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Antarctica, as a charter location, is a catch-as-catch-can kind of place. A handful of charter yachts head there each year, some better outfitted for the environment than others.
A true explorer yacht for charter in Antarctica is special news, and that’s exactly what the 413-foot Lürssen Octopus is. Built in 2003 for Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Octopus is a global explorer with an Ice Class steel hull. Allen used the yacht for ocean research until his death in 2018.
Last year, Octopus joined the charter fleet for the first time, through Camper & Nicholsons International. The charter dates in Antarctica—with weekly base rates starting at $2.2 million for 12 guests—are part of a two-year world itinerary that Octopus began in January. The journey is expected to see the yacht in Costa Rica, Panama and South America this year, with the Antarctica visit starting in early December.
Charter guests will add their experiences to countless others that have happened on this yacht, which has, among other things, had a recording studio aboard for Mick Jagger, Usher and U2.
Guests will have access to seven tenders, helipads, a gym, a spa, a 15-person cinema, a library, a medical suite and a dive center with a hyperbaric chamber. They also can view one-of-a-kind art, including a signed photo of Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins near the American flag that Frank Borman and Jim Lovell carried aboard the Gemini VII spacecraft in 1965.
It’s hard to imagine a charter yacht with a better spirit of adventure, not to mention the outfitting for incredible experiences in a remote destination like Antarctica.
What to Do
An Antarctica charter itinerary can start at King George Island. From there, Octopus can head into the remote wilderness with views of icebergs and penguins along the way. In the Gerlache Strait, humpback whales are a common sighting. Next, guests can head ashore from Orne Harbour for a hike with an overlook that takes in the whole bay. At Port Lockroy, there is a post office where guests can send postcards home. The Lemaire Channel is home to various kinds of seals. Here, the crew can launch a tender to cruise through the ice, as close as 12 feet to the wildlife. At Cuverville Island, the gentoo penguins await, followed by Enterprise Island and its resident fur seals. At Deception Island, it’s possible to cruise into the crater of a live volcano.