The Caribbean and Mediterranean have been yachting havens for decades, and rightly so. With their sun-drenched beaches, their culture-filled towns and villages, and their glorious cruising grounds it is no wonder yachts are lured to their hallowed shores. Yet a growing demand for new and more exotic yacht charter destinations is driving a whole new side to the superyacht industry. Remote Pacific atolls, Alaskan fjords, Antarctic icebergs and wildlife-laden jungles are now tantalisingly possible.
A new fleet of explorer superyachts are gracing the waves, designed for long-range cruising, adventure-filled expeditions and even ice breaking. Yet while these new yachts are rugged and tough, designed to be fully self-sufficient and cruise to the far corners of the globe, they do so all with the inimitable superyacht luxury. They promise adventure and excitement and fulfil a deep-rooted wanderlust to see the most staggering landscapes, astounding wildlife and untouched paradises the world can offer.
Explorer Yachts: The Epitome of Exploration Vessels
The iconic 126 metre Octopus set the bar when it came to explorer superyachts with her launch in 2003, a concept which, until then, was virtually unheard of. Since then she has explored the coast of Antarctica, traversed the Northwest Passage and recovered the ship’s bell from the wreck of the HMS Hood at a depth of 2.8 kilometres. With a range of 12,500nm, Octopus is fully geared for long passages at sea with a spa, library, cinema, spa and gym to help pass the time. It’s when you add in the helicopters and submersibles, the SUV and dive centre with hyperbaric chamber that we realise we’re talking about a completely different breed of superyacht.
Today Octopus is far from alone in exploring the world’s remote destinations. Hot on her heels are a fleet of explorer yachts – also known as expedition yachts – available for charter. These strong, ocean-going vessels carry state-of-the-art navigation, communication and engineering equipment, have over-sized fuel tanks for long-range cruising, and are equipped with the most advanced exploration equipment invented. Take the ruggedly handsome 72 metre Cloudbreak, which was designed for an owner with a passion for heli-skiing on remote snowy mountains, or the 77 metre Legend, whose sport fishing boats, submarine and snow scooters promise tropical or Arctic adventures. While they’re both undeniably well-equipped, they don’t lack the superyacht luxury, with sleek and sophisticated interiors and a suite of comforts including swimming pools, movie theatres, spas and saunas.
Long range is a pre-requisite for explorer yachts, with yachts such as the ice-class Planet Nine able to cruise for 6,000 nautical miles without needing to refuel. With helicopters and a refuelling system, a panoramic observatory lounge and dynamic positioning she is primed for far-flung destinations.
To Cruise Where no Yachts have Cruised Before
Many remote coastal destinations are really only accessible by explorer yacht. Destinations gracing this tantalizing list range from the Cocos Islands to the Galapagos, from Norway’s Svalbard to Canada’s Baffin Island, Greenland, South Georgia, Antarctica, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. These places lie at the very heart of expedition cruising and provide for fantastic and exclusive experiences.
Whether guests dream of whale-watching in Argentina’s wild and windswept Patagonia region, of diving with great schools of hammerhead sharks in the Cocos Island, or walking with sea lions and tortoises in the Galapagos Island, then explorer yachts are answering the call of the wild.
The Arctic is a firm favourite for explorer yachts, this far-flung land on the edge of the world one of the last true wildernesses. Where else can you stand on the deck of your superyacht and watch wildlife frolic on the shore, or hear the mighty crack of white thunder as great icebergs calve off even greater glaciers? From frigid seas inhabited by narwhals and whales, to towering snow-capped mountains where polar bears roam, a wildlife-watching voyage to the Arctic can never be anything but epic.
On the other side of the planet, below the gently shimmering waters of Indonesia’s 1,500 Raja Ampat islands is the greatest coral reef diversity in the world. The natural beauty of the archipelago is undeniable. Sparsely populated, jungle-clad islands emerge from the clearest of turquoise waters where white sand beaches are tucked into sheltered coves and hidden lagoons await exploration. To explore these mostly uninhabited islands and cays by superyacht is an adventure into the unknown, where scuba diving and snorkelling, kayaking and sailing while away days.
Whether it’s meeting the remote tribes of Papua New Guinea or the Solomon Islands, cruising the vast Pacific Ocean to French Polynesia or Vanuatu, or heading to the white continent of Antarctica, the only limits to explorer yacht charters are your imagination.
If the intrepid adventurer in you is burning with wanderlust, then get in touch with TJB Super Yachts and our team of passionate brokers and together we can make those distant dreams an adventure-filled reality. They will be able to introduce you to the perfect explorer yacht for your expedition, ensuring that every adrenaline-filled activity or wildlife bucket list is fulfilled.