Before snorkelling in Champagne Reef in Dominica I couldn’t get the image of myself snorkelling in an actual pool of champagne out of my head.
I was imagining that first sip of champers where the bubbles hit your nose before they hit your lips and you smell that fruity, spicy, alcoholic tang. And then the bubbles hit your tongue and it’s like a little disco going on in your mouth. I’d close my mouth and hold it there for a second to enjoy the warm buzz and the promptly begin gulping away like a fish.
OK, Champagne Reef in Dominica isn’t actually filled with champagne. The reef gets its name thanks to the tiny streams of bubbles that rise from the surface of the seabed. The underground volcanic activity heats the water, making Champagne Reef not only bubbly but also delightfully warm.
We humans aren’t the only creatures who love the warm water and the reef is teeming with fish, making this one of the best places in Dominica for snorkelling and scuba diving.
After half an hour of snorkelling around the coral we entered a bubbly through a gap in the rock where I swam headfirst into a school of fish.
A tornado of fish frantically swarmed around me as I hovered in disbelief. I a actually began smiling manically at one point – a stupid thing to do while snorkeling because my mask immediately flooded with water. I surfaced as quickly as I could to empty my mask before diving back down to join the underwater party.
I stayed like that for as long as I could, beaming internally (I’d learnt my lesson about smiling) and playing with the bubbles.
Among the fish were colouful plants, bright and flamboyant coral and even a canon from an old shipwreck. I was in snorkeling heaven.
It began raining during my snorkel, but if you’ve even swum in the rain you’ll know that it’s actually really nice. It’s refreshing and as the air temperature drops it makes the water feel warmer.
I snorkelled in Champagne Reef with Champagne Reef Dive & Snorkel. The 45-minute guided tour included high quality equipment and costs $19. They also offer diving from $60 and a combination of reef and rainforest tours.
During Dominica’s peak season and when cruise ships come in it can get busy at the reef but when I visited (May) I was the only person there. My guide was lovely and really knowledgeable about the plants, fish and coral. He was also really patient and helpful so I imagine he’d be great with first-time snorkelers.
If you’re visiting Dominica, make sure a trip to Champagne Reef is on your to-do list because it was a lot of fun!