Travels with S/Y Thetis

Thetis only

Thetis 2020: Samos to Paros

This web page contains the logs of a 7 day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean. I sailed from Samos Marina to Alyki in Paros via Livadi to Geranou or Pothetou in Paros, Levitha, Nikouria (Amorgos), and Livadhi in Schinousa.

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

Sunday August 23, 2020 to Sunday September 6, 2020

During this time Thetis stayed in the marina.

Monday September 7, 2020, Day 1

My plan was to sail Thetis from Samos to Paros and visit my brother Nikos and his wife Rozina. My youngest brother Byron also promised to join us in Paros. Nikos now has in Paros a new wooden sailing dinghy.

Looking at the forecasts it seems that the strong winds of last week, reaching force 8 will subside this week. So, I anticipated plenty of motoring. To that effect yesterday with the help of our caretaker Yiorgos we moved most of my stuff to Thetis. We also wanted to refill the now empty 2 jerry cans. Just in case we looked at the marina’s fuel station and to our surprise it was open. So, I cast off and moved the boat side-to the station dock with Yiorgos and the station attendant helping with the lines. In addition to refilling the jerry cans we also topped Thetis’ main tank and refilled one of the small gasoline canisters. All together we got 87.1 L of Diesel fuel for 108 €. Back to the berth C14 berth we connected the AC but it did not work. We found that the plug has a loose connection and we repaired it. Now it worked.

This morning, after my coffee, checking the latest on the weather, the news, and my e-mail, I drove to the marina. On the way I stopped at the Bazaar supermarket and got 2 cases of spring water, a bottle of ouzo, and I also stopped at a gas station and topped the rented car in order to return it as full as it was delivered to me 2 weeks ago. As arranged I left it unlocked with its key under the mat. I took my briefcase and a few other items to the boat and prepared her for departure. There were a lot of items in bags in the main cabin. Yesterday I had plugged the boat to the marina’s AC and turned on the refrigerator. Now I put in the refrigerator all the items needing refrigeration. I then unplugged the shore AC, put temporary double lines (μπιντέμι - bidemi in Greek), cast off the mooring lines with the springs, removed the bow ladder, and started the motor.

We departed from the marina at 1000. The sea was fairly calm with a 0-15 knot NNE wind that later changed to WNW. I opened about 30% of the headsail and motor-sailed at a course of 212 to the Livadhi tou Geranou in Patmos [37° 20.6' N 26° 35.3' E] arriving at 1440 after 26.2 M but actually, according to the chart, 28 M. While under way I had stowed most of the provisions. I anchored without any problem in 7 m depth and with 35 m of chain.

Later I lowered the dinghy and snorkeled to the anchor. As usual it was nicely burried in the sand. In the evening, when the sun was low, I emptied the left cabin that we use as a storage space. Then, I stowed the freshly washed linen and got out the second set of sheets for my right cabin. I then put back in the left cabin the AC cable, and all the other items that I had removed.

I had a moment of panic. I could not locate my Kindle electronic book. I looked everywhere. I concluded that I must had left it in Kalami. I called Yiorgos. He too looked and could not find it. I then, on a hunch, I asked him to look also in the bathroom. Joy! He found it together with my second pair of reading glasses. I asked him to send them via, courier, to Rozina in Paros.

By that time I was rather tired and did not feel like cooking. So, I went ashore and inquired at the local taverna if they will be open for dinner. Yes, but if there are no customers they do close early. I told them that I will be there shortly after 8 o'clock. Back on Thetis I was too tired to even have an ouzo. I changed and went to the taverna. I had a nice salad, and 2 small grilled συναγρίδακια - sinagridakia - common dentex but these were disappointing. Nothing like the perfectly grilled and very fresh fish of Katina in Marathi.

Back on Thetis I stayed up for a while in the cockpit looking at the stars. My new replacement lantern’s switch had an annoyingly flashing green light. I tried to cover it but it just dimmed it. After all this I slept very well.

Tuesday September 8, 2020, Day 2

I woke up at 4:45 and could not go back to sleep. I fired the MacBook and after receiving the internet signal from the iPad cellular connection to Cosmote and transmitting it via “Personal Hotspot” I read all the accumulated emails and read the forecasts. The predictions were that today and tomorrow will not be as calm as predicted yesterday. They are now calling for force 5-6 northerly winds becoming by tomorrow afternoon 6-7.

I waited until after 6:00 AM before making my coffee. After that I raised the dinghy and by 0750 we were underway heading for Levitha. The wind today was stronger than yesterday’s it was 18-25 knots from the NNW and after we cleared Patmos the waves were substantial but there was no spray as we were going their direction. Again we motor-sailed with about 35% of the headsail. I also ran the water-maker. After we were underway I sent an SMS to my daughters Cynthia and Corinna advising of the departure and the possible loss of signal in Levitha.

When we were about 2 M from the easternmost point of Levitha we still had a weak signal and I sent them another SMS that now we were loosing the signal. We arrived in the cove in Levitha [37° 0.14' N 26° 28.06' E] after 24 actual M but only 21.6 over the water. The time was 1140. There were no other boats here except the family’s boat with the outboard. Tasos appeared to be repairing a semi sunken mooring buoy. It turned out that he wanted to hand its mooring line to me. Not expecting this I was moving too fast and I had to hard reverse to get the line. At any rate we were here. As expected no cellular signal.

After I lowered the dinghy I secured another line, with a large cleat to avoid any abrasion to the original line. I then had a nice swim and lunch. By 5 PM 4 more S/Ys had arrived.

In the evening, after 6 PM another S/Y came. While watching her moor I had a small glass of ouzo. Around 7:30 I went ashore and walked to the hamlet. Mrs. Irene, the mother of the clan, greeted me and was very sad to hear about my loss of Alice. I too offered my condolences on her loss of Mr. Kamposos. Both their sons Manolis and Tasos were here with Tasos’ wife and children. These included my friend from my last visit here Katerina, now 11 years old. All the cruisers from the other boats were already there. All together there were 12 men and one Italian lady. Katerina this time served the tables but she still managed to talk with me for a while.

I had a salad with their soft goat cheese, a σαγανάκι - saganaki (grilled hard goat cheese), and 2 very tasty lamb patties with freshly fried potatoes and some red wine.

After I returned to the boat I went to bed early. The only problem was a large orange blinking light from the last S/Y to arrive.

Levitha 2
The cove in Levitha

Wednesday September 9, 2020, Day 3

I woke up early around 4 AM and I could not go back to sleep. Not having any internet signal here I did not have access to the latest weather forecasts. I debated whether to stay here or depart. Seeing that the wind here in the cove was no more than 10 knots and that yesterday’s morning forecasts in Patmos were not dire I decided to depart. It was the wrong decision!

At 0740 I cast off and headed mostly W to Amorgos. After clearing Levitha the wind increased gusting to the mid 30s but the waves were very large and irregular. I was scared by the gusts and did not open any sail, we just motored. While closing the hatches the handle of the front right hatch broke. I manage to close it with its safety latch.

After clearing the island of Kinaros we were making very, very little progress with maximum speed of 4.5 knots and when we were slowed down by the waves it was down to 2 knots. The only place I could sit was on top of the companionway under the spray hood and holding with both hands. Moving anywhere else in the boat was very, very difficult. This was much worse than in the Atlantic because unlike the large but long ocean waves these waves were short and irregular in direction. So, all I could do was stay there and endure the slow difficult progress. Fortunately before our departure I had tied well the dinghy on its davits and to prevent its bow to moving I tied it with an extra line. That saved the dinghy because were it to fall off the davits I would not be able to saved it without a strong risk of falling overboard myself.

Eventually we were abreast of the NE side of Amorgos. We kept going. Given the size and the ferocity of the waves going towards Aigiali and then via the narrow passage to the island of Nikouria was out of the question. I wanted to get to the W side of Nikouria which I was expecting to be calm. So, I made what I am sure was a wise decision, and proceeded an extra 4 M to the NW tip of Nikouria. Eventually we rounded the island and as I was expecting and to my relief the bay between Nikouria and Amorgos was calm.

We reached after 29 M my usual anchoring spot [36° 52.9' N 25° 55.2' E] over the sand in 4.5 m depth with 30 m of chain. I then tested the anchor with very strong reverse. It seemed OK. After that I lowered the dinghy and snorkeled to check the anchor. It was buried deeply under a small cluster of weed. This was not ideal but it still looked OK. When I swam back on Thetis I was very hungry. I had my lunch and took a nap.

There were here in the cove 2 other S/Ys at some distance from Thetis. It was unbelievably calm and the wind was almost gone. Although I could see the waves crashing on the N side of Amorgos and on the narrow passage between Amorgos and Nikouria. Another S/Y with an Austrian flag came, now there were 3 S/Ys in addition to Thetis. I snorkeled again. The anchor to my relief had not moved but Thetis was moving slowly around from 3.9 m depth to almost 9. Everything here was nice except for some nasty bitting flies.

The cellular signal here was not strong but usable and I was able to send SMS to Cynthia and Corinna. I also spoke with Rozina on the iPhone. I told them that unless I get a better forecast tomorrow I will stay here.

In the late evening I had an ouzo with chick peas as I was too tired make a new spread. For dinner I warmed 2 already cooked turkey patties and fried 2 eggs. By 9 PM I was ready to go to bed but I resisted and sat in the cockpit. I suspect that I actually did fall asleep because next I knew it was almost 10 PM. I relocated to my cabin and I fell immediately asleep.

Thursday September 10, 2020, Day 4

I must had slept very well because when I woke up it was past 7:30. I had no wish to depart. My plan was to have an easy and relaxing day in this lovely cove with its crystal clear water.

Later in the morning I snorkeled and checked the anchor again, just in case. I then went ashore with the dinghy and walked for over 1 hr. I climbed up to peak and looked at the sea on the N side of the island. She was still angry but maybe less so than yesterday. But the cove between Nikouria and Amorgos was still very calm and most of the time windless with an occasional gust. The direction of this light wind was variable. There were still 3 other S/Ys. The one closest to Thetis was flying what appeared to be British flag. Before returning to my boat a motorboat with 10-15 people arrived who disembarked at the small pier infront of a small beach with installations of, umbrellas, beds, and etc. They were quiet and mostly swam.

From the cliffs

From the cliffs

The beach

The beach

In the afternoon I found a spare hatch handle and replaced the one that broke yesterday. My brother Nikos called and described, in some detail, where to anchor in Paros not far from his house.

I had a nice ouzo and then I boiled some pasta and served it with the ground beef sauce I had brought, already cooked, from Kalami. By that time I managed to cover the flashing green switch on the new lantern and it provided illumination during dinner in the cockpit. After dinner I switched off the lantern and enjoyed the stars until I fell asleep.

Friday September 11, 2020, Day 5

After my coffee I turned on the MacBook and set it to get the internet connection from the iPad cellular connection. First I checked the weather forecasts. All of them looked benign that is force 5-6 here in Amorgos and 3-4 further west. So, I decided to go on and sail to Schinousa about 20 M north from here.

I prepared for departure. I raised the dinghy but this time I secured it on the davit stands a little differently. I tied its painter to Thetis’ stern cleat very taught, and like last time tied another line from the dinghy’s handhold to the push-pit, agin very taught. We shall see if this is an improvement. After raising the anchor we departed at 0750.

After clearing the island of Nikouria, from the W side, the wind was 12-25 knots from the NW and there were largish and confused waves but nothing like the ones 2 days ago. I opened about 35% of the headsail and motor-sailed. It was not really very bad. After reaching the 2 small Antikeros islands and clearing their reefs the waves subsided, almost completely. The wind also diminished now to 8-12 knots from the SW.

We arrived at the Livadi cove in Schinousa [36° 51.6' N 25° 31.4' E], just west of the large private property, at 1200 and after 21.4 M. I anchored in 3.8 m depth with 20 m of scope. Again it was very calm and nice here except for a very large, almost a ship, motor yacht.

After lowering the dinghy I checked the anchor. It was fine. Ashore there was a large white tent with a number of beds with white covers. I assumed that it was a 1st aid station. But later it turned out to be an installation for the passengers of the large motor yacht. Her crew dismantled it and took it back to their yacht just before her departure.

For the rest of the day Thetis was on her own here. In the evening I took a nice hot shower and then had my ouzo. After the sun set just past 7:30 I went ashore with the dinghy. I pulled it completely out of the water and went to the local taverna, also called Livadi. I had a nice hard-tack salad, wine, and a goat stew with tomatoes (κοκκινιστό) and fried potatoes. The people here were quite friendly. After the food they brought a light honey cake.

Back on Thetis it was too early to go to bed so I stayed for a while in the cockpit before going to my cabin.

Saturday September 12, 2020, Day 6

I must had slept very deeply because it was almost 7:45 when I woke up. After coffee and checking the weather I decided not to leave but spend the day here. I had spoken yesterday on the iPhone with my younger brother Byron who will also go to Paros on Tuesday so there was no point in rushing to get there today. I will go tomorrow.

I fired the MacBook (signal from the iPad) and first checked the accumulated e-mail delting of most of them. Then I did my weekly banking.

After that I went ashore and had an hour walk up the hill and the outskirts of the town. That was fine but there was no shade and I was getting rather hot. Back on Thetis I swam to cool off. Thetis was still the only boat here.

Livadi in Schinousa
Landing in Livadhi

Landing in with the dinghy


Looking to the East

S/Y Thetis in the background

In the afternoon, after a light nap, I swam some more. Nikos’ friend’s Costas Negrepontis’ house of was open and I saw several people there. But after swimming and asking I found that Costas was not with them.

Later in anticipation of an morning early sail to Paros I raised and secured the dinghy on its davits. I the had an ouzo, just in time to see the last of the sun sinking behind the nearby island of Iraklia.

For dinner I had leftovers that I had brought from Kalami. After dinner I sat in the cockpit and must had fallen asleep because next I knew it was almost 11 PM.

Sunday September 13, 2020, Day 7

After my leisurely morning coffee while reading the news in the iPad and then the forecasts, and emails on the MacBook I was ready to depart.

We left Schinousa (Λιβάδι) at 0730. The wind was down to 3-8 knots WNW, sailing was out and we had to just motor while running the water-maker. After clearing both Schinousa and nearby Iraklia I entered a waypoint on the GPS/Chart Plotter for Alyki in Paros and set a direct course to it. There were some waves in the open area between Naxos and Paros but not as bad as I was afraid. After we were near Paros the wind increased to about 12 knots and turned more westerly. I opened about 35% of the headsail and motor-sailed.

When we were near our destination, Alyki - Αλυκή in Paros, I rolled-in the sail. I anchored in 5 m depth with 35 m chain in the wide bay, not too far from the breakwater [36° 59.8' N 25° 07.9' E]. The time was 1115 and we had come 19.5 M from Schinousa.

I had already called Nikos and now I saw him waving from the shore at a point not too far from Thetis. I lowered the dinghy and first I snorkeled to check the anchor. It was completely buried under the sand. Then I got dressed and went ashore and fetched Nikos. I organized a bag of clothes and added a bottle of Kalami wine, a bottle of fresh lemon juice, etc. I also, following Nikos suggestion took with us in the dinghy its small anchor with chain and rope. Then we drove ashore. It turned out that where he was standing before was the breakwater of a tiny small-boat harbor, very shallow and full of rocks. We entered it, I dropped the small anchor, and we tied the dinghy.

I had arrived in Paros!