Media outlets across the globe are going gaga this month over one of the world’s most famous yachts. That yacht is Octopus, a 414-footer (126.19-meter). She’s newsworthy to them because she’s for sale, with an asking price of approximately one-third of a billion dollars. She’s additionally newsworthy to them because she was owned by the co-founder of Microsoft, the late Paul Allen. We want to tell you about Octopus, too, but for three completely different reasons.
- Octopus helped make history, on behalf of ocean scientists and researchers. In 2012, Octopus served as the launch platform for a submarine carrying filmmaker and avid conservationist James Cameron. The sub dove down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, 6.8 miles (11 kilometers). It was just the second-ever manned dive to the trench’s bottom. What’s more, the first dive, in 1960, only lasted 20 minutes. Thanks to Octopus, Cameron spent several hours exploring and filming, plus collecting data and samples, unthinkable on that first dive.
- That same year, Allen loaned Octopus to the UK’s Royal Navy, which wished to retrieve the ship’s bell from a famous shipwreck. The HMS Hood sank during World War II in the Denmark Strait. The Royal Navy wanted the bell as part of a national memorial. Naval personnel located the bell, but bad weather prevented taking it to the surface. However, three years later, on August 7, Octopus’ remote-operated vehicle helped the navy recover the bell. It currently sits in a museum in Portsmouth, England.
- In 2017, this time in the Philippines, Allen and an exploration team he assembled discovered a Japanese battleship that sank during World War II. Once again, Octopus played a key role, allowing the team to survey the seabed and locate the vessel. The battleship was Musashi, one of the largest ever constructed. On his Twitter account, Allen shared that he started the search for Musashi eight years prior.
Yes, Octopus is a luxuriously large yacht. Yes, she can carry two helicopters, and has a basketball court. But she’s so much more. That’s the real story.