In a few months, the 233-foot (71-meter) megayacht Enigma XK will be in Antarctica. She’ll be cruising with two special guests aboard: staff from EYOS Expeditions. The owner is particularly keen on charter guests getting a truly adventurous—and safe—experience. And, the relationship doesn’t end in Antarctica. Enigma XK will continue to work with EYOS Expeditions on future explorations elsewhere.
Enigma XK was built in 1988 as Norna, for the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency. She served in the North Atlantic under sometimes punishing conditions. The yachtsman who acquired her in 2011 was attracted to her powerful looks and sturdy construction. He wanted her profile and capable hull preserved, but obviously the interior redesigned for luxury. The two-year-plus conversion took place at Atlantic Refit Center in La Rochelle, France. Still fitted with her original Ruston diesel engines, Enigma XK can reportedly maintain 18 knots in sea states that would have many purpose-built luxury yachts pulling back on the throttles. Her captain, Iltud Orio, says Enigma XK “can safely punch through pack ice. She is a well-equipped, go-anywhere yacht that will be just as comfortable navigating the Northwest Passage as calling at coastal villages in Papua New Guinea.”
He adds, “Our working with EYOS is about much more than just having their expedition team onboard. It represents a shared philosophy—a complete commitment from top to bottom to provide the very best expedition experience possible to the highest standards of safety and environmental protection.” Enigma XK has a 21-person crew, who have earned high praise from Capt. Ben Lyons, CEO of EYOS Expeditions. “There are very few yachts in the world that are designed and built as true expedition yachts,” he comments. “Even fewer have a professional, fully staffed crew that understands the demands of an expedition and can embrace the spirit of flexibility needed to make it a success. Enigma XK is one of those few, and we look forward to leading world-class, bespoke expeditions to remote, wild, and culturally rich locations aboard this incredible yacht.”
The idea of safety is underscored time and again by EYOS Expeditions. Heading to Antarctica—or the Northwest Passage, or other areas—is not a simple task. The yacht needs special reinforcement, and typical yacht tenders are no match for ice. Furthermore, the crew need special assistance. The Med and the Caribbean are nothing like remote locations. Likewise, the crew, owners, and guests need to understand that shifting ice and other effects of Mother Nature often dictate last-minute itinerary changes. EYOS Expeditions’ team not only knows the vagaries of Antarctica, but it will also acquire permits, arrange helicopters or private planes, and more for Enigma XK.
One of the benefits of having two expedition leaders from EYOS Expeditions aboard Enigma XK: two possible land excursions for guests. “Some clients may want to go kayaking in Neko Harbor, Antarctica, while others would prefer a hike up to a spectacular view over a glacier,” Lyons explains. “Whatever their interest is, we can supply an experienced guide to enrich their expedition.” That includes photography, ornithology, and history.
When they’re not enriching their minds, charter guests aboard Enigma XK can indulge in creature comforts. There’s a massage room, a hair salon, and a gym. They can soak in a hot tub, hop aboard a variety of watertoys, and be a passenger in a 4×4 vehicle. Staterooms are comfortably appointed, with the master (above) enjoying panoramic views.