The Big Etang
Is a lake located on the territory of the municipality of Capesterre-Belle-Eau in Guadeloupe in the French West Indies. Part of the Guadeloupe National Park, it is the largest natural body of the Lesser Antilles and is accessible by the road D4 on a map that leads to the Carbet Falls. It is visited by about 30,000 to 50,000 people a year.
What It Looks Like
The lake bordering Trois-Rivières for its southern half is on the island of Basse-Terre. It is 400 meters above sea level on the eastern flanks of Soufriere and 1.7 km from the Carbet Falls. It is fed by the waters of three gullies, from the pond “As de Pique”, forming an area of 1.8 km22, as well as by the sources of the Crête à Bambous. It empties into the Bananier river, which helps regulate the level during heavy rains or drought.
Elongated in shape with a length of 400 meters and a maximum width of 180 meters, it extends, depending on the season, on an area of approximately 5 to 6 hectares of open water and potentially up to 10 ha in its maximum expansion in its littoral zones. It is the largest lake in the area and is the largest natural water body in the Lesser Antilles which includes Zombi Pond, Madeira Pond, Jonc Pond, Roche Pond and As Pond of Spades.
Formed by the filling of a depression basin in the lava flows from the Madeleine and Morne Boudoute having stumbled on the Morne Dongo, the lake has a variable bathymetric profile over time with maximum depths of the order from 7 to 8 meters, and could eventually be completely filled as is the case of some surrounding ponds like Rush, Madeira and Roche.
Due to an oxygen saturation of its waters by currents, the pond is similar to a lotic system and its waters are particularly rich, with the presence of Nitella cernua and Chara zeylanica algae and about thirty macrophytes including Eleocharis interstincta and Polygonum punctatum.
For crustaceans, the pond is home to populations of the local Ouassous or fresh water prawn up to 60 cm long. The present fish are all of exotic origin. It is a breeding ground for Water Hens and Green Heron a fishing area for the Brown Trembler, Osprey and since 2012 for the rare Red-bellied Kingfisher.
Due to the voluntary or unintentional influx of exotic species in a more marked way than for the neighboring ponds, the fauna and flora of the Grand Etang are however constantly evolving, in particular under the influence of some 30 000 to 50 000 annual visitors according to years 2. Finally, the biodiversity of the Bananier River seems to be linked to the contributions of the Grand Etang