The ultimate in private yachting adventure
Aug. 30, 2005 01:00 PM
Private adventure yachting is the “end all be all” for discriminating travelers. It is a world that is continuously in transition as new global destinations and adventure possibilities are discovered. We’ll take you inside the luxury world of cage diving with Great White sharks and show you how to plan your personal National Geographic-style adventure in comfort aboard your own private yacht.
A New Era of Exploration
Until ten years ago, high-end travelers had limited options for satisfying their adventure bug. Now well-heeled explorers have expanding opportunities to climb Mount Everest for $100,000 or rent their own private game preserve in Kenya. According to the World Tourism Organization, an agency of the United Nations, “eco-tourism and nature tourism are growing three times faster than the tourism industry in general.” Today’s active vacationers want unique far flung experiences with nature and they’re willing to pay for them. As a result, the two vacationing styles have merged, forming a new trend known as “high-end eco-tourism” that has become more popular than ever.
This was the realization of Patric Douglas, CEO of Absolute Adventures-Shark Diver (www.sharkdivers.com). Douglas is best known for taking clients Great White shark cage diving at Isla de Guadalupe, Mexico. His operation is based out of San Diego, California.
“More and more of my clients are seeking the experience of a lifetime, and something truly extraordinary that stands out from all their other vacations. Shark diving gives them a thrilling way to be closer to a rare and fascinating predatory species.”
Growth and Allure of Shark Diving
Once relegated to the world of extreme thrill seekers and scientists, shark diving has grown in popularity as an eco-friendly alternative to other adrenaline adventures such as private heli-skiing and guided rock climbing. However, unlike other extreme sports, cage diving with sharks is quite safe. Despite the fact that the movie “Jaws” kept us out of the ocean long after its debut, more people die from bee stings than shark attacks.
Great White sharks remain one of nature’s most beautiful yet misunderstood creatures. They are really shy and slow moving animals. Viewing them under water is more than just an adrenaline rush. It is poetry in motion. Most people emerge from the cage with a sense of calmness and a newfound respect for the species.
Unfortunately the Great White shark and other shark species are rapidly becoming extinct. According to the World Wildlife Federation “a rising demand for shark skins, fins, meat and other parts has led to a worldwide boom in shark fishing. And as sharks are at the top of the food chain, the slaughter of 100 million a year has severe repercussions for the whole marine ecosystem.” This is one reason why so many people are signing up for cage diving trips. There is no better time than the present to see these incredible creatures in their environment.
Shark Diving Charter-Industry Inside Tips
There are two ways to cage dive with Great White sharks: book or build. If you want to book, Douglas introduces CEOs and private clients to shark diving adventures aboard the M/Y Kayana. This 120-foot yacht was designed by renowned European ship craftsman Jon Bannenberg to cross the Atlantic on her own hull. Owned and operated by CEO Expeditions (www.ceoexpeditions.com), the Kayana is capable of taking passengers anywhere in the world in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. Her shared interior spaces are warm, open, and exquisitely furnished. You’ll find plenty of room on the upper deck for sunning, enjoying the view, or perhaps a soak in the hot tub. The extraordinary aft deck is beautifully appointed with teak decks and furnishings. The main salon features madrona paneling and plenty of comfortable seating, where you can spend time relaxing, playing games, reading, or watching your personal shark diving movie with family and friends. The dining area can seat ten and showcases a unique, beautifully stamped copper table. Accommodations fit ten guests in five luxurious double staterooms, including the full beam master stateroom located midship. Each stateroom is comfortably furnished and equipped with its own entertainment system complete with satellite television.
The private staff aboard the Kayana also take the finest care of you, from personalized dive masters that see to your cage diving needs, to bait wranglers that bring the sharks towards the cages for close-up viewing, to a private videographer who will document your adventure from topside and cageside vantage points. To further enhance guests’ experience, the master chef uses the freshest ingredients available to create mouth watering specialties - even cooking the day’s local catch upon request. Each meal is a culinary masterpiece. For one four-course dinner, the chef on the Kayana served tomatoes stuffed with wild greens in a beet vinaigrette with balsamic syrup, followed by seared ahi in a soy glaze with pickled ginger and seaweed salad, followed by a roasted pillar of beef and lobster tail with gorgonzola mashed potato, mushroom sauce, and roasted asparagus, followed by a chocolate tuile (a thin, crisp, cup-shape cookie) with vanilla ice cream and blueberries inside a spun-sugar cage. Guests can also sample wines from the owner’s own personal collection, one of the finest private cellars in the Northwest, along with their meal.
“Shark diving has never been attempted on this scale before,” says Douglas. “It’s a perfect marriage of luxury and high adventure.”
Alternatively, a few private yacht owners and eco-adventurers build their own shark diving cages to offer a lifetime experience to their onboard guests. In fact, Douglas and his team designed and built custom cages for one client who took his family Salmon shark diving off the waters in Gravina Bay, Alaska, aboard their 160-foot Delta yacht. On that trip, the owner hired Douglas to guide the boat crew through the lessons of safer shark diving.