Welcome to Small Hope Bay Lodge, since 1960 we have been hosting scuba divers, nature lovers, & friends at our out island getaway in the Bahamas. Let us introduce you to this unique island, from dramatic scuba diving, the best snorkeling sites, world class bonefishing, & more. Unspoiled & virtually undiscovered. Andros Island, Bahamas is a world apart from the crowds & a true Bahamas Vacation.
We love sharing the videos we make about our favorite activities here at Small Hope Bay Lodge. But we also love when our guests share their own great videos and photos! Here is a wonderful video from our friend Ingo, who recently spent his vacation here thoroughly enjoying the bonefishing. He also did some diving, saw the batik factory, and more.
Small Hope Bay Lodge is very proud to once again be a recipient of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, as well as the #1 Hotel on Andros, Bahamas! We work very hard to ensure our guests have the best vacation possible and we are so thrilled to see the wonderful comments and reviews they give us on TripAdvisor.
If you have stayed with us and have not yet left a review on TripAdvisor, please click here to leave some comments about your stay.
We lost a good friend recently. Carol Heimann has been coming with her husband and two kids to Small Hope for several years. The four of them are passionate divers and they loved diving as a family with us.
In December of 2015, Carol lost her battle with cancer. As per her wishes, her friends and family gathered here at Small Hope to spread her ashes at one of her favorite dive sites, the Blue Hole.
All of us at Small Hope are very touched and honored to share this moment with her family. And we are glad she will always be in a place she loved so much.
As many know, the history of Small Hope Bay Lodge is a long (and very interesting) one. Thankfully there are some who have kept records and accounts. Here is one of the first-hand accounts of Small Hope by none other than Rosi Birch (now Rosi Lovdal) . . .
Birch Family History
When Dick Birch
first came to the Bahamas he came to Andros to find land to build a dive resort
next to the Andros Barrier Reef.He was
sitting on the steps of the old Calabash Bay school when Mr. W. Edgecombe came along
and directed him to go to the house of old Mr. George Minnis who had exactly
the piece of land Dick Birch was looking for.”The Bay”.Which became Small
Hope Bay.That was 1958.
Dick Birch came
to Andros from Hamilton, Ontario in 1959 to begin the building of Small Hope
Bay Lodge which subsequently opened for its first tourist in December of
1960.His wife Joan had stayed behind in
Canada with their three children , Janet, Margo and Jeff while she completed
her degree in teaching,
The family joined
Dick and Joan began her teaching career at the Calabash Bay School in 1960.
Joan continued her teaching career both on Andros and then in Nassau until her
retirement.There are many Bahamians who
remember ”Ms. Boich” with love and gratitude through her many years as a
In 1965 Rosi
Kurth and her four children Heidi, Krista, Scot and Topher came to Andros and
to Small Hope to join Dick.Joan and
Duke Hanna were now together, Duke a native Andros son who had become a
musician and singer.Duke’s music career
thrived and he went on to become the first President of the Bahamas Musician
and Entertainers Union, and eventually Senator Hanna. Joan and Duke are much
loved for their years of service and influence on behalf of their fellow
Bahamians, both culturally and politically.
Dick had been
interested and involved in politics in Canada and not long after starting his
life in the Bahamas he met Lyndon Pindling, and became familiar with the then fledgling
PLP party.It seems that his involvement
with the PLP was frowned upon to the extent that a major lumber company refused
to ship materials to Dick on Andros while he was building the lodge. He then
set up his own small saw mill and began using Andros pine which he cut up north
and then hauled down to Small Hope by sea.The Andros pine was so heavy that it didn’t float while he was hauling
it, he remembered that being extremely difficult.The pine was so dense that he couldn’t hammer
nails into it.But it stands today, as a
testament to the sturdiness of both Dick Birch and the Andros pine.
Pindling was declared Prime Minister in 1967 the Birch Family celebrated along
with the Prime Minister and his wife Margeurite.Not long after, Prime Minister Pindling
brought his cabinet to Small Hope Bay Lodge for some classified cabinet
meetings which were quite sensational in that the Prime Minister re shuffled
his entire cabinet during these meetings at Small Hope Bay Lodge.So the Birches and Small Hope Bay Lodge had
again played an important part in the evolving political process of the
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was a guest at Small Hope Bay Lodge, Dick and
Rosi arranged a private meeting between Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime
Minister Pindling at the Lodge who enjoyed their private meetings on several
Minister Trudeau was an avid SCUBA diver and frequent guest at Small Hope.Around 1970 Dick Birch taught Prime Minister
Pindling how to SCUBA dive and accompanied him on a number of dives to explore
the underwater wonders of the Andros Reef.It was about this time that the government began to lay down environmental
protective legislation making the Bahamas one of the first to do so.
Pindling was invited to Small Hope Bay Lodge again when the head of the
Columbia University Lamont Geological Laboratory, Dr. Conrad Gebelein, was a
guest.Several members of cabinet joined
the PM and Dick and Rosi Birch when Dr.Gebelein took them for a walk through
the mangrove swash and explained in scientific detail that this was the nursery
for the entire reef system.Dr. Gebelein
explained to the PM and his cabinet ministers that if this mangrove area was
filled in and the site used for building, the entire reef would die, as it had
off the coast of Florida.Again Small
Hope Bay was of primary influence in protecting the natural resources.
In 1970 when it
was becoming apparent that the Bahamas would seek independance from Great
Britain, there was much idealism in the air. In the midst of the enthusiasm about
independance Rosi Birch was aware of thenumber of Bahamians who were seeking work, especially the women.It was at that time that Rosi conceived the
idea for ”Androsia”; a way to create jobs for the women of Andros, making
something beautiful and reflecting the beauty of the Bahamas.Starting in old bath tubs at Small Hope Bay
in 1970, the business grew, the number of employees grew and eventually moved
to the warehouse behind the old Lighthouse Club, with the help of Mr. W.
Edgecombe.It was in fact the same Mr.
Edgecombe who had helped Dick Birch when he visited from Canada in the 1950s to
find the property that is now Small Hopoe Bay Lodge. The first ”Androsia”
fashion show was held in 1973 at the Nassau Beach Hotel.
During the start
up years of ”Androsia” the wife of Prime Minister Pindling gave her personal
support on many occasions.Margeurite
Pindling, an Andros Girl herself, sent lovely notes of encouragement in her own
handwriting along with small gifts to the ”Androsia” staff encouraging them to ’keep up the good work’.Even when ”Androsia” was still learning and
the quality of their garments could not have been called the best, ”Lady P”wore
them proudly, sometimes cleverly hiding a flaw with an excellent placement of a
brooch.So loyal to her fellow
Androsians she was!
It was also
during this early period that the annual tradition began of Margeurite Pindling
having an ”Androsia” fashion show for her annual PLP Ladies Luncheon.It was then that Rosi Birch began the annual tradition
of releasing a big basket of Andros land crabs out onto the floor in the midst
of the dancers at the end of each fashion show.The sign of the crab! being the sign of the PLP.
During the start
up years of ”Androsia” Small Hope Bay Lodge was the cradle for ”Androsia”.Many guests at Small Hope brought their
expertise to the fledgling business; wax chemists from the University of
Toronto; dye chemist specialists from Washington, DC; batik artists from
Germany, a garment designer from Great Britain, all who just happened to be
guests at Small Hope and who offered their time and knowledge enthusiastically,
continuing the tradition of generosity of Small Hope and its guests from all
over the world.
Dick and Rosi
Birch traveled a number of times on behalf of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism,
appearing on what were then live televison interviews, promoting the Bahamas in
both Canada and the US.Rosi traveled
with a group of Bahamian models and gave the traditonal dancing ”Androsia”
fashion show in many cities across the United States to promote the
Commonwealth Heads of State Conference was held in Nassau in 1985, ”Androsia”
was asked by the government of the Bahamas to make the gifts for all the Heads
of State.A proud moment indeed for our
small local company on Andros!A special gift was made for Queen Elisabeth
II, a beautiful 5 yard piece of soft coral pink silk, which was presented to
Queen Elisabeth personally by Rosi Birch on behalf of all Bahamians when the
Queen came to Andros, her ship The Britannia anchored just outside the Andros
During this same
period just before Independance, Dick and Rosi Birch added another son to their
family of seven children, this time a native son, when Peter Douglas,
originally from Long Island, joined the Small Hope Bay family. He continues to
live on Andros, representing the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.He is the creator of the Crab Fest, one of
the most popular festivals in all of the Bahamas family of Islands.His wife Gabrielle has been a teacher on
Andros for many years, and today runs the ANCAT office in Fresh Creek.Their three children are growing into their
contribution to Andros and the Bahamas.
Conservancy and Trust, has been strongly influenced by the Birch family, by
Rosi’s children through EdoEd, especially Scot Kurth Rosi’s son, and Peter
Douglas, Dick and Rosi’s Bahamian son.The Birch Family’s early interests in conservation continue as an
important part of their tradition.Large
parts of Andros are preserved as national parks, the most recent being the West
Side of Andros.The Bahamas now has the
largest area of conserved natural parks of any nation in the Caribbean.
Dick and Joan’s
children carry on the family tradition of contributing to the Bahamas; Margo
follows in her Mother Joan’s tradition as a teacher at the College of the
Bahamas and co host of a radio show on local issues of import:Margo’s daughter Lauren is also a teacher and
daughter Danielle works in Nassau.Jeff
follows in his father Dick’s tradition as owner and manager of Small Hope Bay
Lodge which continues to attract visitors from all over the world. Jeff has
also followed in Dick’s footsteps as President of the Out Island Promotion
Board and has represented Andros and the Bahamas at tourism conferences all
over the world.
Casey and Brian both live and work on Andros, Casey with Androsia and Brian
with his Dad at Small Hope Bay.Rosi
Birch’s children also remain involved with Andros, her oldest son Scot raising
his two sons at Young Sound. All four of Rosi’s children Heidi, Krista, Scot
and Topher are involved with ecological issues on Andros through their
organization EcoEd.. Three of Rosi’s grand sons have also worked at Small Hope
Bay as divers.
grandmothers lived at Small Hope Bay Lodge in their later lives; Dick’s Mother
Dorothy, Joan’s Mother Jean, and Rosi’s Mother Rosalie. So the Birch Family is
in its 5th generation of life on Andros, now including the great great
grandchildren of Dorothy, Jean and Rosalie.
Today in 2016 Small
Hope Bay Lodge is in its 56th year, the oldest family owned resort in the
entire Caribbean, and Androsia is in its 46th year, and commonly known as the
National fabric of the Bahamas.
Tony is notorious around Small Hope for his hilarious (and often quite accurate) impressions of other staff members.He has at least 3 of his own concoctions on our bar list and they are all favorites among the guests and staff alike. He definitely keeps us all laughing!
Fun facts about Tony:
# of years at Small Hope: 4
# of Kids: 2. Tyrese is 4, and Charisma will be 2 this summer
Favorite Thing to do Outside of Work: Take his son snorkeling
Favorite Thing about Working at Small Hope for him: Great diving, meeting and forming relationships with new people
Now that school is out, families are going on vacation! And what better place than Small Hope? Nowhere else blends the casual comforts, and fun activities, and family atmosphere like we do!. Check out some of the kids we've been hanging out this week. They decided to move their fun to the dock and were playing in our diver cubbies. Crazy kids!