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THIS YEAR’S OBSESSION

With children, it seems that every year brings a new passionate obsession. Pelorus has curated a series of dynamic family adventures,  that covers everything from whale migrations to military history, offering a dose of wide-eyed wonder alongside the thrills. 

Whale Encounters in Australia 

Every year, between June and July in Australia, minke whales congregate around Ribbon Reefs, south of Lizard Island. This annual phenomenon provides the opportunity for close encounters with these inquisitive creatures.

The explorer yacht BELUGA, based out of Port Douglas, has a great deal of experience in cruising and conservation around the Great Barrier Reef. Its captain and crew have also developed close ties with the Minke Whale Project—a Queensland-based research organization focused on dwarf minke whale biology and behavior, the social and economic values of the whales, and the sustainable management of swim-with-whales tourism. 

You’ll be joined on your BELUGA yacht expedition by a guest researcher from the Minke Whale Project. You’ll assist them in gathering data, tagging, and identifying individual whales. When you reach the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll be briefed before your first dive at the world-famous ‘Steve’s Bommie’. Accompanied by dive masters who specialize in minke whale encounters, you’ll descend into Steve’s Bommie to see minke whales, rays, reef sharks, and a vast array of marine life inhabiting the waters around the vibrant coral.

(Best time to go Jun-Jul (perfect for a post-graduation celebration). Experience starts at AUD 99,000 for 5 nights / 6 days and up to 8 guests (inclusive of special permissions and yacht charter).

African Wildlife with a Killer Queen Soundtrack

A trip to Zanzibar offers a chance to satisfy two typical childhood obsessions: the natural world and a taste for the music of Queen. On this east Africa yacht expedition to Freddie Mercury’s country of birth, you and your family will embark on a week of mind-blowing wildlife encounters, from snorkeling with whale sharks, speaking in excited voices in elephant sanctuaries, and discovering the toys in your yacht’s stores.

Anchored near Stone town, you’ll venture on to Prison Island where you’ll learn about the endangered Aldabra Giant Tortoise while contributing to important conservation work. On the east side of Zanzibar, embark on a deep sea fishing expedition alongside a local expert. Afterward, you’ll take your catch to a secluded beach where your chef will prepare and cook a delicious meal over an open beach fire.

Travel next to the Jozani-Chwaka National Park. The largest indigenous forest on Zanzibar Island, you’ll watch the trees for monkeys—especially the endemic red colobus, found nowhere else in the world—as well as the extensive and colorful bird life.

In Stone Town, it’s time to pay homage to Freddie with a visit to Mercury House. Born in Zanzibar, Freddie spent parts of his childhood living in the house while his father, Bomi Bulsara, worked as a cashier with the British Colonial Office. Dinner and drinks are served on a gorgeous rooftop terrace with views of the sultan’s palace, while you tap your foot to a private concert of Queen’s music.

(Best time to go – June – Feb (Christmas Holidays for additional whale sharks and turtles, summer for migrating whales). Pelorus experiences start at USD 30,000 and are highly tailored – the above can be done from private or charter vessels.

WWII – Solomons

Tropical adventure and military history collide in the Solomons, where you’ll see blue lagoons, discover tropical islets, and volcanic isles, pass through croc-infested mangroves, and cruise emerald seas sheltering WWII wrecks.

Land in Honiara and transfer to your yacht. See east Honiara and understand its WWII scars while visiting its memorials. Trek inland to find the 206ft cascade of the Tenaru Waterfalls. While you’re on the island, engage in some fabulous diving experiences, seeing the many wrecks from the Battle of Guadalcanal.

Anchor the next day near Tulagi, on the southern side of The Florida Islands. Dive shipwrecks and a Japanese seaplane located around 98ft below sea level. Discover the caves of crevasses of verdant Russel Island, as well as the famed reef canyon Leru Cut and the Blue Wall with its flourishing nudibranchs. You’ll also find the Mirror Pond here—this striking reef has a sheer wall that reflects the jungle above.  

Your yacht will then cruise to one of the Pacific Ocean’s most active submerged volcanoes at Kavachi. This hotspot for reef sharks makes for superb snorkeling before you head on to the Varea River. Glide on canoes with an expert guide as you look out for saltwater crocodiles.

(Best Time to go – May-Sept or Nov – Jan (Summer Holidays are ideal, better for over 10’s, options to incorporate dive certification for the family as part of the charter. Pelorus experiences start at USD 30,000 and are highly tailored – the above can be done from private or charter vessels.)

Credit Pelorus, Jack Mckee and John Rumney

Volcanoes & Mayan Ruins in Central America

This epic tour of Central America—taking in the Pacific coasts of Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—takes in some of the world’s most varied and biodiverse landscapes. Explore volcanoes, dry forests, and tropical cloud forests while interspersing your journey with cultural ceremonies and gastronomic discoveries.

Your journey begins with landing in Managua, in southern Nicaragua, where your captain and expert guide will escort you to your yacht on the Pacific coast. The next morning, a helicopter will take you to the volcanic Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua.

Here you’ll see the howler monkeys, winding trails, and black-sand beaches of forested ecological reserve Charco Verde Reserve. Dine on a wild lunch, prepped by your crew, at a quiet beach before a quiet swim in Ojo de Agua—a natural spring in the island’s heart. On to Magdalena Farm and its ancient petroglyphs connected to the civilization that, 2000 years ago, lived on Ometepe.

Wake before dawn and travel from your yacht to Masaya Volcano to see the lava glowing in the crater lake. Explore the park’s lava tubes and caves etched with indigenous history before seeing the craftwork of the famed Masaya artisans in the lowlands’ marketplaces.

Reach the Catarina hills to see the Nicaraguan White Villages for stunning panoramas over Apoyo Lake and Mombacho Volcano. Round off your day with a visit to the charming, cobblestone streets of Granada. This lakeside city has a fascinating history involving French pirates and British colonialists. Make your way through the streets to your waiting yacht where you’ll dine on Michelin-quality cuisine on your aft deck.

(Best time to go – Year round (perfect for a half term)). Pelorus experiences start at USD 30,000 and are highly tailored – the above can be done from private or charter vessels.

Experience the Renaissance in Venice 

Arrive in Venice or ‘La Serenissima’ and travel to the much less crowded island of Murano. Discover its mysterious history, when the Doge of Venice moved the city’s glassmakers here in the 13th century to conceal their skills from prying eyes.

See these skills in action with your children, as you watch a glass blowing demonstration at a Venetian glass factory. Afterward, try your hand at mask painting where you’ll learn about the famous Venetian masque before decorating your own in a guided class. You’ll take your masks home with you.

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast on board, with views over the grand canal. Next, embark on a treasure hunt through the floating city. Find the gargoyles on the buildings of Venice, trekking from St. Mark’s Square to Castello. Having solved the riddles and brain teasers, your family will be awarded a special prize.

Arriving back at your yacht, you’ll be amazed at the transformation that has occurred. Venice has invaded, and musicians, players, and decorations are in place for a private masquerade ball on the sun deck. Your family will don their full costumes, and encounter historical figures such as Casanova, Giovanni, and Gentile Bellini, Antonio Vivaldi, Marco Polo, and even the Doge himself. The children, asking questions and learning pattern dances, will feel immersed in the atmosphere of the Renaissance.

(Best time to go Apr – October, perfect for a bank holiday weekend break, or part of a longer charter). Pelorus experiences start at USD 30,000 and are highly tailored – the above can be done from private or charter vessels.

Pirate Boot Camp (Special event charter)

Pelorus has developed an immersive pirate ‘boot camp’. Taking place over a full week’s charter, it’s designed for a group of children and their families.

It begins with the children learning the basics of sailing in small lasers with personal instructors. They’ll move on to climbing the rigging, tying knots with the deck team, and learning to use compasses, charts, and sextants with the captain.

Once they’ve grown in confidence as a group, the children will wake to discover that they’ve been boarded by a motley pirate crew (with a film team) on the hunt for buried treasure! Offered the opportunity to join them, the children will then commence an island and ocean-spanning romp, like the Goonies, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Peter Pan all rolled into one.  

They’ll race across lagoons in their fleet of lasers, trek through the jungle to canopy-high zip lines, and tube down rivers. Splitting into teams, the children will encounter helpful (and less helpful) characters, collect essential items, and solve riddles.

They’ll deploy submersibles to find supplies thought lost in the deep and arrive at a concealed beach to discover a king’s ransom of treats and treasure guarded by a rival crew. Battle will ensue, employing water guns, water balloons, and paint pellets.

Victory declared, a Pirate King or Queen will be coronated. As the sun sets, a Piratical Rumbustification party begins with a barbecue, bonfire, and musicians before a curated fireworks display, worthy of the theme.

(Can be set up anywhere in the world to suit but Pelorus advises Caribbean, Central America, and the South Pacific as favorites). Pelorus experiences start at USD 30,000 and are highly tailored – the above can be done from private or charter vessels (not inclusive of equipment such as submersibles etc).

As Featured By Boat International

“For the team at Pelorus, nothing beats working with parents to design a custom experience around their children’s latest passion.” 

“One group of children and their families dreamt of joining Blackbeard’s crew. Pelorus created a fully immersive prorate boot camp, where guests young and old mastered the basics of sailing in dinghies and learned to climb the rigging and tie knots. They then embarked on a multi-island treasure hunt with the yacht’s crew members, a team of actors, and a film crew. The hunt involved everything from submersibles to jungle zip lines, culminating in an epic battle on a beach, with music, a bonfire, and fireworks.”

Pelorus was thrilled to share our unique yachting ideas with Boat International for their November 2021 issue. When it comes to these types of trips, your child’s mind is the limit. It’s a great way to capture young imagination and unite everyone in discovery and adventure.