Dominica is still active geothermally speaking. There are several places where hot gases come to the surface creating hot springs, sulpher pools, and a Boiling Lake. We ran the dinghys down to Champagne Reef yesterday and had a wonderful day snorkeling, swimming, and lolling in the hot water.
Champagne Reef is a very busy tourist attraction, but we went later in the afternoon when the cruise ship folks were already back aboard, so it wasn't too crowded. We were all delighted to play in the bubbles and appreciated the warmth they created because we had already been snorkeling for quite a while by the time we got there.
The gases seep up from little holes in the ocean floor and stream towards the surface just like champagne bubbles in a glass.
The fish appreciate the bubbles and shallow water too and many different kinds hang around the vents.
The file fish were particularly interested in the humans.
After the reef, we went over to Bubble Beach where the vents are coming to the surface just at the edge of the beach. We could feel the heat of the geothermal activity even as we were landing the dinghy, and several times we had to quickly hot to a cool spot as we walked to the actual bathing area.
The hot water seeps out of the sand and rocks about 6' from where the seawater laps at the beach. You have to run across that super hot area quickly and get into the mixed water area. Then you lie down in it and get the most interesting combination of hot and cool water mixing and surging gently around your body. If it starts getting too hot, you can scoot towards the ocean, or simply wait a while and the surge will cool it down. If it gets too cold, you can scoot up, or dig down into the super heated sand. It reminded us of the Calistoga Mud Baths in that you could adjust the heat by moving up or down.
The Captain found the hot water particularly soothing after his gallbladder attack of yesterday. He felt fine all day and swam, snorkeled, and participated fully in the day's events. We think maybe a little adjustment to our diet will help. We found this wonderful pâté in Martinique and maybe we got a little carried away with that.....