This web page contains the logs of a 14 day solo sailing trip that I took with S/Y Thetis in the East Aegean. I sailed from Samos Marina to Mycale, Archangelos near Leros, Partheni in Leros, Archangelos again, Livadi to Geranou or Pothetou, Lampsi both in Patmos, Tiganakia, Marathi, Tsopela, Mycale, Klima, Mikri Lakka, and finally back to Samos Marina.
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.
Sunday July 26 to Sunday August 9, 2020
During this time Thetis stayed in the marina.
Monday August 10, 2020, Day 1
Last night, Sunday, I had an accident in our house in Kalami. While getting ready to have my dinner a very large and violent thunderstorm with very heavy downpour and lots of thunders struck the area.
My plan was to cruise for 2 weeks starting on Monday (today). To that end and with Yiorgos’ help we transferred all the perishable provisions to the boat. But this plan was almost torpedoed by the storm. After my dinner I went upstairs to the bedroom of the old house and on my way back down, fortunately holding the the outdoor staircase railing I slipped on the very wet and very glossy staircase. I fell for about 4 steps and banged my right side. Fortunately neither my head nor any bones were brocken but I was very badly bruised.
After I woke up this morning I contemplated whether I should carry on with my cruising plan or cancel it. Eventually I decided to give my plan a try. So, I took 3 small bags of stuff up the path to the road and I drove the rented car to the marina. While putting the bags on the boat a Frenchman from a nearby boat came and gave me a hand.
I had already decided not to sail all the way to Archangelos so that I could go tomorrow to Moor & Dock for repairs on the leaking windows. Instead I departed from the marina and anchored in the nearby Mycale to collect myself and take it easy. I had already paid for the rental car and agreed with Aramis to just leave its keys under the carpet. I took some time to get everything ready for departure because I was hurting and had to move rather slowly.
At 1038 I cast off leaving the heavy mooring lines with the springs ashore. I slowly motored the 1.5 M to Mycale [37° 42.2' N 26° 58.8' E] arriving at 1100. I anchored in 5.5 m depth and let out about 25 m of scope.
I then, slowly, managed to lower the dinghy and uncover it. This allowed me to snorkel and check the anchor. It was nicely set. Back in Thetis I had trouble getting up from a sitting position and go up from the cockpit to the companion way. Each time my back complained. I put 3 cushions on the cockpit floor to make the step up to the companion-way less steep. That helped.
In the evening however I did had my ouzo and for dinner I ate the leftovers from a nice dish of goat meat with potatoes and rice that Mrs. Kiki, Yiorgos’ wife, had sent me last night.
Surprising I had no trouble sleeping in my starboard cabin.
Tuesday August 11, 2020, Day 2
I woke up just before 5 AM. While drinking my coffee, I read the forecasts, news, and emails on my iPad (both the iPad and the iPhone receive the internet via their cellular, Cosmote, connection). After that, I raised the dinghy and then the anchor. The time was 0805.
We headed straight for Archangelos, 32 M mostly South. There was a lot of irregular swell. The wind was was about 15 knots form the N (apparent 10 knots) on our 192 heading. I even tried for a while to open the headsail but the wind was directly behind us and with the irregular swell it was almost impossible to keep it in trim. So eventually I gave up and rolled back the sail. Since we were motoring I turned on the water-maker. It worked. After priming it for the required 20 minutes I switched it to output and it started producing clear water. I filled 5 bottles and let the rest go into the water tanks, which by our arrival time were filled.
We arrived in the Archangelos anchorage [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] at 1300. There were 6 other S/Ys there, mostly chartered. I anchored in 5 m depth and let out 25 m of chain. After lowering the dinghy I snorkeled and verified that the anchor was well set. My right side was bothering me and I still had trouble getting in and out from the cockpit to the main cabin.
In the evening I took a nice hot shower and then I had my sunset ouzo. After that I went with the dinghy, without any problem this time, to the Stigma dock. I walked up to the taverna. In addition to Yiorgos, Evrope, Tassos their son, there was Demetra their daughter and another young man serving the tables which were not empty. I had a nice plate of yemista-γεμιστά (peppers and tomatoes stuffed with rice and spices). These were accompanied by a ½ litter of white wine.
After this nice meal I had no trouble returning to Thetis this time.
Wednesday August 12, 2020, Day 3
I slept fairly well and got up around 6 AM. After a slow start, just to make sure that Moor & Dock will be open, I raised the anchor at 0832 and motored slowly, towing the dinghy to Partheni. As we were approaching I saw the travel-lift with a S/Y approaching slowly the “pool”. I called the office and asked them to tell the travel-lift operators to help me moor Thetis side-to on the outside of the “pool”. I quickly prepared docking lines and fenders and shortened the dinghy towing line. In the mean time the travel-lift had arrived and before lowering the S/Y the operators came and helped me dock [37° 11.3' 26° 48' E]. The time was 0900 and we had come 1.6 M.
In addition to the leaking windows there were a few small tasks for the carpenter:
- to restore some latches that had come loose,
- to restore a cabinet trim in the bathroom, and finally
- to replace a bolt on the dinghy arm that had sheared.
I walked to the office looking for either Antonis or Mastro Michalis. After discussing the window problem with Antonis and Pavlos, the fiberglass man, it was decided not to remove the windows but reseal them. Removing and reinstalling them will take at least 3 days and if the re-sealing was done carefully they should hold until the Thetis is on the dry in the winter. The task now was to remove from the outside the outside-seals and then re-seal them with the Sicaflex adhesive/cocking. Pavlos came to the boat right away and started working. Antonis promised to send the carpenter as soon as possible. Pavlos re-sealed all 6 windows.
In the mean time the “new” carpenter Antonis with Michalis, Irene’s husband, came and fixed all 2 of the items. Then Michalis removed the right dinghy stand and they took it to the shop to replace the sheared bolt.
I took my MacBook to the office and checked the email. Also Irene #2 printed my application for a DC absentee ballot and promised to mail it for them by tomorrow.
Back on the boat I had a quick lunch and shortly Antonis and Michalis finally came and re-installed the repaired dinghy stand. I should had asked them to help me un-moor the boat but I did not. I wanted to return to Archangelos now that all the work had finished. But the strong wind made it particularly difficult. I had to ask the people from a nearby fishing boat to give me a hand. This done and Thetis was free from the land by 1455.
We motored slowly again, towing the dinghy arriving in Archangelos at 1540 after 1.57 M. The wind now was 13-18 knots from the NNE. I anchored this time [37° 11.9' N 26° 46.3' E] in 6 m depth with 35 m scope. I checked the anchor and all was fine.
I had been reading 2 books Mary L. Trump's Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man and Brad Parks Interference. In the evening I had the obligatory ouzo and then I went ashore back to the Stigma. This time the taverna was crowded. They served me a κότσι-kotsi (lambf’s lower leg) along with a salad and fried potatoes. It was delicious.
After I returned to the boat I went to bed.
Thursday August 13, 2020, Day 4
During the night the wind changed direction by 180° coming from the SE-S-SW. Thetis drifted fairly close to another S/Y that was on a mooring and could not drift very much. I woke up and was rather nervous but after watching the boats for a while I saw that even with the strongest gusts Thetis kept small but safe distance from the other boat. So, I went back to to my cabin and slept. After I got up later the wind was back from northern directions.
After I had my morning coffee I raised the dinghy on its davits and prepared for departure. We departed at 0845 first motoring heading W, then I set a waypoint on the GPS/Chart Plotter for a cove near Skala the harbor of Patmos because I wanted to anchor temporarily and go with the dinghy to a drug store and get a pain killer for my right side large bruises that were getting rather painful. Along the way there with a WNW wind of 12-20 knots and confused swell with plenty of spray to my relief no water entered from the any of the fixed windows.
I changed my mind not wanting to do all these maneuvers and altered our course now heading for the Livadi to Geranou (also known as the Livadi too Pothetou) [37° 20.6' N 26° 35.3' E] where I had stayed few years ago during a force 8 gale. We arrived at 1155 after 18 M. There were 2 other S/Ys here: the Swiss flagged Horus and another flying the Italian flag. I anchored closer to Horus but farther W towards the sand bar in 5.5 m depth letting out 38 m of chain. I then launched the dinghy and checked the anchor. As usual it was well set in the sand.
I started cooking some ground beef that was by now several days in the refrigerator and I did not want it to spoil. I cooked very slowly it with onions, garlic, carrots, fresh tomatoes, and red wine. The idea was to have it as sauce for pasta. I also cut one of the two watermelons from Kalami. Then I took the accumulated trash ashore and put in the bin near the taverna.
Later I had my usual ouzo. For dinner I did not use the by know ready sauce but pan fried a pork chop and served it with a salad.
Friday August 14, 2020, Day 5
I really wanted to go to Skala and buy some medication for my bruised and hurting back but I did not want to move Thetis and it was too far to go with the dinghy. So, I waited until 9 AM and then called a taxi. I went ashore with the dinghy. On my way I asked my neighbors in S/Y Horus if they needed anything all they wanted was a loaf of bread. Soon the taxi was there. He drove me to Skala where I got from a pharmacy pain killer pills and an ointment for my back and right elbow. I also got 2 loaves of bread and one of their specialty τυρόπιτες - cheese pies from the bakery.
I got back into the waiting taxi and he drove me back. After I gave the loaf to the Horus I swam and had a general good time. I felt better and now I could step up from the cockpit to the companion way without the need of the temporary step I had made with 3 cushions.
The painkiller had a warning advising not to have any alcohol with it. So I skipped the evening ouzo but I still had some mezedes (tasty treats) along a glass of water. For dinner I pan-fried 2 of the 4 meat patties that I got from the butcher in Samos. I also had some of the watermelon from Kalami. So far so good.
But after I got into my cabin I could not find a painless position despite the painkiller.
Saturday August 15, 2020, Day 6
I spent most of the night falling on and off asleep while sitting more or less upright in the main cabin. This was because lying down was too painful. It was not a very good night.
Today is a major Greek religious holiday celebrating the commemorates the Dormition "falling asleep" or death of Mary. I had to send a number of e-mails to Marias.
While it was cool I transferred 2 jerry cans of Diesel fuel to the main tank. While I did not sleep very well I felt fine. So I drove the dinghy several coves east of here and then I walked up the steep hill to the church of Panayia (Mary) tou Geranou. There were 2 men there decorating the church. Despite the COVID-19 there were going to have mass in the evening.
After I returned to Thetis the couple from Horus invited me for a drink at 5 PM. I did a lot of swimming in the morning. In particularly I put on mask and flippers and checked both Thetis’ and Horus’ anchors. Both anchors were very well set and almost invisible buried in the sand.
At 5, as arranged, I went over to Horus. The couple Ruth and Walter Kuster (www.calpeferienhausalicia.ch, +34 67938512). They too have had their boat for almost 30 years. She is in very good shape. They also have crossed the Atlantic but they spent months in the Caribbean and from there they went N to the USA and cruised up the Intercostal Waterway.
After I returned to Thetis I had a long FaceTime call with our house keeper in DC who was at our home sorting the accumulated mail. There was an official notice from the DC government concerning property tax. She photographed it and e-mailed it to me. This I will have to take care.
For a second night, and despite the strong painkiller I could not lie down but had to sleep in sitting position in the main cabin. I do hope that this does not continue.
Sunday August 16, 2020, Day 7
While trying to make my morning coffee the Camping Gaz ran out. I had to replace the canister before making the coffee. I felt very tired and did very little and mostly read. I finished Mary L. Trump's Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. While it is interesting about the nature of president Trump, it was a little repetitive and somewhat boring. I started a new book Mary Burton’s The last Move.
After dinner I noticed that the bruise on my back hurt much less, although it still looked awful. I tried to sleep tonight back in my starboard cabin. I did so at 10 and fell asleep right away.
Monday August 17, 2020, Day 8
I must had slept like a log. I did not wake until 6:10. I was elated and felt very good. I had my coffee but while washing I noticed a swell under my right eye. I did not think that I had bumped it but maybe I did so while asleep.
My plan was to relocate Thetis closer to the harbor, Skala, and then, after anchoring, go there with the dinghy. I needed to refill with gasoline the 2 small canisters for the outboard and the genset. I also wanted to go to the AB supermarket and get some provisions for the rest of the week.
I raised the anchor at 0827 and departed from Livadi to Geranou motoring slowly while towing the dinghy. By 0900 we were in Lampsi [37° 19.6' N 26° 33.4' E] 2 M away. I anchored in 5 m depth and let out 25 m of chain.
There was a lot of wind and the sea was angry and confused. I drove the dinghy to Skala slowly to avoid getting wet. In Skala I walked to the nearby fuel station and filled the two canisters. Then I relocated the dinghy to a more central location and did my grocery shopping. It was time consuming.
By the time I returned to Thetis, stowed the the provisions, raised the dinghy on its davits, and raised the anchor it was 1245. The wind was 20-30 knots from the N. It was not a very comfortable ride. At 1447 and after 9.5 M we arrived in Tiganakia [37° 21.6' N 26° 45' E]. I anchored in 6.8 m depth and let out 45 m of chain.
Here it was reasonably calm but still windy. I lowered the dinghy and snorkeled to the anchor. It was completely buried under the sand.
After I swam back to the boat I looked in the mirror and saw my eye. I panicked. It was terribly swollen and my face was grossly disfigured. After several SMS messages, emails, and FaceTime calls, my daughter Corinna figured out that it must be an insect bite maybe from a spider. After this I looked again in the mirror and did notice a tiny puncture hole under the eye lid. I treated it with antihistamine and after a few hours the swelling was down to half.
In the evening I had my customary ouzo while the sun was setting. After that I warmed the meat sauce that I had cooked before and boiled some pasta to go with it. As usual I overdid the quantity and there was more food that I could eat. For dessert I had some of the watermelon.
I went to bed in my cabin at about 10 pm. I had no problem falling asleep. This was the 2nd night that my back did not prevent me to sleep.
Tuesday August 18, 2020, Day 9
I woke up some time after 6. My eye was still swollen but much less then yesterday.
I spent the morning checking emails and reading. It was windy, 17-25 knots from the WNW. I decided to relocate to nearby Marathi and if there is a problem to return to back here to Tiganakia.
After allowing some time from boats overnighting in Marathi to depart I raised the anchor at 1110. We motored slowly towing the dinghy. After entering the Marathi cove I noticed that there were several free mooring including the one that I had used last time I was here on July 24. I lowered the spray hood and untied a number of the tent straps on the right side of the boat. I also tied a long line to the midship cleat. I approached the buoy slowly and caught with the hook in midship. I then quickly passed the free end of my line to the heavy line hanging below the mooring buoy and the moved it to the bow. The time was 1120 and we were now moored [37° 22' N 26° 43.6' E]. I then got into the dinghy and passed a 2nd line to the mooring. Thetis was now totally secured.
Very soon after this a young man from a nearby Italian flagged S/Y came over with his dinghy. He was her skipper and told me that he had been following this log for a while and the people of Marathi had told him that I had recently lost my wife Alice. He offered his condolences.
The rest of the day was fairly pleasant with the exception of a strange incident. A small S/Y with an Italian flag and a single person came and had considerable trouble catching a mooring. I thought that I should be a good citizen and go to his help. I got into the dinghy and came near his boat. He threw a long line from his stern but it was not long enough to allow me to catch the mooring buoy. The strong wind did not help matters. I made several attempts and he kept maneuvering his boat and almost sunk my dinghy. His propeller caught the buoy and cut its line. In the mean time, another man from the Piratis taverna came and took the now loose buoy and I left. The Italian anchored but his anchor kept dragging. The man from Piratis returned and managed to get his line to another mooring. The confusion was caused because the Italian wanted to tie the line from the mooring to his stern instead of what everyone else does and ties it to their bow.
In the evening I had a hot shower and a small ouzo. After that I went ashore where I was greeted by Pantelis, Katina, and their grandchildren and staff. Katina promised for me a nice fish and I went for a walk. I had to cut it short because it was getting dark and I was afraid that I may stumble and fall. After I returned to the establishment I sat with Pantelis and had some wine. After they noticed my eye they offered to put on it a natural red solution called Red Propolis. Then they brought a lovely salad followed by a sensational small συναγρίδα - sinagrida - common dentex which was followed by some watermelon.
Wednesday August 19, 2020, Day 10
I slept like a log. It was well past 6:30 when I woke up. My eye had dramatically improved.
Later in the morning I went ashore to Pantelis. They put another application of their miracle drug. Katina also told me that if I were to stay for tonight she will have another fresh fish for me. The sea here was fairly calm and the wind was down to 5 - 10 knots from the N. I decided to stay here as it was very quiet and pleasant and I told so to Katina.
It later turned out that this decision was a mistake. In the middle of the afternoon Manolis’ (Pantelis' son) little bar started blasting the most infernal “music” a Greek version of rap accompanied by repetitive sound as if they were operating factory press stamping metal parts. Had I had not promised Katina to stay I would had left for Tiganakia. More and more motor cruisers and inflatable kept coming. It was a zoo.
Around 6 PM I went ashore for a good walk. Back on Thetis I had to put on my hearing aids and turned them off to shield me from the noise from Manolis’ bar. I had a tiny ouzo and then I went back ashore to Pantelis. By that time the “music” blissfully stopped. They served me their usual salad followed by another wonderful fish a σαργός - sargos - white seabream-sargus diplus) this time.
I went back to the boat and slept until 2:30 AM when I was woken up by strong pain on my back.
Thursday August 20, 2020, Day 11
This was a long day especially since I did not sleep well and slept on and off sitting upright in the main cabin. I got up around 5, had my coffee and started preparing to depart from Marathi: raise the dinghy etc.
I cast off and departed form Marathi at 0755. I decided to first head towards Tiganakia and then round the S side of Arki and headed to Tsopela in Samos. While doing so I somehow and inexcusably got distracted inside the cabin when I was startled by loud crash. Thetis hit, fortunately sideways, one of the islets. I jumped out and engaged the engine in reverse freeing the boat. After she was clear, I looked for any incoming water in the bilge. To my relief there was none.
After clearing the S side of Arki I set a course of 010 and set a waypoint for Tsopela. The wind was mostly from the N and there was no chance of sails. But worse was the terrible choppy swell which was rather irregular. We motored and ran the water-maker.
At about the half way point the wind died out but not the swell. Very near Tsopela there was a large foamy sleek. It looked more like soap rather than oil. I got into Tsopela [37° 38.3' N 26° 49.3' E] in Samos at 1140 after 18.9 M. I anchored, lowered the dinghy and checked the anchor. Tsopela every other time I came here was lovely but now the foam entered and the strong westerly wind made it uncomfortable and unattractive. So I decided to try my luck elsewhere. Because of the chop I did not want to tow the dinghy with the outboard so I raised it again and departed at 1410.
The wind was 20 - 28 knots from the W and we were heading 063. Further E the other attractive cove is Kyriakou. The water there did not have that foam but still it was choppy with the W wind. So we kept going.
The next attractive anchorage E of here was no other than the inevitable Mycale [37° 42.1' N 26° 58.9' E]. We had come 8.9 M from Tsopela . The time was 1545. Here the wind was 15 - 25 knots from WNW. I anchored in 5 m depth with 25 m scope. I then lowered the dinghy check the anchor etc. The water was very clean and fairly calm but later the wind come from the NE with gusts to the mid 20s.
The afternoon and evening were quiet. I went around the bay with the dinghy looking for a place that I could dispose the trash and also pickup the Anastopulou family that I had invited for tomorrow. But there was no such luck. The best place near here to pick them up, other than the marina, is Klima.
The night was quiet and I finally did sleep well.
Friday August 21, 2020, Day 12
Today was the day that I had invited Mara Anastopoulou, her daughter Dheira, and Mara’s friend Costas for a day excursion. Here in Mycale there is no easy place for them to drive and pick them up with the dinghy. The nearest place is Klima about 3 M from here. So, I raised the anchor and departed Mycale at 0838.
On the way to Klima Thetis was intercepted by a Greek coast guard boat. They wanted to know where we came from, where we were going etc. I told them that I came from Mycale and are going to Klima to pickup some friends and then we will go for a day picnic to the Lakkas. They were satisfied and departed. Then, we proceeded to Klima [37° 42.5' N 27° 02.3' E] arriving at 0955 after 3.42 M. I anchored, and started going ashore with the dinghy with a bag of trash.
While I was tying the dinghy on the little dock Mara and company arrived. We all got aboard Thetis and departed. The time was 1010. The wind was dead against us and to Dheira’s disappointment we could not sail. But I let her steer Thetis and she was delighted.
The usual beach arrangements in Megali Lakka were not there. And since there was only one other S/Y in Mikri Lakka [37° 45.5' N 27° 01.5' E] we anchored there in 4 m depth letting out 35 m of chain, because here the bottom is rather steep. The time was 1135.
There was lots of swimming and snorkeling. Dheira loved looking at the anchor. Later we had a nice picnic and then I took Dheira with the dinghy and let her drive it. Just like Rohan last year she loved it. After asking her mother I told her that she could go by her self IF she can start the motor without my help. She tried, and tried and finally she succeed so out she went round and round. We had a hard time getting her back. In the mean time, I gave to Costas my underwater little camera which was totally discharged. He charged using a backup power pack for his iPhone. Then he took lots of shots, especially Dheira diving from the bow. I hope to be able to read the camera’s memory when in Kalami.
We departed at 1810. This time there was lots of wind mostly completely down wind so I opened about 30% of the headsail and turned off the motor. The sailing was tricky because the wind was very gusty and we kept changing our tack by a few degrees.
Everything was fine until we were near Poseidonio. Few minutes before we noticed a Frontex boat lurking. Now we were accosted by another Greek coastguard boat. They were not friendly. They asked if we were Thetis? “Yes we were.” “Why did you stop speaking to us on channel 10?” I told them that we never spoke to them. They got even angrier and asked us to stop. Well, I said we will but we cannot do so under sail. I will first have to lower the sail. They pulled a gun while I was doing so. I was surprised that they did not seem to be aware that sail boats under sail cannot stop with the turn of a button.
After the sail was rolled in and I started the motor they came very, very close. In the mean time, the Frontex boat came along. A long conversation started between the 2 boats. Eventually the mystery was solved. The Frontex had hailed us on channel 16 and asked us to switch over to channel 10. We did not hear their hail. The Greek boat heard talk of Thetis on channel 10 and assumed it was us. Eventually both boats left us, without offering any apologies, and we motored to by then nearby Klima.
We arrived in Klima at 1900. I anchored temporarily and took my guests ashore. With those belligerent Coast Guard boats I was not going to overnight here. I pulled up the anchor and headed back to Mycale arriving at 1918. I anchored in 4 m depth letting out 25 m of chain. It was too late to snorkel so assumed the anchor was alright.
After that there were no more adventures and I had my little ouzo followed by an omelet with potatoes.
By 10 PM I was in my cabin and on my berth. I slept very well.
Saturday August 22, 2020, Day 13
I woke up just before 6 AM. The rest of the day was very quiet and restful and I read a lot.
I spoke with my daughter Cynthia on FaceTime. My plan was to go to the Marina tomorrow morning by 8:30. I spoke to that effect with our caretaker Yiorgos and he will meet me there, help me moor, and transport my bags to Kalami. I also spoke with Aramis, the car rental place and asked for a car.
In preparation for the marina arrival and lay over in the evening I covered the dinghy and then raised on its davits. This is a time consuming operation.
I had an ouzo, boiled some pasta , and served with more of the leftover meat sauce.
Before going to bed I took a painkiller, just in case. I slept fairly well.
Sunday August 23, 2020, Day 14
I woke up just before 5 AM. After my coffee I prepared my belongings including the accumulated laundry for taking them to Kalami.
Yiorgos called me around 8 while being half way to the marina. He was together with his son-in-law Photis. I then hanged the fenders, prepared 2 temporary docking lines, and raised the anchor. We motored the 1.5 M to the marina [37° 41.5' N 26° 57.4' E] arriving at 0840.
Yiorgos and Photis were already there. Docked the boat, bow-to and secured her with the 2 permanent lines and 2 spring lines. Eventually I handed my belongings to Yiorgos and the rented car arrived.
This is the end of this 14 day cruise.