Friday, November 30, 2012

Andros Island Is The Place For Celebrations!

When a special time, a special place and the special people in our lives come together, it's a celebration. Recently Small Hope Bay Lodge was honored to share in the celebration of Julia DeNamur and Sean Bishop's wedding ceremony. 

The bride and groom, wanting no muss or fuss decided that a beachside wedding would be the perfect way to say "I do", and Small Hope Bay Lodge with it's relaxed and carefree atmosphere  was exactly what they were looking for. 

Sean and Julia arrived at the lodge a few days before the ceremony to relax and enjoy their island paradise. They 
went biking, diving, beach combing and even enjoyed a relaxing massage by the beach. The folks arrived a few days later and before they knew it the big day was upon them. 

A simple and intimate celebration was what they were looking for and it is exactly what they got.  The ceremony was beautiful and even had Sean tearing up after they said "I do". A lovely reception followed with the parents and their new found friends from Small Hope. To top off a perfect day the bride and groom gave a wishing lantern to every couple in the resort to release off the dock. Everyone made their wish and watched as their lantern was taken up and away, a truly beautiful sight. 

 Small Hope Bay Lodge was very honored to be able to share this special day with Sean and Julia. From all of us here we would like to wish them all the best for the future and the happiest of lives together. As a return trip has already been scheduled we are very excited to see everyone back again next year for Thanksgiving! 
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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving on Andros Island!

Thanks! It's such a simple word, and one we use so often. However, on our day of Thanksgiving, we try to think of exactly what it is we are thankful for. As always friends and family are on the top of our list. 

This year at Small Hope Bay Lodge our culinary crew prepared a magnificent feast for everyone. A delicious turkey with all the trimmings; stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and of course gravy and cranberry sauce. To complete this wonderful meal was the more than 25 desserts, many of which were prepared by returning chef Scott, who came specifically to lend a hand for Thanksgiving. There weren't any leftovers after this meal as the food was so good everyone went up for second and third helpings. 


The guest list for the Small Hope Thanksgiving included of course our fabulous guests, our dive staff, Peter Douglas and his wife Gabrielle from ANCAT (Andros Nature Conservancy and Trust), friends from the island who brought their families along, and who could forget Small Hope's Commander in Chief Jeffrey Birch! It was a great night and we are all looking forward to next year and another great Thanksgiving 
at Small Hope Bay Lodge!

Louis enjoying his turkey!


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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Small Hope, the Nature Conservancy and Lionfish!

This week at Small Hope we got to be involved in two different environmental efforts, one addressing the growth and health of our reef, and one focused on controlling the lionfish population that threatens the marine life here in the Bahamas and other Caribbean areas.

At Small Hope, we take the protection of the environment very seriously. We have enacted several ecological programs around the lodge for this reason. From our recycling program to the water saving procedures to our reverse osmosis water treatment, Small Hope has continued to develop plans and programs that help to safeguard the beautiful and unique environment of Andros Island, Bahamas.

Andros is home to the Andros Barrier Reef, the third largest barrier reef in the world. The reef is full of hard and soft corals, sponges and a variety of sea life. The reef itself is in good condition, but due to various global conditions and effects there is more algae on the reef in recent years. 

ANCAT (Andros Conservancy and Trust), which was formed with Small Hope Bay Lodge and of which Jeff Birch is secretary has developed a new coral farming program and this week Small Hope got to be a part of their efforts. Felicity, of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos branch of the Nature Conservancy led the group which also included Kemit-Amon Lewis, the Coral Conservation Manager from the US branch, Stopher Slade of the St. Croix branch and Eric Buck of the St. Thomas branch. The group came to Andros with the goal of setting up Coral Nurseries. They set up 5 blocks of new-growth coral, each featuring three different types of coral in each block.  These Coral Nurseries will grow the coral and can be used for future coral transplanting to any damaged areas of the reef!

We were also lucky enough to host Indira and Nichola, who came to Andros as representatives of  the Bahamas Department of Agriculture to work on their study of lionfish. Lionfish are a venomous fish native to Indo-Pacific waters and considered an invasive species in the Bahamas as well as the rest of the Caribbean. The beautiful striped fish are known to have a voracious appetite, an indiscriminate palate (devouring many different species) and reproduce at a high rate. Many organizations and governments have started to take a more active role in the control of the spread of lionfish population.

Indira and Nichola came as part of a study evaluating the changes in populations of lionfish in various areas - places where they were being actively hunted, as well as control groups - and to report on their findings. 

The spiny fish are often killed with spear guns by scuba divers and are considered quite tasty. Our own chef, Don Goodman made up some tasty lionfish fritters from a catch brought in by a few of Small Hope's guests . . . 

 . . . Delicious! Pin It Now!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Andros Island Is Perfect for a Holiday Season Vacation

The holiday season is enough to wear you out! Hustle and bustle is the order of the day with shopping, social obligations and crowds everywhere; except here on Andros Island in the Bahamas

The only hustle and bustle we’ve experienced lately is on the reef as clouds of Creole Wrasse jockey for position with the Blue and Gray Chromis for the best position on the coral heads. And there was some commotion at the Shark Emporium as a dozen or so Caribbean Reef Sharks forgot their manners in the rush to get at the chumsicle on the other day. 

Otherwise, it’s been the usual routine of leisurely diving, lots of hammock time interrupted by the occasional island tour and cocktail hour (and conch fritters) at 6:30 daily. Sorry, but we don’t have any snow. Only lots of sunshine that never requires a shovel! Every day is a holiday on Andros Island at Small Hope Bay Lodge!

So, why not come down to the Bahamas for the holiday season? 
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Diving at Dawn

At Small Hope Bay Lodge we have many different dives sites. Walls, caverns, wrecks, blue holes, shallow reefs, there are so many to choose from. One particular site is called 'Over The Wall' and SHBL has been running this dive since the early 60's. 

Reef Sponges - Diving on Andros Island Bahamas with Small Hope Bay Lodge

The wall begins where the ocean floor ends - a vertical drop-off where the continental shelf plummets to the Tongue of the Ocean 6,000 feet below. The Andros Wall begins around 70 to 90 feet, and that's where we set anchor. At this site divers take the plunge and experience one of life's most exhilarating feelings, plummeting down to an ice age shore line at a depth of 185 feet

This week at Small Hope Bay, Fred Calhoun and Peter Donahue are back for yet another visit. These two have been coming to Small Hope for many years and have put their own spin on our signature wall dive. Fred and Peter prefer to do the dive at dawn. 

As they make their way out to the site the sun is just beginning to rise, the ocean is perfectly still and a more beautiful view out on the water would be difficult to find. 

The divers gear up, jump in, descend and have a spectacular dive gazing down at the depths of the Tongue of the Ocean. A shark cruises past to say good morning while their sitting on the ledge at 185ft. As the divers make their ascent over the top of the wall the sun is rising and lighting up the reef before them. Already it has been an amazing day and it is not even 8am yet. 

Back on the boat the Fred and Peter, and the rest of the group enjoy some juice while deciding what to have for breakfast once back at the lodge. 

Watch the video below of our Over the Wall dive at dawn and see for yourself what a truly amazing experience it is!

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