Hello Steemian friends,

Hope everyone is well and having a good midweek day! We are, it's a beautiful day in Bangkok, it's a shame Sam had to go to university today and Becca had to work in the afternoon, it would have been great to be able to do things out in the sunshine rather than being indoors. But never mind.

On this week's Wild Wednesday's post I (Becca) would like to carry on with the series about my time spent in Madagascar for my University placement. In last week's post, I had just arrived in Toliara where I met with one of the Project Coordinators as well as where I met some of the other new volunteers. Once we had all been picked up from the airport and done all our essential run around town, we had set off on our journey slightly North of Toliara to Ifaty, the base camp where we spent the next 6-8 weeks.

One of many beautiful sunsets in Ifaty, Madagascar

I cannot remember how long the car drive up was, but I do remember it was about an hour or two. As we drove out of the city centre, you start to see the rural side of the area and the tarmac roads turned into sandy dirt tracks. It was so exciting, chattering away and getting to know a little bit more about the other volunteers and our Coordinator was telling us about the area as we drove through. The closer we got to the camp, the more excited we all became!

When we arrived at ReefDoctor camp in Ifaty, we immediately felt the cool breeze from the ocean, Bay of Ranobe, and could sense the easy going way of life of the locals as well as of the people already at camp. It was really a great feeling! This was our home in Madagascar. At the main building entrance we were welcomed by the other staff members and other volunteers who had been there for a while before me. The main camp building is where everyone's office was: the researcher's office, the programme coordinator's office, the programme manager's office, and logistics (about 4-5 full-time staff members in total). It also had a small kitchen where we would cook on the weekends when the cook was off duty, and two community lounge areas/spaces where volunteer meetings, introductions and briefings were held. At the back of this building was an outside sort of seating area with steps that lead out to the sea. From there you could get a fantastic view of the Bay!

The view from the back of the Main ReefDoctor building

After being greeted by the other ReefDoctor staff at the main building, we were shown where our digs were as well as how the eating, showering and toilet systems were operated. My bedroom was in a bamboo hut a few metres away from the sea right on the beach! I was in-love with this already! I'm a complete water baby and I love the ocean! This was called the Volunteer Hut, which could sleep up to 6 people. So us new volunteers were all placed here together (Kirsten, Sara, Jennifer and myself). The hut was long with two rows of 3 beds along it, each "bedroom" separated by a sarong or, as I call them, a kikoi, which acted as a curtain and a wall. It was good fun! Each of us got given a bed, a small wardrobe made from bamboo, a bucket and a cup. We dumped our bags in our Hut and got shown where the showers were, but in order to take a shower, we need to bring our empty bucket and cup to the fresh water well a few metres away, and get water from the well to fill our shower buckets, walk to the showers (2 of them)which are another few metres after the well, and use the cup to pour water on your body to wash! It was actually quite nice going back to basics, even though I am used to it as I camp out a lot in Africa, and in Portugal, when I visit my father there. Basic camping is the best kind of camping!

The Volunteer Hut!

The huts where other long term volunteers can also stay in, mainly used for couples or two friends travelling together

My humble abode in the Volunteer Hut

The view from my bedroom window. Right on the beach, I loved going to sleep and waking up to the gentle sound of the waves

The toilet/bathroom buildings for the Volunteer Hut

The Throne! It's a long drop toilet, quite common in African countries, its considered a luxury to even have a toilet in the extremely rural areas.

We were told we could rest and walk around and just chill for an hour or so, and then we had an introduction/induction presentation back at the main building! This presentation told us a bit more about life at ReefDoctor and what we should expect to be doing over the next few weeks. There was going to be a lot of Scuba diving, coral reef fish identification surveys, sea-grass and seaweed surveys, mangrove planting, fisheries management on the coral reef, helping out with marine education at the education centre, and the list goes on. I was really excited to get on and get going with this programme for the next few weeks, especially looking forward to all the diving.

The induction/introduction presentation with a plan for the weeks to come

The ReefDoctor dive boat in the water, used (it's in the name) mainly for dives and Scuba diving related projects. The Fimihara boat is used for mainly projects that deal directly with fisheries management and monitoring in the Bay of Ranobe.

The Marine Research and Education Centre

Keep on the lookout for next week's Wild Wednesday's post to find out what ReefDoctor had planned for us to do next.

Stay Classy Steemians!

Wild Wednesday’s is a post written by the @travelling-two every Wednesday to inform their followers and readers about nature and conservation.

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