The vast penguin colonies, whales and other marine life make excellent viewing when on an explorer expedition to the “White Desert”
Gone are the days of the ultra-wealthy sitting on their pristine pleasure boats, sipping expensive champagne, moored on the French Riviera. Superyacht owners are now more inclined to want to feel the icy cold Antarctic winds, listen to the sounds of the living rainforest or taste some of their fresh catch from untouched waters teeming with fish.
With yachts getting longer, wider and more luxurious, cashed-up travellers are able to traverse the globe and explore far-flung destinations, many of which have remained untouched by mankind, in complete comfort and luxury.
There are 197 Explorer Class superyachts registered around the world at the moment and a further 32 are being built, with 28 due for launch in 2022, according to BOAT Pro data.
An Explorer Class Yacht is basically a superyacht that can go anywhere; it needs to have a large enough fuel tank to motor to the furthest reaches of the world’s oceans and back again.
These yachts must also have a strong hull for the roughest of seas and the most dangerous of weather. Most of these vessels have what is called a wide, displacement hull which means the boats cut through the water as opposed to gliding along the top of it.
Many of them are even Polar Code B compliant, meaning they can travel to the polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctic.
The exploration-style expedition trend is in full swing and companies such as EYOS Expeditions are seeing a huge surge in business.
“Fifteen years ago when the company started, the idea of taking a yacht to an expedition destination was seen as foolhardy and crazy. Now it’s the hot industry trend. As more and more people see the amazing experiences their friends are having, we are seeing more yachts being built for these locations,” co-founder Ben Lyons told Boat International.
Adventurous expeditions to the Arctic, Antarctic, South Pacific and remote Atlantic are often undertaken by adventurous owners looking for something more from their luxury vessels and many of them are undertaking important scientific research while on these trips.
The following destinations will not be found on a typical postcard, but are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on even the most well-travelled tourist.
The bottom of the world is surely one of the most remote and uninhabited destinations for a seafaring adventure, and the Antarctic Peninsula, near Tierra del Fuego, boasts breathtaking snowy vistas and vast icebergs.
Activities while on a tour of Antarctica include heli-skiing, seal and penguin spotting and the ultimate thrill of a polar plunge to get you close to the amazing wildlife that call this desolate continent home.
But just because you are on the trip of a lifetime to one of the most remote parts of the planet, that does not mean you have to miss out on the finer things in life. In fact, explorer yacht expeditions often prove to be extraordinarily luxurious.
Spend the morning admiring the seabed from the yacht-launched submersible, then get straight into the onboard hot tub and enjoy champagne and prawn cocktails in the icy air. Such adventure coupled with luxuriant experiences are typical on an explorer cruise, like the highly-rated motor yacht Octopus, and one of the reasons they are becoming so popular.
Expeditions to Antarctica take two helicopters out of necessity. There is no search and rescue in Antarctica and no infrastructure, meaning expeditions must be fully self-sufficient.
Built and delivered in 2003 for late Microsoft founder Paul Allen, Octopus is kitted out with the latest in expeditionary equipment and technology. A helipad fitted out for onboard refuelling means there will be no destination too remote for you to explore.
A vast, glass-bottom onboard swimming pool and heated spa, as well as a range of tenders and a dive centre, will allow you to really explore Antarctica, or what many call the final frontier.
Papua New Guinea
Home to over 850 language groups and five per cent of the Earth’s biodiversity, Papua New Guinea is an unforgettably fascinating country.
Described as a “diving Mecca,” a trip here aboard an explorer class yacht, with the diving equipment and expertise of the expedition guides, offers some of the best underwater experiences on the planet.
The country is located in what is called the ‘Ring of Fire’, a highly volcanic active ring around the Pacific Ocean, and is also on the boundary of the Coral Triangle, home to diverse marine life on tropical reefs. The huge variety of species present in this underwater wilderness is unmatched.
Visitors to the remote villages of Papua New Guinea describe a cultural dance known as the ‘Baining Dance’ to be one of the most powerful spiritual spectacles they have ever seen. Participants don masks and costumes made from local materials and dance through a burning fire until the fire is put out.
Visitors to these remote parts are welcomed by colourful, impassioned ceremonies by the local people. An expedition here is a must for anyone who has an interest in anthropology, or for those just looking for a unique cultural experience.
The Dania Baru is an excellent yacht to explore the waters of Papua New Guinea. A luxuriously appointed superyacht, Dania Baru is the first and only BKI Classed wooden vessel operating in Indonesian waters, meeting stringent safety requirements.
Built of Ulin Ironwood by the renowned Konjo Boat Builders from South Sulawesi, the yacht is famous for being one of the best quality “phimosis”; traditional two-masted ships that were originally used as trading ships along the spice routes of South-East Asia.
The Chilean side of rugged Patagonia is a completely unspoiled assemblage of fjords and glaciers. A place of staggering beauty, this region of Patagonia is separated from the Argentinian side by The Andes mountain range and is the perfect place to escape the modern world.
Chile has protected most of its share of Patagonia and many remote parts of its vast area have never been visited. On the other side of the mountains lies the wide-open grasslands of Southern Argentina with its wild horses and emerald forests surrounding teal and azure lakes.
The Argentinian city of San Carlos de Bariloche overlooks the stunning glacial waters of Nahuel Huapi, surrounded by the Andes. Accessed through Chile but technically in Argentina, this remote city hosts a variety of wellness resorts and spas where you can take in the dramatic, untouched mountain scenery.
The Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is an exciting destination for the adventurous expedition with its many glaciers including the 30 kilometres long Perito Moreno surrounded by forbidding ice fields and populated by massive penguin colonies.
Cordillera Darwin on the Chilean side of Patagonia is another must-see destination on a yacht expedition to Patagonia. Activities such as hiking, mountaineering, ice climbing and wildlife watching are popular in this sparsely populated area, which also plays host to exclusive luxury ski resorts.
Cruise through the beautiful Leucayec Channel and visit the island of Melinka which used to be a sanctuary for pirates. Then, keep a lookout for Blue and Alfaguaras whales while you cruise through the Gulf of Corcovado to scenic Islote Conejos.
Once in Islote Conejos you can venture ashore for an unforgettable experience with the Magellanic penguins which inhabit the island.
South Pacific Islands
The Pacific covers almost half the globe and is an excellent destination for an explorer-class superyacht. The thousands of small islands and atolls that are dotted over the ocean provide the perfect expedition with the potential for some truly unique experiences.
Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu are all accessible by superyacht and are home to white sandy empty beaches, picture-perfect reefs, surf breaks and an abundance of spectacular marine and birdlife.
If the open ocean calls you, the Pacific islands will bring you on an adventure to the high seas where you can snorkel the World War II plane wrecks in Micronesia or explore the remote islands and beaches of the Cook Islands. An explorer class vessel is essential for the distances required to get between the multiple destinations in the Pacific.
Tahiti is known as “The Jewel of the South Pacific” and is a French archipelago of volcanic peaks rising out of the azure blue ocean, idyllic crystal clear lagoons are surrounded by lush rainforest and populated by friendly, gentle locals.
The islands and atolls of Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora and Huahane are all close to Tahiti and surrounded by coral reefs teeming with colourful wildlife, charter a yacht with tenders and jet skis to explore the pristine waters surrounding them.
Home to some of the most romantic destinations on the planet, the South Pacific is a wonderful place to charter a yacht because of the freedom you experience at the helm of one of these engineering marvels, take a good guide and relax in one of the most inaccessible and exciting places on earth.
This article originally appeared on Fancy and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com