At Sea

Aug 31, 2017 - Sea Cloud


 After a long few days traveling, we finally got the chance to sleep in and awoke this morning well rested and excited to explore Sea Cloud. We enjoyed a tasty breakfast before meandering upstairs to reserve our seats and study our handouts of the sails and their names. Our First Officer, Phil, took the microphone and began to explain the process of setting the magnificent square sails. We followed along as best as we could while he described exactly what the sailors were doing as they danced around between the yards on the foot ropes.

First the sailors prepared the ropes along the Promenade deck to begin bracing the yards to the correct position to maximize the force that the wind would create against the sails. Once the lines were prepared, the captain made the command to “hit the rig” and one by one the sailors climbed up the ladders higher and higher, only clipping their safety harnesses after they were half way up. We were impressed to see the two female sailors leading the way to the highest yards, 40 feet above the water level!

Once in position along the yards, the sailors began to untie the gaskets that tied the sails up tight when not in use. Phil mentioned that the sailors are very careful and thorough in untying each one, and if one is forgotten the entire operation is halted and whomever missed a tie will be publicly addressed by the Captain. This is quite mortifying for the seaman, so they are very careful when loosening the gaskets. They then made their way back down and waited hear “all sails are in order” before using the original brass double-headed wenches to pull down the lower topsails first, then the courses, and lastly the upper topsails. They even set the spanker sail, which nowadays is just for show and much needed shade under the hot sun.

What an incredible sight to see, most of the sails of the legendary Sea Cloud were set and provided a fascinating photography subject. As if this weren’t good enough, John and the Captain arranged a photo safari to get pictures of the spectacle from the water level. We boarded the Zodiacs and were amazed by the sight, but that wasn’t even the best part. All of the sudden we noticed Mediterranean dolphins playing all around us. We had so much fun watching them play in the wake of the Zodiac!

Back on board we started the second half of our day with a delicious buffet lunch on the Lido deck, and then had time to read or relax until making our way back to the Lido for Dr. Rebecca Ingram’s informative lecture on the basics of Greek History in preparation for our visit to Olympia the next day. We finished the day with the Captain’s welcome cocktail party and dinner before we went to bed, ready to get off the ship and explore Greece tomorrow! 

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About the Author

Alisha Kilgore

Assistant Expedition Leader

Born and raised in Eastern Washington and North Idaho, Alisha Kilgore has possessed an appetite for adventure from a young age. When she and her father weren’t backpacking or kayaking in the stunning mountain ranges around them, they were chasing the next adventure throughout Canada, the United States, or Mexico. The farther Alisha ventured from the Northwest, the more intrigued she became by the people and landscapes she encountered.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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