Join one of our award-winning expeditions in Madagascar!• Immerse yourself in Madagascar's beautiful coral reefs and vibrant coastal culture
• Assist with rigorous underwater research alongside our marine biologists and gain scuba diving qualifications
• Participate in our community education and conservation initiatives
• Take an overland tour and get up close with some iconic ring-tailed lemurs
"Challenging, exciting, rewarding... an expedition with Blue Ventures will change your life!" - Nick Hayes, Australia
Based in the remote fishing village of Andavadoaka on Madagascar’s southwest coast, our diving expeditions offer volunteers from around the world a unique opportunity to get involved with Blue Ventures' marine research and conservation work.
Join our team surveying one of the Indian Ocean's most extensive coral reefs, and contribute to our efforts supporting coastal communities to conserve these spectacular ecosystems. From sea cucumber farming to environmental education with local children, expedition volunteers are immersed in the full breadth of Blue Ventures' innovative and integrated programmes.
“When I look back, I can barely remember the person I was before I came to Andavadoaka. It has been a most wonderful and educational experience for me. I hate to have to go." - Sayoji Pothuneedi, India
From gap year students and university graduates to career breakers and retirees, our expeditions attract a diverse range of people from around the world, who share an interest in diving with the purpose of supporting our marine research and conservation work.
In their spare time at our base in Andavadoaka, expedition volunteers can be found learning to sail with local fishers, exploring the baobab forest, or taking a picnic out to one of the nearby islands.
All of our volunteers complete an intensive two-week science training programme run by our field scientists at the beginning of each expedition, involving numerous snorkelling and diving excursions as well as informal lectures, small group discussions and practical exercises on coral and fish species identification.
"Being able to identify so many coral and fish species has opened up an entirely new underwater world to me!" - Suzie Nott, United Kingdom
Both qualified and non-qualified divers are welcome to join our expeditions, with the PADI Advanced Open Water course offered to those without this qualification, including a Peak Performance Buoyancy adventure dive. Dive training is carried out during the first two weeks of expeditions, so that all volunteers are qualified to participate in underwater surveys once they have successfully completed their science training.
"The diving expertise of Blue Ventures' staff is excellent and I now feel more confident in the water." - Jodi Burley, Australia
Experienced divers who have not dived in the six months prior to their expedition are required to take a refresher course with us, to ensure that they are confident and well trained. We also offer the PADI Emergency First Response, Rescue Diver and Dive Master courses for those who wish to advance their diving qualifications.
Our expeditions take place by the village of Andavadoaka, which lies on the edge of a shallow lagoon, protected from the open ocean by a series of fringing and submerged coral reefs, providing a vital resource base for local fisheries. Our team and volunteers are based at a hotel-restaurant called Coco Beach, with a number of comfortable wooden eco-cabins overlooking the white sandy beach and turquoise blue sea beyond.
Every six weeks a new group of volunteers arrive at our site, ensuring year-round sustainability of our marine research. We host an average of 12-14 volunteers per expedition, and we never have more than three volunteers per staff member. We offer a very popular overland tour from Madagascar's capital city of Antananarivo to the expedition starting point in the southwest coastal city of Toliara.
Our teamHeading up our team in Andavadoaka is Madison, our expeditions manager, responsible for the day-to-day running of our field site. Diving activities and training are coordinated and supervised by Bill and Lisa, our dive managers, who are qualified PADI Open Water and Emergency First Response instructors.
Research undertaken by expedition volunteers is managed and supervised by Lisa and Sam, our field scientists, who are experienced tropical marine biologists, responsible for delivering science training at the beginning of each expedition. The health and well-being of our volunteers is looked after by our expedition medics, who are trained medical personnel that join our expeditions and are available at all times on site in case of accident or emergency.
"What I learned and felt during my expedition with Blue Ventures helped propel me to and through a graduate degree in Marine Science. The people and places I experienced through BV were a wonderful start to my journey towards becoming a published scientist.
If I ever have kids, I'll be sending them on a trip with you guys some day." - Geoff Hensgen, UK
DatesWe have spaces for our Madagascar expeditions starting and finishing on the following dates:
|Optional overland tour (Antananarivo - Toliara)||Expedition start date||Expedition end date||Optional overland tour (Toliara - Antananarivo)||Status|
|22-Sep-14 to 25-Sep-14||27-Sep-14||7-Nov-14||10-Nov-14 to 12-Nov-14||Full|
|6-Nov-14 to 9-Nov-14||11-Nov-14||21-Dec-14||By arrangement||Last few spaces|
|30-Dec-14 to 2-Jan-15||4-Jan-15||14-Feb-15||16-Feb-15 to 18-Feb-15||Spaces|
|12-Feb-15 to 15-Feb-15||17-Feb-15||30-Mar-15||1-Apr-15 to 3-Apr-15||Spaces|
|28-Mar-15 to 31-Mar-15||2-Apr-15||14-May-15||16-May-15 to 18-May-15||Spaces|
|12-May-15 to 15-May-15||17-May-15||27-Jun-15||29-Jun-15 to 1-Jul-15||Spaces|
|25-Jun-15 to 28-Jun-15||30-Jun-15||10-Aug-15||13-Aug-15 to 15-Aug-15||Spaces|
|9-Aug-15 to 12-Aug-15||14-Aug-15||24-Sep-15||26-Sep-15 to 28-Sep-15||Spaces|
|22-Sep-15 to 25-Sep-15||27-Sep-15||7-Nov-15||10-Nov-15 to 12-Nov-15||Spaces|
|6-Nov-15 to 9-Nov-15||11-Nov-15||21-Dec-15||By arrangement||Spaces|
We understand that volunteers are not always available at the time when an expedition is scheduled to begin or for the full 6 weeks. Please see our Madagascar expedition dates and costs page for more details about the flexible arrangements that we are able to offer.
Costs (as at 1st July 2014)
Expedition prices vary according to your current diving qualification and length of stay in Andavadoaka. Half of our volunteers have never dived before and our PADI dive courses represent excellent value for money.
|Expedition length||You are a PADI Advanced Open Water (or equivalent) diver||You are a PADI Open Water (or equivalent) diver||You have no diving certification||Non-diving volunteer||Non-diving under 18||Expedition medic|
|12+ weeks||£225 per additional week||£225 per additional week||£225 per additional week||£150 per additional week||£150 per additional week||£3,650* (18 weeks)|
Please see our Madagascar expedition dates and costs page for precise details about what is and is not included in these prices.
* Discounts are given for trained medical personnel fulfilling the role of expedition medic. Find out more here but please note that additional costs apply for dive courses (PADI Open Water - £100 and PADI Advanced Open Water - £75).
Ready for a dive
Studying coral and fish species
Volunteers at work
Getting ready to dive
Scientific monitoring by diving volunteers
Sketching out the local marine area for a community presentation
Statue of blessing
Volunteers assist with BV research
Volunteers with Malagasy students
Volunteers on the beach
An aerial view of the Blue Ventures expedition site
Jumping into the blue
Getting ready to dive
Science open day
Taking an ox cart to the baobab forest