This web page contains the logs of the first leg of a cruise in the Greek Aegean from the island of Samos to the island of Kea or Tzia in the Cyclades. This leg consists of 10 solo sailing days that I took with S/Y Thetis. The places we visited are: Marathocampos and Limnionas in Samos; Evdilos in the island of Ikaria; Panormos (Ayia Thalassa) in the island of Tinos; and finally Khalindhoniki, Vourkari, and Koundouros in Kea.
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.
Saturday July 12 to Monday July 28, 2014
Thetis was in the marina. During this time I siphoned Diesel fuel from a jerry can and topped the fuel tank. I then re-filled the can with 16 L of fuel for 23 €. At the same time I also re-filled the small gasoline canisters for the outboard and the genset. With Alice’s help we vacuumed and cleaned all three cabins, the shower, and washed down the deck and cockpit with the pressure hose. Finally I provisioned Thetis for her August cruise.
Tuesday July 29, 2014, Day 1
Early in the morning I drove Alice to the Samos airport and she departed for Athens and from there to Washington, D.C. via London. After that, I drove to the Samos Marina and prepared to depart for my August cruise.
For the past several days the sea has been very calm with only a light southerly breeze. It was also very hot. By 0850 all was ready and I cast off slowly motoring out of the marina. There was almost no wind, just a 4-6 knot breeze from the SW. After stowing the fenders and docking lines I put up the tent. I decided for today to motor west, along the southern coast of Samos to a cove W of Marathocambos. Then tomorrow to either go to my favorite cove of Salagonas in Chios or to Evdilos in Ikaria. I have not been in Evdilos for many years but I have been told that the they have expanded the breakwater and although the harbor faces N it is now quite safe. Either way I will eventually go to Kea (Tzia) in the northern Cyclades and visit my brother Byron.
At 1125, after 16.2 M we reached Ormos Marathocambou (now called just Ormos - Όρμος) [37° 42.5' N 26° 42' E]. We entered the harbor so that I can have a look and take some pictures. As I had been told they are building a small marina. We did not stay but proceeded further west, past Votsalakia, to Psili Ammos Marathocambou. It did look nice there but there was an oil sleek so we continued to Limnionas. There was a large hotel and it did not look very inviting. I anchored in front of very nice small beech [37° 41.9' N 26° 38.5' E] between Psili Ammos Marathocambou and Limnionas. We had come 19.7 M from the marina and the time was 1205. I anchored in 6 m depth with 35 m with 35 m scope. The bottom was sandy and very lovely and inviting.
Right away I lowered the dinghy freeing the swimming ladder for a much needed cooling swim. I then checked the anchor. It was well set under the beautiful sand. This cove is wide in a dramatic setting and it is well sheltered form the N to SW. But, because it is under Mt. Kerkis it can get strong gusts and down drafts. Today however, with almost no wind it was just very, very nice.
It was hot, 32°C (89.6°F) inside the cabin. I kept jumping into the water to cool off. I had to stow all the clean clothes, towels, etc. Αlso I had to make my bed for the night. All these activities inside the hot cabin were not pleasant.
Later I tested the outboard because I was a little apprehensive after its misadventure in Kalymnos but it started right away and worked perfectly. My brother Nikos had ordered for me new straw mats for the dinghy to replace the ones lost after its capsize. I had received them in Samos but had not tried them because the dinghy was covered and on its davits. They did fit.
I drove the dinghy ashore to investigate the large house on the small beech. It is a very nice arrangement and looks extremely comfortable with nice plantings, and it has of course its private beech. Unfortunately during the night its ambiance was completely spoiled by its high intensity lights. I really do not understand people. Here they are with a lovely piece of land in a privileged and very private location and what do they do? They spoil it with light pollution.
As the sun was setting I had an ouzo but then I was too tired to cook. So, a made an omelet and ate it with left-over yiouvarlakia - γιουβαρλάκια (soft meatballs) that I had brought from Kalami. I retired early and had a good sleep.
Wednesday July 30, 2014, Day 2
I woke up sometime after 5 AM. Fortunately the cabin was not too hot so I had slept well. There was a recorded message on my iPhone: Alice had arrived safely in Washington, D.C. but the home Internet connection was not working.
I got ready to move on. I decided to head towards Cape Drepano, the easternmost point of Ikaria, before making up my mind to proceed either W to Evdilos in Ikaria or N to Salagonas in Chios. Salagonas however is much further, close to 50 M.
I raised the anchor at 0645 and motored W. At first there was a very light western breeze but it kept freshening and by the time we rounded Ayios Dominicos, the south-westernmost point in Samos, it had reached 18 knots WNW. There was no chance of sailing on the heading of 275 to Cape Drepano. Fortunately there was hardly any traffic in this usually busy Samos-Fourni-Ikaria channel.
When we reached Cape Drepano the wind was down to 12 knots. I finally made up my mind to go to Evdilos, now a heading of 244. Still no sailing was possible. Now the sun was getting strong and after giving up all my hopes of sailing I put up the tent, despite the wind.
I was somewhat apprehensive about Evdilos. I had been told that its breakwater has been expanded but the work is still on going. The last time I had been in Evdilos was 24 years ago and its entrance was very exposed to the N and there was a bad swell in the harbor. Now I did not know what conditions I will find. I may have to lower the dinghy, anchor, and moor stern-to, or if I am lucky moor side-to which would be much easier.
Finally we arrived in Evdilos at 1130. It was hard to see the harbor entrance because there was a large excavating barge. As we approached slowly I saw a small green buoy near the barge and and keeping it to our starboard (right) entered slowly the fairly large harbor prepared for any eventuality. There were no S/Ys at the long quay but there was just one, with the British flag, anchored off E of the harbor near the cliff. This was very attractive to me and a relief. So, Thetis also anchored off [37° 37.8' N 26° 11' E], not too far from the British yacht. The depth was 7.5 m and I let out 50 m of chain. We had come 27.5 M from Samos.
After lowering the dinghy I snorkeled and checked Thetis’ anchor as well as the anchor of he British yacht. Both anchors were well set and a comfortable distance from each other. The day was again hot, 32°C (89.6°F) inside the cabin. I swam a lot. The water here, inside the harbor, is surprising clear, and it is a pleasure to swim.
At 2 PM (Washington’s 7 AM) I repeatedly tried to call Alice but I kept getting a recorded message that the telephone was temporarily out of order. I left an SMS on her iPhone. Half an hour later she called me back and we discussed the problem. Both Internet and the home telephone were offline. I told her to call the cable company that provides both services.
Later in the afternoon I went ashore with the dinghy to the little beach. I had with me a watermelon form Kalami and I was going to cut it into bite pieces and bag the rinds to be disposed later. All went well, with many bathers watching this unusual activity, until the ferryboat Nisos Myconos arrived for the 2nd time today. She created such a large wake that my container with the already cut pieces of watermelon was yanked out of my hands and swept out to the sea. I rescued as many pieces as possible, including the drifting container, but many were lost. Back on Thetis I put what was left of my watermelon in the refrigerator. I had a shower and a shave. I had been planning to cook a pork roast that I had bought in Samos but it was so hot inside the cabin and I gave up on it.
I went with the dinghy inside the quay and walked in the little town. First I rented a motor-scooter so that tomorrow I can explore part of the island. My plan was to start as early as possible and avoid the heat. Renting the scooter this evening will allow me to start early and not wait for the rental office to open. Finally I had dinner at a seaside restaurant. I ordered a dish of seafood spaghetti, Μακαρονάδα με θαλασσινά. It was OK but nothing special.
Back on board, the cabin was cooler and I went to bed rather early. It had been a long day.
Thursday July 31, 2014, Day 3
As soon as I woke up I put up the tent and prepared for my land exploration. I went ashore and rode the motor scooter that I had rented last evening.
First, following the recommendations of the lady from the rent office, I went west along the shore road. The map shows that there is the ancient site of Oenoe (Οινόη) near Kambos. Indeed a road sign indicated the site along the direction that I was going but that was all. The site was not visible nor was there any other sign.
I continued riding west to Armenistis (Αρμενιστής) which is supposed to be the low-key tourist center of the island. Continuing further west I arrived in Nas (Νάς). From there a short walk down the cliff are the ruins of the Artemis (Άρτεμις - Diana) temple. The setting of the temple is most dramatic. It is situated next to a small sandy beach and the banks of a very clear river with wreathes and frogs. On the temple foundations there were lots and lots of colorful lizards of several species.
From Nas I rode back to Armenistis and then took the road south, up the mountain to Christos Rachon (Χριστός Ραχών) and to Profitis Elias (Προφητης Ηλίας - Prophet Elijah) and then to the artificial lake of Raches (Ράχες) near the village of Pezi (Πέζι). The scenery along the road is very lovely with lots of large pine trees, sycamores, and even chestnut trees. It is all shaded and it was cool.
I rode back to Christos Rachon from where I took the road to the monastery of Panayia tou Mounte (Παναγία του Μουντέ). The 13th century monastery is small but it is beautifully situated in a forest and it overlooks the mountain. From there I followed the east going scenic dirt road shown on my map along the mountain ridge and then down and back to Evdilos. All together this expedition lasted about 4 hours and it was well worth it. I never imagined that the dry looking island of Ikaria has so many lush canyons and verdant places.
Back onboard Thetis I was very, very glad that the tent was up because it was beastly hot. I spent all afternoon alternating between reading and swimming. During this time two ladies swam near Thetis and waved. We spoke in Greek. They are sisters and while they live in Athens they were born in Ikaria and have a house here overlooking the harbor. They spend their yearly vacation here.
Despite the heat I started cooking the pot roast. Yesterday I had trouble calling Alice in D.C. but today I got an e-mail saying that the cable technician was due this morning to repair both the telephone and the internet connection. She will be expecting me on Skype at 11 EDT, my 6 PM. At that time I turned on Skype on my iPad and we did speak.
In the evening I went ashore, got rid of the trash, and returned the scooter. I also bought 6 bottles of spring water and some fruits. Back on the boat I removed the tent, and raised the dinghy on the davits because I was planning to leave early in the morning for the island of Tinos in the Cyclades. I then fried some potatoes to go along with the roast. The roast and potatoes were delicious along with the remaining Kalami wine in the already opened bottle. By the time I finished my dinner the cabin temperature was down to 24°C (75.2°F) and I slept very well.
Friday August 1, 2014, Day 4
We departed from Evdilos at 0705. The sea was calm with a light SE breeze, less then 4 knots. We motored, running the water-maker, with a heading for Ayia Thalassa in northern Tinos of 269. I put up the tent. Later there was some swell and the water tanks were re-filled.
At 0850 the breeze stiffened to about 8 knots ESE and I opened 40% of the headsail and motor-sailed. At 1105 the wind increased and changed direction, now coming from the NE at 10-12 knots. I opened some more of the headsail and adjusted it. Even with low RPM we were doing better then 7 knots over water but there was a 0.5 knot opposing current and we did not move as fast as it looked.
Yesterday I had received an SMS from my cruising friend Turgut. He, Arzu, and some friends were with their S/Y New Life III in Paros and were planing to sail today to Patmos. But, when we were less then 3 M from our destination, Ayia Thalassa in Tinos, Turgut called me on the mobile phone. They were now not in Patmos but in the harbor of Tinos! They planned to rent a car and come to Panormos, the small harbor and hamlet near Ayia Thalassa and see me.
At 1600, after 62.5 M over water but only 53.4 as measured from the chart we arrived in Ayia Thalassa (Αγία Θάλασσα) in the Panormos bay. There was here another S/Y, a catamaran. I attempted to anchor some distance from her but a gentleman on her started screaming at me that I was over her anchor. There was no way that it was so since she was more then 100 m away and her bow was pointing at least 40° from the proposed anchor drop off Thetis. At any rate, there was a lot of room and I did not want to get into an argument so I moved Thetis closer to the little island and further away from the catamaran. I anchored [37° 39.5' 25° 3.6' E] on a patch of sand in 9 m depth and let out 50 m scope.
After anchoring I was in great need of a cup of coffee. After I drunk my coffee I lowered the dinghy and was about to snorkel and check the anchor when Turgut called. They were here on the beach just E of Panormos. I quickly shaved and went to Panormos (Πάνορμος) with the dinghy where Turgut and Arzu were waitng for me. After we hugged and kissed we drove to the beach where their friends, another Turkish couple, were waiting. Turgut had spoken to me about them. They own a small “boutique” winery near Urla between Izmir and Çesme. After spending some time talking and exchanging family news the Aykers drove me back to Panormos and I returned to Thetis.
As soon as I was on board I snorkeled to check the anchor. I could not find it. The chain from the boat went down and then disappeared into the weed. I looked and looked but to no avail. I had dropped the anchor over a patch of sand but none of the patches showed any signs of the anchor. I was not pleased with this and felt somewhat insecure. Nevertheless I later had the traditional ouzo and made supper from the left over roast which I served with pasta. I had a problem with my mobile Cosmote connection. I could receive no webs and the e-mail came and went at snail pace. I went to bed early.
Saturday August 2, 2014, Day 5
The wind increased around 4 AM and I woke up being nervous about the anchor. While the anchor did hold I could not make myself go back to sleep.
Later the catamaran left from the cove and I relocated Thetis and anchored in 4.5 m depth with 35 m chain scope. She settled in 6.5 m. This time I attached the small buoy thus marking the location of the anchor. I snorkeled and unlike yesterday I had no trouble finding the anchor. It was nicely buried in the sand.
I transferred 2 jerry cans of Diesel fuel to the main tank.
I still had problems with the Cosmote 3G network. Both the iPad and the iPhone had trouble connecting to the Internet but there was no problem making phone calls. I put up the tent but most of the morning was cloudy. I called my brother Byron in Kea and asked him to look up the weather forecast between Tinos and Kea from tonight through Monday morning. He did so and called me back. Some wind for tomorrow was predicted and sailing could be possible but there will be no wind on Monday. I was not sure what I was going to do.
There was a 6 to 15 knot NNE breeze in the afternoon and thank goodness it was not hot. I read a lot. I finished the Bolitho book Cross of St George and started Maroudis’ Φως εξ Ανατολών (in Greek, Light from the East) the third volume of a Greek and a Turkish family saga from the late 19th to the middle 20th century. It covers both the Greek and the Turkish history of the period. It is a long book.
In the late afternoon, after a good nap, I went with the dinghy to the Panormos hamlet. The 3G connection there was better and I did get a forecast, this was in addition to what Byron had relayed to me on the phone.
For dinner I had an omelet and then retired early.
Saturday August 3, 2014, Day 6
I got up and prepared to depart from Tinos. My plan was to go to Khalindhoniki, an anchorage S of Cape Spathi in the NE of the island of Kea or Tzia (Κέα or Τζιά). Spend the night there and then tomorrow go to Koundouros and visit my brother Byron.
I raised the anchor and and departed at 0705. While raising the anchor I noticed a small crack on the windlass’ pedestal. This I will have to attend when I go to Partheni later in the month. The wind was 12-18 knots from the N. We motored north, running the water-maker, rounding Tinos.
At 0745, after rounding the island, the wind was on our beam. I raised the mainsail and opened 60% of the headsail. Then, I turned off the engine. Bliss! This was our first real sail of the 2014 season. We were doing close to 7 knots under sail.
As we were getting close to Cape Spathi Byron called and urged me to go to Koundouros today because he was giving a large dinner party. I agreed to do so but first I was going to stop in Khalindhoniki swim and rest, then after my afternoon coffee, I will proceed to Koundouros.
We arrived at Khalindhoniki (Χαλιδρονίκη) [37° 39.7' N 24° 24.1' E] at 1310. It was a disappointment. Gone was the lovely isolated anchorage. Now there was a road and the beach was full of umbrellas and beach chairs while the cove was full of motor cruisers. So, we did not stay and instead rounded the island heading for Vourkari. After we lost the wind I turned on the motor and put up the tent. We arrived in Vourkari (Βουρκάρι) [37° 40.1' N 24° 19.3' E] at 1500. I anchored for a brief stay.
I had a refreshing swim, a bite to eat, and a much needed cup of coffee. At 1630 we left Vourkari and motored S to Koundouros (Κούνδουρος) [37° 34.8' N 24° 16.6' E] where we arrived at 1745. We had come 56.1 M from Ayia Thalassa. Byron came and helped me anchor and take a stern line to a rock ashore. There were lots and lots of boats here both S/Y and motor cruisers. I hoped when the weekend is over by tomorrow morning most of them will leave.
After securing Thetis Byron drove me up to his house in Katevati (Κατεβατή) where I was greeted by his wife Ivi and her mother Areti. The party started around 9. There were many old friends. Two of the guests had brought guitars so the party was very jolly. The only sad note was that Areti was slowly failing.
When I returned to Thetis it was past 2 AM. Although I was very sleepy I had trouble doing so because some mosquitoes had managed to get into my cabin.
Monday August 4, 2014, Day 7
Because of the mosquitoes I was not able to sleep as late as I wanted and I got up at 6:30. After my morning coffee I covered the mainsail and put up the tent. It was quiet and I spent the morning mostly reading while waiting for the denizens of Katevati to wake up and start their day.
I had just about finished my lunch when Byron appeared on the little dock. I went with the dinghy and ferried him to Thetis. We sat for a while under the tent talking. Then Thanasis Yianoukos (an old friend and Byron’s neighbor here), his daughter Emily, and her significant other Alexandros came with their dinghy. Alexandros was very keen and wanted to see everything on board because he has had a long standing dream to have a sailboat of his own and go cruising. He and Emily were film directors and made documentaries and some advertising clips in Paris. Soon after their arrival Ivi came to the dock. While Thanasis and the rest went to his boat, Byron and I picked up Ivi and went to Byron’s large inflatable Ive III.
We went with Ive III round the southern end of Kea and ended in a lovely cove on the SE of the island. The cove was lovely alright with crystal clear water and a sandy beech. The only flaw was that the sandy beach was littered with the rusty remains of a long defunct fish-farm.
After we returned to Koundouros Ivi and Byron left for their house in Katevati with her car and Byron left for me his motor scooter to join them later. Tonight there will be another party in Katevati. This time the party will be in Thanasis’ and Pascal’s house celebrating, although after a few days, Thanasis’ birthday. Later I rode the scooter up the very steep dirt road to Katevati and joined the party. The whole crowd from last night was already there. Again there was a lot of food, drinks, and conversation. The final coup was the serving of a very fresh γαλακτομπούρεκο (galactoboureko - a custard in philo dough covered with syrup) made by Thanasis himself earlier this afternoon. There was also an excellent cream-caramel (flan), also very fresh made by another friend, Popi.
I left before the party was over and drove the motor-scooter down the steep and perilous dirt road. When I finally boarded Thetis it was just past 1 AM. The night was hot. So I slept for a while in the cockpit while fumigating my cabin with a mosquito repellent.
Tuesday August 5, 2014, Day 8
Today is my youngest daughter’s, Corinna, birthday. I sent her a congratulatory e-mail. Then I washed down the cockpit that had accumulated lots of bread crumbs. We had arranged with Byron to pick me up and drive to Korissia, the main harbor, and get provisions and fuel. In preparation for this I removed the 2 empty jerry cans from the sail locker and put them into the dinghy. I had just about finished doing this when Byron came. I went ashore and we loaded the cans in his car.
We drove to Korissia, some 40 minutes away. I got some money from an ATM and then bought 4 λόζες (lozes - air dried pork meat encased like a sausage). This is a particular Kea specialty and they cost me 20€ each. Then I refilled the jerry cans with 44 L of Diesel fuel for 61€. After that we went to a supermarket and bought provisions for both my boat and Byron's house. By the time we returned it was almost 1 PM.
I spent the afternoon snoozing, swimming, and reading. I had to rig another stern line to the shore because the small cruiser next to Thetis kept drifting uncomfortably close.
In the evening I drove Byron’s scooter up to Katevati. Byron was not feeling very well. Nevertheless we did manage to call Corinna on Skype and wished her a happy birthday. After watching a gorgeous sunset we got ready for the next social event: a gathering of the members of the Friends of Kea of which Byron was the president. The gathering was held at the Margarita restaurant near Pises. I drove the scooter down while Byron and Ivi followed with the car. After parking the scooter over the small dock I got into their car and we drove to the restaurant. Once again it was a lively affair. Many of the members were also in the two parties at Katevati, yesterday and the night before. It is a talented group. Three of the members had guitars and a fourth a bouzouki. There was a lot of singing of old rebetika. Unfortunately Byron felt worse and worse and not wanting to spoil the party called for a taxi to take him home. Ivi and I stayed representing the president’s family.
It was well past 2 AM when I got back to Thetis. Too much partying! Fortunately there were no mosquitoes and I slept well.
Wednesday August 6, 2014, Day 9
I had a very quiet and restful night. Around 9 AM Byron called. He was feeling better and wanted my help with two technical projects. I drove the scooter up to his house. The projects were: replace the resistance of his electrical water heater, and assemble and try his latest toy from Amazon a drone helicopter that carries a camera. We quickly repaired the water heater but the drone’s instructions were in an almost incomprehensible English translation from Chinese. We assembled it alright and got stuck during its GPS calibration. We came to the conclusion that it needed a software download but this could not be done from a Mac computer. It needed a PC running an earlier version of Windows. By that time Byron was again not feeling very well.
I returned to Thetis and had lunch. Then I sat for a while with Thanasis and Pascal in their small cruiser Aliki. The weather was strange. There was no wind but it was cloudy and somewhat oppressive. I spoke on the iPhone with my friends Sue and Yankos Krinos in Syros. The were expecting me but I did not yet know when I will get there, probably early next week.
In the late afternoon Byron called. While he was still under the weather he wanted to go to a fiesta in Pises where his Friends of Kea organization was having an information booth. He and Ivi came with their car and picked me up and we drove to Pises. The fiesta was a modest affair, as these things go. In the mean time there was a strong breeze and the information pamphlets kept flying away. I bought two books Η ωραία Ελένη της Τζιάς (The beautiful Hellen of Tzia, in Greek) and Ο ξωτάρης της Τζιάς, (The peasant of Tzia, in Greek) on local lore from their lady author, Maria Mouzaki-Hionatou, who was manning the booth next to Byron’s. After about an hour Byron said that he felt bad again and so we left. They dropped me off in Koundouros.
I went back to Thetis and had a light snuck and then went to bed early for a change, around 11. Byron and Ivi had asked me very nicely not to depart tomorrow as I was planning but to stay one more day in Kea to go with them to one more party. This one will be given by Soteris, one of the guitar players and a member of the “Friends of Kea” and his wife Maria, a pathologist.
Thursday August 7, 2014, Day 10
I slept non-stop until 7:30. I guess I really needed my sleep. Too much partying! I spent a quiet morning reading. I started reading Η ωραία Ελένη της Τζιάς (The beautiful Hellen of Tzia, in Greek). As I was getting ready to have a light lunch Byron called. He and Ivi will come down in a while and spent some time with me in Thetis and swim.
After a while Byron and Ivi came and we had a nice Skype call with Alice back in Washington, D.C. Later Thanasis and Pascal came and we all moved to their small cruiser Aliki that was moored not too far. We had a very pleasant afternoon with this convivial company. Tonight there is another party. This one will be given by Soteris, an architect and one of the the guitar players, and his wife Maria, a pathologist.
Byron and Ivi left and later I rode the motor-scooter up to their house in Katevati. Some time after 9 PM Byron, Ivi, and I drove with their car to Sotiris’ house near Pisses. The usual crowd was there augmented by Spelios’ and Haroula’s son Vasilis and his new and beautiful bride. There were also Emily (Thanasis’ daughter) and Alexander. Also a new face Emily’s friend Adriani. It was, as usual, very jolly with lots of wine and good food. Sotiris’ spacious house is on a cliff overlooking a small isolated cove. The moon over the cove was gorgeous. After the food there was, of course, the music: new and old songs. Once again it was past 2 AM by the time I returned to my boat.
Although everyone had been urging me to stay another day and go to the next party I had decided that I have had too much of a good time and will depart from Kea in the morning full of good memories of new and old friends.