Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Week of the Hammerhead!

The Week of the Hammerhead!

The start of the new year came, hopefully (!), with a taste of things to come......three separate hammerhead sightings in one week! The first of these was at King Kong's Ocean Blue hole - a great dive in its own right but throw the silhouette of a 10ft hammerhead cruising 20 feet above you into the mix and you've got something really spectacular! A real treat for our divers, Josh, Brent, Derek, Chris and Veronique! When it comes to capturing this elusive shark on camera, Small Hope has, in the past, found themselves a little jinxed (forgotten lens cap, low battery, simple shock and awe resulting in forgetting to raise camera - not mentioning any names), but this time Dennis rose to the challenge (check out the YouTube video).

The second sighting of the week, came from one of our interns, Max. While following up behind the other divers, dive master Max glimpsed the unmistakable hammerhead shape disappear back into the blue. No video evidence for this one, but we're not one to doubt our trusty interns!!

The final sighting came yet again from Dennis. While half the group were starting to ascend after a wonderful dive at Whip Wire Wall, Dennis and his buddy, Allen, had an up close encounter with another 10ft hammerhead! After yelling as loud as they could to get the rest of the group's attention (a difficult task through your reg underwater), they followed the animal a little ways out from the wall........a brief cruise along the top of the wall and the magnificent beast vanished into the blue!

All in all, a fantastic week for diving here at Small Hope, and a great reminder to hang around Dennis ('Lucky Friend of the Hammerhead') on as many wall dives as possible!!!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jeff Goes to the Big City

Our fearless leader, Jeffrey Birch, just got back from the Paris Dive Show or Salon de la  Plongée . Despite some small reluctance Jeff had about traveling so far, he unsurprisingly had a spectacular time! Jeff took lots of pictures (successfully making everyone else very jealous) of the city, the dive show and especially the FOOD!

Small Hope Bay Lodge has been attending the Paris Dive Show for many years now and Jeff was able to reunite with some good friends. The show itself proved to be extremely well organized and fun for all! One couple, Audrey and Cedric, were lucky enough to have their wedding sponsored by the Bahamas Ministry of tourism as well as the Dive Show. The ceremony was performed in the pool at the Dive Show! The lucky couple is now off to the Bahamas for their honeymoon and will even make it to Small Hope Bay Lodge to renew their vows.

As anyone who has been to Paris will testify, food there is something taken very seriously. In the dive show itself there were all kinds of foods stalls filled with unbelievable snacks. After the show each day, Jeff went out with Karin Mallet, the Bahamas.com representative in France. She took him to many restaurants but Jeff’s absolute favorite was the food market. Rows and rows of the freshest and ripest fruits and vegetables, mountains of too many cheeses to even try to name, freshly cut meats, so many types of olives to make your head spin and freshly baked pastries around every corner.
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sandcastles at Small Hope Bay


We had some guests treat us to some excellent sandcastle construction this week. Our guests Justin Trudeau and 7 year-old Alex both impressed everyone with their sandcastling skills.  

Justin came here this time with his wife and children and fit in just like family. He also visited Small Hope when he was a very small child with his father. Justin's father, former Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Trudeau, also fit in like family with Small Hope Bay Lodge founder Dick Birch. Justin was retracing steps that were both memorable, emotional and Small Hope salutes him, his lovely wife, Sofie and their two adorable kids.

Justin came prepared with his own sandcastle kit and Alex was keen to take some tips from him. Both castles had bridges and turrets, there was a moat, and towers, one even had a cracked brick façade.   Both guests showed firm dedication as they took time out in between dive trips to perfect the fortresses. It took almost a whole day to complete the masterpieces, but as the sun was setting, both looked very impressive and have now well and truly laid down the gauntlet for our next Sandcastle enthusiasts!

There is so much more of the story to be shared as our blog continues and as Small Hope continues in to our 51st year

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

Another New Year was rung in at Small Hope and what a sweet party it was! Our evening started around the outside bar where we had a pleasant breeze keeping us cool. Not only did we have a full lodge but many of the Birch family was here to celebrate with us as well, not to mention other Andros Island friends who stopped by for some cocktails.

At 7pm, Michelle and Renauldo announced dinner and WOW, a huge feast including ham, turkey, stuffing, coconut shrimp and spinach and artichoke bisque was served. That was followed by 42 (yes 42!!!!) desserts - a new Small Hope Bay Lodge record. Among them - chocolate chip cookies, key lime pie, New Orleans style cheesecake, double chocolate decadence cheesecake, sweet potato pie, homemade eggnog, and sex in the pan.

After dinner guests were treated to cocktails inside and outside as well as Alec's traditional New Years Bang Bangs - shots of tequila mixed with Sprite and banged on the counter for extra fizz. We all made our hats in the Games Room. Some made more simple hats while some left no glitter or rhinestone untouched.

We took down the Christmas tree and started the bonfire down the beach. At the countdown, the tree was tossed in and our newly made hats too. We could see fireworks displays from Nassau but decided to add some fireworks of our own for good measure.

All in all, it was an amazing night and the only sad thing is that we have to wait a whole year to do it again . . .

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