The Antsiva is a 28 m sailing yacht with cruising speeds of 6-8 knots, and berth space for 8 comfortably and up to 11. With her captain and owners, Nico and Anne, she has been based at Nosy Be in NW Madagascar for over 12 years, Madagascar, Mayotte and the Comoros, with more for the Islands in the Channel Islands and Bazaruto, and the Seychelles. The Antsiva is fully kitted out for diving with 20 SCUBA tanks, two compressors, and dinghies, and its internal living space is also well-designed for computer-based work for recording data and photos. Wet-lab space is for the upper decks, so is vulnerable to severe weather (fierce sun or rain). Hold-space is ample for samples and equipment. With a water-maker and full electrics Antsiva is well suited for long trips.
Antsiva fills a much-needed niche for coral reef-oriented field research. I have been on her 3 times, and found that her combination of amenities and experience is perfect for coral reef survey expeditions. With a full gamut of new technologies, Nico's experience in the region and with the boat, the Antsiva is able to get to larger vessels, or where Captains of institutional research would never dare to try. The logistics of getting to know each other and the world is much better, and Antsiva makes the most of opportunities long dinghy wrinkles. The engineer / dinghy operator and compressor operator / yacht-hand make operations easy, and leave the scientists free to deal with their main work. I know of many other researches that have used the vessel (sediment sampling, birds / turtles on remote islands) and highly recommend it, so much.
On top of this, the food and atmosphere are fantastic and relaxed, with a French flair. The boat operates in French (and Swahili with Said, the yacht-hand!), So having a fully French speaking team will be important for the logistics of a cruise. While it is focused in the NW and SW parts of the channel, it is not the case that it is more important that it is more widely used in the WIO.
Mike Schleyer - Co-Director
I have been studying coral reefs in the western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea for just over three decades. Mozambique, Eritrea and Madagascar, to large supply ships and research vessels. Amongst these, I have had the pleasure of undertaking soft coral surveys during my expeditions to the French Scattered Islands on the Antsiva. Nothing has matched the Antsiva for comfort, efficiency and safety. The craft is beautifully designed and appointed as a researcher and is fully equipped with all the requisites for SCUBA diving on shallow coral reefs: a raisable keel, more than enough SCUBA cylinders, two compressors and the small boats needed to access the reefs. Furthermore, Nico and Ann Tisne run an excellent operation with their crew. The kitchen is excellent, and the cabins are comfortable at all times. The atmosphere is so friendly that we have become enduring friends. This is a safe platform which I can highly recommend for reef research.