We started off the day getting our drone up and running. We’ll be using this throughout the next week and a half to document some features that are more difficult to see on foot.
This photo is of where we are staying, with the drone about 70 feet up!
Though some of our work is fun and involves drones, some is less glamorous, like getting permits to do research, especially in protected areas. While most of the paperwork can be done in advance, there is still the matter of going to town and collecting and signing all the documents… fortunately for us, ‘going to do paperwork’ in Roseau puts us right next to Champagne Beach! Naturally we decided to investigate.
Some of our favorite shots from Champagne Beach.
One of the main draws to Dominica is the underwater bubble streams that give Champagne Reef its name. For us, they are of particular interest because of the research Dr. Lazar is working on. We had to wait until 5 for the permit to research in the reef, so we used several hours to snorkel and select spots that looked most promising for samples.
We entered the water and almost immediately were greeted by 3 squid. We also noticed small CO2 seeps in the shallows here.
We headed out deeper and the larger CO2 vents proved easy to find. They ranged in size and bubble frequency and were spread all over the left corner of the beach. Many of the rocks featured fractures, which were abundant with the seeps.
Of course, the CO2 seeps were not the only highlight of the snorkel. We got to play with anemones, by brushing seaweed lightly by it and watching as the anemone grabbed onto it. We then were able to catch a glimpse of an octopus as it hid away in a crevice of rock.
The actual ‘beach’ on Champagne is mostly rocks but there are a few spots with black sand. The black sand comes from the volcanic materials like basalt, augite, hornblende, iron oxides, lava fragments, and volcanic glass being broken up rather than the calcium carbonate and quartz that make up white sanded beaches.
Tomorrow, with our permits obtained, we will begin sampling various beaches around Dominica!