This web page contains the logs of a sailing trip that I and my wife Alice took with S/Y Thetis to the Cyclades in Greece. The logs cover a period of 12 days of sailing from the island of Kythnos (Kolona) back to Samos (Samos Marina) via the islands of Kea or Tzia (Koundouros), Syros (Grammata, Finikas), Rhinia, Dhonousa, Levitha, Lipsi (Papandria), Marathi, and Arki (Glipapas).
The logs are illustrated with maps and photographs. They also include some historical and geographical descriptions of the places visited as well as several links to other related web sites.
Thursday June 3, 2010, Day 17
We raised the anchor and left Kythnos for Koundouros, Kea at 0810. The wind was only 5-10 knots ESE but there was a large swell. As we were approaching Koundouros we called my brother Byron, who has a house there, and he directed us not to anchor but use a mooring belonging to a friend of his. This was good because Koundouros is exposed to the south and the mooring area is the only spot where there is some partial protection.
Soon after we moored Byron came and while Alice worked on the next issue of the Torch I went with him on his large inflatable Ivi III to Korisia where we did some shopping and also got 40 L of Diesel fuel.
On the way back we stopped in the Burdigala dive site and spoke with the divers on the Benitos (the dive caïque). They were attempting to expose the ship’s bell at 70 m depth but it was heavily encrusted and the task was very slow and laborious since the time spent at that depth, despite the special air mixtures, is very limited.
I started a new book by Ευάγγελος Μαυρουδής (Evangelos Mavroudis) Επιστοφή στη Σμύρνη: Η θάλασσά μας (In Greek) - Return to Smyrna: Our Sea but I also continued reading Classic French Literature in English: 31 books by Jules Verne: Celebrated Travels by Jules Verne, a short history of geographic explorations from the antiquity to his time in the late 19 century on the Kindle.
In the evening Alice and I started walking the 2 km towards Katevati, the steep hill where Byron's house is located, until Byron picked us up. At Katevati Ivi, our sister-in-law, had prepared lots of mezedes but the main feature for the evening was a fish soup from lots of freshly caught fish. We were joined by Mirka, our other sister-in-law, and Evi Galazidou, a childhood friend, who had just arrived from Athens. The fishsoup (psarosoupa - ψαρόσουπα) was served and was indeed terrific.
What with the food and the conversation it was past 1 AM by the time Byron drove us back to Koundouros. Our dinghy was dancing on the waves and was completely soaked by the humidity.
This was a long but satisfying day.
Friday June 4, 2010, Day 18
We slept late. Alice stayed in Thetis and worked a good part of the morning.
By the time Byron and I returned to Koundouros the wind had increased, still from the S, and there were some good waves. We moved Thetis to another, more protected mooring, belonging to Thanasis Yiannoukos’ Aliki. Here she was better sheltered from the relentless swell.
In the afternoon I ran the genset for one hour. Still later Alice and I took a long walk and then we took showers. While doing so a small cruiser arrived with our friends Spelios Philipou, Thanasis Yannoukos, and their wives Haroula and Paschal. Byron also came with his car and drove us to Katevati where we watched a video taped lecture by their philosopher guru Stelios Ramfos giving a historical perspective of the present Greek economic crisis.
Later we all went to the near-by St. George restaurant, we were all together 19 people. It was a very convivial evening and a prelude to tomorrow’s birthday party celebrating Byron’s 60th birthday.
We went back to our rolling Thetis at about 1 AM again.
Saturday June 5, 2010, Day 19
I was woken up at 6 AM by rain. The rain continued all day. Around 12:30 Byron called. He was beside himself because of the rain threatening his evening outdoor birthday party. Will it stop on time? What is he going to do with his 50 guests?
He came and drove Alice and me to his house in Katevati where there were a number of people. We all had a light lunch and watched the rain. Finally, after a heated debate Byron and Ivi decided to postpone the party for 1 PM tomorrow. Byron started calling the rest of his guests. Unfortunately a fair number of them could not make it tomorrow because they already had reservations with an early fairy.
At 6 PM Alice and I went back to Thetis. The plan was to all go out to dinner at Kato Meria, a mountain village. Our friends George Galazides and his wife Sirini picked us up and drove us there. At least half of the postpone party’s guests were there. We all had a nice dinner, indoors.
By 10 PM, to Byron’s intense disappointment the rain had stopped so, the party did not, conceivably, had to be postponed.
We got back on Thetis “early,” just a few minutes before midnight.
Sunday June 6, 2010, Day 20
About 12:30 we went ashore to the Koundouros restaurant, just a few minute walk from our dinghy’s landing spot, where the party was held. Although we were early there were already lots of other guests. Plenty of mezedes (Hors d’œuvre) and wine. We sat down and then the food started coming: salad with avocado and Parmezan, grilled mushrooms over grilled eggplant, fried kalamari (squid) with aeoli, mixed grill meats with sauce Bernese, etc. Finally, home made halvah (χαλβάς), chocolate soufflé, and the birthday cake. This one was brought, with great risk, by Ivi’s friend Regina from Athens (she almost broke her leg carrying it in the ferry-boat).
It was a great 6 hour party after all! Before leaving we said our goodbyes to Byron and all the friends since we plan to sail early tomorrow morning for Syros. We did not get back on Thetis until 7 PM. We were exhausted.
Monday June 7, 2010, Day 21
We departed Koundouros at 0730. The wind was 10-20 knots NNW. As soon as we rounded Cape Tamelos, the southernmost point in Kea, we raised the mainsail, opened the genoa and turned off the engine. This was the first real sail for this year. Thetis was doing better than 6 knots. It was great but the wind was very irregular in both speed and direction. The autopilot had a great difficulty keeping our course and eventually I had to hand steer for a while. Neverthless it was a great reach (πλαγιοδρομεία) on our course of 090 to Grammata, Syros.
We arrived in Grammata [37° 29.9' N 24° 53.6' E] after 30.3 M at 1315. There was no other boat in the cove. First we anchored in 4.5 m depth with 30 m of chain, just right for the northerly wind. But after a while there were also gusts anywhere from the S to W and Thetis drifted uncomfortably close to the rocks. So we re-anchored in 7.5 m depth with 40 m of chain.
We had lunch after which we both fell asleep. Later Alice made a tomato sauce with some fresh tomatoes that were going bad. We then went ashore for a walk and also to cut some thyme which was in bloom.
On our return aboard we had the obligatory ouzo and then I made dinner with spaghetti and the freshly made tomato sauce to which I added some mushrooms from a can.
This was a quiet, calm night.
Tuesday June 8, 2010, Day 22
After coffee we raised the anchor and departed from Grammata at 0825. The sea was very calm with just a 0-5 knot NW breeze. We motored the 7.3 M to Finikas [37° 23.7' N 24° 52.3' E] running the water-maker which refilled the water tanks.
We arrived at 1050 and anchored almost at the same place we were 2 weeks ago in 5.5 m depth with 35 m scope.
In the evening we did some shopping in the near-by stores and then called a taxi which took us to the house of our friends Yangos and Sue Krinos in Piscopio where we were invited for dinner. We all had a convivial time. After dinner Sue drove us back to Finikas. By the time we were on Thetis it was almost 11, still much earlier than the Athenian hours of Tzia.
Wednesday June 9, 2010, Day 23
The forecasts called for NW winds of force 4-5 on the Beaufort Scale so we uncovered the mainsail, and raised the anchor. While raising the anchor I noticed that the starboard (right) navigational green light was missing. Later after we reached Rhinia I replaced it with a spare (I try to always have 2 spares for each of the navigational lights). Two years ago I had replaced all the navigational light bulbs with rather expensive LEDs that consume a fraction of the power of the old incandescent and have a much longer lifetime. Unfortunately however I did not have an LED replacement so now the starboard light has a conventional incandescent bulb.
While still within the bay of Finikas we raised the mainsail and then departed at 0905. We motored until Cape Velostasi after which we opened about 40% of the headsail and sailed for 19.7 M all the way to the South Cove of Rhinia [37° 23' N 25° 14.3' E]. The time was 1230.
We anchored in 6 m depth with 40 m chain. It was very nice there. In the cove was a S/Y with an Irish flag, a fishing boat, and later came two charter S/Ys and two motor cruisers. These last two were fortunately some distance from Thetis.
The evening was pleasant and we saluted the sun going down with ouzo. For mezze (snack) to go along with the ouzo we had louza (an air dried meat) from Tzia and kopanisti (a spicy crumbly cheese) from Tinos. The only problem here was that the 3G signal was very weak and we had difficulty in receiving the forecasts. These, when we finally got them called for tomorrow for force 5 NW winds.
Thursday June 10, 2010, Day 24
We departed Rhinia at 0745. We raised the mainsail and set it to its first reef, we then opened 30-45% of the headsail. We had a nice fast 31 M sail to Kedros, Dhonousa [37° 05.8' N 25° 48.2' E] where we arrived at 1330. The sea was fairly rough and the wind was anywhere from 15 to 40 knots.
Kedros or Dendro was very gusty. We anchored at 6.5 m depth and let out 45 m of chain. But when I snorkeled to check the anchor I saw that it had dragged about 5 m but now it seemed OK. Nevertheless, because of the high gusts, we set the 2nd anchor as well with 20 m chain and a 60 m line. Both anchors now share the load and are holding Thetis in 10.5 m depth.
There is a good 3G signal here which is vital for Alice because she needs to upload the edited Torch articles and photographs from Thetis.
In the evening we went ashore and walked to the village, about 40 minutes away, where we had an ouzo.
Back onboard Thetis we made spaghetti with olive oil and garlic and plenty of Parmezan. There was a lot of swell in the otherwise calm cove.
Friday June 11, 2010, Day 25
The day started slowly for two reasons:
- The forecasts called for force 6 wind but lessening by the afternoon to 5 and even 4 near Levitha, our destination.
- Alice had all her edited articles and photographs ready to be uploaded to the IWMF office. Here we had a good 3G signal but since there is no signal at all at Levitha, the upload had to be done before our departure.
After Alice finished with her editorial work we were ready to leave but before that we had to raise the 2nd anchor. We did this with the windlass. Then, the anchor, its chain, and the line had to be stowed before raising the primary anchor.
By the time we departed it was 1150. The wind, as predicted, was 15-35 knots from the NNW. We raised the mainsail and opened about 50% of the headsail. We had a nice fairly fast sail especially after we opened all of the headsail. The seas however were large and the boat rocked a fair amount which made it hard to maintain a proper trim of the sails.
Around 1500 the wind, as forecasted, diminished to 10-15 knots N but the seas were if anything even larger. We had to roll-in the headsail and start the engine. By the time we reached Kinaros the sail was totally ineffective and flapping. We went south of the Mavra rocks and lowered the mainsail. When we reached the sheltered south side of Levitha taking advantage of the calms we ran the water-maker and replenished our fresh water supply.
Later we had an ouzo and went ashore to the Kamposos hamlet. The family greeted us with pleasure. We discussed our hearts problems with Mr. Kamposos who also had a heart attack and stents 2 years ago. I reminded him that I too had these 13 years ago and that I am still around and sailing. We had some wonderfully fresh and delicious grilled skari (σκάροι - Mediterranean parrotfish).
By 10:30 we were back on Thetis and in our berths.
Saturday June 12, 2010, Day 26
We departed Levitha at 0845. The sea was very calm and the wind just a light breeze of 5-10 knots from the N. We covered the mainsail and put up the tent as there was no chance of any sailing with even this low wind right on our nose at our course of 035. We motored all the way to Papandria, Lipsi [37° 16.8' N 26° 46.2' E], 23 M away where we arrived at 1255.
We anchored in 6 m with 40 m scope. Here the water is very clean and has a beautiful color. We did a lot of swimming. However, unlike other times the 3G signal was not reliable and and we had difficulty transferring data.
In the evening we went ashore with the dinghy and walked to the town (about 40 minutes). On the way we saw an ox tethered to a tractor! At the town we sat at the “Blue Tent” café and had their absolutely delicious grilled octopus. By the time we started on our way back to our cove it was pitch dark. Somehow we managed to take the wrong turn and after climbing for a while a rather steep hill we realized that we were nowhere near where we were expecting to be. Eventually we back tracked and found our way. By 11 PM we were back onboard Thetis.
It was a quiet pleasant night.
Sunday June 13, 2010, Day 27
It was a lazy morning. We tried to connect to the internet but managed to get only e-mail not a forecast. We planed to go later in the day to Marathi and tomorrow to Agathonisi and then on Tuesday to return to Samos. I called the marina there and advised then of this. I also called Aramis and reserved a car.
We swam and then I transferred 2 jerry cans of Diesel fuel to the main tank. We then had lunch.
Finally we left at 1415 and after motoring for 8 M, since there was no wind. We arrived in Marathi [37° 22.1' N 26° 43.6' E] at 1530. It was a mistake to arrive so late without first calling Pandelis and ask him to reserve a mooring for us. Now all the mooring were taken save the one used by Pandelis for his caïque. We caught it but it was in uncomfortably shallow water, less than 3 m. It was alright for Thetis as long as the breeze was from the north but if the breeze were to shift from the south we would be in less than 2 m depth.
In addition to Thetis there were here 12 S/Ys, 4 large motor cruisers, and several inflatables and small motor cruisers.
Later one S/Y left from one of Marathi’s moorings but an Italian S/Y, that was anchored moved to it. Since the holding here is bad and and we were not drifting to the shallows I let them have it. Also Pandelis had told me that one of the small motor cruisers was planning to leave soon. So, we were watching her. After a while people moved from the restaurant to the cruiser but took their time. Eventually they cast off and so did we. We headed for the vacated mooring but as we were only a few meter away and ready to hook it the British S/Y Fiskardon made a beeline for the mooring. I did not want to risk a collision so I gave way. They too had vacated another, further out less desirable mooring belonging to Marathi. So, we went to that one which was preferable to being in the shallow water. A few minutes later Fiskardon’s dinghy came over and her master very politely apologized to us for the incident. It was a misunderstanding. The apologies were graciously accepted. These things do happen.
In the evening we went ashore to Pandelis. After a very warm greeting by Pandelis, Katina, Toola, and Manolis we were shown a very fresh sinagrida (σιναγρίδα - red snapper). We could not resist and ordered it. While waiting for the fish we started with the mezedes (appetizers), τυροπιτάκια (tiropitakia - small cheese pies) and Katina's special salad with soft goat cheese and caper leaves. Fiskardon’s master, Steward Montadon, came over and after introducing himself once again offered his apologies. He is actually a very nice British gentleman and he has been sailing in the Mediterranean for 13 years. We also met his Israeli friend with the S/Y Mistral. Eventually the perfectly grilled fish did come. It was sensational and only its bones were not eaten.
Back on Thetis we had a nice quiet night.
Monday June 14, 2010, Day 28
We both slept until almost 8 o’clock. Later in the morning while Alice was working on the MacBook (good 3G signal here) I went ashore and paid for last night’s meal 85 €, stiff but the fish was large and exceptional, and said goodbye to my friends. We will be back soon.
After I returned back on Thetis, Steward rowed over. The Fiskardons was ready to leave for Patmos and he asked if I had any suggestions for anchorages there etc. I showed him on Hikell several coves and described the harbor Skala for him. I also gave him my e-mail address and the Cruisers Wiki.
As usual it is very nice here and calm. We had lunch and a rest.
In the evening we went ashore and took a long walk. At the landing we met Mr. Isidoros the proprietor of the To Steno taverna. He and a workman were clearing the little beach. I took the opportunity to ask him about a mysterious plastic object containing a liquid that we have been finding in a large numbers in several beaches. He explained that it is a discarded lure used by fishermen. They snap a section off and the lure gives a chemical light for a few hours which attracts the fish. Then, they just chuck it off and it pollutes the sea and the beaches.
We then returned to Thetis where we had an ouzo and then dinner: tagliatelli ala puttanesca.
Tuesday June 15, 2010, Day 29
First thing in the morning we raised the dinghy and lashed it on the deck. This was because we were planning to leave Thetis in the marina in Samos for several weeks.
Then, at 0830 we pulled up the anchor and departed. Although the wind was just an 8-14 knot N breeze we raised the mainsail and motor-sailed to Samos. When we were near Pythagorio we lowered the sail and put up the tent.
We did not go to the marina but anchored for the day in front of the beach Mycale [37° 42.3' N 26° 58.8' E] extending from near the marina to Aliki (Αλυκή). The time was 1240 and we had come about 25 M. We anchored in 4.5 m depth and let out 35 m of chain.
The day was hot and we made frequent jumps in the blissfuly cool and clear water.
In the late afternoon I covered the dinghy and the mainsail, removed the bimini, and the spray hood. We were now ready to face the marina. After more jumps into the water I rigged the docking lines and hanged the fenders. Finally at 1900 we raised the anchor and headed to the marina. I hailed them on the VHF channel 9 and advised them of our imminent arrival. They were expecting us.
At the entrance of the marina the attendant Michalis met us and directed us to berth C19. By 1915 we were docked. We had come 26.25 M from Arki.