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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