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Andros Island

Encompassing 2,300 square miles, Andros Island is the largest and least explored island in the Bahamas. The Andros Barrier Reef is the third largest in the world and the second largest in the Western hemisphere. It stretches 140 miles along the Eastern coast of the island and has a 6,000 foot drop-off.

Tropical FlowersAndros Island’s diverse geography provides a wide variety of flora and fauna unique to the island. There are more than 40 types of wild orchids as well as rare, endemic birds, wild boar and four-foot long iguanas. These iguanas make their home in the thick bushes and swamps and on deserted beaches.

Population
The population of Andros Island is approximately 10,000 people. Most Androsians, whose origins date back to the Seminole Indians, live on the East coast of the island in small towns. The residents’main occupation consists of fishing and farming. When the Spanish discovered Andros, they named it La Isla del Esperitu Santo which translates to the Island of the Holy Spirit.

Legends and Myths
There are a number of legends or myths that surround Andros Island of which two are referred to as the Chickcharnies and the Lusca. The Chickcharnies are believed to be magical; half man/half bird-like elves with red eyes, feathers, three fingers and three toes. They are said to live in the tops of pine trees and according to the myth, will cause considerable trouble to those who look upon them and grimace. However, they will cast lifelong good luck to those who show them respect. The Lusca, an octopus-like creature, whose legend has it that it takes pleasure in dragging men and small boats down to their doom, is the island’s version of the Loch Ness Monster.

Andros Island has many underwater cave systems known as Blue Holes. Some of the deepest underwater cave explorations have been conducted here. In 1960, Small Hope Bay Lodge, a resort dedicated to diving, opened in Central Andros. Thereafter, a number of historic moments took place including:

  • Diver / photographer Dr. George Benjamin was the first to explore the Blue Holes of Andros Island in the early 60’s.
  • Canadian diver Betty Singer set the world record for women divers at 310 feet in 1961.
  • Physicist Roger Hutchins, owner of Small Hope Bay Lodge, set the world record for deep diving on compressed air in 1963 (462 feet).
  • Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau learned to dive at this resort, as well as Bahamian Prime Minister Lynden O. Pindling.
  • Jacques Cousteau and his Calypso crew explored and filmed the Blue Holes in 1970.

 


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