Delos, Greece

Sep 04, 2018 - Sea Cloud

It was yet another idyllic morning in the Aegean, and the Zodiacs departed Sea Cloud early for the sacred center of the Cycladic world, Delos.

An uninhabited island steeped in both myth and history, Delos—as our local Greek guides Eleni and Effie told us—has a long history dating all the way back to the Bronze Age around 3,000 BC. But as we explored the site, we saw it earned its greatest fame as the birthplace of the Greek god Apollo and his sister, Artemis.

According to myth, this is where pregnant Leto, one of Zeus’ many extramarital love interests, fled the wrath of Zeus’ wife, Hera. After running from one precarious spot to the next, Leto finally came upon Delos, which proved to be a safe place to give birth.

“Delos” is Greek for “obvious,” and it was certainly obvious to us that Apollo made his presence known here. We saw three temples and the iconic Terrace of Lions, all dedicated to the god of sun and music, as well as a temple dedicated to Apollo’s mother, Leto, and sister, Artemis. The remains of a thriving port city, once home to some 30,000 inhabitants, left a lasting impression.

After the site tour, some of the group ventured into the archaeological museum for a rather revealing glimpse into classical Delos. Others opted for the rigorous climb up Mt. Kynthos and were rewarded with one of the most spectacular views in the Cyclades. They even saw the striking Crypt of Hercules along the way.

The magnificent day continued back on the ship, first with a hard-earned swim and then with an exquisite, sails-up photo tour by Zodiac allowing us to witness Sea Cloud in all her glory.

We heard an engaging history presentation, The Middle Ages and More: The Greek Islands After Antiquity, courtesy of Dr. Rebecca Ingram, and we capped off the day on the Spanker Deck with yet another poetic evening of stargazing.

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About the Author

Chad Cohen

National Geographic Staff

Emmy Award-winning producer, writer, director, and correspondent Chad Cohen spent four years overseeing development of National Geographic’s new multi-night PBS documentary The Greeks. The series follows archaeologists, historians, scientists, and actors on a groundbreaking exploration of the ancient Greeks' journey to greatness, revealing how they changed their world and laid the foundations for so much of what we still hold dear today. 

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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