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For the yachting professional on the Mediterranean

EYOS Expeditions

Article by Chris Clifford

CALL OF THE WILD

EYOS Expeditions will take your owner, crew and yacht on an unforgettable voyage to some of the world’s most remote and beautiful places on our wondrous planet

EYOS Expeditions

Expedition. The very word conjures up images of explorers, wild. and untamed regions, spirited adventure and perhaps the ultimate form of travel; authentic, unscripted, raw. In the yachting context, ‘expedition’ is used to describe voyages beyond the well-established ‘classic cruising’ destinations, often to remote regions where nature plays a dominant role and shore-side infrastructure, and support is absent.

For many owners, taking their vessels to the Polar Regions or to the remote tropical areas is a chance to realise their dreams, and to get the most out of their vessel. By any definition, expedition cruising is the fastest growing niche within the yachting industry, with many existing yachts heading out into the wild blue yonder while the new generation expedition yachts are in build. For many adventurers EYOS Expeditions is the ‘go to’ company for yachts seeking to voyage away from the classic cruising routes and has completed a staggering 1200 safe and successful expeditions. Rob McCallum, Co founder of EYOS explains, “Our clients are owners and charterers who want to experience the most pristine parts of our planet. They are wanting authentic experiences; the type of voyages that nourish the soul, reaffirm bonds of family and friendship, and in everyday life.”

Part of the growth dynamic is created by the owners generating their wealth at a younger age; vessel owners (and charterers) are getting younger and have the fitness and vigor to explore their world. McCallum contiues, “We see a shift to ‘experiential cruising’ by owners but even more so with charterers. These folks are wanting to ‘seize the day’; they want to grab life and shake it; to squeeze out every experience they can. They don’t go to simply look; they want to jump right in and scuba dive, hike, go down in a submersible, head out on the helicopter… they want to immerse themselves in the experience.”

For many yachts the polar regions hold an immediate and powerful allure. Ben Lyons, CEO of EYOS adds, “The polar regions are a magnet; seeing a polar bear at home in the Arctic wild is always an incredible experience, especially when you’re on a yacht with all the time in the world. The Antarctic is regarded as the pinnacle of expedition cruising…..every owner (and captain!) wants that notch in their belt.

Polar cruising poses a unique set of challenges, not only for the participants but for the yachts themselves. “Most of the client vessels we take to the Arctic and Antarctica are classic yachts rather than expedition yachts. To achieve this safely, we work with the captain to take the yacht through a checklist of around 60 discussion points in a conversation that helps us get to know the vessel, and helps the crew learn about the conditions we are headed for.”
The discussion produces a report on the capabilities of the vessel that captains can then use to illustrate to insurers, class, and flag that the yacht is taking a responsible approach.

EYOS Expeditions
EYOS Expeditions
EYOS Expeditions

“It’s really important that we quickly synchronise with the captain and crew; we are taking the vessel towards the limits of her design parameters and our mission is not just to give everyone an awesome experience, but to get them home safe and to protect the boat.”

When it comes to departure yachts will carry an ice pilot and an expedition leader to help supplement the crew and to enhance the safety profile. “Our ice pilots are all highly experienced commercial captains with many years of ice experience. The bridge team usually love them; they have an ice expert right there in their bridge…it’s 1:1 tutorial on every watch; they come away from the voyage with a lot of advice and experience.”
The yachts generally move every ‘night’ to make up distance and provide guests with a new playground for the following day. The Expedition Leader takes care of everything off the boat, arranging hikes, cruises, wildlife encounters, photography trips. “Every trip is completely customised to the participants; it’s our job to make everything perfect.”

As you might expect, the polar regions offer the opportunities for incredible wildlife encounters, interaction with Arctic culture, adventurous activities (think; skiing, hiking, iceberg cruising, diving) and a disconnect from the everyday world, but there is far more.

When asked, Tim Soper, Co Founder of EYOS says, “I think the thing that most amazes our guests is the sheer immensity of it all. The crisp clean air, the stunning light, endless ice vistas and landscapes, the unspoiled nature of it all…..until you see it first-hand you simply cannot appreciate the scale of these seldom visited regions.”

Yet Polar regions receive few visitors and offer visitors the chance to experience genuine wilderness. Consider; Antarctica, the 5th largest continent, has less visitors in an entire year than a single Superbowl game….and those visits are mostly confined to small areas utilised by commercial expeditions.

Yachts that obtain a permit are able to access well beyond these confines, often conducting an entire voyage without seeing another vessel. In the Arctic the numbers are also small enough to guarantee a wilderness experience; only 300 vessels in history have traversed the North West Passage.

EYOS Expeditions partnered with the renowned Dutch Shipyard, Damen Yachting to design the SeaXplorer the world’s first purpose-built expedition yacht. The first design to meet the Polar Code, the SeaXplorer is arguably the world’s most capable expedition yacht; ice-strengthened, helicopter capable, able to carry a submersible and with the space and systems to support a whopping 40 days of endurance.

In summary McCallum adds “The people that visit these regions are already mindful of the state of our planet; they are well read and in tune with current affairs; but when they see these areas, they start to wonder what they can do to help. We offer opportunities to contribute to science, and to conservation, so that visitors can maintain a connectiveness after they leave.”
For more details visit www.eyos-expeditions.com