OK, so the flight information for Seychelles to Kuala Lumpur (primary gateway to Penang due to better connections there than through Singapore) is more complicated than I originally estimated due to a Sunday being the expected day of flying. Sunday schedules are often different than weekday schedules. It was Sunday Dec.13 because teams arrived nonstop from Paris on Dec. 11 at 0715 and were able to finish their tasks and checkin before noon. The teams that had to return for the coconuts were subject to an extra 4 miles in the ox cart, which would have taken them about 65 minutes more than the leading teams assuming the ox averaged 3.7 miles/hour as indicated by Answers.com. The reason that can be important is that teams can be expected to have an extended pit stop in the Seychelles (who could ask for anything fore replenishing?). They would be released from it on or before midnight between Dec. 12 and 13 according to my timeline for AR16
There are 2 primary primary routes off the Seychelles, to Doha and to Dubai. Let's examine the best flight for each one Sundays:
Best if they can get it - SEZ DXB EK708 0150 0830 connecting with DXB KUL EK942 (Phil's flight one day earlier) 1030 2135
SEZ DOH QR703 0730 1115 connecting with DOH DXB EK847 1415 1415 in Doha, connecting with DXB KUL MH157 1835 0600+1
If reachable, SEZ DXB EK708 0150 0830 connects with EK404 DXB SIN 0955 2055 connecting with SIN PEN 3K673 0700+1 0825+1, which is not competitive by 2.6 hours
Getting to Seychelles International Airport near Mahe on Victoria island, the airport interestingly at the closest point to Praslin, could be problematical. Do helicopters there fly at night? I don't know. A fast boat could make it in 2 to 3 hours and might get Steve/Allie or Dan/Jordan there in time without being able to do the same for the other 4 teams which had to go back. If the only option is waiting for daylight so helicopters can operate, then teams might get to take the helicopters starting slightly before 0600, the approximate sunrise for Mahe days during the shortest ( and longest too due to being near the equator). If that was the case, then the 730 am flight to Doha represents the optimal one for them.