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Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage: How to complete the commendations, journals, and get secret loot

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage
(Image credit: Rare)

If you're new to Rare's pirate adventure, the Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage deserves your time. Initially, Rare dropped players into the vast ocean with no tutorial, but new players now have the Maiden Voyage in Sea of Thieves (opens in new tab) to guide them through the early moments. Returning players can embark on this special solo mode too, and they totally should as there are commendations, cosmetics, and even a hidden cache of gold and doubloons to find. With our guide, you'll be able to earn all ten Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage commendations, find all of the Pirate Lord's journal entries, and depart the tutorial with much heavier pockets than you arrived with.

Beginning the Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage

The first few steps of the Maiden Voyage are basically on rails, so you can't mess them up. Follow the Pirate Lord's instructions. You'll need to eat a banana to heal, pick up the cutlass, dispatch the skeleton, head to the beach to collect the shovel and treasure map, then locate the treasure, dig it up, and return it to the Pirate Lord. He'll then give you the rest of your equipment and at this point you can end the tutorial by fixing your ship and sailing away, bit don't leave so soon. There are many more treasures to be found.

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage commendations

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage commendations

(Image credit: Rare)

There are ten total commendations to collect. Unlocking them all will also net you your first cosmetics in the game and you won't need to spend a single coin to acquire them. Those include the Pirate Lord's stylish jacket and the sails from his fabled (and now splintered) ship, the Magpie's Wing. Here's a full breakdown of the ten commendations and how to unlock each one.

  1. A Fine Catch
    For this, you need to catch a fish. You can do this by heading to the sea or any of the inland pools of water, like the waterfall base behind you when you first begin the Maiden Voyage. Follow the on-screen prompts to learn how to fish and within about a minute you'll have earned your first commendation.

  2. A Hearty Meal
    Now head to the shore where you'll find some wild chickens running around. Sorry to say, but you need to slash one of these feathered friends and collect the raw meat that's left behind. Now take it back to where you began the voyage. There's a campfire there. Place the chicken in the pan and let it cook. Each food item takes a different amount of time to cook. You'll want to cook them to perfection for maximum healing benefits. Hint: chicken takes 60 seconds. Remove the food when it's browned but not charred and enjoy a second commendation.

  3. Saluting the Pirate Lord
    To "salute" the big man, you'll want to head inland to his can't-miss shipwreck. It's cut in half from the crash and you'll want to head to the left (north on your compass) half. Head up the ladder or stairs until you see the red barrel in the corner, behind a ladder. Don't worry, this one doesn't explode. It holds cannonballs. Interact with it and take some cannonballs up to the top deck. Load the cannon, aim, and fire away to earn a third commendation.

  4. Hidden Secrets
    For this, you'll need to get into the Pirate Lord's "secret hold." Doing so will unlock the next commendation, but it's such an attraction and takes several steps that we've detailed it in full further down the page. Look for the section titled "Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage secret loot location."

  5. Yer Boat
    This one requires you to operate a rowboat. You need only to do it for a moment, but it's sort of well hidden. To get there, cross the low-lying bridge separating the two landmasses. One is where you've been the whole time, with the campfire and the ship. Cross to the other side and follow the path through the rock formation which spirals down to a closed door.

    Pull the level to open the door and continue on the path until you see a capstan. Turn that to lower another door, which then reveals a cave exit where lies your rowboat. Sit in it and begin steering it to get the next commendation. Note that you can also swim into this cave from the point where you're exiting, but you'll want to be familiar with this area to collect some journals anyway, so it doesn't hurt to take the winding road.

  6. A Storied Crossing
    This commendation takes the longest and requires you find all of the Pirate Lord's scattered journals around the Maiden Voyage island. Like the loot stash, we've given these journals their own section below. Look for "Sea of Thieves Pirate Lord journal locations."

  7. Unto the Horizon
    This commendation pops automatically the first time you complete the Maiden Voyage. If you're all set collecting the journals and the hidden loot, head back to the Pirate Lord down by the beach and he'll tell you to go fix your ship. Like in the intro, just follow the on-screen prompts and in a few moments you'll sail through what is essentially a scripted preview of the otherwise unpredictable adventure that awaits you.

    A megalodon will swim alongside your ship, a skeleton ship will appear, and then a kraken will rise from its inky depths to swallow the skellie ship whole. As your ship sails through the Devil's Shroud and toward the Sea of Thieves, the opening title sequence appears (quite majestically, we'll add) and your commendation for completing the voyage will be unlocked.

  8. The Adventure Begins
    This unlocks like a platinum trophy on PlayStation, once you've unlocked all other commendations in the Maiden Voyage.

    The final two commendations award cosmetics and they pop once you've earned Unto the Horizon and The Adventure Begins respectively. You can do this across multiple playthroughs, so don't worry if you didn't finish off the list in one go. Enjoy your new sails and jacket. If you still need help finding the journals or the secret cache, read on.

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage secret loot location

The treasures within the Pirate Lord's secret hold are perhaps the greatest reason to play the Maiden Voyage, and the game is totally comfortable never making you aware of it. To earn an instant 25,000 gold and 200 doubloons, here's how to get into the secret location.

First, return to the Magpie's Wing, the shipwreck in the center of the island. Climb to the top of the ship back where you fired the cannon and walk across the fallen mast. This will put you next to a small pool of water as seen below.

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage secret loot

(Image credit: Rare)

Dive into that water, straight ahead using the angle in the screenshot above, and search for a hidden key. It's always in the same place but it's easy to miss. You're better off pushing along the pool's rocky wall until you see the prompt to pick it up.

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage secret loot key

(Image credit: Rare)

Once you have the key, return to the shipwreck, this time staying on the south (now left) side of the wreck, opposite the side you just came from. Head to the base of the wreck and look in the shadows for a secret door. It's locked, but you've got the key. Hooray!

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage secret loot

(Image credit: Rare)

Use the key to open the hold and climb down the ladder to discover the best part about the Maiden Voyage. Scattered in several overflowing chests you'll find a massive bounty of 25,000 gold and 200 doubloons. This is the kind of bounty early adopters of Sea of Thieves wish they had access to in 2018, but if you're new to the game, we're happy for you anyway. Nope, not jealous at all. 

Make sure you empty every loot chest before you go. And before you ask, the loot doesn't respawn. From here on it's all hard work and determination that will enrich you – okay and maybe some double XP weekends.

Sea of Thieves Pirate Lord journal locations

There are 10 journals in total to find in the Maiden Voyage, and if you're interested in the lore of Sea of Thieves, they're definitely worth reading when you find each one. Here's where you can find the whole collection. They can be found in any order, but we've tried listing them in a way that flows with your playthrough should you be going for all commendations on one run.

1. Regarding Merfolk

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage Regarding Merfolk

(Image credit: Rare)

The first journal is under water at the sight of a shipwreck right next to where you dig up your first chest as part of the tutorial. Dive in, swim under a bit of wreckage, and you'll find the first journal.

2. The Sea of the Damned

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage The Sea of the Damned

(Image credit: Rare)

The next journal is behind the waterfall next to where your quest begins. You may have used this pool to fish. Swim behind the waterfall and find the next journal against the rock wall. What kind of adventure game would Sea of Thieves be without a secret behind a waterfall?

3. They Gave it a Name

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage They Gave it a Name

(Image credit: Rare)

For the third journal, head to the shipwreck. On the side with the captain's wheel, you'll find the next journal sitting beside the wheel.

4. Lost Secrets

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage Lost Secrets

(Image credit: Rare)

The next journal isn't far at all. Simply climb to the top of the crow's nest to find it.

5. So Near and Yet...

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage So Near and Yet...

(Image credit: Rare)

The last of three journals tucked away on the shipwreck is back on the side with the cannon. Look in the lower deck, hidden in a shadowy corner beside a pair of broken barrels.

6. My Secret Plan

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage My Secret Plan

(Image credit: Rare)

This one is found in the secret hold where you found all the loot from before. If you skipped that step, scroll up and follow the steps to find the hidden loot stash to also grab the journal laying beside the riches.

7. Lords of the Sea

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage Lords of the Sea

(Image credit: Rare)

Head to the low bridge that connects both landmasses and look below it for a ladder. Climb down that ladder and search along the rocks beside the water for your next journal.

8. Paintings from the Past

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage Paintings from the Past

(Image credit: Rare)

Now head back to the spiral path on the other side of the island, only this time keep heading up it, and then over some rocks, until you hit an overlook with the next journal sitting there.

9. Making Camp

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage Making Camp

(Image credit: Rare)

Now return back down to the spiral pathway, and continue down to the door with the lever that opens it. If you were chasing commendations, you may have already opened this one. Right on the other side of it is a campfire with the next journal.

10. A Ship That Fits

Sea of Thieves Maiden Voyage A Ship That Fits

(Image credit: Rare)

Head past the campfire and down the trail some more. Again, if you've already been here, the next door is open. If not, turn the capstan to lower the door and head in to where you either used the rowboat, or you now find one there. Turn around to see a ladder. Climb up that ladder and you'll be met with a caged wall. Along that wall is the next - and final - journal.

With all journals, commendations, cosmetics, and a big cache of free loot all collected, you've now successfully completed the Maiden Voyage to 100%. Now get out there and become Legend, or crash into some rocks, whichever comes first.

Mark Delaney

Mark Delaney is a prolific copywriter and journalist. Having contributed to publications like GamesRadar+ and Official Xbox Magazine, writing news, features, reviews, and guides, he has since turned his eye to other adventures in the industry. In 2019, Mark became OpenCritic's first in-house staff writer, and in 2021 he became the guides editor over at GameSpot.