Sailing and Cefalu, Sicily, Italia

May 21, 2018 - Sea Cloud

Our day began with a relaxing morning sailing the Mediterranean. With light winds, all sails were set, including the gaff sail on the spanker deck. While underway, National Geographic Photographer Massimo Bassano offered a workshop on photography with smartphones, providing some tips and tricks for creating stunning images with these everyday devices. Due to our leisurely pace, we had the rare chance to disembark onto Zodiacs to view Sea Cloud under sail. Under blue skies with delicate clouds, the Zodiacs traveled around the vessel, allowing guests to photograph this elegant ship from numerous angles. Afterward, Massimo provided another talk on some of his fascinating work for National Geographic magazine, some of which has focused specifically on Sicily. 

Disembarking after lunch, we traveled to the charming town of Cefalu on the north coast of Sicily. This area, nestled under a large, rocky outcrop known as La Rocca, has been inhabited since at least the 4th century B.C. However, the town’s large, 12th-century cathedral set a decidedly medieval tone for the visit. This cathedral, begun in 1131 by Roger II, is one of the most important Norman structures in Sicily and reflects the many groups that have inhabited the region. Inside the cathedral, pointed arches suggest an Arab influence, while the stunning gold mosaics of the apse, depicting Christ Pantocrator, are obviously Byzantine in style. Following our visit to the cathedral, we continued our walking tour through the winding, narrow streets, visiting a small harbor, featured in the film Cinema Paradiso, and the Lavatoio, a medieval stone fountain used to wash clothing. As the sun slowly descended in the early evening, the stone facades of Cefalu were highlighted in warmer tones, and we gradually headed back to the ship.

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About the Author

Rebecca Ingram


A research associate with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), Rebecca Ingram has studied ancient Mediterranean seafaring and trade since 2000. She earned her M.A. (2005) and Ph.D. (2013) through the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University.

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