At the ungodly hour of 5 am in the morning, sleepy yet upbeat volunteers braved the ‘murky’ shores of Tulear to embark on their epic voyage aboard Batifavia, the much loved boutre, destination Andavadoaka. Armed with pizzas, umbrellas and mountains of foam, everyone felt they were duly prepared for a journey they had been warned could take 48 hours.
Setting off with the sun rising behind us and aided by a spirited wind, all was on course for a brilliant trip. As the day progressed, volunteers happily passed the time getting to know one another, especially the girls who had to share intimate toilet excursions – a truly bonding experience! All were amazed by the strength and agility of the Malagasy crew of the ship, who climbed the steel cables to the crow’s nest barefoot, whilst also keeping us entertained with their singing and card playing. After a day of blissful weather conditions, everyone cosied up for a night under the guidance of an enormous full moon until rudely awakened at 3am by news of our arrival – a great surprise to everyone as the Batifavia had only been at sea a mere 21 hours!
It’s now Day 2 and orientation is drawing to a close with all volunteers eagerly awaiting getting thoroughly stuck in to life in Andavadoaka.