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Tuesday
Aug222017

I Would Recommend This Experience To  Anyone

Myself and two friends arrived in Antananarivo the night before getting to camp. Antananarivo is one of the more dodgy cities I’ve ever visited with our hotel being inside a compound with a mob of guards outside. After assessing the situation we decided to stay inside until our flight the next day. After a long sleep we got a taxi back to the ever chaotic airport.

Without speaking any Malagasy and little French we somehow navigated our way to the correct gate. While waiting for our flight an obviously British man arrived, sticking out with white skin, dodgy shades and a Beatles T-shirt. We introduced ourselves while discovering his name was Nathan, he was here for a year and he was actually going to be our boss for the next month.

Eager to learn about the conditions of where we were staying and what activities we would be partaking in we bombarded him with questions, only quick to learn that he somehow knew less than we did. This did give us some confidence however as it meant we weren’t the only ones going in blind. The flight over to Nosy-Be was short. There to meet us on the other side was Ella, one of the marine staff on camp who had fortunately lived on camp for a while already and was able to answer all of our questions. We got a taxi to Hellville, the largest city on the ireland, where Ella introduced us to some of the other staff on our project such as Sarah, Ella’s other half and also on the marine team. It was a good start with everyone so far being friendly and easy to talk to.  We then split of as we went for food and met some of the other volunteers on our project and to get some much needed wifi, before going to the hotel and getting ready for the trip to camp tomorrow.

The next day we took the boat to camp. We were given a tour by Sarah before meeting more of the people we’d be spending the next month with. The camp was fairly basic, made soley from wood, it had a simple but appealing look to it. Everyone on camp seemed nice and our first day was spent learning about the island and the different species we were going to be studying over the next month, as well as various games to help settle in, one of my personal favourites was a game called werewolf.

I have now spent 3 weeks at camp now and have loved almost every second (toilet situation is not great). I’ve loved learning to dive and now have my Advanced Open Water (big thanks to Magnus, the dive officer on camp  and Christina for that). Everyone in camp is really nice making it a fun and hilarious atmosphere on camp at all times, and I’ve loved all the activities we do, even the mangrove surveys which always provide some funny scenes. Some of my other favourite experiences include going to Nosy-Iranja, a paradise island nearby where I saw a manta ray, massive green turtles, baby green turtles hatching and got to snorkel with a pod of about 200 dolphins! The weekend after I went to Nosy-Tanihely, a marine protected area, and dived in the most beautiful coral I had ever seen while seeing a number of cool and exotic species, as well as more hawksbill turtles and another pod of dolphins which happened to be passing by!

Overall I would recommend this experience to anyone, I have had the best time and if truth be told, will be very sad to leave. Thanks to everyone who has made this trip what it is, I couldn’t have asked for more.

By Charlie Jones - Madagascar Conservation Volunteer

Find out more about Frontier Madagascar Projects.

Check out what volunteers in Madagascar are up to right now!

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