"We are focused on Experiental Return on Investment"
Pelorus, a unique travel company, wants jet travellers to fly beyond Whistler and Monaco and instead explore Eritrea, Kamchatka and Papua New Guinea.
THE RISE IN heliskiing means that a helicopter flying overhead is pretty common in popular ski resorts. But if you fly to British Columbia, adventure travel company Pelorus can offer you a genuinely unique experience: heliskiing at night.
Originally invented for a Phillips Lighting commercial, night skiers (who need to be pretty advanced) are given a ski-suit covered in 7000 LEDs. The mountain and the natural bowl is then lit up using a sequence of 4000-watt coloured spotlights.
“British Columbia is an amazing adventure playground,” says Jimmy Carroll, co-founder of adventure travel company, Pelorus. “But there is also fantastic skiing in Alaska and Kamchatka in the Russian Far East.” Carroll says that not enough business jet owners – or charter customers are aware of how jets can help them explore the world. “Business jets can open up amazing places that are almost impossible to get to in other ways,” says Carroll. “There are so many exciting places where you can fly in and out, that are best reached by private jet.”
Geordie Mackay-Lewis, managing director, and Carroll launched Pelorus in 2017. Named after a handheld navigation tool used by sailors for centuries, they describe the company as an ‘experiential travel and yacht expedition specialist.’ The two founders have been travelling the world for years. Both started their careers as officers in the British Army and met while serving in Afghanistan, before going on other expeditions. Their focus now is on opening up the world to luxury travellers – without their customers having to rough it (unless they want to). The business is split into three parts: land experiences, adventure yachting and an agency focused on business-to-business travel.
They do not sell yacht or aircraft charter, instead they work with brokers to create experiences they can sell. Their clients include owners (and their family offices), brokers, shipyards and others. “One of the things we have been doing is sitting down with yacht owners to develop their two-year cruising itinerary where we make sure they have the time and ability to explore where they want,” says Carroll. “We would love to do the same with jet owners and operators.”
Although the majority of superyacht owners and charter customers focus on the Mediterranean, Pelorus wants them to look further. Mackay-Lewis has just returned from Eritrea, the small North African country. “The diving is amazing, there are World War Two wrecks and the visibility is fantastic. This water is so much better than Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt or Baja in Mexico,” says Mackay-Lewis. As well as Eritrea, the company is very excited about Australia’s vast and rarely visited Kimberley region; Svalbard, part of Norway in the Arctic Circle at 77.87 North; visiting tribes in Papua New Guinea; sailing around the Antarctic; and many other places. “Yacht owners are going further than before – and a lot of new people are coming into yachting to do this and we want to make this possible and easy for them,” says Mackay-Lewis.
Top left: Exploring Australia’s last frontier, The Kimberley, by yacht
Above: Kayaking through Atlantic Rainforest on the River Iguazu in Argentina
As well as Eritrea, the company is very excited about Australia’s vast and rarely visited Kimberley region; Svalbard, part of Norway in the Arctic Circle at 77.87 North; visiting tribes in Papua New Guinea; sailing around the Antarctic; and many other places. “Yacht owners are going further than before – and a lot of new people are coming into yachting to do this and we want to make this possible and easy for them,” says Mackay-Lewis.
Few owners want to spend time on yachts sailing across oceans. So, Pelorus specialises in finding convenient airports for private aircraft, including a handful of military bases, where owners can get to their yacht. “Although our job looks glamorous, our real strength is to add value to tough things like permits, provisioning, creating different options and back-up plans. When yacht captains realise what we do – and when they realise that we are there to help them and not tell them what to do – they love us.”
As well as yachts, the pair are also keen for business jet owners to use their aircraft to travel more. “One of our investors is a wealth manager and he loves our business because we are trying to get owners a return on the asset they have bought,” says Mackay-Lewis. “Everyone is talking about ROI, we are focused on EROI - Experiential Return on Investment. If you have bought an aircraft or a yacht there are amazing experiences out there.”
Pelorus likes to give customers at least three different possible itineraries every day – and will often have more for bad weather.
“Our customers expect choice, but I don’t think any trip has ever worked out exactly as we planned,” says Carroll.
“Last season we had lots of people who wanted to sail the northwest passage in the Arctic, but it was full of ice. The same is true of land adventures where animals have not been around. Although we can play the odds using things like trap cameras and helicopters. We have even paid three Icelandic fishermen to spot whales for us.”