This web page contains the logs of loading S/Y Thetis to a yacht transport ship in the Caribbean island of Martinique, receiving her in Marmaris (Turkey) in the Aegean, and then sailing her to the Greek island of Samos. The logs cover a period of 7 days of actual sailing from from Marmaris to Samos via Ciftlik, Serçe Liman, and Lorymna in Turkey followed with Pédhi in the Greek island of Symi, Yiali, Emborios in the island of Kalymnos, Lakki in Leros, Archangelos, Lipsi, and Marathi.
The logs are illustrated with photographs and maps they also include links to other related web sites.
Thursday June 23 to Saturday June 25, 2005
Alice and I flew to Martinique (D.C. to San Juan in Puerto Rico, to Guadeloupe, and to Fort de France). From Guadeloupe I called Fabriche of Kiriakoulis Charters in Martinique to warn him of our arrival. Yiannis Mpalikos, the Kiriakoulis manager was on vacation off the island.
We took a taxi from the airport of Fort de France to Marin. Fabriche was waiting for us. He went aboard Thetis with a dinghy and loosened the stern lines so that the boat could come close enough to the pier to deploy the passarella from the bow. We entered Thetis. The atmosphere was very humid and hot, most unpleasant. Inside the cabin it was moldy and the air was stale and there were many small moths flying about. We opened all the hatches to air the boat. There were frequent showers. Alice slept in the cockpit while I slept in my usual right cabin.
We spent most of Friday cleaning, throwing away spoiled food, getting new provisions etc. The humidity was debilitating. I went to the Dockwise Yacht Transport office. Nadine, the manager, showed me the loading plan for all 44 yachts all destined for Toulon except for Thetis and 3 others for Marmaris, Turkey. Thetis is scheduled to be loaded on Tuesday June 28 at 2 PM, two days ahead of what I was told in the most recent communications from Dockwise.
On Saturday at 1100, after settling our bill, we cast off from the Marin Marina and motored for 6 M to the lovely anchorage of Sainte Anne [14° 26.3 N 60° 53.1 W], still within the Cul de sac de Marin basin, where we anchored in 5 m depth. It was very nice and quiet but the humidity was still very oppressive. It sucks away all your energy. After a swim we launched the dinghy and washed down the deck. The two stern lines, used at the marina, were extremely dirty and encrusted with barnacles. I cut myself badly trying to clean them. I snorkeled to check the anchor. The anchor was well set but I was in for a shock at the condition of Thetis’ bottom. It was beyond description: barnacles and a very lush growth of weeds. In the evening, after the sun was low we went ashore for a walk.
Sunday June 26, 2005
The early morning was very quiet. We took it easy aboard under the tent with frequent dips into the water. The water was clean and pleasant but a far cry from the clear and translucent waters of the Aegean that we have become accustomed.
Later in the morning all semblance of peace was shattered when we were approached by a very large inflatable marked “Douane” with 5 large men, a tall woman, and a dog. The people were in uniform with guns and handcuffs hanging from their belt. They put many clean fenders and came along side Thetis. Then, they asked permission to board. Fortunately they were wearing clean boat shoes, not the hard and dirty soled ones that the Greek officials wear. Seeing the guns we could not refuse. They came in and politely asked if they could bring the dog to sniff for explosives and drugs. The dog, exquisitely well trained, went everywhere in all the cabins and lockers but of course did not find anything. Then they brought a large toolkit and started dismantling everything: floorboards, cable compartments, etc. They almost took the water tanks apart. They were not unfriendly and they were polite and professional but the whole experience, which lasted about an hour and a half, was not very good.
After not founding anything they became rather friendly. They even lets pet the dog. I asked them what prompted this inspection. They said it was the Greek flag and the drug smugling activities of the crew of a large Greek cruiser after her owner had left.
The rest of the day was fortunately uneventful.
Monday June 27, 2005
Nice day. We spent it by mostly swimming and trying to stay cool and comfortable. In the evening we went ashore to the nice large beach for a walk. The tropical sun here goes down around 7 PM and then it gets dark, very fast. Most local people seem to emerge at the beach shortly before dusk and swim. It is almost the only time during daylight that it is somewhat comfortable. The humidity was relentless.
Tuesday June 28, 2005
This is the day scheduled for loading. In the morning there was no sign of the transport ship. Nevertheless we raised the anchor and motored back the 6 M to the marina area where we anchored. We then went ashore with the dinghy and rented a small car. The ladies at the Kiriakoulis office had already made reservations for us to stay at a hotel some 60 km away on the NE shore of the island. At the Dockwise office we were informed that the transport ship should be arriving in the early afternoon.
Back on Thetis we packed all our things and then took our bags ashore and left them on the trunk of the rented car. We then swam and waited. Around 1 PM the ship, Super Servant 4, did arrived. She was large and dominated the large cove. She took a long time, over 2 hours, to anchor and arrange herself. In the mean time, we raised the dinghy on deck, lashed it and covered it. Most of this time we spied on the transport ship with the binoculars. Slowly water was pumped into her hull and she began to sink. Eventually the ship, Super Servant 4, started hailing on the VHF individually each yacht to be loaded and gave her an estimated time for the loading. Thetis now was the second boat to be loaded and due at 5 PM. At 5 the Super Servant 4 hailed us again with a new loading time of 6:30.
Few minutes after 1800 we raised the anchor and started motoring slowly towards the ship, a few miles away. By this time Super Servant 4 was almost submerged and her large door, at her stern, was open. From our perspective she appeared as a gigantic swimming pool divided in the middle by a catwalk. We slowly entered while her crew directed us to dock on her port side along the outer catwalk. We already had hung fenders and had 2 docking lines ready. These we tossed to her crew and we were now docked alongside just like being in a marina. In addition to our fenders the ship’s sides were lined with white rubber bumpers, very clean. Soon we tied two spring lines and then we were given straps from the ship to ties on the inboard cleats, facing away from the wall, and around the mast. Before Thetis a large catamaran passenger ferry the Rubis Express, was loaded and right after Thetis a lovely US large wooden sailing yacht the Bolero. Both were going to Marmaris.
The Dockwise agent, Ms. Nadine, came and we handed her the boat keys and papers. I closed all the sea-cocks, shutoff the Camping Gaz, removed the flag and the horseshoe buoys. Nadine told me that I could leave the wind generator on, so no problem keeping the batteries charged. We took the rest of our things and locked the boat. A launch took us ashore. While doing all these tasks, dark ominous clouds were moving in. Just as we reached the car the sky opened and a most violent tropical thunderstorm caught us. The drive to the hotel in the heavy rain was memorable.
Wednesday June 28 to Friday 30, 2005
While Super Servant 4 was preparing for her transatlantic voyage Alice and I toured as much of the island as the the oppressive humidity allowed.
Saturday July 1 to Sunday July 24, 2005
Alice and I flew back from Martinique to our home in Washington D.C. and after a few days we flew to our summer house in Kalami in the island of Samos, Greece. We stayed there until we were notified via e-mail by Dockwise Yacht Transport that Supper Servant 4 was due to arrive in Marmaris on Sunday July 24.
On Saturday, while Alice stayed in Kalami, our guests Molly and Douglas MacMillan and I took the little ferryboat from Samos to Kusadasi, Turkey. The MacMillans had sailed with Thetis in the past. Turkish hospitality knows no bounds so, in Kusadasi we were met by Moustafa, the chauffeur of my friend Turgut Ayker. He drove us to Marmaris, 3 hours away, after stopping for a brief visit to the Hellenistic sight of Didyma. In Marmaris we were met by the local manager of Tespo (Turgut’s food store chain) who had made hotel arrangements for us in this busy resort city. We were triumphantly taken to the hotel by Mustafa, the Tespo manager, the assistant manager, another employee, none of whom spoke english, and a young employee to translate. After we were installed our entourage very reluctantly departed. I communicated with Begum Yachting, the local Dockwise agent, and confirmed that Supper Servant 4 was indeed due on Sunday afternoon but unloading would not start until Monday morning.
We spent Sunday morning at the beach. Marmaris was crowded, mostly by very rowdy Englishmen. The majority of the eating establishments cater to british tastes and were proudly advertising their non-turkish specialties such as: roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, fish & chips, and english breakfasts while broadcasting ear splitting rap “music”. The Turkey I have grown to love has been displaced. Even the wonderful Turkish ice-cream, dandurma, was been replaced by the insipid international brands. The beach was wall to wall raw human flesh with a very strong smell of sun tanning cream. It was also unbearably hot. We made the best of a bad situation with frequent dips in the sea and sipping fresh orange juice.
Around 1 PM Supper Servant 4 did arrive, once again dominating the landlocked Marmaris bay. She maneuvered and anchored but there was no evidence of flooding and submerging. In the evening we visited the office of Begum Yachting. I was prepared to pay for a Turkish transit log which according to past experiences and fresh information from Turgut should cost about $120. Instead I was presented by an outrageous $560 bill (customs, transit log, and agency fees). I had no choice but to pay. At least they accepted credit cards.
Monday July 25, 2005 Day 1
The day of unloading had arrived. We took a taxi, as instructed, from the hotel to the Netsel Marina where at 8:30 we were met by the representative of Begum Yachting who told us that there was a small delay. We waited. Sometimes after 9:30 we were taken by a launch to Supper Servant 4 along with the other yacht owners. She was high in the water and not yet submerged. I met the courteous crew and her captain, a man surprisingly young. He told us that the trip was uneventful. They had avoided the hurricane but there was some shaking. He was, however, not pleased and said so to the Begum agent. For some bureaucratic reason he was still not granted permission to submerge and unload. We all had to wait. He gave me Thetis’ keys while the Begum agent took the boat’s papers as well as our passports.
Taking advantage of Thetis being out of the water Douglas and I scrapped with brushes, as best as we could, her weed and barnacle encrusted bottom. I received several bad cuts on my hands. Thetis’ deck and cockpit were amazingly clean, most likely the crew of Supper Servant 4 had hosed them down. We then put up the tent and waited. Eventually they started pumping water and Supper Servant 4 started to sink, very slowly at the beginning then faster and faster. When the water had completely covered Thetis’ bottom a pair of divers came and removed her stands. Finally at 1240 we were given the signal to start her motor. I opened all the sea-cocks and after making sure that no water was coming in cranked the engine. It started, to my great relief, right away. We slowly backed Thetis out of Supper Servant 4 and once clear we rigged the fenders and docking lines on both of her sides. Then we motored to the public quay [36° 50.6' N 28° 16.7' E] where we anchored and moored stern to. The time was 1330.
While the MacMillans went shopping for provisions, I rigged the hose and topped the water tanks. Then we waited for Begum Yachting to bring back our papers and passports. It was unbearably hot. The hot hours went by and no word nor any action from Begum. I hailed them on the VHF. No response. I called the agent on his GSM phone. The problem he explained was Rubis Express. She is a commercial, not private, vessel being imported into Turkey and her case fell under different rules. Until she cleared the rest of the yachts brought by Supper Servant 4 could not be cleared either. The whole experience was very uncomfortable. Our plans were to sail to Serçe Liman and spend the night there and proceed to Symi tomorrow. Now as the hours of daylight slipped away this plan became less and less realistic.
After repeated phone calls to Begum, Thetis’ papers and our passports were finaly brought to us and we cast off at 1810. We motored out of the Marmaris Bay and headed W but it was clear that if we wanted to reach Serçe Liman, more than 40 M away, we could only do so very late at night. As we had no food and we were hungry we needed to reach an anchorage with an open restaurant much earlier. The sea was calm and there was not much of a wind. We settled for Ciftlik [36° 43' N 28° 14.4' E] where we arrived at 2040. We anchored off shore without any trouble. We had come just 13.9 M from Marmaris.
We uncovered the dinghy, which was lashed on deck, and launched her. The outboard started right away. We went ashore and had a delightful dinner at a seaside restaurant. By that time it was cool and very pleasant. Despite all the delays I was very glad that Thetis was afloat and in remarkably good shape considering her long journey.
Tuesday July 26, 2005 Day 2
We departed at 0840. There was hardly any wind so we were forced to motor. We went west along the peninsula until we reached Serçe Liman. The little restaurant on the W side of the cove previously owned by Osman was now closed. The one on the E side however seemed to be still working. We just motored around the cove and then proceeded west to Lorymna [36° 34.1' N 28° 00.9' E] where we arrived at 1140 and stopped briefly for a swim.
Ten minutes later we were on our way to Symi. The wind had picked up a little from the NW and we even managed to sail with the headsail for 15 minutes. Other then that it was the engine all the way to Pédhi, Symi [36° 36.8' N 27° 51.5' E] where we arrived at 1400 after 25.3 M.
We anchored and had some lunch and a swim. Later in the evening we went ashore and took a taxi to the town (Yialos) where we did some provision shopping and had a pleasant dinner.
Wednesday July 27, 2005 Day 3
We departed at 0705 for the small island of Yiali (N of Niseros) with a heading of 270. Until Cape Knidos there was hardly any wind but after the cape the wind was 20 knots NW and we were able to motor-sail. We also started the watermaker which worked perfectly and we replenished our fresh water supply. After 37.8 M we reached my favorite anchorage on the SW side of Yiali [36° 38.6' N 27° 06.9' E] at 1520. We anchored in the clear waters over sand in 4 m depth.
We spent the rest of the peaceful afternoon swimming. For dinner we made pasta with fresh tomato sauce.
Thursday July 28, 2005 Day 4
My plan was to depart very early for either Xerocambos in Leros or Emborios in Kalymnos. I set the alarm for 3:30 AM. After I had my coffee I started the engine and was going to raise the anchor while the MacMillans in the front cabin slept. There was trouble however. No cooling water came out of the exhaust. Instead of departing I started troubleshooting the cooling system. I primed the water pump but it still did not work. I removed it and checked its impeller. It seemed alright. I re-installed it but it refused to work. Finally I replaced the whole pump by the spare. By the time the engine was repaired and I raised the anchor a whole hour had gone by.
We departed Yiali at 0500. The wind was 10-25 knots WNW. I raised the mainsail and we motor-sailed. The sea was a little rough and the MacMillans, after they woke up, were not very comfortable. So, I decided not to push harder and as the wind kept freshening we lowered the sail and after rounding the SW point of Kalymnos we headed E of Telendos to Emborios [37° 02.7' N 26° 55.6' E]. We easily caught one of Mparba Nikolas’ mooring at 1200. We had been sailing N for 30.6 M.
It was calm in the protected cove and after lunch and a swim we all had a rest under the tent. In the evening we went ashore and had a nice dinner at Mparba Nikolas.
Friday July 29, 2005 Day 5
In the early morning hours the wind started blowing with strong gusts reaching into the 30s. Way too strong weather for sailing N against it. Thetis was going into circles around the mooring. Afraid that the line, doubled from the bow to the mooring, may chafe I added an extra one. It was good I did so because within few hours the first line was completely worn and would not had held the boat.
We spent most of the morning being tossed around by the wind. We took the dinghy ashore and had lunch at Costas. They had many nice mezedes (tasty snacks) including sea-urchin eggs in oil and lemon, fried marides (tiny fish), etc. We also needed some fuel as we were down to half a tank (50 L). I was under the impression that I had two 25 L jerry cans full in the sail locker but it turned out that I was wrong. This was inexcusable! I should not had relied on my memory but should had made an inspection before we sailed from Marmaris. At any rate, no fuel was to be had in Emborios. By the time we returned to Thetis and had a swim the wind had subsided and we decided to depart.
We left at 1545. The wind was 10-15 knots WNW, not favorable to our heading of 309 for Lakki, Leros where we wanted to stop for fuel. We motored the 8.5 M and we arrived at 1717. We did not go to the marina but anchored off. While Molly stayed with Thetis, Douglas and I took 2 empty jerry cans which we filled with 69.5 L of Diesel fuel. These, after returning to Thetis we transferred to the main tank.
By the time we had finished with these tasks and raised the anchor it was 1900. We motored to the N side of the island, the wind now being 10-20 NNW. We arrived at the wonderful anchorage of Archangelos [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] at 2100 just as the daylight begun to fail. We anchored in 4 m. We had motored all together 17.2 M from Emborios.
For dinner we ate leftover pasta. In the mean time the wind changed to a SE breeze and Thetis drifted towards the shore but we still were at 3 m depth so we did not have a problem (we draw 1.65 m). During the night I woke up several times just to make sure that we did not drift any closer to the rocky shore.
Saturday July 30, 2005 Day 6
We slept late and it was 0955 when we raised the anchor. Again the wind was from the the N at 10-16 knots and we motored, heading 300, for the 5.5 M to the nice Papandriá anchorage in Lipsi [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E]. Here we anchored in 4.5 m over sand.
After swimming we all went ashore with the dinghy. The purpose of this expedition was to find and cut some wild thyme for cooking. While it was late in the season and most thyme was dry the expedition was successful. After we returned onboard we had a light lunch, swam some more and took a nap in the cockpit.
At 1415 we departed Lipsi and motored, while running the water-maker, to Marathi [37° 22' N 26° 43.7' E] where we arrived at 1600. We caught one of Pandelis’ mooring without any difficulty. We had come 13.8 M from Archangelos.
Later we went for a nice walk on this small and very attractive island. After the walk we had a sensational meal at Pandelis. He had just brought a large tsipoura (porgy), still alive. This kyria Katina grilled to perfection.
Sunday July 31, 2005 Day 7
I got up early and while the MacMillans were still asleep I let go of the mooring. The time was 0415. The wind was 5-20 from the N, and later from the NW. We motored around the W side of Arki and then, for a while, we were finally able to sail with both sails. The sail lasted for about one hour and was very nice, at times we were doing better than 6.5 knots. Then, when we were abreast of Samiopoula, the wind died out and changed direction coming from the NNE. We motor-sailed the rest of the way to Pythagorio, Samos.
We anchored in the outer harbor at 0915, long enough for a refreshing swim and to raise the dinghy on the deck. Then at 1015 we raised the anchor and headed for the marina about 1 M north. We wanted to fill the tank and all the jerry cans with fuel before mooring but there was a large sailboat ahead of us at the fuel dock so we made few turns outside the marina to kill some time. Eventually we got 109 liters of Diesel fuel. We then entered the marina and moored stern-to after taking one of the permanent mooring lines. We had come 24.7 M from Marathi.
The marina was closer to being finished than it was last year but still had no water and no electricity connections. The road however was almost done.
This small trip was now over and Thetis, after an absence of almost 10 months and about 6000 M under her keel was now back in Samos.