Sep 16, 2019 - Sea Cloud

We arrived off the small isle of Poros under a sunny sky, a harbinger of the afternoon sun to come. The island is small, only about 12 square miles, and is nestled in the southwest of the beautiful Saronic Gulf. Poros is only about 700 feet off the coast of the Peloponnese and is a haven, a weekend getaway, from the bustling city of Athens. We took Zodiacs to shore and began our visit in town.

Poros was far greener than the Cycladic Isles we visited—a result of the increased rainfall in this area. The quayside is filled with shops of every sort and a great assortment of sailing yachts as well as ships from all over Greece and other parts of Europe. As we wound our way through the narrow lanes of the town, we stopped at a delightful pastry shop run by a mom, pop, and son. The window was filled with a cornucopia of Greek pastries and the most interesting variation of apple pie. Several of us sampled the treats—the pistachio was the tastiest. We slowly made our way to the very top of the town to the famous clock tower, which was built in 1927 and uses a pendulum mechanism. Although there was no discernible motion in the clock hands, it maintained the correct time! Surely a Greek nymph is keeping the time accurate...The streets in the topmost part of the town were named after famous individuals—we passed Greta Garbo Lane followed by Marc Chagall, etc. The town planning commission is clearly interested in celebrating the arts.

Upon returning to Sea Cloud, just as the day was warming, we were able to enjoy a swim from the ship. More than half of us were delighted in the cooling waters of the gulf. The water was perfect temperature and the salinity was such that you were kept afloat without assistance. Thus, we bobbed happily for an hour before we went to lunch—the high point of which was pasta swirled inside a 100-pound wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Needless to say, we all ate heartily.

At 3:30 p.m. the captain furled the sails, even the massive spanker jib, and an announcement went out that there would be Zodiac photo safaris circumnavigating Sea Cloud as she was under sail. The ship was simply a delight to see as she moved effortlessly though the azure water with more than 3,000 square feet of billowing sail.

We had a farewell dinner and said our goodbyes with the hope that we would sail again sometime in the future.

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About the Author

Tom Heffernan


Tom, a native of New York City, who has had a life-long passion for travel and exploration, is the Kenneth Curry Professor of Humanities at the University of Tennessee and the founding Director of the university’s Humanities Center. His areas of interest are anthropology of religions and historical linguistics.

About the Photographer

Jennifer Davidson

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jennifer Davidson has been a lifelong lover of wide-open spaces. She grew up in a ranching family in remote West Texas. Her roots run many generations deep in that land, which she has always considered home. She studied marine biology on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, participating in monitoring projects in the bays of Texas’s Coastal Bend Region and the Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary. In 2005, she moved back to the drier climates, this time to the mountains of Northern New Mexico, to pursue a career in photography, which had been a lifelong source of enjoyment.

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