Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The arrival of the Humpbacks

22nd June
It was with massive excitement that i heard a small voice through the radio say 'There's whales right by you' as i returned from a dive lastweek. The shore marshal had noticed 2 humpbacks travelling south along the coast and had been following them for about half an hour; our first sighting of the season! Unfortunately we didn't manage to spot them until we were on shore and had a slight height advantage but even from a distance it was enough to cheer me up no end. Following this first sighting we have started our whale monitoring programme and I finally made it over to the whale watch platform on Nosy Hao. A very impressive structure with probably the best view in the world, and certainly not a bad place to spend a morning. The weather has not been too great recently which doesn't make for good whale sighting weather, as every wave resembles a surfacing fin, but although we were not lucky enough to have any sightings in our 2 hour stint, the slightly wet pirogue journey back to Andavadoaka and general feeling of having a 360 degree view of your surroundings made it a very enjoyable morning. Fingers crossed for a successful season.
25th June
Another sighting this morning- brilliant. We were off to a small dive site off shore, which incidentally we didnt manage to find as we drifted before we went down! Once we were all back on the boat feeling a bit subdued from the aborted dive we heard Marcellin's cry of 'baleine' and the morning suddenly became much better! We watched a single humpback surface about 60m from the boat. After a cautious approach and a few more surfacings it then surfaced twice within about 20m of the boat before moving off again. Truly uplifting (Well i would say that being the cetacean lover, but it is certainly very magical when a creature that massive comes over to say hi!)

Sophie (Field Scienist)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Blue Ventures at London Aquarium

Check out Blue Ventures at the London Aquarium next week Monday 25th June to Sunday 2nd July.

As part of the London Aquarium and the BBC's 'Saving Planet Earth' month Blue Ventures will be running marine scientist workshops for children visiting the aquarium all week. Workshops will help children learn more about diving and marine life, as well as conservation and the work being carried out by Blue Ventures in Madagascar.

For more information on the events check out the London Aquarium website.

Come in a see us!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Make Travel Fair

Stephen Chapman from Make Travel Fair, a website dedicated to educating people about the impacts of travel, has written an article about Blue Ventures entitled 'Good Ecology is also Good Business'

To read the article or find out more visit the Make Travel Fair website.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Inspired by Andavadoaka

2006 BV Expedition Manager Alan Jeffries has just made number one in the Canadian Campus Radio Chart. Listen here to this world class blues musician's latest single, written during his time with BV in the village of Andavadoaka.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Radoko Show

The skit night at the end of expedition 29 will be remembered by all that took part.

Maybe because they had a fun evening watching, or they had a fantastic time performing and sharing their memories of Blue Ventures with their expedition chums. Alternatively they just enjoyed the free ice-cream during the interval!
The "Skit Night" is an opportunity for people who have shared an experience to create and perform their own variety show special.
With out exception the members of Expedition 29 will always be special to the Radoko (Camp Medic) who orgainsed it! He will always be grateful that they shared their experiences with him.
Nosy Cao hall was transferred into a theatre. Dress rehearsal was quite mad!
The house lights went up... then dimmed... then up... then dimmed...
Unfortunately the generator hadn't read the script!
The seats were arranged, then they re-arranged themselves as some seats didn't like the seat they where supposed to sit next too!
The seats hadn't read the seating plan!
The director was redirected elsewhere...
Finally opening night came and the audience filed in and took their seats and the Director was heard to plead "Oi- Bring those seats back!".
The curtain opened, then the curtain called... "Has anyone seen my pirogue?"
The director called back in a deafening whisper "SSHuuushh..!"
A programme is available at the Box Office or the London office however I thought dear reader, you may enjoy a taste of the flavour.
The opening monologue from the Director was a triumph however it could never be the highlight.
The sciencists offered a rendition of "Give me a home amongst the staff huts!" with antipodean vigour, a tune which lives on and on.
This was followed by the Girls with a "Sea Cucumber in a box!" a musical masterpiece.
The midpoint was graced by Charlie, straight from the Edinburgh Festival as she sang us through her "Gap Year- Helping Children and ....!" a much needed class act!
"We Will Rock You!" with a local feel although without a Freddie brought the house down. Thank you for that!
Radoko's shadow show was confusing to say the best.
Although the reasons why the Boys Band allegedly "Hated everybody" only proved to show they loved us all.
The finali was provided by the local staff with James on guitar. We had heard his talent around the campfire and he was hot this night!
They aimed for the moon and even though they may have missed, they all ended up amongst the Stars!
The skit night was an excellent finish to a great expedition. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and everybody worked hard to make it a success.
Although it provided great entertainment please don't be fooled into believing the days in Andavadoake are not tiring, long and hard work.
They are, but they are worth it.
I hope to see you at the show.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Great Experience!

It's nearly halfway through my second expedition in Andavadoaka, and it's hard to believe how quickly it has all flown by! I definitely wasn't ready to leave after the first 6 weeks, so I'm glad I chose to do 2 expeditions.
Other than the option to train to divemaster level, there are so many bonuses to doing a second expedition; I did all my science training and tests at the beginning of the first expedition so this time round I've had the chance to help others with species learning and in water 'point outs'
(practising with identifying fish and benthic life forms), and I have more time to get even more involved with other projects apart from the main reef surveying; currently we are doing a study into the significance of the lobster and squid fisheries, so over the past few weeks we have been conducting interviews with local sous collectors (local people who work for various fish companies who buy produce straight from the fishermen) and fishermen (through a translator) to find out about the fishing methods, fishing grounds and the logistics and financial aspects for the fishermen and the sous collectors of the different species. Being on the front line of a brand new research project like this is really exciting, and it's also very special to see the respect the village has for BV and the work we are doing, as they are all more than willing to help out and answer our questions (which can take a while as the questions and answers are translated...). Hopefully we will finish the preliminary interviews in the next few days, then we can move on to getting the sous collectors to record the amount, weight, individual specimen size, etc of everything they buy from the fishermen over a period of time, so eventually we can understand whether these species need to be protected or managed in order for the fishery to be sustainable.
As this is my gap year, and I hope to work in conservation after I graduate, the kind of first hand experience I am getting with BV has definitely proved that this is the kind of work I'd ultimately like to end up doing! My time thus far with Blue Ventures has been everything I could have imagined and more, these are 12 weeks that will be with me for the rest of my life.

Emily, BV Volunteer

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


BBC reporter Jonny Hogg recently visited Blue Ventures' research site in Andavadoaka. Click here to listen to his news piece covering Andavadoaka's recent UNDP Equator Prize win, as well as an investigation for the BBC World Service examining some of the impacts of climate change on coral reefs in the region.