Indian Ocean yacht charter offers a variety of exposure to civilization and a huge number of islands to explore. The best time of year for yacht charter in Northern Europe is from November to April.
The Indian Ocean has established itself as an alternative to the Caribbean for charters between November and April, with bareboats and crewed yachts alike taking advantage of full-service marina developments. For yacht charters that include fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving in particular, the Indian Ocean’s archipelagos are fast becoming a favorite thanks to their clear waters, unblemished beaches, and lively reefs.
Yacht charter in the Indian Ocean occurs primarily in the Maldives and Seychelles. Each is an isolated island group—you would not charter from one to the other—and each offers an array of developed and undeveloped locations to explore.
The Seychelles is best known for the towering rock formations along its beaches, which regularly rank among the Top 10 in the world no matter which magazine or website is publishing the list. Nature lovers enjoy the onshore turtle preserves as much as the underwater schools of fish, and plenty of harbors remain as nature created them, without a hint of manmade light to mar the starry skies.
The Maldives can be as civilized or as raw as you like, with high-end hotels consuming some atolls and sand sweeping clear across others. As with the Seychelles, underwater life is vibrant in the Maldives. Some divers claim the waters are the absolute clearest on Earth.
Neil Hornsby from Burgess Charter talked about the region for a story in Yacht World Magazine, January 2008:
"For me, the islands of the Indian Ocean come closest to my idea of paradise. Chartering here is completely stress-free, and there’s something for everyone. There is plenty of space for adrenaline-inducing activities, from diving to big-game fishing and wakeboarding. And if you just want to laze in the tropical sunshine, don’t forget you are staying in your own floating palace, with every conceivable luxury at your fingertips.
"There are over 125 islands to explore in the Seychelles alone, ranging from barely touched coral atolls, fringed with perfect sands, to Mahé, the largest and most geared up for tourism. They combined majestic mountains, lush jungle and some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with fantastic diving and snorkelling on hundreds of glistening reefs.
Then there are the Amirantes, a chain of some 28 islands and islets: the perfect place to make the most of your yacht’s ‘toys’ for fishing, water-skiing and snorkelling. More secluded coves and idyllic white sand beaches can be found in the Farquhar islands.
"My personal must-see island is Aldabra, a remote uninhabited coral atoll, where human visitors are far outnumbered by 16,000 giant tortoises. The lagoon is filled with bright tropical fish at high tide and robber crabs when the tide is out, and there are green turtles and rare hawksbill turtles here too.
"Alternatively, for fine sandy beaches and spectacular coral garden, I’d recommend the Maldives. Although only six of the 26 islands in the group are open to tourism, there are more anchorages, reefs and dive sites here than you could hope to visit in a two or three week charter. My tip would be to extend your stay for a few days pampering at Soneva Fushi Resort, north of Malé Atoll: a glorious Robinson Crusoe style hideaway. Whatever our clients are looking for in yacht charter, the Indian Ocean offers endless cruising opportunities in a totally pristine environment."