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National Geographic Adventure - The 25 Best Adventure Travel Trips

06-25besttrips-natgeo.jpg"Travel that will set your heart pounding, open your eyes, and force you to look again at what surrounds you."

Blue Ventures is featured as one of the 25 Best Adventure Travel Trips.


Quote from the feature:

"Founded by three young Britons—Alasdair Harris, Rob Conway, and Tom Savage—Blue Ventures runs dive expeditions from far-flung Andavadoaka, Madagascar, where the nonprofit organization has spent the past two years helping to create a protected marine area for the region's expansive network of barrier and fringing coral reefs. Because of population increases and local fishing pressures, the area's delicate and little studied marine ecosystems are under considerable threat. "Farther south along the same barrier reef, the underwater life has been completely decimated," says Savage. "We aim to develop management plans that will protect the region's unique marine ecosystems and the local communities that rely on them."

Dazzling Andavadoaka, rarely visited by tourists, is about as far off the map as you can get. According to Savage, the site is a two-hour drive from the nearest large town, "depending on flat tires and getting stuck." As a Blue Ventures volunteer, you'll learn to dive and conduct research on the coral reefs with Malagasy locals, measuring fish populations, examining bleaching effects on the reef, and monitoring mangrove swamp ecology, all against an exquisite backdrop of wild palms, blue lagoons, and white-sand beaches. On a 5:30 a.m. research dive, you'll run into pods of dolphins and swarms of butterfly fish, as well as fishermen who will already be out on the water in their
pirogues. Cultural exchange is a hallmark of the Andavadoaka experience: You're likely to find yourself caught up in an impromptu Malagasy dancing lesson or teaching English to locals. Expedition costs vary by qualifications; shorter-term commitments are available.

Pick This If: You have a passion for marine biology and zeal for emerging places."