Diving

Andavadoaka Travel Blog

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Super Marcellin
Diving was great. After we passed our benthic exams in and out of the water and our advanced diving classes, we helped with the cataloguing of coral distribution around some marked and some exploratory sites. We very much enjoyed being able to recognize life forms underwater and to be doing something useful rather than aiding the dive tourist industry in damaging yet another reef. Eventually we also learned to recognize 150 different species of reef fishes and helped recording their populations in different locations. Most of the dives were shallow, between 10 and 18 meters and proffered vast varieties of coral and myriads of fish. In some areas the coral was bleached or sparse, but in others it was healthy and abundant. Besides the training and science dives, we also got to do a few recreational dives one of which was a night dive.
Hardcoral, foliose
We were lucky to dive with Bic as our leader, a local diving natural, who found every animal and every special coral formation in the dark without even trying. Apparently there was a sleeping turtle right as we descended but I never saw it. No matter, there were guitarfish and scorpion fish to be admired and �" best of all �" a 10kg octopus whom we roused from slumber. I thought I was looking at a rock formation when suddenly a sleepy eye opened and the grumpy faced creature shifted in his resting hole disgruntled at the interruption.
There would be many anecdotes to be recounted from all the dives we did. Like one time Bic forgot to surrender the handheld GPS to the boat captain before doing his back roll into the sea, but somehow managed to keep it out of the water and simultaneously to not drop the dozen steel roods he was taking down to stake some new science sites.
Hardcoral, branching

Once, when Frankie was boat marshal she tried to adjust her bikini top for maximum tanning effect and somehow undid it entirely instead. “Oh no, my boobs,” she exclaimed loudly enough for everybody to turn and look at her.
On one unfortunate occasion I dropped Paolo’s glasses into several fathoms of water when my job as boat marshal was to mind them during the dive.
Once, sailing-trained Paolo readjusted the GPS to nautical miles rather than scientific meters causing the boat captain to miss the dive site by several kilometers during the following morning, everybody tumbling into blue bottomless depths far beyond Blue-Venture-approved standards before someone caught on and called the divers to ascend.

Of course there was the odd problem, like between our main English lout and the staff who would not easily accept his categorical refusal to go whale watching (from a platform on an isolated island), because, as he pronounced, it was “just crap”.
Hydroids and anemone
He and his friends also seemed to ignore the one-beer-before-diving rule and spent night after night at the Epi-Bar, which did not exactly endear them to those responsible for their safety. Everybody breathed a sigh of relief when they decided to leave two weeks early to go traveling by themselves instead. We later met up with them in Durban and had a fun time listening to their mad stories…

Alas, there is not enough room here to tell all the tales or to describe all the wonderful people, staff as well as volunteers, that we spent six amazing weeks with, but it was an incredible experience and we would recommend that sort of enterprise to anybody who likes to dive.


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Super Marcellin
Super Marcellin
Hardcoral, foliose
Hardcoral, foliose
Hardcoral, branching
Hardcoral, branching
Hydroids and anemone
Hydroids and anemone
Seacucumber
Seacucumber
Softcoral
Softcoral
Giant clam
Giant clam
Andavadoaka
photo by: tpuell