Superyacht submersible specialist U-Boat Worx has teamed up with the not-for-profit Aurora Trust Foundation and SubSea Explorers, a marine archeology expedition company, to offer unique adventures in a superyacht sub, exploring 2,000-year-old Roman shipwrecks off Sicily.
You will be taking part not as a tourist, but as an exploration crew member working from inside a C-Explorer 3 sub from U-Boat Worx. The programme features eight one-week missions, beginning June 20 and running through August 21. During each mission, the adventurers will be part of a three-person crew in the air-conditioned submersible, diving up to 150 metres and documenting and photographing the undisturbed Roman shipwrecks around the Aeolian Islands.
The Aurora Trust Foundation discovered three Roman shipwrecks near the island of Panarea. “This is a real bucket-list adventure. You will become an authentic explorer and one of the first persons in 2,000 years to lay eyes on these ancient Roman shipwrecks,” says Ian Koblick, co-founder of the Aurora Trust Foundation.
Participants will each undergo three missions in the C-Explorer 3 that is built with 360-degree views. They will work alongside a marine archeologist and the submersible pilot to try to uncover some of the mysteries of these newly discovered wrecks, whose wooden structures have long since deteriorated but whose amphora/cargo are remarkably intact. Under supervision of the Sicilian government, some artifacts will be removed from the sea floor to be curated and displayed in regional exhibits.
“This type of program hasn’t been done before because the local governments have wanted to keep their ancient shipwreck locations very private so people don’t disturb them,” Koblick says. “Through our exploration efforts during the past 10 years we have built close relationships with governments and individuals which enable us to provide this unprecedented opportunity.”
The Aurora Foundation was founded in 2004 by ocean explorers Craig Mullen and Ian Koblick, to expand man’s knowledge of the ocean and its critical role in the development of civilization. The Foundation has been active in exploring the central Mediterranean, where its work has led to the discovery of more than 24 ancient Greek and Roman shipwrecks, as well as the sunken British submarine HMS Olympus, and other World War II wrecks.
U-Boat Worx’s submersibles are proving very popular with superyacht owners, and several of the three-person C-Explorer 3 subs are already in service aboard yachts.
The cost of the tours are dependent on the type of programme the client chooses. For example, with accommodation on an island villa a programme costs from $19,700 per guest. For a week staying aboard a 40-metre yacht, it costs $240,000. Participants also have the possibility to make use of their own yacht.