Sailing the Aegean Sea

Aug 31, 2018 - Sea Cloud

The final day of our trip was spent enjoying the Aegean Sea. We began with a morning lecture on the Fourth Crusade during which the western knights and Venetian sailors besieged the Orthodox Christian city of Constantinople—a fascinating tale that ties together various aspects of the region’s history. In the aftermath of this event, the Byzantine Empire was fractured, Constantinople was ruled by a Roman Catholic emperor, and many islands and port cities came under Venetian rule, further strengthening Venice’s ability to dominate trade in the Adriatic and the eastern Mediterranean. After the lecture, we had one final swim off the ship, making this the third sea in which we swam on this voyage: the Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean seas.

In the afternoon, we enjoyed one last afternoon under sail in the Aegean. This sea is named for the legendary King Aegeus of Athens who long awaited the return of his son, Theseus, from Crete. When he saw black sails on the returning Athenian ship, he believed his son was dead, and he jumped into the sea—now named for the grieving king—to his death. The legends tell us, however, that Theseus was very much alive, and he went on to perform many heroic deeds in the mythical Greek past.

Unlike the black sails of Theseus’ ship, the weathered white sails of National Geographic Sea Cloud stood out against the bright blue Aegean sky. We concluded our evening with a cocktail hour on the Lido Deck, followed by an unforgettable dinner in the ship’s ornate dining room.

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About the Author

Rebecca Ingram


A research associate with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), Rebecca Ingram has studied ancient Mediterranean seafaring and trade since 2000. She earned her M.A. (2005) and Ph.D. (2013) through the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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