Paul Allen’s Octopus due in Durban today

June 15, 2006
Author: P&S

Octopus, one of the longest luxury superyachts afloat and belonging to Paul Allen the co-founder of Microsoft, is due in Durban this morning at 08.00 according to sources.

The luxury 126m long vessel, which has its own helipads and submarine hatch complete with submersible explorer (aka submarine) will have about 55 passengers on board when she docks at Durban’s N-shed passenger terminal. The reason for the visit has not been disclosed – in fact the entire arrival remains shrouded in the same sort of secrecy that accompanied a visit by another of Allen’s yachts, the Medusa. But Durban is like any other port the world over, there are no such things as secrets. Too many people simply have to be in the know!

The Octopus’ stay in Durban is likely to be a lengthy one, by all accounts, maybe as long as a month, and that makes it all the more intriguing. What do you do with 55 passengers during that time? Presumably they will be off on safari and doing all the things that wealthy tourists do, avoiding publicity and pretending they don’t exist. Or maybe they will all leave the superyacht in Durban and fly off home.

Motor Yacht Octopus, photographed in Croatia in early June 2006 by Vedan Mlacic and image courtesy of – click image to enlarge

Last week we heard of a large yacht coming to Durban for some repair or maintenance at one of the ship repair facilities. Does 2 and 2 actually make 4? We’ll have to see…

Allen’s largest boat (he has another two) has always been something of a mystery as far as where its destinations. Known internationally as an expedition boat, she is reported to carry a crew of 60 including several former US Navy Seals to care for the safety of those on board. Her submersible is for real and can carry 12 people to explore the ocean depths – not that you’ll see it because it is launched from beneath the yacht. There are two helipads on board and the boat also boasts a garage housing a 4x4 vehicle for those excursions ashore (placed ashore by special landing craft).

With all these trappings it’s a wonder there’s space for passengers. Yet despite this there’s still room for a basketball court, a cinema and recording studio as well as all the other trappings expected on a floating palace at sea.



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