Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

Thetis 2020: Paros to Samos

This web page contains the logs of a 6 day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean. I sailed from Alyki in Paros to Samos Marina via Nikouria (Amorgos), Levitha, Archangelos, Agathonisi, and Mycale in Samos.

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 to Samos from Leros

Thursday September 17, 2020, Day 1

During the night I got up and applied on my arms and legs mosquito repellent. After that I slept well and got up a few minutes before 6 AM. After coffee and after reviewing a number of weather internet sites I prepared for departure and raised the dinghy.

The harbor in Alyki
The harbor in Alyki

By 0745 both the dinghy and the anchor were up and we were underway to Livadi in Schinousa. But when we were almost there I reconsidered and decided to continue to one of the safest anchorages in this part of the Aegean, the island of Nikouria, just across from Amorgos. This time a set a waypoint on the GPS/Chart plotter just to the S of the Antikeros group islets and reefs. From that point on it was a straight line to Nikouria. About ½ way from Shinoussa to the Antikeros group the sea that all the way from Paros was almost flat developed some swell but it was not very bad. We arrived in Nikouria [36° 52.9' N 26° 55.1' E] at 1525. We had come from 39.1 M from Aliki, Paros.

There was another S/Y about 1 M from Thetis that was also arriving. I anchored in 6 m on a sand pack and let out 45 m of chain. During the passage I had lunch and talked to Cynthia on FaceTime and I also had some coffee. Instead of launching the dinghy I raised it as high as it was possible on its davits and this allowed me to slide under it, lower the swimming ladder, and snorkel to check the anchor. It was completely buried under the sand.

Earlier I had noticed that there was some water under the floorboards. So now I attended to it. The water was not salty and most likely came from the refrigerator. I sponged it off. I also washed the cockpit with bucket fulls of sea water. Before leaving Paros I had closed my cabin’s port and started a mosquito coil burning inside the cabin to discourage those unwanted passengers.

Later a 3rd S/Y came and also anchored off. She was shortly followed by a small motor cruiser with one man and a dog.

It was very pleasant here. I had my ouzo and made pasta with the last of the ragú. I ate ½ of it and put the rest in the refrigerator.

I slept well.

Friday September 18, 2020, Day 2

After checking the forecasts, but still apprehensive about the cyclone, I saw that there was hardly any wind and the sea was predicted to stay calm so I decided to push on for Levitha.

I secured the dinghy and departed at 0810. This time we went round Nikouria on its E narrow passage. It was very, very calm. The difference between this and last week’s passage in the opposite direction was like day and night. The current/voltage readings both on the engine panel and on the separate meter inside the cabin showed, at times, erroneous readings. I tried to see if there were any loose connections but did not find any.

On our way to Levitha Thetis was followed a few miles behind by an anonymous, on the AIS, catamaran.


I also notice a strange behaviour on the engine's RPM meter. I started showing unusually high readings around 4,600 when then most the engine is capable is 3,200! I had no explanation for this.

We arrived in Levitha [37° 02' N 26° 28.1' E] at 1315 after 27 M. There were no other boats. I easily caught a mooring. Then I launched the dinghy and secured Thetis on the mooring with a good line and a cleat. I do this to avoid any abrasion on the line.

Shortly after the catamaran arrived. She was flying a German flag and in her was a young couple with a very active one year old girl.

I had a nap and then my coffee. It was very calm and quiet here. Another S/Y, flying a Swiss flag, arrived. I had a hot shower and then an ouzo. While sipping it the people from the 2 other S/Ys went ashore. I was the last one to do so around 7:15. At the hamlet kyria Irene and her son Tasos greeted me like and old friend. The German couple from the catamaran asked me if wanted to join them. Their little girl was a delight. I had a salad and fried liver with potatoes. The last time I had liver was many years ago in France.

I walked back to the dinghy and borded Thetis. I sat for a while in the cockpit but fell asleep. By 10:30 I was in my cabin.

The cove in Levitha

Saturday September 19, 2020, Day 3

I woke up at about 5:45. Despite my efforts a mosquito was loose in the cabin. I found it and squashed it.

After coffee I went ashore and climbed some distance up the hill until I had a cellular signal. I then checked the weather. The predictions were that there “may” be coming here in Levitha a thunderstorm as an after effect of the cyclone that had devastated the Ionian islands and was now heading to Crete. But the weather should be reasonable further east.

After I returned to Thetis the German couple came over and I informed them about the forecasts. I also told them that I will be departing possibly heading to Partheni in Leros. Partheni’s inner cove is completely protected from both the N and the S winds.

I raised the dinghy and cast off the mooring at 0845. We slowly motored out of the cove. The German catamaran followed us a few miles behind but then headed S. The wind was 5-12 knots from the WNW. I opened about 40% of the headsail and motor-sailed towards N Leros. The RPM meter was still indicating an erroneous reading. In addition the independent from the motor V/Ah/A meter showed higher then expected amperes and lower then expected voltage. I suspect a problem with the alternator. After 18.7 M we arrived in the Archangelos anchorage [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] at 1230.

I anchored in 5 m depth and let out 30 m of chain. After lowering the dinghy I snorkeled to the anchor. For the first time this year it was not well set. So I re-anchored. This time the anchor was well set but after a while Thetis drifted too close to another anchored S/Y. Finally Marko came and handed me a line form a fixed mooring that he assured me was safe. I snorkeled and verified this.

The sky was cloudy and I removed the large tent and opened the small bimini. After a light lunch I took a nap inside the main cabin. After I woke up I made filtered coffee and looked the MacBook to a signal from the iPad. I then did my weekly banking and read the accumulated e-mails.

At about 5:30 I cleaned the dinghy that had gotten rather dirty. Later I had a lot of FaceTime connections: Rozina, Nikos, Byron, Evelyn in D.C., and finally my sister-in-law Ive. The problem with the alternator charging while the engine is running is still with me.

After I had my evening ouzo I went ashore to the Stigma taverna where I had a very tasty dish of veal cooked with many vegetables.

After I returned to Thetis, I ran the genset. The voltage that was below normal and and the current that was above when the motor was running were now were restored back to normal. This confirms that most likely the problem was with the alternator. At least there were no mosquitoes in my cabin.

Sunday September 20, 2020, Day 4

The night was windy. I was woken up around 2 AM by a banging noise. I thought that it was a door shaken by the wind. I secured both cabin doors but the noise persisted. Unable to sleep because of the noise I started reading in bed a new book on the Kindle Ling Zang's A single Swallow. Finally I figured out the source of the noise. It was not the cabin doors banging but my cabin’s closet door. After I shut it it was quiet and I went back to sleep. I slept well until some time past 6 AM.

I had my coffee and then I turned on my MacBook and using the iPad as an internet hot spot and checked the e-mails and the weather.

I then raised the dinghy and prepared to depart for Agathonisi. We left at 0845 heading to the east side of Archangelos. After rounding the island and although the wind was only 10-20 knots from the WNW there were small but very short waves. The wind was too close to our heading and we had to motor-sail. Thetis was banging and “holy horsed” at time slowed down to 3 - 4.5 knots. During the passage the tachometer continued to read over 4,500 RPM although the engine’s maximum RPM is 3,200. Also the Ah meter inside the cabin continued to indicate low voltage that is below 12 V and over 30 A. Very strange.

Eventually we reached Agathonisi and at 1315 entered my favorite cove Gaidouravlako [37° 27.2' N 26° 57.7' E ]. We had come 16.8 M. My first attempt to anchor was not successful because after snorkeling I did not like the way the anchor was sitting. So, I re-anchored. I did this very slowly dropping the anchor at just under 6 m and slowly and in stages letting out over 40 m of chain. This time the anchor was OK.

After a snack I fell asleep. When I woke up and had my coffee I opened the engine control panel to see if there were any loose contacts. I could not find any. After that I transferred the last 2 jerry cans of Diesel fuel to the main tank.

Later I had a shave and went, with the dinghy, to the harbor. Quite a few S/Ys there. The small store that I remembered had relocated and I bought there a can of pesticide spray. After that I walked to my favorite Glaros restaurant and had an ouzo. The owner Yiannis told me that he had nice lithrini - λυθρίνι - Pagellus erythrinus that he himself had caught yesterday. It took him some time to lite the fire and grill it but it was very tasty.

I returned with the dinghy back to Thetis. Earlier I had left the tent on and had hanged a light so I had no problem finding the boat. I sprayed with the insecticide my cabin after closing its port and door. I sat in the cockpit for over ½ hour and then aired for a while the cabin. Around 10 PM I went in and fell asleep. There were no mosquitoes tonight.

Monday September 21, 2020, Day 5

I got up before 6 and prepared for departure after checking the emails, weather, etc.

In the past few days the alternator and engine control panel have been behaving strangely. The tachometer, after starting the engine, seemed normal. But after running the engine at around 2,100 RPM (usual cruising speed) the tachometer showed over 4,000 RPM which is higher than the motor is capable. Now the completely separate V/Ah/A meter inside the cabin showed surprisingly high current and low voltage. Again this is not normal. Yesterday, I looked for for any loose connections around the panel and the alternator but did not find any.

We departed at 0810 for Mycale in Samos. After we had motored for about 3 M east along the coast of Agathonisi ALL the instruments, including the autopilot and the GPS/Chart Plotter, stopped working and the alarm sounded. The tachometer now showed 0 while the engine was running. The meter inside the cabin showed very low voltage, below 10, and 0 current. This was an emergency. Fortunately I took out the genset, filled it with gasoline, connected it to the boat’s AC system and started it. After switching on the voltage to the AC/DC charger both current and voltage were restored to their normal readings.

This way we resumed our course to Mycale, in Samos. As we were motoring almost completely against the wind there was no chance of doing any sailing. After 15.6 M we arrived in Mycale [37° 42.2' E 26° 58.8' E] at 1135. I anchored in 4.5 m over sand with 25 m scope and turned off the engine and the genset. Now both the sole panels after the wind-generator took over everything seem to work. It seemed that running with the faulty alternator had drained the batteries.

I lowered the dinghy and snorkeled to check the anchor. It was completely buried in the sand. I put up the tent.

In the late afternoon I swam for a while and then raised the dinghy after covering it. That took almost 40 minutes. I called the marina and found out that the fuel-station opens at 9 AM. I also called Aramis and reserved a rental car. I then removed the tent.

I had my ouzo and enjoyed the sunset. For dinner I grated the rest of the Parmesan cheese and warmed over the leftover pasta with meat sauce. This I had with a Kyr Yiannis wine. After that I sat in the cockpit until almost 10 PM and then went to bed.

Tuesday September 22, 2020, Day 6

I woke up at about 5:30 but lingered in bed until after 6. After coffee I started my preparation for leaving the boat for few weeks in the marina. I turned on the genset but the AC/DC charger, although there was AC electricity did not work. It was burned. I concluded that running it for several hours while the defective alternator was also running had burned it.

I stripped my berth and pillows. I put the blanket and pillows in plastic bags. I then infused the water-maker with a biocide solution but I did not change its filter. I will have to do this before using it next time. I then organized the laundry and the clothes to be taken to Kalami along with the bathroom kit and bathing suits. Packed the MacBook, the iPad, and various adaptors in the brief case to be taken also to Kalami.

Around 8:50 Yiorgos called me and said that he was half way to the marina. I got ready, put out the fenders and docking lines, started the engine, raised the anchor and secured it. At 0905 we were on our way motoring slowly for the 1.5 M to the marina. When we arrived Yiorgos was already at the station. I moored side to with his help.The time was 0915.

We filled the main tank and the 2 yellow jerry cans, as well as the almost empty gasoline canister. All together we took 73 L of Diesel fuel for 91.05 €. Before leaving the fuel- dock I handed to Yiorgos all my stuff including the food from the refrigerator and he loaded them on his truck. In the meantime Alexis from Aramis had arrived with the rental car.

I moved the boat to her C014 berth and with Yiorgos help secured it with my 2 semi-permanent lines that had been left on the dock and 2 side spring lines to keep her away from adjacent boats. We connected the AC but the charger, as I was afraid, did not work. I removed the speed sensor and drained the bilges.

This is the end of this trip.