The Perfect morning in Andavadoaka

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    Ingredients:

    Loads of fun people
    Plenty of high factor suncream
    Water
    Bok bok
    Coffee

    1) Begin by rising from a restful slumber at 5am. Emerge from your hut to view the full moon setting over the western horizon. Wait until the reflecting light on the surface of the water reaches the rocky cliffs of the shoreline. Breathe deeply, filling your lungs with the glorious salty air and do a few stretches to limber up for a strenuous science dive.

    2) Head east toward Bat Cave at a leisurely pace and enjoy the first few pink rays of sunshine rising above the spiny forest. In just a few short hours the sun will be mercilessly beating down, making you feel like a roast in an oven turned to gas mark 5; but for now it feels good.

    3) Assemble your scuba gear taking great pains to remember your slate and measuring tape. This is not a diving holiday and you will be collecting critical information about the coral reefs and resident fish.

    4) Jump on the dive boat and speed along until you think you may be near a reef. If you haven’t done anything fady hope there might be a rainbow stretching across the sky. Follow this and you will definitely find the reef.

    5) Listen carefully for the boat captain’s cry of “aleffa! Raiky, rua, telo!” and roll off to an undersea wonderland full of fish to be identified and counted. After no more than 45 minutes at 18 metres or less, ascend slowly and head back to shore.

    6) Then off to the restaurant to fill up on Malagasy doughnuts (bok bok) and coffee exchanging tales with all the fabulous members of expedition 35.

    And that is how you create a perfect start to another perfect day in paradise.

    Ellie Hanlon (Volunteer)