In the early morning hours, Sea Cloud sailed north of Kythera, the easternmost of the Greek Ionian Islands. Rounding the southern cape of the Lakonia Peninsula, we entered the beautiful blue of the Aegean Sea. Dr. Rebecca Ingram gave the fifth and final presentation of this magnificent voyage, sharing her particular area of interest and research in marine archaeological excavation. Her talk was titled “Out on the Wine Dark Sea: Seafaring in the Ancient Aegean.”
As anticipated, winds were light from the northeast, the direction we actually needed to sail, so the crew arranged a few unexpected surprises for our final day. In the late morning, we sailed by the Byzantine and medieval walled city of Monemvasia on a massive rocky island reminiscent of Gibraltar but located here off the Lakonic Peninsula of the Peloponnese. Our guides offered narration on deck for this amazing sight. The we dropped anchor, and we enjoyed the voyage’s third swim from Sea Cloud, this time in the clear, deep waters of the Aegean.
After a tasty Italian buffet lunch courtesy of Sea Cloud’s giant “pasta wheel,” guests were offered an unexpected landing at Monemvasia. The majority chose to shuttle to the pier in our speedy Zodiacs and from there, a bus transferred us to the gate of the walled lower town. Guests were free to explore the cobbled alleyways, small main square, restored walls, galleries, shops, and cafés. An intrepid group trooped up the steep, uneven, and quite slippery paths to the extensive ruins of the medieval upper town. From up there, at the Church of Aghia Sophia or the even higher upper citadel, we enjoyed expansive views over the Aegean and Peloponnesian coastline.
In the evening, we celebrated the voyage over farewell cocktails before savoring a final, lavish dinner aboard Sea Cloud.