Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

Thetis 2020: In Paros

This web page contains the logg of a 4 day visit with S/Y Thetis in the island of Paros in the East Aegean. The purpose of this visit is to see my 2 brothers Nikos and Byron as well as Niko's wife Rozina.

Sunday September 13, 2020, Day 1

I arrived with Thetis today in the Alyki harbor/anchorage in the island of Paros. My brother Nikos met me and guided my with the dinghy to a tiny harbor.

We left the dinghy and got into Rozina’s smart car and Nikos drove us to his house a few kilometers inland and up on a hill. He was very talkative. In the house in addition to Rozina was also her sister Sofia whom I had not seen for many years. It was not clear if any one else had spent the night in the house. I opened my bag and saw that the bottle of fresh lemon juice had broken. Rozina gave me a package that had arrived for me. To my delight there was in it my Kindle book and my other pair of reading glasses.

They told me that we were invited tonight at Tonya’s house. Tonya is Rozina’s younger sister and both she and Sofia have adult children. Ι did not even know that Tonya had a house in Paros. I got rather nervous because:

   1.  I wanted to continue sleeping in the boat
   2.  and to come and go to Nikos and Rozina’s house I would need some means of transportation.

After Nikos made several calls he located a small rental car for € 20/day. He drove me to the airport and we got the car. I also spoke to my younger brother Byron who confirmed that he will come by ferryboat, with a car, tomorrow around noon.

I then drove the rented car back to Alyki and returned with the dinghy to Thetis. I had my coffee and rested for a while. At around 6 PM I dressed and put in a bag, for the evening, a pair of bluejeans and a jacket. I then went ashore and back to Niko’s house. Later I drove the rented car with Nikos, Rozina, and Sofia, following Nikos’ directions, to Tonya’s house. We were there, in addition to Tonya, Rozina, Sofia, Elias (Tonya’s husband), his lovely niece, and I. Tonya had prepared a very impressive spread of food.

After we left I dropped Rozina, Sofia, and Nikos at the house and then I drove to Alyki and returned to Thetis. The time was 1 AM. I slept right away.

Monday September 14, 2020, Day 2

It was almost 7 AM when I got up. After a slow start I went ashore and walked to central Alyki. At a hardware store I bought several batteries to replace the spent ones on the flashlight, clocks, etc. I then walked some more. The town is actually larger than it appears with many side streets. Eventually I walked back to where I had left the dinghy and returned to Thetis. There were 3 other S/Y in the cove and the cove was rather windy. I read for a while.

At around 10:45 I called Nikos’ telephone. Rozina answered. She and Sofia were up but Nikos was still asleep. I filled with gasoline the outboard and put the canister in the dinghy. I then packed some extra clothes and went ashore. I drove the rented car to a gasoline station and put 10 € worth of fuel and re-filled the canister. I then drove to the house.

Later I had some lunch. I had brought with me some cold cuts and some soft cheese. I also had some of their delicious home-grown tiny tomatoes (tomatini). I fired the MacBook and checked my e-mail. I sent some email to various Stavros named friends and relative because today is their name day. Namedays are important in Greece.

Eventually Nikos got up and had something to eat. Then we went to Alyki and rode his new wooden sailing dinghy. Because one has to wade in the water to get to her Nikos loaned me one of his bathing suits. It was quite large for me. We drove in the rented car to Alyki.

Nikos in Nimenia
Courtesy Nikos Riginos

The sailing dinghy, Nimenia - Νημενία, is quite lovely but almost nothing about her worked smoothly. It took over ½ hr to be able to cast off. Nikos started her one cylinder Lister Diesel engine. A cloud of smoke enveloped us. It turned out that there was some plastic wrapper that was burned by the hot exhaust. Eventually we slowly motored to a sheltered place near the W side of the beach. On the way another problem with the sailing dinghy was revealed. The throttle control was within the lovely wooden engine cover. To change the speed one has to remove the top of the cover. But the throttle lever was too hot to be touched by a bare hand. Obviously it needs to be located outside the cover.

As instructed I opened the anchor cover to get to the anchor. The problem was that there were 2 anchors one with a length of chain and the other without but neither had any rope attached. I guess that Nikos had never anchored the dinghy before nor had he prepared her for anchoring. After anchoring we concentrated on the sail. The sailing dinghy has an old fashioned rig called latini-λατίνι. This consists of a long pole that when raised supports the sail that is suspended below. The pole must be attached to the mast with a strap that allows it to be raised and lowered. This strap was missing. Now neither of us had sailed with this rigging before. We removed the sail tie-downs and tried to raise the pole with the sail. Since it was windy it took considerable force to raise it. The wire rigging holding the mast was loose on both sides. Obviously the wires were too long.

At any rate we pulled the halyard and we were able to partially raise the pole with the hanging sail. We raised the small anchor and actually sailed. On this tack the sail and pole were forced by the wind against the mast but on the other tack the wind blew them a considerable distance away from the mast. The dinghy could head only 50° which was to be expected. Tacking was a problem. We could only tack down wind. We were unable to tack up wind and return to the N shore. We could only do so by turning on the engine.

Courtesy Nikos Riginos

We attempted to return to the dinghy’s mooring but the engine quit. We had to sail. But there was another problem. The partially raised pole and the hanging sail obscured Nikos’ view while handling the tiller. He could only see and avoid the many moored boats on his left. I, sitting on the other side of the dinghy could only see the boats to my right and had to tell Nikos how to avoid them. Amazingly enough we did make it to the the mooring without a collision. A nice lady in the water helped us by handing a mooring line to Nikos. It took Nikos over 1 hour to secure the sailing dinghy!

In the mean time, while he was securing the sailing dinghy I drove the rented car to the little harbor where my dinghy was. I then returned to Thetis to put on dry clothes because I was completely soaked. I then went back, picked up the soaked Nikos and we drove to the house.

Later, after watching a lovely sunset we all drove via the labyrinth of Alyki to a parking place and walked to a nice large taverna. Rozina and Sofia joined us and after a while so did Tonya. We had a very large spread of mezedes (tasty treats) and wine. Nikos had loaned me a shirt so I was not too cold.

Once again by the time we ate and I got back to Thetis it was close to 1 AM. I slept well.

Nimenia is secured
Courtesy Byron Riginos

Tuesday September 15, 2020, Day 3

In the early morning after waking up around 7 AM I read the news and followed the fire in Moria, Lesvos and the developments near the island Kastelorizo between Greece and Turkey.

Around 10 I went ashore and drove to the house. Nikos was still asleep but after checking the email, etc. in the MacBook I had a long conversation with Rozina and Sofia. Sofia will be leaving with the 5 PM flight to Athens while my brother Byron will be arriving with the 12 o’clock ferry.

I wanted to get a replacement for the multi-meter leads because one of them was broken. I needed this because if on my way back to Samos should any electrical problem developed I will have to use the meter. By the time Nikos got up and ate his breakfast Byron arrived driving his antique Porsche. I too had a quick lunch. I then drove Nikos with the rented car to Parikiá (the main harbor of the island). We went to an electrical store where I bought a pair of leads. We then drove to a marine supply store where Nikos got some things for his sailing dinghy. I also got a small pair of wire cutters. With all of these I missed my window to talk over FaceTime with Cynthia.

Back on the house Byron was busy trying to operate his new flying drone but only managed to get it into fireplace! I tried to help but its instructions translated from the original Chinese were confusing and inaccurate.

Finally I left the house and returned to Thetis. I had a small nap and then my afternoon filtered coffee. After that, I snorkeled and checked the anchor. It had not moved. I then swam for a while. Back on board I organized a bag of clothes including a blue jean and a jacket for the cold evening. I then went ashore and drove back to the house.

In the house everyone was asleep and Sofia had already left. After the sunset we all drove to Tonya’s house where along with us was another couple. After some drinks we all, Tonya included, drove to Alyki and had dinner at the Manolis restaurant. The food was good but the thumpy “music” from the next door establishment was very annoying.

I finally made it back to Thetis around 12:30. I had problems sleeping because 1-2 mosquitoes had penetrated my cabin.

Wednesday September 16, 2020, Day 4

Because of the mosquito problem I took action last night. I closed the right cabin port and fumigated the cabin with a lit mosquito coil. This inspired me to totally replace and upgrade the port screen. First I had to remove the old screen and its adhesive velcros. Then clean the metal with acetone. I then cut new screen and dual velcros to fit the port and then installed the new screen.

After the cabin port upgrade I refueled the outboard and then siphoned 2 jerry cans of Diesel fuel to the main tank. So now the tank has enough fuel even if we were to motor all the way back to Samos.

Following this, I went ashore and bought some provisions for the return trip. I drove to Nikos’ and Rozina’s house but I could not get in. Both the car gate and the yard door were locked. I tried calling the house phone but there was no answer. I tried Rozina’s mobile phone, the same. As I was about to drive away I remembered that Byron was there, so I tried his phone. He answered. Because of his walking problem it took some time for him to come out and open the gate. We sat in the veranda and talked. After a while Nikos joined us.

Around 1 PM I left and returned to Thetis. I had a nap and then my afternoon coffee. At that time Angelos Gaitanides, the Moor & Dock owner called me on FaceTime. He wanted to alert me of a very rare Mediterranean Cyclone formed near Sidra now approaching the Ionian Sea and then the Aegean. I looked it up in and indeed this was an alarming development. After 5:30 I drove back to the house.

I needed to return the rented car because I was planing to depart from Paros tomorrow morning. The approaching cyclone made this plan even more urgent. After several calls we were to return the car at the airport. Nikos drove Rozina’s car and I followed with the rental. After dropping the rental Nikos drove me back, at high speed. Very scary!

It turned out that Rozina had planned for us to eat dinner there. She had ordered a large amount and assortment of food. Her sister Tonya also joined us.The food was very good and we accompanied it with a Kalami 2017 wine.

After dinner Tonya drove me to the little harbor where I had left the dinghy. It was slightly after 11:30 when I got back to Thetis. Again, for the 2nd night, I was plagued by mosquitoes. This despite the early fumigation and the new port screen. It took me sometime to locate a single mosquito and kill it.