Island Hopping Through the Indian Ocean
During the fifteenth century, sailors like Vasco da Gama set out to conquer the sea and discover new maritime trade routes. Islands -sand-shored gems-, with their plentiful resources became vital stops along the way where sailors and their ships could rest, replenish and conduct business. You can imagine what it might have been like, to sail across oceans for months at a time until, on the blue horizon a small speck appeared - land!
These days, islands conjure images of sugar sand beaches, palm and coconut trees, tanned skin and peace of mind. Nonetheless they continue to fascinate mankind. Every summer, hundreds of thousands of bikini-clad travellers flock to islets, hopes high to up their vitamin D intake.
It seems as though island-hopping has never been easier - or more compelling. What then, is the best way to travel between islands? Jet? Helicopter? Sailboat? Super-yacht?
The Indian Ocean is made up of archipelagos, which consist of hundreds of islets (some not more than a mound of sand) strung like beads on a necklace, most of which are uninhabited. Their size, topography, remoteness or “protected” status often does not allow for a plane to land.
This leaves us with the oldest means of travelling: the ocean. Catamarans, sailboats and small cruises are a refreshing alternative to a stay in a resort. Don’t get us wrong- we love sunbeds, living the robe life, and crossing out drinks on the cocktails menu. But after a while, you can get a little restless.
When you think of the thousands of unexplored islands and sandbanks, it could seem frustrating to be limited to just one of them.
The cruise however offers a constant change of scenery (both above and under the water) and the possibility to drop anchor off the coast of remote, uninhabited islands and explore secret alcoves, secluded creeks and deserted beaches. All it takes to explore the aquatic world is to slip on your mask and fins and dive off the wooden deck into the turquoise waters below. Yes, it is that simple.
When it comes to cruise ships today, there is something for everyone as the cruise industry continues to reinvent itself. While some travellers are enamoured by the glitzy, over-the-top cruise lines, others are seduced by the more authentic, human-scale catamarans and sailboats that drift across the Indian Ocean.
Regardless of your preference, island-hopping is best done on a cruise.