A sense of adventure
by Tim Thomas, David Pelly
Senses (59.22m, Schweers/1999)
Long range, the ability to carry a selection of tenders including a pilot boat launched from a ramp in the stern, and a helicopter with a retractable hangar, are among the key features of this purpose-built, rugged expedition yacht.
She was bought six years ago by brewery tycoon Sir Douglas Myers who, with his wife Barbara, planned to use the yachts capabilities for long range, extreme cruising. She also has an experienced crew, who have taken her up the Amazon, into the uncharted atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago, close to volcanoes in the Andamans and through the red tape of Indonesian bureaucracy whose twists and turns can be more difficult to negotiate than the reefs and currents in the channels, according to Max Cumming, the yachts first officer and relief captain at the time of the Myers second circumnavigation in 2008 to 2009.
Their aim was to visit favourite waters and ports from previous cruises, and also to get off the beaten track wherever possible to experience even more remote locales, says Cumming.
From Central America, _Senses _made for the Panama Canal, then San Diego for some yard work before heading to Alaska in pursuit of whales, bears, eagles and the vast and isolated wilderness of the Katmai Peninsular. It was then a non-stop passage to Hawaii and then on to New Caledonia, where the owners objective was fishing bonefish in particular, as Sir Douglas is an expert in saltwater fly-fishing techniques.
After Papua New Guinea, in order to complete a circumnavigation, the Indian Ocean had to be tackled and once again, the risk of encountering pirates had to be faced.
Previously Senses has used the somewhat comical but effective ruse of a mock foredeck gun, which, added to her grey hull colour and military silhouette, had given enough of an impression to keep all but the Yemen Coastguard away, says Cumming. This time, two British former SAS chaps were engaged for the expedition.
Before heading back to the Med, there was a chance to take in the Seychelles.
The southern atolls are seldom visited, enthuses Cumming. One of them, Aldabra, is a World Heritage site par excellence, while Madagascar is home to more endemic species than any island on Earth.