Kythnos/ At Sea
Early this morning the Sea Cloud moved into position just off of Kythnos Island, which is one of the most northwesterly of the Cycladic Islands. Our plan was to have a relaxing beach morning.
Zodiacs brought our group a shore and everyone would have a chance to take hikes, explore the rural island environment, and return or remain relaxing on one of two sandy beaches! The Aegean was gorgeous this morning; showing all the shades of Mediterranean blue and calling out to all swimmers; come and enjoy a last swim of the trip. Many of our group also took an opportunity to get a good leg stretching hike in for the last day of the trip. Small groups of hikers could be seen high on the ridges of the island of Kythnos, while many took time to just wander a small dirt road that led deep into the island. Along the way several herds of goats were seen, assuming the usual goaty attitude of head butting while wondering who these strange observers might be? Why the cameras, why the pause in our walk, who could be so interested in a small heard of Greek goats? All along the path, where goats could not walk and nibble, we found a small collection of wild flowers common to the early fall in Greece. Sea daffodils were in the sandy areas close to the water, while the hillsides were decorated in random tall stalks of Sea squill. The climate of the Mediterranean; gentle in fall and spring, harsh in summer and winter attracts an enormous myriad of plants all adapted to the heat, sun and dryness of summer, waiting for the exact combination of environmental cues to hold forth in blooms...giving just a hint at the diversity and strength of plants growing in the Mediterranean climate.
Once hikers and joggers returned to the “back to back” beaches of our landing site, a dive and swim in the refreshing waters of the Aegean was most welcomed. All too soon the Zodiacs began ferrying all those on shore back to the Sea Cloud. Reluctantly we returned and it was just in the nick of time, as a short squall of rain could be seen to the north. The Sea Cloud lifted her anchor and began preparing for our last afternoon of sailing. Once lunch was complete all sailors made ready to lift the sails, even the Spanker sail in the rear of the Sea Cloud was hoisted! Once under sail, we had an opportunity to return to the Zodiacs and spend a short time making a tour of the Sea Cloud and photograph her under sail from the water...what a sight! We now understood why so many people either stopped their boats or steered over to get a closer look at the Queen of Tall ships!
Under full sail, she moved through the water as the regal and beautifully designed ship that she is...AND what a site indeed! The sky had a few small clouds with sun peeking out occasionally giving definition plus shadows to sails on sails...so beautiful! We remained under sail making a top speed of 5 knots for the rest of the afternoon. At approximately 5:30pm, sails were dropped and all rigging was stowed. The Sea Cloud returned to the power of engines, continuing on our course making way towards Cape Sounion where we would spend the evening at anchor for Captain Pushkarev’s Farewell dinner. After yet another sumptuous meal in the main dining room of the Sea Cloud, many of us returned for one more wander on the teak decks allowing the spell of this magnificent sailing vessel to once again capture each of us in her own way.
As we walked, paused, laughed and enjoyed each other, the moon began a slow rise over the hill where the temple to Poseidon was illuminated for all to see. As the harvest moon rose into the sky; many of us returned to our cabins for a last peaceful night, before returning home, taking just a slight wisp of Sea Cloud’s magic and spell with us...ready to share her story told through our own experiences which in the end, is how the majesty of Square Rigged Tall Ships has remained alive for so many years...and will carry on for many more.