Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

2017: Tiganakia to Leros

This web page contains the logs of the secod leg of a 19 day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean of Greece. I sailed from Tiganakia (Arki) to Partheni in Leros, where Thetis was hauled-out and will spend the 2017-18 winter. On the way I stopped in in Marathi, in Moschato(Lipsi), Papandria (Lipsi), and finally in the small island of Archangelos.

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

Wednesday October 4, 2017, Day 9

I decided to move to Marathi. I arranged a sling for towing the dinghy and raised the anchor. We departed at 1143 and motored the 1.2 M slowly to Marathi (Μαράθι) [37° 22' N 026° 43.6' E] where we arrived at 1220. On the way there were some rather choppy waves and 18 - 24 knot NNW winds. There were no other boats in Marathi. With a little trouble, because the the heavy line of the mooring I chose had sunk way down from its small buoy. I got the buoy alright but could not get its line. After temporarily securing the buoy to Thetis I went to it with the dinghy and using the boat hook, fished its line, and passed one of my lines through its loop. The strong wind did not help. After securing the mooring I went back to it with the dinghy and attached a stronger line with a large cleat. Then I loosened the original line to prevent any abrasion. We had arrived!

Later another S/Y, with a Turkish flag, arrived. I went ashore and met Pantelis and Katina. Pandelis now looked and walked much better then he did in August, the last time I saw him. He is definitely mending from his stroke.

I also learned from them about the condition of Mr. Dimitris Kamposos of Levitha who also had a stroke. When I went to Levitha in August he was in a hospital in Athens. Now Pandelis told me he is in Patmos and doing somewhat better but he is still unable to walk.

In the evening I went ashore to Pandelis and had, as usual, a wonderful meal. There were no other customers. I sat with Pandelis and had an ouzo with some octopus with caper leaves. This was followed by a fantastic tsipoura (τσιπούρα - Gilthead seabream - Sparus auratus) and Katina’s salad with soft local cheese.

My plan is to stay here tomorrow but the forecasts predict southerly winds starting on Friday and I may have to relocate to Moschato in Lipsi which is well sheltered from the southerlies.

Thursday October 5, 2017, Day 10

I slept well. The sky was clear this morning and there was almost no wind.

In the past few days I have been turning on the fresh water pressure pump only when I needed fresh water, then after using the water, I have been turning off the pump and relieving the pressure on the pipes and hoses. The result of this practice was that very little water accumulated under the engine. But today I faced another plumbing related problem. The new head pump stopped working. With some effort, due to the inconvenient access, I removed the insulation from the electrical 2 leads entering the head pump switch box. Upon measuring the voltage with the DVM I ascertained that electricity was indeed delivered to the switch box. When I shorted these 2 leads the head pump operated properly. So, the problem was in the switch box. This box was attached in a very hard to reach location and no screwdriver from my extensive collection could access its supporting screws. With great effort I managed to unscrew it. Its fuse was ok. After opening the box I saw the problem. The box is not watertight and since it was installed with its rocker switch horizontally shower water had gotten on the rocker arm switch and heavily corroded its contacts. I cleaned the contacts by scraping and applying contact cleaner solution. After reassembling the box the switch worked. Joy!

After that adventure I went ashore and walked around the north side of the island starting from the east and ending on its west side. Altogether the walk took over an hour.

I had a quiet time during the rest of the day mostly reading the very long book The Golden Bough. In the afternoon the wind started gusting into the 20’s from the NNW. The forecasts called for low intensity southern winds for tonight and increasing tomorrow and possibly reaching force 7 by Saturday. Then decreasing and on Sunday going back to northern winds. My plan was to relocate tomorrow to Moschato in Lipsi which is sheltered from the southerlies.

In the evening I went ashore and had another tsipoura. Pantelis is planning to move tomorrow his caïque Pantelis to Augusta in Arki. I volunteer to go with him and help. Earlier a chartered S/Y with 5 German passengers and a Greek skipper came. Now they all had dinner at Pantelis.

Friday October 6, 2017, Day 11

Around 9 AM I went with Pantelis who was taking his caïque to Augusta in Arki. The arrangement was that I would man the caïque and he his speedboat Katina. I got in the caïque Pantelis and Katina came alongside. I cast off while Pantelis fixed the speedboat’s wheel, engaged her in low speed forward, and then he too came in the caique and took her tiller from me. During this maneuver some how I slipped on the caïque’s highly polished deck and fell bruising my right elbow. Now I hurt in both arms. When we got to Augusta we tied Pantelis along side Michelle’s junk sailboat.

Back in Marathi I prepared Thetis for departure. I raised the dinghy, etc. I cast off at 1050 and motored running the water-maker to Moschato (Μοσχάτο) [37° 19.1' N 026° 43.4' E] where we arrived after 3.1 M at 1145. I anchored in 5.5 m and let out about 50 m of chain. It was very calm. I lowered the dinghy and then snorkeled and checked the anchor. I put up the tent.

The mobile (cellular) signal here is weak and fading on and off. It makes hard to connect to the internet but I did mange to send e-mails to Alice and Nikos.

By the afternoon no other boats had come. Clouds rolled in. I had an ouzo. By sunset, just a few minutes past 7 it was dark. For dinner I made a pilaf mixed with the last meat sauce. It was considerably warmer tonight then it had been in past few nights.

Saturday October 7, 2017, Day 12

It was not as windy during the night as I expected based on the forecasts. My body did ache after yesterday’s fall. I could not get much information here from the internet.

Around 9 AM I went ashore and walked way up hill. There I had a strong mobile signal and connected my iPad to the internet and sent and received several e-mails. I also read the recent weather forecasts. They predicted strong S winds until this evening and back to northerlies by tomorrow morning. I walked for over an hour and then returned .

The wind kept getting stronger with SE gusts to 17 knots. Most of the day was overcast with brief broken clouds and short periods of sunshine.

In the evening while having my ouzo I thought that with all the forecasts predicting a dramatic 180° change of wind direction, what would happen if this were to come earlier and during the night? So I decided, just in case, to raise the dinghy and did so.

For dinner I made spaghetti with tuna, garlic, onions, and capers. It was good with a liberal sprinkling of freshly grated Parmezan cheese. I went to bed rather early.

Rainbow from Moschato

Sunday October 8, 2017, Day 13

During the night I kept waking up and checking the wind direction and the position of the boat. The last time I did so was about 4 AM. The expected wind direction change had happened. The wind was 16 - 21 knots from the NW and Thetis had drifted very close to the rocks. I immediately reduced the scope by about 10 m which gave me some breathing time to prepare for departure. It was very fortunate that the dinghy was already up. I started the engine, turned on the Radar, and set the autopilot. I then raised the anchor and departed from Moschato at 0415.

We motored S, running the water-maker, along the west side of Lipsi and its harbor. The wind now was 22 knots. We entered the harbor area intending to anchor in front of the little chapel just NW of the port but there was a lot of swell so I decided to continue S to my favorite Papandria (Παπανδριά) [37° 16.8' N 026° 46.2' E]. We arrived at 0540 after 6.2 M. Fortunately there was a good moonlight. I anchored in 5.5 m depth and let out 28 m of chain. Thetis settled in 7.5 m. There were no other boats. The water tanks were now full.

Later, when the sun was up, I snorkeled to the anchor. It was completely buried in the sand. This was a relief because I was not quite sure that I had dropped it in the sand and not in the weeds. Since the wind was by then howling I let out more chain increasing the scope to 45 m. Another S/Y came and anchored in near-by Katsadia. The sky was cloudy and it was cold in the cockpit. I spent most of the day reading inside the cabin.

Around 6 PM I went ashore taking in the dinghy the accumulated trash. After depositing the trash bag I walked to the harbor. The grocery store was shut, today being Sunday. I sat in Nick’s & Lulis and had ouzo with grilled octopus and other mezedes (tasty appetizers). Then I walked back to the dinghy and returned to Thetis. I was in bed a little after 10 PM.

Monday October 9, 2017, Day 14

I woke up just before 6. It was cold even inside the cabin, 17°C (62.6°F) and outside 15°C (59°F). The barometer was up to 1015 mB from 2009 of 2 days ago.

Around 9 I went ashore with the dinghy and walked to the town where I bought fresh bread and fruits. I had a fresh orange juice in the harbor and then I walked back.

There was less wind then yesterday and the sky was clear. In the early afternoon a S/Y with the German flagged came and anchored not very far from Thetis. I spoke to Alice with FaceTime and by phone to Rozina and my sister-in-law Ivi.

For dinner I cut into slices 2 potatoes and roasted them crisp in the oven. These I ate with an omelet made with pine nuts and cheese.

Tuesday October 10, 2017, Day 15

Something must had not agreed with me because I woke up around 4:30 with stomach cramps. Eventually I managed to go back to sleep and did not wake up until 7:30.

I decided to relocate to Archangelos. I slowly prepared, raised the dinghy, etc. Finally at 0940 we departed from Lipsi. The wind was 13 - 17 knots from the N. We motor-sailed on a course of 170 with about 35% of the headsail. We arrived in Archangelos (Αρχάγγελος) [37° 11.9' N 026° 46.3' E] at 1030 after 5.2 M. I anchored in 5 m depth with 25 m of scope. The wind kept changing direction. After lowering the dinghy I snorkeled and made sure that the anchor was well set in the sand.

There was nice sunshine. There were 2 S/Y here: a catamaran with a small US flag, and Thetis. I put up the tent.

In the evening I removed the tent, took a hot shower, and had a tiny ouzo. I then went ashore to the Stigma taverna. Mr. Yiorgos and Mrs. Evrope greeted me very warmly. The couple with from the US flagged catamaran were were also there. They are not Turkish, as I had assumed, but Israelis and very personable. We all 5 (the Israeli couple, Yiorgos, Evrope, and I) had a family dinner together.

The night was windy but quiet.

Wednesday October 11, 2017, Day 16

The anchorage of Archangelos

It was less windy this morning and taking advantage of that, after my coffee, I removed both the headsail and the mainsail and bundled them on the foredeck. This is an operation that is too dangerous to be performed while the boat is on a stand on land. But it is also rather difficult to perform while on the water with a strong wind, especially if you are all by yourself. So, it was a great relief to have this task behind me but it was also sad. No more sailing this year because Thetis is no longer a sailboat.

I put up the tent. The rest of the day was fairly calm and not too cold, about 24°C (75.2°F) both outdoor and inside the cabin. Several S/Y arrived: 2 British, a German catamaran, and one with the Irish flag with a family.

Around 4:30 I removed the tent. Later I went to the Stigma for dinner. I met the Irish family. The father and mother spend their winters on and off their boat which is based in Evros in Lakki. They are now on their way to Samos where their daughter and her husband will take a plane back to Ireland. I had a light meal of a meat patty with tomato sauce and freshly fried potatoes and a salad.

By 10:30 I was in bed.

Thursday October 12, 2017, Day 17

I was woken up around 4 by a noise. The snub line had been dislocated from its attachment to the anchor chain. I put it back. I had been using 2 of these lines: the one dislocated and a secondary closer to the windlass. That was to prevent, as it now did, in the case of a dislocation a sudden load and possible damage to the windlass. Dislocations of the first snub line are possible with boat gyrations due to unsteady wind direction. After that I went back to bed and read for a while before falling asleep.

It was 7:30 when I finally woke up. Around 9 I went ashore and took a 2 hour hike up to the top of the island and then following the ridge to the W until I found a less steep path down to the sea and eventually to my dinghy.

Walk in Archangelos

Autumn flower


It is very rugged…

Today it was warmer and less windy. I sprayed with vaseline all exposed electrical contacts. I read a lot. I finished reading all the accumulated and unread issues of Απόπλους (Apoplous) a 4 times/year cultural Greek magazine from Samos. I continued reading The Golden Bough on the Kindle. I made a potato salad with the last of Kalami potatoes.

Some time after it was dark I went ashore for dinner at the Stigma as I was too lazy to cook and anyway I was getting short on supplies. There I met the couple with the S/Y Mia Hara, Sinas and Lin Clark. They too are marking time until their haul-out on Saturday morning. I said my goodbyes and wishes for a good winter to Evrope and Yiorgos. We all hope to see each other in the spring.

Friday October 13, 2017, Day 18

The night was quiet. I got up just before 6:30. My plan for today was to move the boat in the afternoon to one of the Agmar Marine buoys. Also to service the water-maker. I did some “paperwork” on the computers. At 10 I went ashore for another hike, to the W side of the island this time, by 11:30 I was back on the boat. I read and swam a little, although the water was cold.

At 1145 I raised the anchor and motored slowly towing the dinghy and running the water-maker the 1.4 M near the Agmar “pool” [37° 11.4' N 026° 48.1' E]. The time was 1525. By that time the wind had increased to 15 - 20 knots NNE. I had a little trouble catching a mooring but did so on my 2nd trial. I secured Thetis with a double line and a thicker one with a large cleat. This one was to avoid any abrasion on the double line. The water tanks were full.

I serviced the water-maker and filled it with the biocide solution. Now it was ready for the long winter. After that I could relax for the rest of the day.

In the evening I had a nice ouzo and then made spaghetti with tuna, garlic, onions, capers, and a lot of Parmezan as all of it had to be consumed before my flight for Athens on Thursday.

Saturday October 14, 2017, Day 19

This was Thetis’ haul-out day. After coffee I rearranged the lines to the mooring. That is I went to the mooring with the dinghy and removed the thick line with the cleat leaving just the original double line. I then lifted the dinghy on its davits.

The S/Y Mia Hara arrived but it was too late to go and help them since my dinghy was already up. Same for the other arrival S/Y Just. Now we were 3 sailboats waiting for the travel-lift. There was still no motion from Agmar. I hanged the fenders and arranged 4 docking lines. All was ready. Now we wait.

Almost on the dot at 8:30 Nikolas came with the fork lift and waved to me to enter the “pool” ahead of the other 2 boats. I cast off the mooring and slowly motored to the “pool”. By that time another fellow came and he and Nikolas caught my lines and centered Thetis in the “pool”. I then lifted the fenders, put on shoes and sunglasses, and stepped out of Thetis. The travel-lift was on its way. Thetis was lifted out of the water at 0855 and was slowly on her way to her winter resting place.

I walked to the office and talked to Irene. She gave me a magnetic card that opens the gate. Now WiFi does not need a password any more and its signal seemed fairly strong. In the mean time the rented car that I had ordered arrived and Thetis was up on her stands. I connected the AC to the boat and lowered the dinghy to the ground. I also lowered the anchor and its chain so that I could wash them with fresh water. I sent e-mails to the family advising that Thetis now was a camper.


In the afternoon I spoke with Alice. I had a hot shower with plenty of water in the yard’s facilities and then an ouzo. After that I drove to Lakki. On the way I noticed that the Archontiko taverna was shut. I had a fantastic meal at the Ostria taverna: fava spread, seafood (mussels and shrimps) cooked in orzo, and at the end a homemade strawberry mille-feuille.

Back in the yard it was very, very windy with gusts in the upper 30s.

Sunday October 15, 2017

There was lots of work today. I washed the anchor and its chain. I washed the dinghy. I did 2 loads of laundry and hanged them to dry. I washed the sail cover and hanged it to dry. I put all the lines from the left sail locker in the dinghy and then I filled it with fresh water and let the lines to soak.

In the evening I had a nice FaceTime conversation with Corinna and the grandchildren Rohan and Leander. It was good to see them.

For dinner I drove to Alindas and ate a salad and a plate of fried calamari at The Steki tou Yianni. After I returned to the yard I had a good night’s sleep.

Monday October 16, 2017

This morning I siphoned the fuel from the last jerry cans to the main tank. In general I want to leave the main Diesel tank as full as possible to prevent accumulation of water vapors. I then removed the lines that were soaking in the dinghy and hanged on the deck to dry.

Then I drove to Lakki and visited the Limenarchio (Coast Guard) and reported that Thetis was now on land and will winter in the Agmar Marine shipyard. I also inquired about the renewal of her boat license that is due to expire in the end of April 2018. I filled lots of forms and went to get a required photograph (of me not of the boat). I returned with the photographs and then filled a form that authorizes Antonis (the Agmar yard employee who takes care of all sorts of things) to renew the license in March. After this form was dully stamped and signed it was given to me to hand to Antonis.

After dealing with the endless Greek bureaucracy I bought some fresh bread and drove back to the yard and the boat. I removed all the removable running lines and placed them together from the lines of the left sail locker in the dinghy to soak in fresh water. I also removed all of the fender covers and washed them. I drove to the airprot the British couple from the S/Y Miss Meg which was in front of Thetis.

In the evening I had a hot shower and after I got dressed an ouzo. Then I drove to the Gourna taverna where I had invited Panayiotis, the electrician, and his wife Mary for dinner. We had a very substantial assortments of seafood mezedes (appetizers) and wine all for 55 €.

When I got back to the boat it was past 11 PM. It was a windy night.

Tuesday October 17, 2017

After coffee it was back to work. I lowered all 4 Diesel fuel jerry cans and drained any residual fuel in the designated place for this in the yard. I then washed the cans with soap and water and let them dry. I raised the soaked lines from the dinghy and hanged on the deck to dry. I lowered the fenders to the dinghy and washed them, then I hanged them to dry on the life lines. I stowed the dried lines from yesterday in the right sail locker.

Antonis, the customer care person, came and we went over, in great detail, the 2017-18 “To Do List”. After he left I stowed two, now dry, jerry cans as well as the dried lines in the left sail locker.

In the evening I had invited Irene, the office manager, for dinner. I wanted to take her to Ostria in Lakki but it had already closed for the winter. Instead we went to the reliable Petrino where we ate, as usual, very well.

Wednesday October 18, 2017

This is my last day in Leros and with Thetis. Tomorrow I am flying to Athens and on Saturday to Washington, D.C.

I washed the dinghy thoroughly with a special soap solution, rinsed it, and partially raised it to drain. I then drove to a fuel station in Kamara and bought 10 more liters of Diesel fuel. Back in the yard I siphoned these 10 L into the main tank, thus topping it. I prepared my packing for tomorrow. I added fuel preservative into the tank. I put the fenders covers on the now clean fenders and stowed them. I got the yearly contact from Agmar Marine and paid it.

I washed the deck and the cockpit. After that I removed the water hose and stowed it. I covered the mast, the boom, and the roller reefing mechanism. Now everything was covered and stowed.

For dinner I went to the reliable Mylos restaurant.

Thursday October 19, 2017

Today I am flying to Athens. I packed my duffle bag with 4 bottles of vintage 2016 Kalami wine after lowering it to the ground. I put all the unwashed clothes, including the bedding, in a bag and took it to the office. I packed my hand luggage and put them in the car.

I plugged all the through-holes with plastic bags to prevent any vermin from entering the boat, disconnected the AC and stowed the extension cord.

After saying goodby to all my Agmar friends I drove to the airport and returned the rented car. That is the end of my 2017 affair with Thetis.

2017 Vital Statistics
Total Distance 352.9 M
Time at Sea 58 days
Total Time Underway 68.5 hr
Total Solo Time 46 days
Total Engine Time 82.7 hr
Total Fuel Consumed 140 L
Total Water Consumed 284 L