What an amazing first six days at Andavadoaka! To begin our expedition we left Tulear by boutre (a sailing boat). To everyone back home this will initially sound like a fairly normal transfer to site, but let me fill you in with a few details. We walked out to the boat at midnight (low tide) and climbed up a rickety ladder to get on board. The adventure had certainly begun! At about 4am the rigging of the boutre began. The crew climbed the rigging, and the sails went up… and down… and up… and on top of us as we tried to get a few hours sleep. On the rising tide we set sail for Andavadoaka.
The next 24 hours was spent sleeping, sunbathing, eating samosas and watching the odd whale go past. Around 2am we arrived by moonlight at half-moon beach. Looking to the back of the cove we could see the beach huts, our homes for the next few weeks. We stumbled up to them and were all quickly asleep. After our sleep we got to see the surroundings in daylight. Wow! It is beautiful, better than any of the pictures on the website. It was just the type of location I’d hoped for!
Since that initial arrival on site it has been busy, busy. The first day of diving was on day three and since then most of us have done one dive a day. Wednesdays we have the opportunity to teach in the village and our first trip was great fun. The children’s new words for the week were: shell, ball and hat. All quite normal, but then Geoff added in ‘flip flop’ which went down a storm, the kids just loved saying flip flop! Goodbye for now from Andavadoaka (or in Malagasy “Veloma!”)
And from Stephen:
Well, here we are in lovely Andavadoaka. The boutre journey on the way here was a great experience and a great way to meet the people on the expedition. All the diving is now underway. The first exploratory dive has been out and the Open Water and Advanced Open Water divers are all nearly trained. All that is left is for us to learn to identify underwater species – the first test on coral went ahead yesterday and saw some people becoming ‘benthic enabled’.
Although we’ve only been here one week, it’s really easy to fit in and there’s a lot to keep me occupied. In the time I do find to myself, I can’t get over Andavadoaka and the surrounding area – I can’t wait for the next few weeks so I can see more of the area!