Lost Girls Field Trip: Andros Island-Part 5

Adventure Travel, Andros Island, Bahamas, Blogging Your Trip, Dispatches from the Road, Hotels & Resorts, Spiritual Travel, Wildlife & Animals — By on February 12, 2009 at 5:55 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 fifth post and stay tuned each week for a new entry!

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“Mythical Creatures of Andros”:
The Lock Ness Monster…Big Foot…The Abominable Snowman. Until a recent trip to the Bahamas, I thought I had all my ‘legendary monsters’ bases pretty much covered. That was before I landed on Andros Island and started hearing the names Chickcharney and Lusca thrown around in casual conversation. Apparently there were a few mythical creatures my school teachers neglected to mention.

A sci-fi geek to the core, I was naturally intrigued by the rich mythology and folkloric tales that abound the island, so I decided to do a little digging. I didn’t have to go far considering the Birch Family, who founded Small Hope Bay Lodge where I was staying, has been in Andros for decades and are very familiar with the creatures there, great and small, real and fictional. Although owner, Jeff Birch, can tell you from personal experience that the Chickcharney is as alive as you and me. Athough he’d heard the stories, he was absolutely astonished to encounter one as a young boy while exploring the West side of Andros.

So what is a Chickcharney (also spelled Chickcharnee) you ask? Well, from what I’m told, it’s best described as a furry/feathery owl-like troll that lives at the tops of the tallest trees in the Andros Pine Forests. If you cross one it will strip your clothes off and turn your head backwards, but in some cases it also can bring good luck. According to island inhabitants, if you see two trees from opposite sides of the road twisted at the top or bound together, it’s a sign that one is nearby. While the Chickcharney is only found on Andros, its legend spans well beyond the island’s borders. Most interestingly, it was featured in a Time Magazine WWII article (March 24, 1947 is the source date on the web piece-pretty cool!).

Although lesser known, Andros is also home to the Lusca, who is a half-shark, half-octopus creature who lurks among the waters of inland caverns and Blue Holes. Some residence believe that Lusca’s breathe is responsible for the tidal currents and is sometimes even strong enough to create a whirlpool. When chatting with Casey Birth, Jeff’s daughter, she told me that the main thing to look for is the water rising or bubbling up. If it does, I will know Lusca is there. Considering I had an afternoon trip planned to the popular inland blue hole, Captain Bill’s, I was definitely going to keep her advice in mind.

Whether you believe in mythical creatures or think they’re only stuff of, well, myths, my personal opinion is simply that one never really knows. So perhaps it sounds ridiculous, but mark my words, if I see even the tiniest unexplained ripple or gurgle in Captain Bill’s Blue Hole, I’m hauling ass back to shore faster than you can say, Lusca.

Log on to next week to see if I survived my swim!

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Dying to view my entire Andros blog series to date?…Of course you are! Click here to re-visit Part 1-5!

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    2 Comments

  • Shannon says:

    I love this series so far and am now frustrated because I wish that I could add the Andros Island to my rtw itinerary! The pictures are beautiful and I love the stories about their myths and fairytale creatures 🙂

    ~Shannon
    http://www.alittleadrift.com

  • Multiple Monitors says:

    Wow! That looks like a lot of fun! Nice scenery for sure and I love the pics!