Sep 24, 2017 - Sea Cloud
Dawn was silhouetted by the ridges of Amorgos as Sea Cloud dropped anchor off the small port town of Katapola. By the time the first half of the group were ready to disembark by ship’s tender, the sun had peered over the surrounding hills, and the harbor town gleamed white and inviting in the morning light. Once on land, an island bus was available to drive us into town. Along the way several guests exclaimed in wonder when we crested the ridge and saw the wild eastern coastline of Amorgos below and the deep blue expanse of sea before us. When we arrived to the tiny parking lot, many of the guests could scarcely believe their eyes as they alighted to a view of the white monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa plastered against the immense cliff-side above us. And I say that without exaggeration.
The great majority of the group carefully climbed the rough rock-paved switchbacks and some 350 steps to reach the monastery. Founded in the 11th century, near the reputed site where a scared icon washed ashore, the monastery gradually grew to a height of seven stories with a reported 50 rooms, though many of these were tiny in the small space available against the cliff. We climbed up the steep steps through the small entranceway and made our way up to the grotto-like main chapel of the monastery. There our guide Sofia, shared more of the history of this monastery and of Greek Monastic life and practice. We took in the wildly expansive views from one of the rooftops of the monastery before our group was seated in a simple but refined room where were offered a traditional welcome of rakomelo, a grappa-like spirit infused with honey.
After we returned to our bus, we were transferred to the Chora, the island’s old capital town, and were led on a peaceful walk through the quiet alleyways and small squares of the town. Some visited the town’s small archaeological museum while others browsed a few shops of local artisans or sat at one of the charming cafes for a cold drink to savor the morning.
Our busy bus soon transferred guests back to Katapola. Here, a good number of guests took a refreshing swim off the nearby beach, and with big smiles all returned to the ship.
In the early afternoon, the captain and crew raised square sails and some of the jibs. We cruised along at about 7 knots while Erika Skogg offered a workshop on photo editing. During the cocktail hour, Expedition Leader John Frick gave an enthusiastically received presentation on the History of Sea Cloud, and guests were then invited down to view the original owner’s cabins, all of which had been graciously opened for us. After dinner, we met on deck for a stargazing session under the overarching Milky Way.
Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.