Sailing the Aegean, Greece

Sep 21, 2017 - Sea Cloud

After a bouncy night at sea, we awoke to a beautiful and calm sunny day. There was still a slight swell, but we didn’t let that slow us down. So, after breakfast we eagerly went up to the lido deck to listen to the sail explanation. We attempted to memorize the names of each of the four masts, 29 sails, and their functions as Chief Mate Heiner thoroughly discussed each item. When the sails were prepped, Bosun Martin yelled, “hit the rig.” Suddenly, like a scene out of movie, 18 sailors began to climb the masts up 140-feet high to loosen the gaskets of the square-rigged sails. It was impressive to see the two women leading the way to the highest yards.

After the sail explanation, we had a slow paced and relaxing day, starting with an introduction to the expedition staff followed by a very informative class on the basics of expedition photography by our photographic instructor, Erika. Afterwards we had time to explore the ship and read before the bell was ringing for a delicious buffet lunch on the lido. Next, we squeezed in a nap before heading back upstairs to listen to our guides go over a brief history of the Cycladic Islands.

We all headed downstairs to get scrumptious crepes from our baker when we noticed floating blue mattresses in the water and Hotel Manager Szymon, in his lifeguard gear and a bag of water noodles next to him. Just then Expedition Leader John, came over the P.A. system surprising us with a chance to swim off the ship. The current was quite strong but most of us appreciated the exercise and the chance to cool off. We had just enough time afterward to shower and get dressed in our finest for the captain’s welcome cocktail party. He introduced his key staff and we toasted to them and the Sea Cloud before heading down to a delicious dinner in the dining room. 

We didn’t think it could get better, until when we went upstairs after dinner for star-gazing with John and listened to our pianist, Peter’s, incredible music. We sat for a while in our cozy deck chairs breathing in the Aegean air before heading to bed. We did have to be up quiet early the next day, and we were excited to beat the tourists in Santorini. 

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About the Author

Erika Skogg

National Geographic Photographer

Erika Skogg is a photographer, educator, and National Geographic Explorer with experience documenting cultural stories from the United States to Morocco, Greenland, Iceland, Colombia, and beyond. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Erika’s photographic research and storytelling ideas are driven by the desire to immerse, understand, and visually preserve the region’s local Nordic culture, and in 2018, Erika received a National Geographic Early Career Grant for her project “Scandinavian American.” Erika travels to Scandinavia regularly in search of the cultural connections to our emigrant history and promote an interest in one’s own genealogy to foster a respect for the continued immigration of today.

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