By JOSIAH DANIEL RYAN
It was tougher to figure out than one of the Microsoft error messages. The founder of the software giant, multi-billion dollar American tycoon Paul G. Allen, arrived here last Friday and flew by helicopter directly from Ben-Gurion Airport to his 300-foot yacht, the Tatoosh, which was docked at the Ashdod port.
The public was not informed of Allen's trip, Microsoft did not respond to multiple inquiries about the nature of the mission, and members of the news media were banned from the port until the craft, which is the 20th largest privately owned in the world, sailed out on Saturday.
Some news outlets reported over the weekend that Allen came to Israel to visit an unknown marine archeological site somewhere off the coast.
Allen is known to be interested in archeology and according to the Yacht Website, www.Yachtspotter.com, his ship contains a dive compression chamber, a special dive room that opens out directly into the ocean on the right-side, and several smaller crafts for exploration.
A source inside the Antiquities Authority said they did not coordinate with Allen on any archeological expeditions.
A spokesman for the Ashdod Port, which is the sole port in Israel large enough to accommodate such a private mega-yacht, said Allen's helicopter landed directly on one of the two pads on the fifth deck of the Tatoosh. The ship, with its 30-person crew, had been in Ashdod since Wednesday, and sailed out with Allen on board on Saturday.
The Tatoosh also contains a 30-meter swimming pool, a movie theatre, a dedicated helicopter, and a 43-foot sailing boat.
Allen, who co-founded the giant Microsoft Corporation with Bill Gates, also owns the fourth largest private yacht in the world, the Octopus, which boasts its own submarine.
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