The Andros Islands offers some fantastic diving opportunities. It is the gateway to the incredible 'Tongue of the Ocean' canyon, also the third largest barrier reef system in the world lies 1.6km (1 mile) offshore and stretches continuously for over 160km (100 miles) along the east coast of Andros. To top it off, the largest concentration of blue holes on the planet can be found here, 50 of which are in the ocean and many of which can be dived. That should get the avid cave diver excited!
There are a couple of great dive resorts that cater packages specifically for the experienced diver. Courses can be done here too, but turning up already certified will allow you to really appreciate the fabulous diving available. It's hard to say how many sites are actually in the area, depending on your experience level, depends on which sites you'll visit, but most of them are close to the shore or a short boat ride away.
Because of the diversity of environments here, you're sure to see a wide variety of marine life. The reef system is teeming with tropical fish, turtles, octopi, many different corals and huge coral formations, caverns and swim throughs to explore around for macro life. The blue holes offer interesting creatures in unique environments, light displays and striking landscapes. The Tongue of the Ocean can turn up huge pelagics and even Humpback and Pilot Whales if you're really lucky.
The Andros Blue Holes are a world famous cave diving location, with sites such as the Stargate Blue Hole, El Dorado and Benjamin's Blue Hole, there are also cavern dives that advanced divers can explore like Coral Caverns, Dianna's Dungeons, Cara's Caverns and Alec's Caverns.
Just 1.6km (1 mile) off the coast lies the deep abyss called the 'Tongue of the Ocean', a sheer wall that plummets to 1829m (6000 ft) and is 32km (20 miles) wide, the wall is covered in corals and huge fish come out of the blue to say hello. The beautiful site of Green Cay lies on the other side of the canyon and well worth a visit.
The barrier reef offers some great diving for all levels, it's full of wonderful dive sites, covered in healthy corals and loads of sea life, great for last dives of the day of training dives, be sure to take your camera and capture the great macro life that lives on the reef.
Your fabulous diving adventure around the Andros Islands awaits you. For some of the most diverse diving in the Bahamas, if not the whole of the Caribbean, you've come to the right place.
(By Kelly Luckman)
Andros Island is the largest in the Bahamian archipelago with a unique infrastructure of cays and islets, surrounded by coral reef and interlaced with mangroves and swamps, it's no wonder the amazing wildlife that can be found here is some of the best in the country. There are three main islands, the total area measuring 167km in length (104 miles) and 64km (40 miles) at the widest point, its area is bigger than all the other Bahama islands put together.
There are four airports on the island with regular daily flights from the capital, Nassau which has direct flights from London, Paris and many US cities. Charters fly direct to Andros from Florida, or you can catch a ferry from Nassau if you prefer to see the scenery. Taxis are readily available on the island or you may choose to hire a car to get around.
You have a choice of accommodation options from hotels, guest houses and lodges, to wonderful eco-friendly resorts that cater for diving and fishing enthusiasts. Package deals are a popular way to visit the island and you can pick up a bargain in the off season.
This nature lover's paradise is full of natural wonders to explore. Try your hand at some bonefishing, Andros is known to be the bonefishing capital of the world... they're fast though so you better be quick! Deep sea fishing in the depths of the Tongue of the Ocean might nab you a huge dorado, sailfish, tuna, wahoo or jack that you can fry up on the bbq for lunch.
Take a lovely walk on some of the island's nature tracks and look out for the many species of flora and fauna, kayak through the mangroves or visit one of the many blue holes in the area and search for the unique wildlife. There are five national parks in Andros, so that'll keep you busy for a while. Stories of mythical creatures are ripe; look out for the Chickcharnees in the forests or the sea monster Lusca in one of the blue holes.
Plan your holiday around one of the many festivals throughout the year and immerse yourself in the Andros culture. Fresh Creek has a Crabfest festival in June, or there's the Harvest Festival and Conch Festival in October, the Junkanoo and Goombay celebrations around Christmas and New Year and the Pirate's Festival just to name a few.
So relax on the beach or explore your adventurous side, the beauty and diversity of Andros Island will exceed your expectations.
(By Kelly Luckman)