Sifnos, Greece & At Sea

Sep 07, 2018 - Sea Cloud

This morning’s excursion took us to the Cycladic island of Sifnos, famous in antiquity for its rich deposits of gold and silver, mined since the Bronze Age. We traveled inland to Castro, a medieval village with a layout typical for areas plagued by piracy. The town is perched high above the sea, and an outer wall with a limited number of gates helped the residents control who gained access. The modern town of Castro is a relatively quiet village, with a few coffee shops and sweeping vistas of the sea below. On the water’s edge, the tiny church dedicated to the Seven Martyrs creates a picturesque outpost, and this morning a wedding added to the charm of the little chapel.

Today the island is best known for its pottery, and small shops with colorful ceramics line the main street of the port town of Kamares. From simple spirals and tinted glazes to ostentatious etched images, the pottery of Sifnos appeals to a wide range of tastes. Some of us took advantage of the opportunity to swim at the sparkling sandy beach at Kamares, while others opted to enjoy one final swim from the ship at anchor in the bay with the steep, rugged hills of Sifnos forming a stunning backdrop.

We spent our last afternoon aboard the ship under a gentle sail. Our superb local guides, Eleni and Effie, led a fascinating discussion on modern Greece. We ended our evening with an excellent meal of rock lobster tail and truffle ravioli. Those of us who finished packing early indulged in a viewing of Around Cape Horn on the Lido Deck, a fine conclusion to our glorious weeklong voyage.

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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.

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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