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Dive Review of Blue Ventures Conservation in
Africa/Madagascar

Blue Ventures Conservation, Oct, 2008,

by Dan Purnell, Wa, USA (Reviewer Reviewer 6 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 4541.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, PNG, Yap, Palau, Bonaire, Honduras
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy
Water Temp 74 to 78 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile no
Enforced diving restrictions Depth and time - 45 - 55 min
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? N/A

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 2 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 2 stars
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 2 stars Food 2 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 3 stars
Comments Blue Ventures is a very successful London based conservation non-profit, operating in Southwest Madagascar. They have had a very positive influence on the Vezo fishing communities around Andavadoaka. They work very closely with the local villages. Results so far include the establishment of octopus no-take zones, establishment of marine protection areas (MPAs), shark, fish and octopus catch monitoring programs, protected beaches for turtles, seagrass studies, solar cooking and family planning programs. Many of the marine conservation accomplishments stem from strong community support and the scientific data collected by volunteers.

The diving is not on par with places like Bonaire, PNG and Indonesia. Diving around Andavadoaka is mostly on recovering reefs and proposed reefs for MPAs. Although some of these reefs have seen little or no previous diving activity, many have been damaged by fishing, cyclones and coral bleaching. The objective for diving on these reefs is to collect scientific data. Blue Ventures is trying to determine which reefs have the ability to recover and are resilient. These reefs will be candidates for future MPAs. If you are mostly looking for pristine recreational diving, then Andavadoaka is not for you.

You should also expect to average only 1 dive per day, regardless of what the London office or literature says. Currently, Blue Ventures only has the capacity (i.e. boats, motors, dive masters) to comfortably handle 12-15 volunteer divers (this is my estimate). They will, however, take additional volunteers, which limits the number of dives per day.

If you have an experienced group of divers who want to dive more that 1 dive per day, I would suggest that you negotiate a custom charter, which would limit the number of volunteers, with Blue Ventures. I believe that Blue Ventures would be open to this.

That all said, an expedition with Blue Ventures offers a unique, memorable and rewarding experience for the adventuresome. You get to experience life in a Vezo fishing community, and participate in many local activities. You get to learn and apply marine science techniques involving reef health, sea grass and fish biodiversity. The location is very remote, and the scenery is breathtaking. The local people and Blue Ventures Staff are wonderful. If you are a new diver, or are looking to become a DiveMaster, the dive instruction is exceptional. Although the diving is "so -so", it will be very interesting and rewarding. Doing science provides a whole new dimension to your diving experience. The scientific data, collected by Blue Ventures volunteers, is a major driving force behind marine conservation decisions around Andavadoaka and across Madagascar.

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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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