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Megayachts

Outside In

Of all the fish living today, more than 96 percent are teleosts, or bony fishes. They evolved from fish that had external skeletons, eventually developing tough internal bones that made them stronger and swifter swimmers, able to explore anywhere.

It’s hard to imagine prehistoric exoskeletons—to comprehend what nature looks like when it is literally turned outside in&mdashuntil you find yourself in the Seychelles’ Vallee de Mai. This nature reserve houses Coco de Mer palm trees still growing in what is believed to be their original form, hundreds upon hundreds of years old, with an outside-in approach to reproduction. Protruding male structures fertilize female flowers, producing the world’s biggest (40-pound!) seeds in clear view of anyone who simply looks up. It’s a fascinating thing, and it makes you wonder why some of nature’s creations retain their prehistoric ways while others, like the teleosts, adapt to the changing world environment.

Northeast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, the scientific-minded owner of the 161-foot Feadship Teleost has found a cruising ground that is both home to such wondrous mysteries and an example of evolution itself, at least as it pertains to luxury yacht charter. The 115 islands that comprise the Seychelles are the land that time literally forgot. The fact that the international airport was nonexistent until 1971 explains how places like the Vallee de Mai can exist, untrampled by human feet alongside other Seychelles stops like the island Curieuse, home to free-roaming giant tortoises with massive shells that look Jurassic.

The natural ecological state is one of the many things this yacht’s owner likes about the Seychelles and explains why he has made his yacht the first of any size to spend more than a single, shortened season offering charters here. He is literally bringing the outside world of luxury charter in, as the vacation destination itself evolves.

“It’s not a volume-based destination, and hopefully it never will be,” Capt. Nigel Burnet explains as we cruise from the Seychelles’ main island, Mahe, toward the Inner Islands where Teleost typically cruises. She was one of just 17 luxury yachts that visited the Seychelles all of last year, and among those one of only two or three that offered charters. “We’re the only yacht that has done two six-month charter seasons here. We use it as a base. The other boats tend to come through here, maybe stopping on their way from Australia to Europe.”

Teleost is outfitted for the place, too. While her interior has elegant mahogany, her plethora of watertoys practically screams adventure. The owner is into fishing, scuba diving, and all things active, and he wants to enjoy his hobbies with all the modern trimmings, even in places so off-the-beaten-course that few yachts ever follow.

It took me about 30 hours to get from my front door in New Jersey to Teleost’s passarelle in the Seychelles, and I must admit that during the trip&mdashwith the easiest connecting flights from New York in either Dubai or Paris&mdashI thought more than once about how no cruising destination on earth could be worth sitting on an airplane for so many miles.

This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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