The ReefDoctor Eco-Diver Program is open to anyone of the age of 18 and over who can only join us for a limited period of time.
No prior skills are required, just a general enthusiasm to learn more about the marine environment. You will get to experience eco-diving, community-based marine management and conservation, the unique Vezo culture and the amazing environment of this mega biodiversity hotspot.
Expeditions run each month from February to December for 3, 4 or 5 weeks with spaces available for 4-6 people per expedition month.
Divers and non-divers are both welcome. If you are not yet a certified diver, the Eco-Diver programme provides training to PADI Open Water and PADI Advanced open water levels. If you are already certified to PADI Advanced Open Water or above you can jump straight into the eco-diving programme. Your dive qualification determines the point in the month at which you will start an expedition.
This programme is also suitable for marine and environmental science undergraduate students who wish to gain practical field based experience during their vacation periods.
What to expect from an Eco-Diver expedition:
PADI dive training.
Eco-Diver volunteers usually undertake, on average, 20-25 dives a month.
Learn about the marine biology and ecology of one of the most extensive barrier reef systems in the world and its associated marine habitats.
Marine species identification. The Eco-Diver programme trains you in the underwater identification of commercially important reef species and coral reef health indicator species (fish and invertebrates).
Experience life living alongside a traditional Malagasy fishing community and gain insight into the unique Vezo culture.
Gain first hand experience of the workings of a marine conservation NGO.
Participate in local community education and outreach projects.
You may also have the opportunity to assist the ReefDoctor team in their core research, management and conservation projects.
The training of marine science and environmental undergraduate students (or any quick learners!) can be fast tracked to undertake marine surveys during their time with us.
Enjoy exploring the local area; the popular beach resort of Mangily, the Spiny Forest, take a pirogue trip across the Bay or visit one of the local National Parks (in your free time, at your own expense).
Eco-Diver Expedition and Programme Fees:
Special rates for joining in December (windy season):
10% discount on all expeditions joining between June-August if your flight is over £1,200.
Services included in these expedition costs:
- Airport pick-up in Toliara and transport to the ReefDoctor site in Ifaty
- Arrangement of hotel in the capital city Antananarivo, if required, includes free pick up by hotel from airport.
- All meals, Monday-Sunday.
- Filtered water, coffee and tea.
- Lodging: shared bungalows with bed sheets, pillows and mosquito net provided.
- First-aid medical care.
- Electricity for charging cell phones, laptops, etc. and limited internet connection.
- Dive training: PADI Open Water and Advanced dive certification included in the costs for all expeditions.
- Project equipment and educational materials: dive slates, paper, pens etc., all required for your working activities.
- Dive equipment, including: Buoyancy Control Device (BCD), full regulator set, weights and tanks.
- Occasional excursions to help some of our conservation partners in the area, such as HONCO (mangrove conservation and re-plantation) and HO AVY (forestry re-plantation of the famous spiny forest).
- Science training: level of training will vary according to the expedition duration, dive certification and progression of the individual.
- Pre-departure support and pre-departure guides: advice on flights, equipment, Madagascar, medicals, vaccines, insurance etc.
- UK based support/communication throughout the expedition for the volunteers’s friends and family.
- Fuel, equipment and in-country personnel to make this all happen!
Services NOT included in the expedition costs:
- Round-trip airfare and visa.
- Diving, travel and medical insurance and cost of vaccines.
- ReefDoctor standard recreational dive medicals (forms provided by us to be filled in by a medical professional).
- PADI dive instruction manuals and PIC cards: all participants in the dive training courses MUST purchase their own manuals, as per PADI International Rulings May 2006, and bring these materials with you. PADI PIC-cards are required to process each level of all PADI courses we offer – you can buy these PIC cards from local dive shops or from us for an extra fee of £25 (29 Euros) per PADI course.
- All volunteers must bring their own wetsuit, mask/snorkel, fins and booties, time piece and/or dive computer, weight belt.
- Any personal excursions (often groups of volunteers plan excursions to nearby national parks or other areas of interest).
- Anti-malaria drugs.
For more information you can download the Eco-Diver Programme Guide:
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer you can apply online now by filling out our Volunteer Questionnaire. If you have any questions, we’ll be happy to answer on +44 (0) 7866 250 740.