At 1115 and after 47.5 sea miles, but actually only 43.3, we arrived at Skala Eresou (Σκάλα Ερεσού) on Lesvos (Λέσβος) [39° 08' N 25° 55.7' E]. It is very nice, I have not been here before, and I anchored in 4 m depth letting out 30 m of chain. I launched the dinghy and swam checking the anchor. Then I had lunch and fell asleep in the cockpit. I was woken up by the roar of speed boat towing squealing children on several inflated floats. The speed boats came so close to Thetis that it was unbearable.
I was planning to spend the night here but now I decided to depart for Sigri, a few miles W from here. I was also hoping to speak to Alice on Skype but the GSM signal was only slow GPRS and not the needed 3G. I raised the dinghy on the davits, lashing it in a different way, hoping for an improvement. That seemed to work. I also replaced the autopilot control unit with an older one that I had kept as a spare. I did not connect it to the two SeaTalk cables since it has different connectors.
We departed at 1440 and motored to Sigri, 7.8 nM away with a 15-20 knots WNW headwind. I am beginning to think that I have a motor cruiser and not a sailboat! The autopilot misbehaved again but less so. Maybe the SeaTalk cables have a fault and interfere with the autopilot operation. At any rate, the controller unit is not faulty. Along the way I saw a shipwrecked freighter, and on the small island at the entrance of Sigri Bay, the remains of a sailboat that ran aground many years ago. We arrived at Sigri (Σίγρι) [39° 12.5' N 25° 51.2' E] at 1630. I anchored just S of the Castle in 6 m depth and let out 40 m of chain.
It is lovely and quiet here and there have been no changes since my last visit 5 years ago. There was a nice breeze under the tent and it was comfortable, not too hot. After checking the anchor and a cup of much needed coffee I reconnected the original autopilot controller, cleaning and tightening all of its contacts. Next passage will tell.
Once again the GSM reception was marginal. There were 2 other sailboats nearby: a Greek flagged and a German. The Greek boat left shortly after Thetis’ arrival. I had an ouzo and removed the tent so that I can see the stars during the night. I then roasted some potatoes in oven with just a little olive oil, garlic, and thyme. I ate these with a few slices from the pork roast.
After admiring the stars for a while I went to bed.
Monday August 1, 2011, Day 5I was woken, just before 6, by mosquitoes. I burned one of the repellent spiral coils inside the front cabin in an attempt to discourage them from staying there another day. I turned on the MacBook, received the e-mails, and checked the weather. It will be cooler today with a northerly breeze.
I went ashore and bought some fresh bread, a bottle of the renown Plomari ouzo from Lesvos, and a Mytilini Graviera hard cheese.
Back on Thetis I called Panayiotis in Agmar Marine and discussed Thetis’ problems, especially the autopilot. I then called the lawyer in Samos who had made no progress toward solving the sewage pollution problem. Very frustrating!
I swam a great deal and read. I also washed the dinghy and in the afternoon transferred one jerry can of fuel to the tank. I looked at the forecasts. They are now predicting stronger winds on Wednesday. I debated with myself whether to stick to my plan and sail to Ayios Efstratios, 44 nM from here, and then to Kyra Panayia in the Sporades or to go directly to Kyra Panayia some 83 nM departing tonight. I was somewhat afraid, being singlehanded, of the small harbor in Ayios Efstratios and possible strong winds on Wednesday. At any rate I did not want to arrive at either place late so I had to depart tonight.
The new solar panels combined with the wind generator and the 15 knot breeze, have totally replaced the 45 Ah consumed during the night.
As I was getting ready for an ouzo and while the sun was sinking, a Turkish 50" Benetau came and anchored nearby.
After a hot shower I went ashore to the Remetzo restaurant overlooking the bay. My brother Nikos favors it and when he is here with the Faneromeni he takes a shore line to the small concrete pier just under the restaurant. The owner, Miltos, not only remembered him but also remembered me and Alice. I ordered their special salad with cubes of dried bread (παξιμάδι), and 4 very nicely grilled fresh barbounia - μπαρμπούνια (red mullets - mullus surmuletus). Next to my table sat the crew of the Turkish sailboat. A lady and a gray haired gentleman with an impressive mustache sat at the end of a double table. At the opposite end sat a younger man. They, too, had barbounia which they ate with great relish. We started a conversation across the tables. He is Kemal Zavaro and they had come from the Atakoy Marina in Istanbul where they keep their boat. Soon the young man, obviously the crew, left but the couple stayed and we continued our conversation. Then they called the crewman with their portable VHF and he came back with their dinghy to take them on board.
Based on the forecasted strong winds I decided not to go to Ayios Efstratios but leave right away for Kyra Panayia, Kyra Panayia (Pelagos on many charts). As soon as I returned to Thetis I began my preparations. I raised the dinghy, using the new system. This turned out to be a mistake.