In the twentieth instalment in our series of Q&As with Blue Ventures staff, we ask Madison Kane, Expeditions Manager, Andavadoaka, some searching questions about science, conservation and superpowers…
What is your professional background?
I have 2 undergraduate degrees. One is a BSc in Marine Biology and Oceanography, with honours (distinction) from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The other is a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of California in Santa Barbara, although I spent it abroad in Australia working on an environmental science project with mangroves.
Why do you do what you do?
I work for Blue Ventures because I’m extremely passionate about the environment and the ocean. I came to Madagascar as a volunteer on a Blue Ventures expedition and fell in love with Andavadoaka and truly respected the work that Blue Ventures is doing here. I remained here as dive manager, returned to Canada for a few months, and then happily returned to take up the position of expedition manager. I love working for an organisation where my joy of diving and teaching has a positive impact on the environment.
What is the best/worst thing about your job?
The best thing is being able to dive with a purpose and know that every piece of scientific data you collect is helping Blue Ventures, as a whole, make a difference.
I can’t really think of a worst thing… having to dive looking like a Christmas tree? Slates, pencils, reels, compass, computer, etc.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The thing I enjoy most is waking up to the sound of the village, and then looking out of my window and seeing the ocean and the sunrise. I love living in a place where you feel free and everyone is passionate about what they’re doing – a place where you’re not late for work because you missed the subway or your car won’t start or you’re upset because you can’t pay rent. People don’t work for Blue Ventures to be rich, but to know they’re making a difference to the culture and the environment of Velondriake. I enjoy being able to dive and do what I love in such a supportive setting.
What is your favourite species and why?
Sharks (hammerheads), because they are such beautiful and incredible fish that people fear for no reason. I have loved sharks since I was small and want to educate people on how important they are to the marine ecosystem, there’s no need to be afraid.
What would your scientific superpower be?
To have the ability to educate the world and allow everyone to see how incredible the ocean is and realise that if we don’t take action now, we will lose it all.
What is one of the strangest things that has happened to you while working on conservation?
One of the strangest things is how quickly the ocean can change. One minute it can be flat calm with amazing visibility, and the next it can be wavy and murky. Each dive changes from day-to-day in terms of water temperature, clarity, conditions, and what we see. Even though we visit the same sites over and over again, it is never the same.