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.
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.
You’ll be immersed in Madagascar’s beautiful coral reefs and vibrant coastal culture while assisting with our rigorous underwater research and gaining skills and qualifications. Expedition volunteers are at the heart of everything we do and we’d love to have you join us.
Challenging, exciting, rewarding... an expedition with Blue Ventures will change your life!
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.
Being able to identify so many coral and fish species has opened up an entirely new underwater world to me!
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.
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.
In your time at our base in Andavadoaka, as well as relaxing in a hammock by the beach you might be able to learn to sail with local fishers, explore the baobab forest, or take a picnic out to one of the nearby islands – bliss!
Find out how we’re leading the field in responsible tourism.
Find out more about our values and what you’ll gain with Blue Ventures.
And counting… We’re extremely proud to have supported so many brilliant volunteers who have actively contributed to our research and conservation work in Madagascar.
We’re delighted to welcome volunteers from all over the world to work with us in Madagascar.
On average you’ll do 1-2 dives a day after your dive and science training is complete. You’ll be diving up to 5 days a week (weather dependant) so you’ll clock up a lot of underwater time!
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 also 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.
We have spaces for our Madagascar expeditions starting and finishing on the following dates:
We understand that volunteers are not always available at the time when an expedition is scheduled to begin or for the full 6 weeks. We therefore offer mid-expedition start dates, and further flexibility for start and end dates can also be accommodated. Our mid-expedition start dates for 2014 are as follows:
Please note the following regarding our flexible dates:
If you decide to join an expedition late we are unable to provide you with the same level of staff support and introductions when you arrive in Toliara and at our site as you would otherwise receive on the scheduled dates. We will do our best to make your experience as smooth as possible but it is likely to be slightly more challenging so we advise you to stick to scheduled dates if possible.
If you join late or leave an expedition early, you will be responsible for your transfer costs between Toliara and Andavadoaka. We can arrange a 4×4 vehicle with a driver for you, and the cost is approximately £200 each way, which can be shared with anyone else travelling at the same time. We do our best to coordinate journeys with other volunteers and staff to reduce the cost, but you should be prepared to pay the full amount if this is not possible.
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.
While at our base in Andavadoaka there will be little opportunity to spend money – one of the benefits of running such a remote site! We recommended budgeting around £50 per week for things like drinks, snacks and telephone/internet credit. The women’s association in the village also sells a variety of inexpensive gifts and souvenirs, including necklaces with marine life pendants fashioned out of local silver coins. There is no ATM (!) in the village of Andavadoaka so all spending money should be withdrawn in the city of Toliara at the beginning of the expedition.
Sharing this post with your friends helps us to build our conservation impact. Thank you!