Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • At Sea

    We awoke to a wonderful sea. The white caps were breaking and we had really wonderful winds gusting up to 25 miles per hour. Sitting on the port side, we could taste the salt spray as it spumed off the hull. Sea Cloud rode the seas with an exquisite gentleness—stable and not rocking.

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  • Ótranto & Lecce

    Our final port of call before Dubrovnik was the Southern town of Ótranto, basically the southernmost tip of the heel of the Italian peninsula. In the morning, we visited Lecce, the so-called Florence of the Baroque, to marvel at the churches and palaces built during in construction booms of the 17th and 18th centuries. The afternoon, on the other hand, was spent in Ótranto itself. Because of its favorable position, the town enjoyed wealth through maritime trade and in the Middle Ages, was coveted by different settlers and conquerors. Its Byzantine and Norman influences are still visible in a few surviving, spectacular buildings.

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  • At Sea aboard Sea Cloud

    Guests enjoyed a special day of sailing, beginning with the setting of the spanker sail over the starboard rail in a maneuver that requires the assistance of all three mast teams. When Sea Cloud was revived in 1979, the spanker boom had to be raised, so this is not an easy or common maneuver. We then were able to put the ship’s Zodiacs down in the open Ionian Sea for the opportunity to ride around Sea Cloud under full sail to see and photograph her in all her glory! And to highlight a full day of sailing, Captain Komakin allowed a little bit of guest participation in the striking of the sails, which also proved to be a great spectator sport. We finished the day with a passionate talk on the history of the legendary ship.

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  • Siracusa

    For me, Siracusa is one of the most special places in the Mediterranean. The old town of Ortigia is vibrant, with an atmosphere that is simultaneously laid-back and energized, full of possibility and potential for relaxation or adventure. The narrow, winding streets are not always easy to navigate, but once you become lost in the twists and turns, there are myriad hidden nooks and crannies to explore.

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  • Strait of Messina & Taormina, Italy

    At 5:30 a.m., Sea Cloud approached the famed Strait of Messina from the northern end in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The derelict remnants of Europe’s tallest electrical towers stand sentinel where the mythological monsters Scylla and Charybdis once intimidated ancient sailors with their treacherous and dynamic currents. We passed at slack water to berth for the day at the Port of Messina, on the Sicilian side of the strait, which would be our launching point for the morning in Taormina. First settled as the ancient Greek colony of Taoromenion, its perched location has made it a popular resort town for a succession of Mediterranean civilizations. After a relaxing and enjoyable morning among the exquisite architectural details and intriguing shops and side streets, we enjoyed an unforgettable Sicilian lunch at the Castella degli Schiavi, which was used in the filming of many of the scenes in the Godfather films.

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  • Lipari, Aeolian Islands, Italy

    After two days of early disembarkation, our morning was spent quite leisurely, cruising between the different Aeolian Islands and listening to staff presentations. After lunch, we headed ashore to Lipari, the main and largest of the islands, for a sightseeing bus tour and a visit to the Archaeological Museum to see one of Europe's finest collections of ancient finds.

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  • Amalfi & Ravello

    We came abreast of the gleaming white façades of Amalfi and Ravello spilling down the mountain slopes. A lovely legend has it that Hercules buried his beloved nymph Amalfi here in the most beautiful place he knew. He was right. We boarded our coaches for the hair-raising climb up to the top of the mountain to the jewel-like village of Ravello.

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  • Pompeii

    Since Sea Cloud does not have bow thrusters, docking a 2,500-ton, football-field-length ship at the small berth in Castellammare di Stabia took considerable expertise and experience—kudos to our captain. At 8:30 we boarded our coaches for the short drive to Pompeii. This ancient Roman city has been world famous since excavation began in 1748. Pompeii for archaeologists is like the ancient fly caught in amber for the paleo-botanist—a moment in history, crystalized. Mt. Vesuvius’s explosion in October 79 A.D. not only destroyed this thriving city of 20,000 but encased the city in 20 meters of ash, pebble, and pumice rock.

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  • Paestum

    As we sailed from Naples we had great evening light and views of the east coast of Capri. The seas were kind and we had a smooth overnight sail to our first stop: Paestum. At 8:30 we heard an in-depth introduction to the 30,000 square feet of sail on Sea Cloud. We now know to watch out for the “widow maker” and where the “skysail” is located. Slightly later that morning we met the staff. Although the wind was slight from first light, it picked up and by 11, we were averaging 4.5-5 knots with a 15-knot wind from the northeast.

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  • Pompeii, Italy

    Travelers and poets of the past have waxed eloquently about the spectacularly capricious nature of the geology around the Bay of Naples—the Campi Flegrei (Burning Fields). This morning, we set off early to bear witness to the destructive power of Mother Nature with a visit to the site of Pompeii.

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