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Jess volunteered with us for almost 6 months in Andavadoaka, where she became actively involved in developing our social programmes, as well as participating in our marine research.

The days in Andavadoaka always start beautifully. If you're part of the group that's on the early morning dive, you wake up just before sunrise, put on your diving kit and head out over the crystal clear water on the trusty speedboat ‘Alo Alo’.  Behind you is the rising sun over Andavadoaka village, and just as it comes over the horizon you dive into some of the most amazing sites in Madagascar. Once all of the science data has been collected from the dive and you’ve woken up in the most spectacular manner, you're ready to head back to camp to join the rest of the group for a well-earned breakfast. 

As the second group heads out for yet more beautiful dives and more data collection, there is plenty of work do be done on site! With an endless amount of projects to be started up/continued/completed, there is always work to keep volunteers more than busy. Some of the projects and studies have included baobab and mangrove forests, birds, the education and social research in the village, and more specific studies of seagrass, nudibranchs and the minuscule life within intertidal zones! The ‘classroom’ on site is probably one of the most beautiful in the world, with views overlooking the coastline of white sand and turquoise water. Failing that, extra study is always possible from a nearby hammock!

Then it's time for the ravenous volunteers to congregate for lunch and demolish ridiculous quantities of rice, beans and fresh barbecued fish. In keeping with this tropical lifestyle, there is a well-earned siesta after lunch to give you time to digest all that food. Once the heat of the midday sun has subsided (although still over a blissful 30 degrees), work gets underway for the afternoon. This can mean a lecture on marine ecology, teaching English to Blue Ventures' local conservation staff, or being taught Malagasy by a local teacher. Then those who were on the early morning dive go out on their second dive to spot even more fish, measure coral and if you’re lucky, any mega fauna.  Not such uncommon sightings have included whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks and manta rays.

Once the dive is back and all jobs on site have been completed, the best way to finish the day is to jump into the sea and watch the sky turn red with the arguably the most impressively stunning sunset in the world. Then, you guessed it, it's time for more food! To finish off a beautiful day, you can watch the shooting stars accompanied by a little local rum and know that you truly are in paradise.