Sea Cloud guests had a restful overnight at anchor in the Bay of Katapola on the western side of the Island of Amorgos. Following breakfast, the ship’s Zodiacs quickly transferred our group to the quay of the small and charming port town of Katapola. Boarding our island buses with guides Kriton and Roula, we climbed from the port up a series of switchbacks with evermore expansive views of the bay, of the town, and of beautiful Sea Cloud at anchor. We crossed over the spine of the island and saw below us, at the bottom of a near vertical limestone shoreline, the vastness of the deep blue Aegean Sea.
Our drivers skillfully brought us to the drop-off gate from which we first glimpsed the Hozoviotissa Monastery, appearing like a white nest or beehive plastered on the side of towering cliffs above the sparkling sea. Most guests elected to slowly climb the stone trail with some 300+ steps, and the destination proved unforgettable. Entering the monastery, dating from at least the 11th century AD, we marveled at the narrow stairways, small rooms, cells, rock-hewn chapel, and the rooftop of this remote and wondrous monastery. Although the structure is some eight floors high, most of the building is narrow, only a few arm spans.
After the visit, the group hiked down to the buses for the short transfer back up to the Hora, the old town which had been positioned there, not easily seen from the sea, as a protection against raiding pirates. We were dropped off at the higher end of Hora, and we slowly made our way down the picturesque main pathway in this most typical and authentic of Cycladic old towns. We explored the small squares, gleaming white houses, bright colors, cafes, and winding alleyways. Some guests took a drink at one of the charming cafes, and others shopped in the small venues. Avid photographers found abundant subjects and images. Meeting the bus at the bottom of Hora, our drivers returned us to the port town where guests could explore more and where a few took a swim from shore before taking Zodiacs back to the ship. As a surprise, Captain John had arranged for “Sea Cloud Swim Club” to be opened. Many guests took advantage of this and had a refreshing, though slightly choppy, swim before lunch.
Once outside the bay, we immediately felt the effects of the increasingly strong winds of the meltemi from the north. The captain and crew put up a number of sails to take the ship westward, where we were somewhat protected from the brunt of the wind, south of Naxos and surrounding islands.
At 1830, expedition leader John Frick presented “A History of Sea Cloud” at the lido bar. Afterwards, guests participated in the Sea Cloud “Open House,” where some guests staying in the original owners’ cabins opened their cabins for fellow guests to view. The captain kept the ship under sail throughout the night as we sailed toward the island of Milos.