Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve
Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve is a must-see and ideal site for diving and exploring the vivid coral and marine wildlife. Furthermore, the reserve is considered as one of the top diving sites of the Northern Caribbean Sea.
The abundance of the fauna and flora is remarkable due to natural hot springs flowing into the waters. As a result, this is a warm heaven for the marine life.
The reserve is located in front of Malendure beach in Bouillante township (Basse-Terre Island). This marine area of 400 hectares including Pigeon Islets is part of the National Park of Guadeloupe Archipelago. Most importantly, there are multiple possibilities to discover the reserve. You can snorkel along the shallow water reefs, scuba dive or visit the coral from a glass-bottom boat.
Origin of the name
The name of the place comes from the captain Jacques Cousteau. He has contributed to the innovation of modern underwater, by co-developing the Aqua-lung. Consequently, you will be able to find his underwater statue when exploring the site.
Fauna and Flora of the Cousteau Reserve
The clear waters that surround Pigeon Islets make Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve a gorgeous and thriving shallow reef. Therefore, the variety of marine animals is quite impressive. In the Fish family, there are barracudas, butterfly fishes, eels, parrotfishes, seahorses, sergent major which is a species of damselfish, surgeon fishes and trumpetfishes.
The Crustacean family includes lobsters and crayfishes. Finally, there are also other animals such as Coral reef sponges, sea urchins, turtles as well as seashells. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to see nurse sharks. However, the presence of multiple divers often disturbs this Elasmobranch fish.
Protection of the Reserve
Jacques Cousteau was so fascinated by the biological diversity of the reserve, hence his willing to fully protect it. Until 2009, fishing and mooring were already forbidden as part of the preservation process. Today, the protection is even stronger, especially because the site is part of the National Park of Guadeloupe Archipelago.