Blue Ventures

Blue Ventures

About

Blue Ventures runs award winning marine conservation expeditions in Belize, Madagascar and Timor-Leste.

We have a team of dedicated researchers and volunteers who study all aspects of the marine environment.

Our expeditions offer an opportunity of a lifetime and attract volunteers from all backgrounds and ages. Volunteers contribute to our work by collecting data through Scuba diving and by working closely with local communities in education and outreach projects.

Founded
2003
Headquarters

39-41 North Road
London
N7 9DP
United Kingdom

Reviews

Default avatar
carter
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing trip! will remember this experience forever. I don't know how someone could give a review less than 8/10 they are crazy or maybe just mad at the world. Staff was incredible. Shoutout Bic- the best dive master. shoutout all the people of Andavadoaka!!!!!!!!!!!!

*This review was monitored by a Go Overseas staff member and modified to remove special characters not allowed by our system that were included in the review.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Immerse yourself with the locals of the village. They are amazing people.
Default avatar
Tim
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you are willing to take part and share the workload, you will be welcomed as part of the team. Whatever your skills are, BV will find a place for you. Perfect for conservation or international development interns! I highly doubt that there is a more rewarding experience elsewhere for the money, length of time, location and culture. One of the great perks is the option to stay in the home of local people, where you really begin to grasp the local vezo culture. The food is amazing. The more time you take to spend with local people, the better the experience in my opinion. You'll find yourself trying to find a way to return to Andava!

What would you improve about this program?
More vacation time for onsite staff. There are times it seems they get worn out with bigger groups that need more TLC.
Amol
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was my first experience of any marine conservation programme and had never been diving so prior to joining I was slightly apprehensive. From the outset of the expedition we were made to feel very comfortable and the team ensured any concerns were dealt with very quickly. The dive instructor Bic was really good and made learning the new skill very simple. It was clear the field scientists were incredibly passionate about their work and working with the conservation staff, the impact BV has had on the local area is obvious. Had an incredible time and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in making a positive impact to the area.

What would you improve about this program?
Possibly exteding the expedition to 8weeks. 6 weeks is not enough time to really get stuck into the fish surveys especially if some days are missed due to poor weather
Default avatar
Julia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It's been a few months since the expedition and I still find myself thinking about it (and keeping in touch with the other volunteers). Blue Ventures did a great job of making sure there was something for everyone (like interactions with the locals, a visit to a manatee rehab centre, a tour of the local village/cenote/bat cave, and amazing diving, of course!).

The cabanas we stayed in were surprisingly comfortable, and we got to wake up to the sunrise every day (and no bugs!!). Diving was done 1-3 times a day, and the rest of the day was for relaxing, data entry and other tasks, and some of the most intense volleyball games you will ever experience.

It's a huge investment in terms of trips (I'm very cautious about the programs I choose), but I assure you BV is one of the most reputable, conscientious, and exciting programs out there.

I surveyed a number of exclusive diving sites, logged 50 dives, became an advanced diver, met the most amazing people, and developed a passion for Belizean fry jacks. Highly recommend!!

What would you improve about this program?
There's not much I'd change about the program! The Belize expedition camp was quite remote, limiting access to fresh fruits and vegetables, which might be difficult for some. However there were weekly supply runs with the opportunity to purchase food.
Read my full story
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Janna
5/10
No, I don't recommend this program

The main reason I did this strenuous program was to get a research letter of recommendation for grad school. Apparently, unlike any other program of its kind that I've researched all across the world, they do not give any letters of recommendation. It's weird they would not give me a research letter for grad school as I am going to school for marine conservation, the very principle their program is based upon. Extremely disappointed. Also, Belize is a third world country with first World pricing. Expect to spend a lot more than you think you would while on your trip.

What would you improve about this program?
Letters of recommendation
Response from Blue Ventures

We were surprised to read this review after receiving extremely positive feedback from Janna following her expedition to Belize in June.

Janna recently sent us a request for a letter of recommendation, to which we agreed to provide our standard letter of participation. We are happy to offer this letter to all our volunteers who wish to demonstrate their participation in our expedition to interested parties, and will detail the dates they attended the expedition, and the activities they would have been involved in as part of it.

Unfortunately, this letter was not what was required for Janna’s university application, which required a more personal reference, with a comment on her suitability for the course she was applying for. When we were made aware of this, we offered of be a reference for Janna’s University to contact.

We're confident the science training and time spent carrying out research dives at our dive camp will be useful for Janna if she chooses to pursue studies and a career in marine conservation, and we wish her the best of luck with her graduate school applications.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Julia Fracassi

Julia is currently studying Communications and Environmental Sustainability in Toronto. After living in Japan and becoming fluent in Japanese, she gained an appreciation for how language unites people. She now studies Spanish and hopes to apply it to a career in conservation.

Why did you choose this program?

Through pure luck, I was able to try scuba diving a few years ago and was instantly hooked. I'd spend hours online (happily) looking at the programs available. I prefer long-term travel where I can live with the locals and feel a sense of community, which Blue Ventures places an importance on.

While there are many similar programs out there that do good work, Blue Ventures had a variety of locations to choose from, extensive information on their operations and safety precautions, and many volunteer blogs to give a sense of what they're about.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The staff was extremely friendly, courteous, and quick with responses. All communication was done by email, and many of the staff were once volunteers themselves so we were encouraged to ask them anything.

Volunteers receive a booklet with information on the community, their projects, items to bring, and how to get there. We were responsible for getting to the town ourselves, but BV staff always kept in touch to ensure our safety. Most of the scuba equipment was provided, but volunteers had to bring personal items (like mask/fins/snorkel).

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I'm actually going to give two! My first would be to get in touch with the people you'll be traveling/volunteering with, if possible. Before the trip, all of the volunteers formed a Facebook group to share ideas about what to bring, talk about how excited we were, and just get to know each other. We were all able to travel to the town in groups, which eased a lot of anxiety about navigating a foreign place on our own.

My second piece of advice: embrace challenges. I guarantee the most memorable parts of your trip will be when you overcame a challenge, whether it's eating a strange food or overcoming a cultural difference. Don't take things too seriously and just enjoy yourself!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

We stayed in a small town in the north of Belize for about a week and a half. That's where we did most of our science training, and also got to spend time with our host families, hanging out at local spots, and engaging with different community groups (like making anklets with Belize Lionfish Jewelry).

The rest of the trip was spent at the camp. We dived 1-3 times a day, starting at 5:30 am. After lunch, if the early morning tuckered you out, there was ample time for siestas in your hammock, reading, or sharing coconuts over a card game with the other volunteers. Chores and responsibilities rotated, and didn't take too long. We'd also take turns filling the tanks (possibly the best time to get some reading in).

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Before meeting up with the other volunteers I had to travel alone for a bit, so there was some fear about being alone. It's definitely a good thing to experience in terms of becoming independent. It was a really profound experience, at the end of the program, to stay in a hotel room by myself and realize how comfortable I had become. Belize is a wonderful place with the kindest people! That being said, I still aim to be cautious wherever I go.

What was your biggest accomplishment on the trip?

I remember a lot of victories (and challenges) from the trip, but one of my fondest memories is when we completed our first deep dive to around 30 meters. It was something many of us had never imagined we'd accomplish, and it was so cool to see some of the volunteers who hadn't dived before this trip tackle this feat with such grace. It was a really wonderful group of people.

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