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Maritimo 2022Mar - S75 LEADERBOARD

Antarctica by superyacht and submarine, what makes this destination truly unique

by Sarah Mackenzie/West Nautical 29 Mar 23:10 PDT

The superyacht industry is one that is constantly evolving. Year on year we see more exuberant designs, advanced features and amenities that would rival the world’s top hotels, and new adrenaline inducing toys straight from a bond film. We have also seen more yachts visiting more diverse locations due to technical advancements, like the Galapagos, Svalbard and more recently, Antarctica.

Antarctica, the home to incredible wildlife, isolated ice bergs and snow-covered deserts – often the last continent to be checked off your geographical bucket list. Antarctica is the largest single mass of ice in the world and can be up to four miles thick in some places. This means that this icy continent as a whole, contains about 90% of the planets freshwater ice and around 70% of the total fresh water on earth. Antarctica is also home to the southern-most active volcano as well as Lake Vostok; which is buried 4km’s under a sheet of ice and is the size of Lake Ontario in Canada.

So, what wildlife can charter guests expect to see from their superyachts and submersibles?

The uninhabited nature of Antarctica means that the wildlife found on this icy continent is unique and diverse with an impressive array of marine animals and birds including 18 different species of penguins. Travelling to Antarctica to witness the feeding and breeding grounds of these incredible creatures gives you a hint of what their life is like in the wild.

Antarctica is known as one of the best places in the world to go whale watching due to the fact that during the summer months, between October and March, there are up to 10 different species of whale that migrate here to breed and feed. When cruising or kayaking in the Antarctic Peninsula, it is not un heard of for curious whales to seemingly appear out of nowhere to explore.

The killer whale, which can be found in many different parts of the world but are most commonly found in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. These whales are at the top of the food chain and are the biggest carnivores on earth with some reaching up to 10 metres in length. Further down in the food chain are seals. Six different species call the continent home, the largest of which is the elephant seal.

During the summer months, when most superyachts cruise Antarctica, guests will be able to enjoy non-stop sunshine as the sun does not set meaning that Antarctica receives more sunlight than the equator during that time. Superyacht guests can enjoy a truly adventurous holiday including kayaking, hiking and photographing this untouched continent environment.

Due to the nature of the ocean in Antarctica, most superyachts that cruise these waters need specialist ice certifications, meaning that the most likely style of superyacht to be found here is an expedition yacht. These are designed especially for cruising remote locations for longer periods of time, as well as being host to several unique toys; one of which is often a deep-sea submersible.

Submersibles, which are often found on expedition yachts, and can travel to extremely low depths of up to 2,200 M / 7,500 FT, the height of 5 empire state building stacked on top of each other. They can therefore provide access to wildlife far beyond what scuba diving allows as well as eliminating the need to decompress between dives. Superyacht guests who don’t have a diving licence needn’t worry as each sub is accompanied by a pilot to take you down to under the waves.

What better way to view this amazing array of wildlife than to join them in their natural habitat below the surface? And what better way to explore the world above the surface than from the luxurious decks of a superyacht? The perfect relationship between luxury and adventure by spending the days exploring and the evenings making most of the elegant dinners prepared on board.

As technology has developed, so have submersibles as well as how they have been adapted for the superyacht industry including aspects of their design, technology and how they are launched and manoeuvred, all crucial aspects for superyachts. These mini subs are fully equipped with lights, 4K cameras and sometimes robotic arms.

In a 2017 article, Jan Verkerk, owner of 77m explorer yacht Legend said: “the sub is very popular with charter guests. The best place we’ve taken it so far is Antarctica. It is just indescribable to dive there alongside large whales, penguins and seals. You can also see large underwater portions of icebergs. It’s like nothing else.”

Visiting Antarctica is a truly life-changing experience so why not pair it with the luxurious, unique experience of cruising on a superyacht with all the adventurous amenities and activities any person could dream of?

West Nautical sell, charter and manage superyachts from their head office in Newcastle upon Tyne. The business currently employs a team of 21 staff throughout their offices based in the UK, Russia, France and Cyprus. For more information about cruising in Antarctica or any other wild and wonderful destinations, contact them via email.

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