Madagascar Marine Conservation and Diving
Who: Reef Doctor
Where: Ifaty, Bay of Ranobe, Madagascar
Focus: Coral reef surveying and coastal habitat conservation
When: All year round:
- Jul-Oct: Humpback whale watching
- Jan-Feb: Cyclone season and highest temps
- June-Oct: Winter/Spring and cooler temps.
Duration: 3 to 12 weeks (options available):
- Reef Doctor EcoDiver: 3-5 weeks
- Reef Doctor Research Assistant: 6-12 weeks
- Divemaster Internships: Available for min. 12 weeks
NGO Internships: Available for 2-6 months
Suitability: Over 18s
Cost: 3 weeks from:
- Non-certified divers: GBP 1200
- Open Water certified: GBP 1100
- Advanced certified: GBP 1000
As a volunteer, you will:
- Gain first-hand experience of the workings of a marine conservation NGO.
- Assist the team in their core research, management and conservation projects, including coral gardening, aquaculture, artificial reefs, turtle tagging and release, fisheries monitoring, and reforestation.
- Learn about the marine biology and ecology of one of the most extensive barrier reef systems in the world and its associated marine habitats such as seagrass beds and mangroves.
- Become a PADI Advanced Open Water diver.
- Learn to ID commercially important reef species and coral reef health indicator species, including fish, benthic life, and invertebrates.
- Conduct coral reef and marine habitat surveys.
- Gain experience in data recording and data input protocols.
- Undertake fisheries catch assessments with the local fisheries team.
- Help the aquaculture team in the maintenance and monitoring of seaweed and sea cucumber farms, with the opportunity to visit other villages in the bay where this is being implemented.
- Experience life living alongside a traditional Malagasy fishing community and gain insight into the unique Vezo culture.
- Participate in the local environmental education initiatives – Kids’ Club and Junior Reef Doctors.
- Help teach English classes for adults.
- Receive weekly Malagasy classes in order to better interact with the local community.
- Spend weekends enjoying many tourist attractions such as pirogue trips, various water sports, Spiny Forest and national park visits, and humpback whale watching (July–October).
Dive Training: All volunteers must be PADI Advanced Open water certified (or equivalanent) in order to survey. Full dive training is available on site.
Rescue Diver: Course available on 8+ week expeditions for an additional fee.
Divemaster Internship: Available for a min. 12-week expedition.
Accommodation: Located on the beach at the edge of Ifaty, a small and traditional Malagasy fishing village. Life is very basic, with no mains electricity or running water. Volunteers shower with buckets in enclosed wooden stalls using water from the on-site well. There are wooden toilet stalls with drop-toilets.
Sleeping: Single-room huts and shared dormitories. For an additional cost, volunteers can upgrade to one of the beachfront brick bungalows complete with en-suite shower/toilet (bucket-based water system).
Food: 3 meals a day of Western and Malagasy cuisine.
Working week: Monday to Friday (5-7am to 5pm); fun dives on Saturday.
Size: Max. 8 volunteers per month.
Support: UK based support/communication; Pre-departure support and pre-departure guides.
Transport: Airport pick up in Toliara and transport to the Reef Doctor site in Ifaty.
The next step: Visit Reef Doctor for more information and to book.
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