April 28th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Since we arrived in November, the bridge in Grand Case has spanned a stretch of sand rather than a canal to the salt pond that surrounds the airport. As we prepare for the coming hurricane season, however, that is changing. A couple days ago a digger began excavating the sand to create a canal leading out to the bay in preparation for potential rains that may fill the salt pond and require an outlet.

Although it is probably necessary, it is also disturbing because it will inevitably release the very dirty pond water into the bay, polluting the water and the beach. Without knowing for sure, I would guess that the pond is not only a dumping ground for visible trash, but also contains sewage from nearby homes and businesses. Although there are mangroves surrounding the pond and plants and animals absorbing and filtering some of the pollution, it’s clearly not nearly enough to handle the amount of waste that accumulates there. It will be interesting to see the impact on the bay and the pond when the canal is fully open.

April 27th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Le Trou de David (David’s Hole), is a large natural hole with two arches leading out to the sea near Baie Rouge. We’ve known about it for years, but only just went out to visit. On the sides of the hole, green iguanas are common, and I even spotted one climbing down the cliff-face on the sea-side of the hole. The hole is located near a couple other interesting spots: Pointe du Bluff, where a narrow isthmus leads out to a patch of forested land and La Belle Creole, an abandoned resort that is rumored to be built beside an ancient native burial ground.

Since we were nearby, we also undertook a reconnaissance mission to Le Grotte de Puits des Terres Basses, which is supposedly a large cave near Morne Rouge that serves as a roost for several species of bat. Unfortunately, due to time constraints we did not locate it this time, but will return soon.

April 23rd, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Below are some macro photos from a recent dive at a new site near Marigot that we’re calling Little Canyons. It’s a shallow site that features a row of little rock canyons covered in corals and sponges. I got a bunch of photos of blennies, and a triton’s trumpet eating a sea star. I also spent quite a bit of time trying to photo the little crabs that hide in anemones, with mixed results. All things considered, it’s a great new site with lots of life and, because it’s shallow, great colors underwater.

April 23rd, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

We are happy to announce the addition of a photo upload page where you can add your Extreme Shallow Snorkeling photos! The new upload page and gallery is located here: http://www.lesfruitsdemer.org/interact/upload-photos/

April 22nd, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Tuesday was the final Harmony Night of the season. Below are a few pictures including Aure at Sky’s the Limit and the parade. No more Harmony Nights until next February!

April 21st, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

I’ve gotten photos of over a dozen species of spider since I’ve been here, but I’m not very knowledgeable about them. Here’s a small and rather delicate looking spider that I found in our apartment the other day.

April 20th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

Bell Valley is what I’ve decided to call the unnamed valley between Bell Point and Anse Marcel. I headed down to there, in part to check on the dead raccoon I found earlier, and see if its skeleton had been picked clean yet. As you can see below, the flesh is basically gone, but there’s still plenty of dried skin and fur. At least the smell was gone, though! The same could not be said of the dead dog I found there. On the lighter side, I saw a cute calf nursing. Did you know that sometimes a cow will lap up another cow’s urine right from the stream as it is coming out? It’s true!

April 17th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

We took our first night dive in a long while out at Turtle Reef, and it was quite lovely. For starters, I got my wish when we saw a spanish lobster Scyllarides aequinoctialis just after descending. We also encountered velvet shrimp jumping around on the sand and a cute decorator crab covered in bits of sponge. Corals were feeding and tube-dwelling anemones had emerged from the sand for the night. Seeing the web burrfish was also a special treat. We also saw a couple turtles trying to get some sleep and a few moray eels on the prowl.

April 17th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

I took a new route out to Bell Point the other day, from Petite Plage and via the bouldery shore. Heading up the ravine past where I saw the turtle shell, I found a large recess under a boulder, but it seemed empty save for a few scattered goat bones. I also saw two of the very small microteiid that I had seen on the way to Friar’s Bay and a bird egg that had perhaps been washed out of the nest by the recent rains.

The water near the shore was quite clear, so I decided to round the point and climb up the side facing Anguilla. The views were quite nice and I discovered another potential cave on a cliff face on the side of Bell Hill. Heading up to investigate the potential cave, I made my way through some forest and to the cliff face. It was probably scalable, but I wasn’t quite foolish enough to try. After crossing below the cliff, I headed up the hill beside it and crossed the top as well and was able to locate the potential cave, which was just a small recess in the side of the wall.

Switching to my macro lens, I photographed quite a few small creatures, including what I believe were some newly-hatched babies of the red hemipteran I’ve seen on the island, some interesting color variations of Anolis pogus and a stripier version of the dwarf gecko Sphaerodactylus sputator. Along with sightings of Sphaerodactylus microlepis, Anolis gingivinus and Amieva plei, I had seen six species of lizards on my walk.

April 14th, 2010 by Marc AuMarc

A few signs I saw on my last trip to Marigot.