As we departed from Dubrovnik aboard the Sea Cloud, we began crossing the Adriatic Sea headed for Apulia, the southern tip of the Italian Peninsula (a.k.a. the “boot heel”) and the port of Otranto. On this first full day on board, our route took us through southeasterly winds and some swells.

The Adriatic Sea separates Italy from the Dalmatian Coast and has roughly similar proportions. Yet the landscapes which frame this branch of the Mediterranean are vastly different. The Italian side has gently sloping terrain and few natural harbors, while the Dalmatian side has rugged limestone formations which plunge dramatically into the sea. As we departed Dubrovnik, we bid farewell to the hundreds of small islands, promontories, and inlets that characterize the Dalmatian Coast, which had long been the haven for pirates. As we headed south for Otranto, we stayed relatively close to the coastline to reduce the impact of the elements on our journey.

During the morning our certified photographic instructor Linda Burback gave us a comprehensive introduction to iPhone photography, and the many features available on these ever-present “cameras which take phone calls” in our pockets. As the day progressed, the Sea Cloud turned westward as Captain John Svendsen had the crew take to the rigging and we crossed the Adriatic under sail. During the afternoon, expedition historian David Brotherson gave a talk about Venice and the Adriatic; he discussed how this maritime republic rose from obscure origins to take control of lucrative trade routes, and the various maneuvers and conflicts they carried out to maintain them.

As the evening approached, we gathered on the lido deck for cocktail hour, followed by the Captain’s Welcome Dinner in the dining room.