Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Siracusa, Sicily

    Just before breakfast, Sea Cloud sailed into Porto Grande, passing by the imposing walls and towers of 16th-century fortress Castello Maniace and coming alongside on the newly constructed pier. We were given options for the morning tours—a photo walk through the colorful fish and fruit market or a guided visit to the former Neopolis of the ancient city to visit the Lautumia, the limestone quarries that date back to 480 BC, the 15,000 seat Greek theater and the 1st-century AD Roman amphitheater.  

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  • Lecce & Otranto, Italy

    Sea Cloud crossed the Adriatic through a calm night before our first stop in Italy. We land in Otranto, on the east side of Apulia. The castle, with so much to tell us about past invasions and defenses, is just at the center of the bay where Sea Cloud docked. We first explored Lecce, the baroque capital of Southern Italy, and Otranto will be our afternoon stop. The weather forecast is hot—but that’s not a problem. We all know that Lecce, in addition to its baroque treasures, is the capital of gelato. Do we need a better excuse to visit such place?

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  • Sailing the Adriatic Sea

    The moment we all wait for on every Sea Cloud voyage is the first time the captain calls the crew to sail stations to set the sails. Those who have never been on Sea Cloud before wonder skeptically if we really, truly are going to sail, and the many returning guests who have experienced the ship before already know where to position themselves in anticipation. It never gets old. We had a full house on the Spanker Deck for the explanation of the setting of the square sails, and then we all moved to the Bridge Deck and Monkey Deck for the setting of the jibs and staysails. After that, the day was spent in glorious awe, as the sails filled and we all began to explore the ship and find our favorite places to settle in. The first day at sea on Sea Cloud is always a winner!

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  • Hvar, Croatia

    Hard to believe it was the last day of our magical cruise up the Dalmatian coast. And what a perfect way to end—the beautiful island of Hvar, the lavender capital of the Croatia. Sea Cloud sailed through a narrow channel between the Pakleni Islands to drop anchor just in front of the old Venetian harbor of Hvar. We tendered into the pier for a late-morning orientation and walking tour of this delightful town full of small churches, Venetian-inspired Renaissance palaces with pointed trefoil windows, and ground-floor loggias. The quayside is lined with cafes, bars, and lavender stands on one side, and amazing yachts on the other. Our guides took us around the seawall and out to the Franciscan monastery to see the little physic garden and impressive painting of the Last Supper that dominates the monk’s refectory. Done by a Venetian artist of the school of Paolo Veronese, who was shipwrecked on the island and nursed back to health in the monastery, it is a stunning masterpiece. We wound our way back to the main square and then fanned out on our own to explore the alleyways leading up to the Spanjola fortress that protects the city and bay, go for a swim, or just sit and enjoy a cool drink in one of the many bars surrounding the square.

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  • Korcula, Croatia

    The light southeasterly breeze offered a great morning sail from the island of Mljet toward our next destination, Korcula. Once home to a prosperous shipbuilding trade, the island was covered with dense forests of Aleppo pine, cypress, and oak. Now Korcula is famous for outstanding white wines produced from the limestone soil and local vineyards. The town of Korcula claims to be the birthplace of Marco Polo, the greatest medieval traveler whose alleged birth house can be visited today.

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  • Kotor, Montenegro

    We had an unbelievable moment when Sea Cloud passed the entrance of Boka Kotorska (Bocche di Cattaro during the Venetian domination) and began to move along the deep fjord of Kotor. We’d just entered in another nation: Montenegro, a former province of the great Yugoslavia, which broke apart in the’90s. The water was so calm it seemed we were sailing on a lake until Sea Cloud docked at the UNESCO site of Kotor, our official entry for learning a different part of Mediterranean history. Another complex and fascinating story of this part of the world.

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  • Durres to Kruje, Albania

    Durres is Albania’s largest commercial port, and it was already a hugely important port for the ancient Greeks as Epidamnos and the Romans as the city of Dyrrachium. Today it serves as the gateway to the interior and the modern capital of Tirane. Our focus, however, was a drive further inland to the dramatic limestone escarpment of the Dinar Mountains and the ancient medieval capital of Kruje. Home of 15th-century national hero George Kastrioti Skanderbeg, the castle houses two fascinating museums, many medieval walls and towers, and an active medieval market on its rugged cobblestone streets.

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  • Butrint, Albania

    Set atop a rocky peninsula with the Vivari Channel acting as a virtual moat, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint never fails to delight every one of your senses. The monuments are set among dense groves of pine, eucalyptus, bay laurel, and Judas trees, surrounded by a combination of fertile pastureland, olive and tangerine groves, and marshes. The wet spring ensured there were blankets of red poppies, wild carrot, buttercups, purple mallow, and periwinkle and pink convolvulus under the trees and peeking out between the stones of the crumbled walls. Our visit included stops at the Greco-Roman theater and agora, the Byzantine basilica and baptistery the city walls and the Venetian fortress above the city. The morning ended with a visit to Lekuris Castle above Sarande with a 360˚ view of the surrounding countryside and coast. In the late afternoon, having moved 20 kilometers up the coast to Porto Palermo, we dropped anchor in the bay and went ashore to explore and have drinks atop a small castle built in 1804 by Ali Pasha, the colorful Ottoman governor who ruled the country for 40 years.

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  • Ithaca

    Coming to Ithaca always makes me think about Odysseus and his 10-year-long voyage back home. But besides its mythical essence, Ithaca has an incredible beauty with its emerald waters, green mountains, and peaceful atmosphere. For Odysseus, the end of his adventures; for us, just the beginning.

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  • Katakalon to Olympia, Greece

    The morning’s almost windless calm was a stark but comfortable contrast to the driving winds of yesterday, and that meant we were going to be setting all the highest sails on Sea Cloud. We only made about six miles in the three hours of sailing, but gathering guests on the working fo’c’sle for the explanation of the jibs, bowsprit, and anchor windlasses was worth the price of the becalming. Afterward, we struck the sails in favor of a late-morning swim from the ship before heading into dock for the afternoon at the port of Katakalon. This is the busy gateway to the great site of Olympia—home of the original Olympic Games and a sacred sanctuary, the spirit of which is still felt in the shade of the pine and olive trees. In the late afternoon, we had the site and exceptional museum all to ourselves for an unforgettable visit to one of the most revered spots on the planet.

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