Lost Girl Field Trip: Andros Island-Part 2

Adventure Travel, Andros Island, Bahamas, Blogging Your Trip, Hotels & Resorts, Lost Girls — By on January 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Jen: While I wouldn’t trade my position as 1/3 of The Lost Girls writing team for anything in…well…the world, I recently spread my journalist wings and accepted my first solo assignment: a 9-part web series on Andros Island for the pop culture travel site, Jaunted.com. But even though I temporarily flew away from the nest, I felt compelled to bring my stories home to you, my favorite TLG readers. So enjoy my second post and stay tuned each week for a new entry!

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“Journey into the Great Blue Hole”: When I got my open water scuba certification a few years ago in Belize, I had neither the time nor the experience to tackle their famous Blue Hole. My fears aside, I was seriously bummed to miss out on such an extraordinary underwater adventure that I may never have the chance to experience again. If only I had known then, what I know now: The highest concentration of blue holes in the entire world is actually in the Bahamas.

Now, I know what some of you off-the beaten track travelers such as myself may be thinking. Aren’t the Bahamas for those cruise ship junkies who’ve just ‘gotta’ own one of those zany souvenir coconut monkeys? Or for blue haired grandmas with a penchant for the Atlantis slot machines? Well, perhaps. But not on Andros Island, home to the largest land and sea park in the Bahamas and a veritable playground for scuba divers!

Boasting one of the most extensive lists of Blue Hole expeditions available to sport divers, my home away from home, The Small Hope Bay Lodge, was my ticket to redemption. As if kicking in the fin-steps of the legendary Jacques Cousteau wasn’t cool enough (his Calypso crew filmed in Andros in 1970), I was going to explore the second deepest ocean blue hole in the Bahamas, “cleverly” called the Great Blue Hole. Oh wait, it’s also known as King Kong’s Cavern. Now that’s more like it!

Before I actually saw one with my own (masked) eyes, the only visual reference I had to what blue holes would look like came from sweeping aerial shots in glossy travel magazines, which painted them as mysterious cobalt eyes staring up from a pale turquoise sea. While these satellite images gave me the impression that I would be lost in pitch black, barely able to see the swimmer in front of me, my in-the-water experience was much different.

Before departure, our dive masters reviewed the game plan, explaining our exact route through the Great Blue Hole and what to expect during the journey. As soon as the boat was safely anchored and we were all in the water, our group headed down to 40 feet to the entrance of the blue hole. From there, we drifted down an ancient waterfall chute and made our way long the rim. An intricate maze of underwater caves, blue holes offer limitless secret nooks and crannies to explore. Luckily our first swim-through, aptly named the skylight room, was bright and spacious enough to accommodate even the most hard core claustrophobic.

As we glided through the passageway, our guides motioned for us to look up through the openings in the rocks where sunbeams had wiggled their way through from the now faraway surface. To up the ‘ooh and ahh’ factor–which sounded more like blub, blub under water–the dive masters pulled out their regulators and sent a stream of tiny bubbles shooting up the cavern wall towards the light. We continued on to what is called the big room where you can look straight across the center of the blue hole from one side and stare down into its vast chasm.

I was so swept up by the breathtaking views and complex limestone formations that without even realizing it, we’d returned to the waterfall and were told via scuba hand gestures that we had a little free time to look around before our ascent. As my dive buddy Mark and I edged our way towards the rim of the blue hole, I tried to do what Small Hope had suggested and imagine what my surroundings would have looked like during the last ice age when the blue hole was on dry land. Had I been able to transport myself that far back in time, I’m sure it would have been a phenomenal sight. But considering how extraordinary it was now, I was more than thrilled to have an ocean around me to float in for just awhile longer.

For more information about scuba diving in Andros Island, visit Small Hope

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    4 Comments

  • Lac says:

    Wow thats a really nice blog. Please visit my travel blog Featuring Namibia, Sri Lanka and many other great places.

  • jen laceda says:

    What a great adventure! Makes me wish I was a certified diver! So hard when you live in Canada…sigh!

    Congrats on the Weblog Awards!

  • Brad Zurich says:

    That’s a superb place to visit. My my, nature has gifted us such immense rich flora and fauna wish we took better care of it. Put some live stream video of some video of this place.

  • Amanda Rogers says:

    I actually bought one of those “zany souvenir coconut monkeys” from
    coco-monkeys.com haha don’t make fun of me because they are actually really cute and make great decorations!