A PASSION TO DISCOVER NEW WORLDS AND EXPERIENCES
Today, the greatest luxuries are achieved through experiences. Discovering new adventures and exploring new worlds generate memories that are more valuable than any tangible luxury. Enhancing those experiences are the latest tools, technologies, and amenities that make the most of modern travel and enable travelers to share their adventures. To honor this pursuit of Modern Exploration, Robb Report Studio presents one of today’s greatest adventurers, destinations for pursuing adventure, and journeys designed for the adventurous—all of which will inspire a passion to explore new experiences.
DESIGNED FOR MODERN EXPLORATION
Philippe Cousteau has exploration in his blood. He is the grandson of the legendary French explorer Jacques Cousteau and the son of Philippe Cousteau, Sr., who was also an explorer and helped produce dozens of aquatic and conservations films during the 1960s and 1970s, many of them with his father. For Cousteau, following those two monumental legacies drives his unrelenting desire to explore and share his adventures with the world.
“My father had a saying that adventure is where you lead a full life,” Cousteau told Robb Report Studio. “I think my work has been in part a way to connect with him and who he was.”
Cousteau’s father died tragically during an expedition six months before his birth. He also lost a close friend, Steve Irwin (aka the Crocodile Hunter), who died on expedition while they were filming their underwater documentary Ocean’s Deadliest (Cousteau’s first full-length documentary) after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb. But these tragedies don’t discourage Cousteau; they empower him.
“Growing up with my father’s tragedy and experiencing Steve’s tragedy actually has made me embrace adventure more,” he says. “I think those experiences had a counter effect, where I recognized that life is short—so embrace it. Engage in these adventures. Don’t recoil from them. Quite the contrary, seek them out and pursue them.”
With this determination to explore preprogrammed into his DNA, Cousteau carries the torch of his family’s legacy. The 37-year old Emmy-nominated television personality currently hosts and executive produces the weekly syndicated television series Awesome Planet, which is now in its fourth season on Fox and Hulu. He also produced and hosted the science-based comedy series for CNN’s digital platform Great Big Story called The Aquatic World of Philippe Cousteau, which is a tongue-in-cheek take on Wes Anderson’s film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou starring Bill Murray and Owen Wilson. During the short educational episodes, which are illustrated with aquatic animations reminiscent of those in the film, Cousteau explores and discusses some of the unique wonders of the ocean.
As a special correspondent for CNN International, Philippe hosted several award-winning shows, including Going Green and Expedition Sumatra. He’s also hosted underwater and exploration films and series for several television networks, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, BBC, and Planet Green, among others.
Together with his wife Ashlan, who is a journalist and also an explorer, the deep-sea diving duo currently star in the Travel Channel’s newest adventure series Caribbean Pirate Treasure. The series premiered in August and follows the Cousteaus as they search for sunken treasures in the Caribbean.
“The whole idea for the show is to explore the history and mystery of pirate legends and stories that we all heard about growing up,” says Cousteau of Caribbean Pirate Treasure. “There’s billions of dollars of treasure and artifacts that are still scattered throughout the Caribbean. My wife found a 40-pound bronze ingot, which is very valuable, and at the time was considered almost as valuable as gold and silver. We also found all sorts of musket balls and cannonballs, but my favorites were spoons, plates, and other everyday items that have been buried for the last 350 years.”
Beyond documenting his incredible underwater adventures, Cousteau also carries on his father and grandfather’s passion for conservation. In 2004, Cousteau and his sister Alexandra founded the nonprofit organization EarthEcho International to honor their father. Its mission is to inspire young people around the world to become active in conservation efforts.
“In October, we’re doing an expedition through EarthEcho where we provide educational content exploring critical environmental issues to schools throughout the country and the world,” says Cousteau. “We’re filming that in Southern California and looking at issues around water and drought. Following the story of water in Southern California is fascinating.”
Cousteau sees these conservation efforts as further extensions of his and his family’s legacy. Working with children through EarthEcho and all of his films and shows gives Cousteau a wide-reaching medium to tell the stories of his adventures, educate the world about the wonders of the ocean, and help inspire global conservation efforts.
“Growing up with my grandfather and father’s legacy and the stories from my mother, who spent 13 years on expedition, was so impactful,” says Cousteau. “In large part because of that, I’ve had some pretty amazing adventures of my own. Telling those stories, so it’s not just a selfish act, is my way to help people understand and explore the world. It’s no wonder my dad and grandfather loved this work.”
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Stories of Adventure from Philippe Cousteau
Hunting for Treasure
“Last time I had a wetsuit on I was filming the last episode of Caribbean Pirate Treasure for Travel Channel and that was in the Silver Bank [submerged land bank, north of the Dominican Republic] in July. We were in Antigua, Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, Tortola, the Commonwealth of Dominica, which just got hit really hard by hurricane Maria, as well as the Dominican Republic, Texas, Florida, Belize, and Roatan. It was a terrific adventure exploring the history and mysteries of all the pirate lore and stories we grew up with. My wife and I got to do that together, which made it even better.
“My grandfather is remembered for his conservation work for the environment, etcetera. But what people forget is that a lot of his early work was focused on underwater archeology. In fact, he even went searching for a famous treasure ship in the Silver Bank. In one episode of Caribbean Pirate Treasure, we went back to find the same ship he found, and we did which was the thrill of a lifetime. He loved mysteries and history and stories about swashbuckling adventure. So, it’s been a lot of fun to connect with that side of my legacy through this show.”
Giant Cannibal Squid
“I’ve been diving with sharks all over the world—great whites, you name it—but the scariest thing I’ve ever done, or at least the creepiest, was for a series I did with the BBC called Oceans. It was about 10 years ago and we were filming these juvenile giant squid in the Sea of Cortez that can be 5 or 6 feet long. These squid don’t have suction cups on their tentacles; they have hooks almost like little teeth all around them, so they can grab stuff. And they’re carnivores and have even been known to be cannibalistic.
“They live in the deep ocean, but they migrate up to the surface to hunt at night and when they do, they come up in the thousands, flashing a deep red color up and down their body. So, when you’re on the boat, you know they’re there because you see this red glow starting to come up underneath you—like you’re descending into inferno.
“We were filming, so we got in the water and descended to about 100 feet in the pitch black. It was just the cameraman and myself and we were tethered to the boat, because the current would sweep you right out to sea and you’d be gone forever. So, we were floating in the water and started seeing this red glow slowly rising up towards us.
“And then all of a sudden, there’s just these things darting all around. This 6-foot squid comes right up in your face and starts touching you. They’re very curious and their eyes are big, so you can tell they’re looking at you. Then all of a sudden there’s a dozen of them swimming around you. Then one of them bumps into another one and they fight and tear each other apart right in front of you.
“For the hour that we were filming those squid, I had communications in my helmet and I was trying to describe without terror in my voice to the camera what was going on while we were hanging 100 feet deep in pitch black with a ripping current in the middle of the Sea of Cortez. That was probably still to this day the craziest dive I’ve ever done.”
The First Adventure and Near-Death Experience
“My grandfather passed away when I was 17, but for many of the last years of his life he wasn’t out in the field, so I never got the opportunity to go onto Calypso [Jacque Cousteau’s famed research vessel] or to spend time with him on expeditions. So, for my 16th birthday, my mother said that an old family friend—imminent oceanographer and leading pioneer for women in oceanography Dr. Eugenie Clark [aka the Shark Lady]—was leading a trip out to Papua New Guinea. And my mother contacted her and [Dr. Clark] said, ‘We’d love to have Philippe.’
“It was really my first trip on my own in the wild. We were on a small research vessel in southeastern New Guinea for two weeks. It was this experience of camaraderie and the discovery and that adventure that really got me hooked. But I got a horrible ear infection from some really warm, nutrient-rich water. As a 16-year-old kid does, I was jumping off the top of the boat all the time and the water was getting in my ear. One morning I woke up and there was blood all over my pillow.
“We were days away from the nearest land. Nobody had antibiotics, which now I always carry with me wherever I go. When we got back to shore, I went to a clinic with nuns in the middle of nowhere. It was basically just a hut. And they looked in my ear and were like, ‘Wow, this is bad. There’s nothing we can do to help you. We don’t have antibiotics here. You need to get to a hospital because it’s now in your middle ear and your ear is bleeding. If the infection keeps going into your brain, you’re in real trouble.’
“Getting to the nearest hospital, you had to get in an airplane, which means you had to go up, and my ear was all infected and swollen—but I had no choice. Luckily, I made it and my ear just barely equalized at the top of the flight, but it was agony the entire time. We landed in Port Moresby [the largest city in Papua New Guinea]. I got to the clinic and the doctor put me on the strongest antibiotics right away. I went back to the hotel and couldn’t fly for a few days—but I was scheduled to go to the Highlands [of Papua New Guinea].
“And so, after about 24 or 48 hours, my ear started to get better, so I decided to go against doctor’s orders—because when you’re 16, you don’t always make terrific decisions. I flew up to the Highlands, where we visited with the native Huli people. These people live without the modern conveniences and technology we enjoy, but have a rich culture. They live in grass huts and hunt with bows and arrows. We were seeing these people who have really only been exposed to western culture for 20 years. It was this whole crazy experience—where I almost died and had this terrible infection and then seeing these indigenous people—that made me say to myself, ‘Wow, this is like Indiana Jones. I want to do this.’ That, I think, was the most impactful expedition for me and really set me on a course. There’s been some pretty amazing adventures since, but it’s always the first adventure that really sticks with you.”
Annual Calendar Chronograph
The Annual Calendar Chronograph is a timepiece showcasing Ulysse Nardin’s unique in-house production capabilities, avant-garde technical execution, and rare aesthetic artistry. Supplementing the mechanical achievement of the Swiss watchmaker’s UN-153 calibre in-house movement is a chronograph with 30-minute counter, as well as a month and date counter. The watch features a handsome dial—forged using the Grand Feu kiln-firing process—with the classic detailing that makes Ulysse Nardin timepieces iconic and immediately recognizable.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
With almost 2,500 acres of ski slopes and more than 400 inches of annual snowfall, Jackson Hole, Wyo., is an ideal destination for winter exploration. It is set at the base of the beautiful Teton mountains in the Grand Teton National Park, located just south of Yellowstone National Park, with easy access to three world-class ski mountains. Beyond phenomenal downhill and cross-country skiing, Jackson Hole also offers snowshoeing, snowmobiling, dog sledding, and other winter activities. For discerning travelers, it is also home to two of the finest luxury resorts in North America, especially for winter adventures: Amangani
One of only two U.S. properties from London-based Aman, Amangani is a standout of hospitality in America—and from its location amidst Wyoming’s stunning wilderness, it is all about adventure. The resort offers incredible ski packages, including options with heli-skiing or snowcat access to powdery backcountry slopes. It also gives guests opportunities to view Wyoming wildlife such as elk, deer, bison, moose, bears, and wolves. Among Amangani’s staff is a naturalist, who can take guests on guided tours of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. Snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and dog-sledding excursions are among the other adventurous experiences available at Amangani.
Amangani features 40 suites, each with terraces or balconies giving guests expansive views of the surrounding mountains and forest. The interiors are contemporary with a rustic décor utilizing natural materials like wood and stone. The resort also offers reservations for its larger multi-bedroom homes. Other highlights include Amangani’s fine-dining restaurant, outdoor Jacuzzi and 115-foot-long infinity pool, and a wellness facility with treatment rooms, steam rooms, and exercise studios.
Amangani nightly rates start at about $800.
Located slope-side at the Jackson Hole Mountain, Four Seasons Resort and Residence, Jackson Hole, gives guests easy access to some of the best skiing in Wyoming. The resort is just steps from chairlifts, and it overlooks some 5,000 acres of skiable terrain. As part of its Base Camp outdoor-adventure service, the Four Seasons’s ski concierge can help guests with everything from rentals and lift tickets, both offered at the resort’s full-service ski shop, to lessons, a ski valet, and expert excursions such as heli-skiing and guided backcountry skiing.
The resort can arrange biologist-guided snowshoe tours through the Grand Teton National Park and winter wildlife safaris in a luxury SUV, during which naturalist guides take guest on expeditions to view everything from bison and bears to bighorn sheep and bald eagles. Other activities available at the resort include snow yoga and stargazing. During summer months, the resort offers guided trips into Yellowstone National Park to discover secret waterfalls, geysers, and more.
Accommodations include 124 guest rooms and suites and 34 private residences, with three restaurants on site and an 11,685-square-foot spa with 16 treatment rooms.
Four Seasons Resort and Residence, Jackson Hole, nightly rates start at about $500.
VESSELS FOR EXPLORATION
South American Superyacht Adventures
VESSELS FOR EXPLORATION
South American Superyacht Adventures
With the Caribbean as the destination of choice for a leisurely yachting experience (during the northern hemisphere’s winter months), South America is better suited for adventure and exploration, especially the waters off the coast of Patagonia in the southern areas of Chile and Argentina.
The Patagonian landscape is considered among the world’s most beautiful, with the scenic Andes Mountains rising in jagged peaks inland from Chile’s west coast, while the pristine shores of Argentina on the east coast are home to remarkable biodiversity and coastal wildlife. These and other wonders of the continent are perhaps best explored during a superyacht charter. Of the limited number of true luxury yachts chartering in these remote destinations, Aquijo
are standouts, with creature comforts on par with those of the world’s finest superyachts, as well as features and performance capabilities to create the ultimate South American adventure.
When it launched last year, the sailing superyacht Aquijo made quite the splash. Not only is the 282-foot yacht the world’s largest high-performance ketch at 1,538 gross tons, it is also the result of a collaboration between two iconic shipyards, which is something of an industry rarity. The two Dutch builders Oceanco and Vitters Shipyard, which specialize in 200-plus-foot motor yachts and high-performance sailing yachts, respectively, combined forces to create Aquijo, which features an exterior design from Tripp Design Naval Architecture and an interior by Dölker + Voges.
Unlike many high-performance sailing yachts built largely for speed, Aquijo focuses on exceptional comfort, with features designed for taking in the far-flung destinations that the yacht visits. Standout exterior spaces on the tri-deck yacht include the capacious flybridge, with 360-degree views that guests can enjoy from a big U-shaped sun pad, a hot tub, or one of the two large sofas with gimbaled tables that keep the surfaces level, even while at sail in rough waters. The yacht’s interior highlight is the water-level beach club, which is among the largest of any sailing yacht and features a spa area with a sauna, steam room, and hot tub, as well as direct access to the swim platform aft.
The yacht charters with an array of toys and tenders, including eight sets of dive gear. It sleeps up to 12 guests in a flexible seven-cabin layout, and charters with a crew of 17.
Aquijo is chartering is South America this winter through Y.CO, with availability in Patagonia for the month of February. Weekly charter rates start at about $540,000 (€450,000).
This yacht was built to explore. Launched in 1973 as a Cold War icebreaking vessel for the Soviet Union, Legend underwent an extensive, yearlong refit in 2015 at the Dutch shipyard IconYachts, which transformed it into a go-anywhere luxury superyacht. The refit included the addition of 100 tons of steel and aluminum to further reinforce the structure and lengthen the hull by about 12 feet to make room for a swim platform at the stern and a large 16-person pool with a waterfall on the main deck aft. Also included in the refit was a helipad on the owner’s deck for a Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter. While Legend is perhaps most comfortable breaking ice during trips to the Antarctica or the Arctic, it is equally well suited for adventurous charter trips in South America or around the world. The yacht has an incredible range of 7,640 nautical miles.
Because of its considerable interior volume, Legend can sleep as many as 26 guests in 13 cabins, with a 19-person crew. A crew of 10 can be added for expeditions, and includes a doctor, ice-pilot, various expedition leaders, naturalists, and other experts. Beyond its rugged capabilities, the yacht’s onboard list of toys and tenders further expand its options for adventure. It charters with a U-Boat Worx C-Explorer submarine, which can take two guests and a pilot to depths of nearly 1,000 feet. Other toys include scuba, snorkel, and fishing gear, snow scooters, WaveRunners, kayaks, paddle boards, waterskis and wakeboards, and tenders for sport and transport. For onboard entertainment, the yacht features an indoor movie theater—on the aft deck, movies can be projected onto the pool’s waterfall—as well as massage and beauty salons and a Balinese-style spa with a Jacuzzi and sauna.
Legend is chartering is South America and Antarcticathis winter through Camper & Nicholsons International. Weekly charter rates start at about $590,000 (€490,000).Legend
Timing is everything, especially for competitive sailors. For its new Regatta chronograph, Ulysse Nardin partnered with the Swedish Artemis Racing team, a contender for the 35th America’s Cup. The watch’s defining feature is its bidirectional sweeping countdown timer, which counts down to the start and then seamlessly begins timing the race. The wristwatch recalls Ulysse Nardin’s nautical roots with a classic design that is well suited to wear on and off the water.
DESIGNED FOR MODERN EXPLORATION
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