For those of us who enjoy luxury charters with a healthy side dose of scuba diving, the options can seem as rare as a great blue hole. Most larger yachts don't offer scuba because of insurance costs and liability. Captains say their goal is to avoid creating new shipwrecks, as opposed to exploring old ones.
The handful of charter yachts that do offer scuba tend to be owned by serious divers, with the setups designed to enhance the owner's particular dive profile. Luckily, in the case of the 135-foot Christensen Atlantica, the owner has as strong a passion for comfort as he does for scuba itself-and has thus outfitted the boat not only with all the gear a serious diver could need, but also with a 37-foot Intrepid tender that truly enhances the scuba experience.
Now, I know what you're thinking: Intrepids have been around forever. Lots of motoryachts tow them for fishing, touring, and water sports fun. And you're right. Michael Obolsky, senior vice president of Intrepid Boats, told me that sales to megayacht owners make up about a third of the company's business. In fact, his company just delivered a 35-foot twin diesel boat to Cakewalk, the 281-footer that will become the largest yacht built on U.S. soil since the 1930s when it launches from Derecktor Shipyards. "Some owners are buying two Intrepids at a time," Obolsky told me. "They keep one in the Caribbean and one in the Mediterranean, so that they don't have to tow or transport them in between the seasons."
Even still, only a fraction of the world's megayachts are available for charter, and so the combination of one with a top-notch scuba program and an Intrepid remains somewhat rare. Ask any charter guest who has been forced to hurl herself like a beached whale into a RIB while treading water after an otherwise perfectly pleasant dive, and you'll elicit plenty of wistful cries for what feels like the absolute decadence of an Intrepid with drop-from-the-hull-side swim steps. And decadence, after all, is what charter should be about at the $110,000-per-week price point where Atlantica competes.