Lost Girls Field Trip: Andros Island-Part 6

Adventure Travel, Andros Island, Bike, Fitness & Workouts, Getting There, Hotels & Resorts, Tours & Attractions — By on February 20, 2009 at 5:40 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 sixth post and stay tuned each week for a new entry!
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“Captain Bill’s Wild Blue Hole Ride”:
It was the 6th day of my week-long Andros Island vacation, when I realized that I had yet to step one barefoot out of the 100 yard beach radius surrounding the Small Hope Bay Lodge. Between all the amazing scuba diving trips, an abundance of hammocks and a self-serve beach bar, there’s not a whole lot of incentive to leave this slice of paradise. But considering there were miles of uninhabited and virtually untouched wilderness just beyond the lodge borders, I figured a little DIY exploration was in order.

Since Small Hope provides bicycles free of charge, my travel buddy Mark and I decided to do one of the most popular suggested excursions – a 6 mile ride to Captain Bill’s, an inland blue hole in the middle of a pristine pine forest. Coated in bug spray and SPF 30, our backpacks filled with water bottles, towels and a change of clothes, we grabbed a hand-drawn map from the office and headed to the bike rack to pick out our trusty steeds for the day. As it turned out, they were way more rusty than trusty, but we decided to take our chances.

While Mark managed to get a fairly decent mountain bike (albeit female), I was left to contend with, what I can only describe as two mostly flat tires hanging precariously from an unstable metal frame. Affectionately naming him the Silver Piranha, I asked him nicely to try to keep his wheels on for the duration of the trip, made a quick sign of the cross and took off down the sandy slope towards Queens Highway. Rather than an actual highway, it was a paved two-lane road that was much easier to navigate than we’d expected. And there were so few cars that we decided to make a game out of counting them, agreeing that each one that passed us from behind would represent the number of beers we’d have to drink when we returned. We coasted about two miles before our smooth sailing abruptly came to an end.

We’d reached the point on the map where we were supposed to turn onto a dirt road. Umm, dirt was a vast understatement. For the next, count ‘em, four miles, we banged, crashed and bumped down a gravel trail teeming with fallen tree branches, pot holes and what can only be described as an odd cement, mud mixture. By the time we reached the entrance to the national park, our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard, with any feeling remaining in our asses left in the dust.

But all the pain was well worth it when we reached our destination. Propping our bikes against a tree, we navigated a narrow footbridge that led us to an even narrower path. A few branches in the face later and we emerged to find an enormous blue hole carved out of a dense thicket of Andros pine forest. Fortunately for tourists like us, the Navy had constructed a wooden gazebo and platform that hung 20 feet in the air over the water. The Small Hope staff had told us that the blue hole was more than deep enough to take a running leap and dive in so that’s just what we did. Well, that’s what I did anyway.

Mark decided to stay on dry land and snap some photos, while I immediately stripped off my sweaty clothes (yes, I had a bathing suit underneath) and hurdled myself into the inland pool. Emerging to the surface from the deep splash, I felt instantly cooled off and refreshed. Aside from a few bird calls and the gentle swish of my treading, an eerie silence hung in the balmy air until we broke it with echo-inducing cries. Boasting better acoustics than Madison Square Garden, the blue hole reverberated with an amazing melody, turning our Hello, into a never-ending Heeeeelllllloooooo!

As heady as it was to be the single swimmer in an immense Ice Age sink hole, it was also a bit creepy. My mind started to get the better of me and I begin to conjure up images of the mythological Lusca monster lurking underneath me in the inky depths. OK, time to get out now! Climbing up the wooden stairs, I met back up with Mark on the platform, toweled off and prepared to head back through the trees.

It took all the energy we could possibly muster (and a few more butt bruises), but we made it back to Small Hope in less than an hour. Not counting an embarrassing tumble onto an unsuspecting Bahamian’s front lawn (don’t ask!), we arrived at the lodge mostly in one piece.

Our car-to-beer count had only tallied five, which Mark and I split between us. Luckily, that was just enough to ensure that I didn’t feel the effects of my good ‘ole Silver Piranha for the rest of the night!

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Dying to view my entire Andros blog series to date?…Of course you are! Click here to re-visit Part 1-6!

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