tent and rigged the spray hood.

About 10 days ago my left arm started hurting to the point that I could not lift it. Last week I had 3 physiotherapy sessions and they did help. Now I can lift my arm but it is still rather stiff. During today’s singlehanded departure and when I lowered the dinghy I managed rather well but the stiffness is still with me. Swimming helps.

The swell here persisted until the early evening. I had my customary ouzo around 6 PM. By 7:30 it was already dark. I made some rice and cooked 2 chicken cutlets that I had bought yesterday. I ate one and wrapped the other in aluminum foil and put in the refrigerator for another day.

I read a little. I am currently reading on the Kindle James P. Hogan’s Entoverse, a SF novel written a number of years ago. The outside temperature was down to 20° C (68° F). This I am getting from the new inside/outside thermometer/barometer that Alice had brought from the US. I went to bed by 9:30

Wednesday September 27, 2017, Day 2

I slept until 6 AM. There has been some swell. I had an email from Alice. She is safe in our home in Washington, D.C. after an uneventful trip. Slowly I had my coffee and prepared to depart. I was hoping to spend another day here but the constant swell has made it less attractive. My plan now is to go to Vitsilia in Fourni where I hope to be sheltered from both the northerlies and the S - SW. Another reason is that I want to look again at the Fourni - Ayios Minas channel that several shipwrecks have been found underwater in the last few years.

Before raising the dinghy I inflated it because it had lost a lot of air. After that I took it for a short test ride and then I raised it on its davits. Finally we departed at 0853. There was hardly any wind, just 1 - 5 knots SE. So we motored and ran the water-maker. For the first 20 minutes the water-maker was purged from its storage biocide solution. Finally it replenished the water in the tanks in less then 15 minutes. I also filled 3 empty bottles from the water-maker, these are to me used for cooking. Around 1000 the wind increased, now coming from NNW at 15 - 18 knots. I opened 75% of the headsail and turned off the engine. It was a nice sail but it lasted only for 1 hour. Then, as we were approaching Ayios Minas, the wind came from the W and I had to motor again.

Both Ayios Minas and Fourni shores are formidable looking with depths from 40 m to 90 m. On the west side of the channel it gets shallower to about 10 m. No wonder that many ships were wrecked here. Eventually, after 19.6 M we arrived in Vitsilia (Βιτσιλιά), Fourni (Φούρνοι) [37° 32.6' N 026° 30.4' E] at 1230. Just before our arrival it became very windy with gusts over 30 knots and I contemplated not to stop but continue on to Patmos. Nevertheless I entered the Vitsilia cove and it was indeed nice and sheltered.

I anchored in 4.5 m depth and let out 25 m of chain. After lowering the dinghy I snorkeled to the anchor and saw that it was embedded in the sand.

Later as the wind came from the NNW at about 14 knots gusting to 20 Thetis drifted to deeper water 14 - 15 m deep. I let out 10 more meters of chain. I started cooking some ground beef to make a meat sauce but the stove ran out of gas. I changed the Camping Gaz canister and was back to the cooking business. After browning the meat with thinly cut onions and garlic I added red wine and chopped fresh tomatoes.

In the evening the wind came from all directions and the boat drifted all over the cove. I had an ouzo and then boiled some pasta and served it with some of the sauce I had made earlier. By 11 PM I was in bed.

Thursday September 28, 2017, Day 3

During the night something did not feel right, it was 2 AM. I got up and saw that Thetis was drifting close to the rocks on the NE and NNW side of the cove and in swallower depth. There was a substantial southern swell. I reduced the scope by 5 m, watched for a while and then went back to bed.

I got up again at around 6 AM. There was an uncomfortable swell. I had my coffee and finished reading Entoverse. I decided that with the wind continuously changing direction and the swell it had become too uncomfortable to stay here so I made up my mind to move to Livadhi tou Geranou in Patmos. I raised the dinghy and I put up the tent.

By 0945 the anchor was up and we were underway. We motor-sailed with 25% of the headsail and running the water-maker. It was a completely downwind sail on our heading of 158. Lots of swell and it was not a comfortable ride. When the tanks were full I turned off the water-maker. These conditions did not improve until we rounded Cape Geranos in Patmos. Finally, after 14.3 M, we arrived in the Livadhi tou Geranou (Λιβάδι τού Γερανού) [37° 20.7' N 026° 35.3' E] at 1215. There were no other boats in the cove.

I anchored in 5.5 m over sand with 35 m of chain. Thetis settled in 6.7 m. There was almost no swell here and the wind, although gusty, came from northerly directions. After snorkeling I saw that the anchor was totally buried in the sand. I also noticed that there was some liquid under the engine. This I identified as been antifreeze. So there must have been a small leak.

The rest of the day was quiet. I read the 2017 winter issue of Απόπλους, a literary magazine published in Samos, (in Greek) and started reading on the Kindle James Frazer’s The Golden Bough, a long treatise on superstitions. For dinner I baked left over lamb with orzo that I had brought from Kalami, afte and toped it with Parmezan. I was in bed by 1030.

Friday September 29, 2017, Day 4

I slept very soundly but by 6 AM I was up and restless. After my coffee I took the dinghy to the landing for Panayia tou Geranou. From there I took a 2 hour hike in a vain attempt to reach the Seat of Apollou (Κάθισμα τού Απόλλου).

After I returned to the boat I looked carefully to a small book Τα μονοπατια της Πάτμου (Paths of Patmos), that I had bought in August in Patmos. While it has some rather interesting discussions of the local lore and stories of prominent families it is very vague, despite its title, in its descriptions of actual foot paths. Also its few maps are inadequate: no reference to the numbered signs, like the local path #7 which according to some of its signs lead to the Seat of Apollou.

I put up the tent but the day was cool and cloudy, too cold for swimming. I read a lot. Around 4 PM I removed the tent as it was getting too cold sitting under it. Later I had a hot shower and then went ashore to eat at the taverna. I had a good fish soup and fresh squid. Also I did inquire about the Seat of Apollou and they gave me a better description on how to reach it.

When I returned to Thetis I received an e-mail from Arzu Ayker in Turkey. It informed me that my dear sailing friend Turgut Ayker passed away and that his funeral will be tomorrow. Turgut has been fighting cancer for the past 2 years. His fight was a combination of chemotherapy and between those sessions sailing as much as possible. Being here in Patmos with the boat I cannot see any possible way for me to be tomorrow in Izmir for his funeral so I sent the following brief e-mail to Arzu:

Dearest Arzu,

Thank you for thinking of me in this day of great sadness. If I was in Samos I would had made every effort to be with you and the family tomorrow. But I am with Thetis in Patmos on my way to Leros so it is impossible to come. My thoughts are with you all. Although I am not surprised I am still devastated.

Both in Greece and in the US during a funeral close friends give a brief talk about the deceased. Had I been there and if that custom is also a Turkish custom this is what I would have said:

I met Turgut, Arzu, Orhan, and Dilek 20 years ago. Since then almost every year we have been sailing together, both in Turkey and in Greece. In Greece I was able to introduce the Aykers to many islands and translate for them. In Turkey Turgut introduced me to many magical coves and translated for me. We all had a wonderful time.

All these years, dear Turgut was a great friend. His love of sailing and his great sense of humor and kindness made him an ideal companion. During this time I was privileged to watch Dilek and Orhan grow, under their father’s loving care, from early adolescence to womanhood and manhood. He too, watched my daughters grow and participated in my youngest, Corinna’s, wedding in India.

In 1994, in Bodrum Turgut saved my life.

I cannot even begin to describe how much I will miss him. But as my favorite Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis wrote: “a person does not die as long as people who remember him live”. I sure will remember dear Turgut as long as I live. My daughters too will remember him as well as his many, many friends.

I also e-mailed these bad news to my family. I did not hear, as usual, from Alice today. I went to bed but I was too upset by the terrible news to sleep.

For a description of my 20 year friendship with Turgut see my write up Turgut Ayker.

Saturday September 30, 2017, Day 5

At 1:40 I got out of bed and checked the e-mail. Nothing from Alice. Now I was also worried because it was unlike her not to have responded to my e-mail about Turgut. I called her on Skype. She had flu shots and was little out of sorts but basically alright. She had not read her e-mail. I read for a while because I could not go back to sleep. Finally I did so but was up before 6.

My plan for today was to relocate to Lampsi and then take the dinghy to Skala for some shopping. I departed from Livadhi tou Geranou at 0830 and motored 1.9 M to Lampsi (Λάμψι) [37° 19.6' N 026° 33.4' E] towing the dinghy arriving at 0900. There was another S/Y here the familiar Almar that also winters in Agmar in Partheni and is often in Samos Marina. I was going to talk to them but by the time I had finished anchoring they had left. I anchored in 5.5 m and let out 35 m of chain. Thetis settled in 6.5 - 8.5 m depth. I then snorkeled and checked the anchor.

After anchoring I got ready for my shopping expedition to Skala with the dinghy. Using the new tiller extension was great and the ride was rather fast. In Skala I filled the two small canisters with gasoline and I also bought 2 containers with antifreeze because there was a leak. Then I bought some fruits, cold cuts, cheese, fresh bread, etc.

Back on Thetis in Lampsi I put up the tent. The afternoon was quiet and much warmer then yesterday’s. Around 5 PM clouds started rolling-in. I removed the tent. Some time after 7, I went with the dinghy back to Skala where I had a wonderful meal at the Tzivaeri restaurant. It was past 10 when I returned back to the boat. I went to bed early.

Sunday October 1, 2017, Day 6

I was woken up at 4:30 by the sound of rain. I closed the hatches and the companionway to prevent the water coming in the main cabin. The rain did not last. Went back to bed but later there was some drizzle. I gave up trying to sleep and started reading.

In the morning I had my coffee and prepared to go back to the Livadhi tou Geranou. By 0830 the anchor was up and we departed from Lampsi motoring slowly the 1.9 M, towing the dinghy, and running the water-maker. At 0845 we were in he Livadhi tou Geranou [37 20.7 26 35.3]. I anchored in 5.5 m over sand with 40 m of scope, just in case there was a thunderstorm.

It was calm, cloudy, and there was an occasional drizzle. Two nights ago at the taverna they told me that to walk to the Seat of Apollou I should go up the hill to the road, follow the road towards Panayia tou Geranou, and just before a gate turn left. I decided to give this a try. I put on my shorts, packed in a small knapsack a raincoat, just in case, some water, etc. I then went with the dinghy ashore. I walked halfway down the beech and went through a gate and walked uphill towards the road. I had to go through several gates before reaching the road. When I reached the paved road I turned to the right and walked for quite a while. There was a lovely smell from the wet mountain side. I did not see any gate but I did see a dirt road on my left. After some doubts I followed the dirt road. First it led up hill then downhill and to my surprise it actually led me to the place I was seeking. It is the sight of an old hermitage and has nothing to do with the god Apollo or the antiquity. It was the hermitage of a monk named Apolloús. Now the hermitage was shut but it commanded a nice view. I did manage to get in inside its yard and take some pictures. Altogether this was a 3 hour hike.

Going to the Seat of Apollou

View of Livadhi tou Geranou from the road


The Rough Road


Must be in the next cove…


Finally the Seat of Apollou

It was windy and cloudy when I got back to the boat, too windy for the tent. I did manage to snorkel and check the anchor. The day was fairly cold with temperatures not above 22°C (71.6 °F).

Later I spoke with Alice on FaceTime. In the evening I called Corinna, again on FaceTime, and spoke with her and the grandchildren Rohan and Leander. Then I had an ouzo. For dinner I pan-fried a pre-cooked chicken cutlet in some balsamic vinegar and made some rice to go with it. I also had some Kalami wine vintage 2015. This was followed by some grapes and an orange. By 10 PM I was in bed.

Monday October 2, 2017, Day 7

I did not wake up until 6:30. Today the sky was clear but it was windy. I went on an exploratory expedition. First with the dinghy, I explored the near by west coves of Dimes, Ligginou, Vagia, and the first Ormos Kambou. It was slow going because of the head wind and waves. Then, I left the dinghy on a small quay and walked up the hill to the village of Kampos. There I had a fresh orange juice at my usual pleasant café and then returned back to the dinghy and Thetis. The return was fast because of the tail wind and waves I could use the new tiller extension and the dinghy was planing. It was almost 11:30 by the time we were back.

It was a windy day with a 14 knot wind gusting up to the 20s. But I did put up the tent because the sky was very clear.

In the afternoon I noticed that there was a flood of water under the engine. For days now I have been noticing a leakage of antifreeze fluid under the engine but this time it was a substantial amount of fresh water. I lifted several floor boards and saw that all of the bilge compartments were flooded as well. I shut the output valves of both fresh water tanks and turned off the fresh water pressure pump. Then I pumped out the water with a hand pump into a bucket. All together it took 3 buckets to empty most of the water. I removed the rest by sponge into another bucket-full. It was not clear exactly from where the water came from. After I dried the compartments under the engine and the bilges I observed for some time. No more water. I then turned off the intake valve of the water heater under the right cabin. Then I turned on the right tank, keeping the pressure pump still off. No water. After ½ hour I turned off the right tank and turned on the left. Another ½ hour later still no water. I turned on the intake of the water heater. Still no water. I turned back on the right tank again. Now both tanks and the water heater were on line. Still no water. I turned on the pressure pump. Water came from the faucets on the kitchen sink and the bathroom, as it was suppose to. But, some water now collected under the engine. Most likely one of the hoses behind the engine, probably from the water heater, had developed a leak. With the pressure pump off for 2 hours there was no water leaking. I decided to keep the pressure pump off and turn it on only while when I needed water either in the kitchen or bathroom. Also tomorrow I should try to re-fill the fresh water tanks with the water-maker and replace the lost water.

I then cleaned the refrigerator. For dinner I made an omelet with cheese and pine nuts. It was very tasty. After I ate I turned on the fresh water pressure pump and washed the dishes and then turned it off again. A small amount of water was now under the engine. I sponged it off.

Tuesday October 3, 2017, Day 8

First thing in the morning I checked for water under the engine, there was none. Then I had my coffee and after that took the trash to the bin ashore. Back on Thetis I lifted the dinghy on its davits and got ready to depart.

I raised the anchor at 0858 and we were on our way to Tiganakia. I measured the water consumed in the past 2 days including the leak. It was over 55 L. I ran the water-maker and since the wind was 15 - 20 knots from the N. I opened about 35% of the headsail. We could have sailed but we motor-sailed instead just to replenish the lost water. At our heading of 072 it was a close reach. I put the engine into neutral and enjoyed the sail despite the engine noise. I did notice some small amount of water under the rear right floorboard. I sponged it off. It was less then a liter.

We arrived in Tiganakia (Τηγανάκια) [37° 21.6' N 026° 45.1' E] at 1035 after 7.7 M. There was already here a chartered S/Y. I anchored some comfortable distance away from her at 6 m with 43 m scope. After lowering the dinghy I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It was well set. I then checked the anchor of my neighbor, it too was well set. I swam over and told them so. They invited me aboard for a drink. They are a nice German couple who have been chartering S/Ys from Kos for the past 5 years. They are due to return her on Friday. I gave them some tips on places along their way that they can stop. Shortly after my visit they departed.

It was windy but fairly calm here. But in the afternoon the wind gusted to 25 knots. In the evening I listen to music and warmed the left over ground meat sauce. This I served with the last of the very tasty Greek pasta that I had bought in the specialty store in Samos.

The night was windy but not unpleasant. I slept well.