This left crossing the Indian Ocean to South Africa, either on the southern route, which most boats still take — from Cocos Keeling to the Mascarene Islands, past Madagascar, and arriving in South Africa in time for the milder summer months (November to February) — or, thanks to the diminishment of piracy and a recently revised “high-risk area,” on the northern route, which we took. About 30 boats made this passage in the 2015 season.
Our journey began in February of that year, took almost nine months, straddled two cyclone seasons (May to July in the North Indian Ocean and December to April in the south), and gave us a chance to visit some pint-size countries and remote atolls. From Langkawi, Malaysia, we sailed to Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. After a few weeks there, we spent time in the Maldives, a chain of 1,192 islands where they speak Dhivehi and spend rufiyaas.