Prior to my departure, every person who I told of my travels to a small Island of the North West coast of Madagascar for two months instantly asked “Why Madagascar?” My reasoning was the amazing marine life – of course, as it is my ambition to do Marine Science at University. I also chose this Frontier project to gain some perspective on marine research being done in the field, and where this course will lead me in the future, as I had grown uncertain of my course decision. However my first day in Nosy Be consisted of a walk through a small port, its water blackened so that you couldn’t see your feet in 10 centimetres of ‘water’. Naturally, this concerned me as I had come to Madagascar in order to survey and help conserve the coral reefs. We reached the boat and began to, slowly, make our way to camp. The water turned crystal blue as we passed Lakobe, a dive site we commonly survey, causing all my concern to melt away.
Now, after eight weeks of diving Madagascar’s beautiful reefs, surveying fish, coral and invertebrate species and having the time of my life while doing it has given me confidence in my choice to do Marine Science. After one particular dive I was absolutely certain I saw a different species of fish other than the ones which we survey so I ran, yes ran, to the Marine PI, Lisa, and ‘asked’ her “I’m 100% sure I saw this fish, can I add it to the survey sheet?” She accepted, which lead to a break out of my ‘inner nerd’. I then preceded to fish through fish books and discovered an adjustment we could make to the way we identify Indian Tobys. It was at this moment that I recognised how excited I was getting over this small discovery, leading me to realise that this is what I want to do with my life.
By Will Kempton, volunteer marine research assistant
Find out more about Frontier's volunteering projects in Madagascar.