by Kim Kavin
Let’s face it: You have to want to go to Patagonia and Antarctica in order to actually get there. You won’t just happen past while en route to somewhere else. Charter vacations in Patagonia and Antarctica require substantial advance planning, permits, and safety considerations, including the occasional ice pilot.
The good news is that a few serious charter yachts—true expedition vessels—are working on all of that planning now, with opportunities for charter bookings between October and March 2012-13.
In Patagonia, the 150-foot expedition yacht Atmosphere has been perfecting charter itineraries for more than a year now as part of the fleet at Edmiston and Company. Atmosphere is a steel-hulled Asenav with 14 cabins for a total of twenty-eight guests. Those lucky folks are treated to exploration not only aboard the yacht, but also by way of Atmosphere’s custom jet tenders, fishing skiffs, Bell 407 helicopters, sea kayaks, and more. Previous charter guests have used the helicopters to enjoy culinary events that the crew organized in remote locations, as well as to get some adrenaline pumping with heli-skiing. Other guests have watched the beautiful scenery go by from a relaxing spa deck.
Also heading to the southern latitudes this winter is the expedition yacht SuRi, a Halter Marine build that is currently wrapping up a refit in San Francisco to extend her steel hull’s length to a whopping 208 feet. SuRi is heading for Antarctica this winter through 37 South and is bringing along a helicopter, hovercraft, dune buggy, and other adventure toys for her twelve charter guests to enjoy. The recent refit included the addition of a “Windows to the Sea” feature in the bottom-deck media room that turns the yacht’s floor into a glass aquarium for viewing everything beneath the hull. SuRi also now has a climate-controlled, indoor-outdoor dining room for checking out the glaciers while sipping a favorite cocktail in warm comfort.
Not to be outdone, the 228-foot custom motoryacht Sherakhan is also planning an expedition in the region through YCO Yacht. This will be a return trip for Sherakhan, which chartered in Antarctica and Patagonia in 2010 and thus has the inside track on local knowledge for her twenty-six charter guests. She is taking charter inquiries all throughout South America, including Chile, Argentina, and the Amazon River in Brazil. The top-deck hot tub aboard Sherakhan is massive, allowing for eighteen people at a time to soak comfortably while watching humpback whales breach in the distance. There is also a full spa onboard for enjoying some pampering, after days of hiking across glaciers.
Brokers at Edmiston, 37 South, and YCO Yacht can help with everything from charter air flights to ice pilots and appropriate clothing and gear, in addition to booking charter weeks onboard.
For more information, check out our Adventure Yacht Charters category.