We awoke to another beautiful, clear day aboard Sea Cloud. We cruised along the east coast of the Peloponnese as we headed for our final destination at the Piraeus, the port of Athens. The crew hit the rigging around midmorning, and we set sail once again. As we bathed in the morning light, we got a final dose of the nautical life of our ancestors who crisscrossed the oceans during the Age of Sail.

During a presentation, “Athens Afire: The Persian Wars and the Birth of Greece,” National Geographic archaeologist Dr. Bill Saturno explained how a brief period of history – the Persian Wars – were a pivotal point in our shared cultural heritage.

After a brief stop for another opportunity to swim from the ship, we continued our journey northwards under power. This took us very close to the peninsula of Monemvasia, a great mass of rock that juts into the Aegean Sea. Monemvasia means “single entrance,” referring to the thin causeway that connects it to the mainland. The impressive city walls of the lower town convey a resounding “no thanks” to would-be invaders. They were erected by the Byzantines to harbor refugees during the Slavic invasions in the 6th century. By the 15th century, Venetian forces had occupied and fortified the summit during their ongoing wars with the Ottomans.

In the evening, we gathered for one last special occasion. We toasted the captain and his crew and staff for another successful voyage. We are all now part of the Sea Cloud family, its newest members, which is a comradery we’ll share for life.