Monday, December 10, 2007

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 the 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 Saturday. Otherwise, it’s been the usual routine of leisurely diving, lots of hammock time interrupted by the occasional eco-tour and cocktail hour at 6:30 daily. Sorry, but we don’t have any snow. Only lots of sunshine that never requires a shovel!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Hellos and Goodbyes at Small Hope Bay Lodge, Andros Island, Bahamas

As the Holiday Season approaches, we greet a lot of friends, old and new seeking shelter from the winter cold. Guests enjoy not only the warmth of the staff and Lodge, but also the comfort of their favorite scuba diving spots. Recent favorites include The Great Blue Hole ( also called King Kong’s Cavern) and Dianna’s Dungeons; sites that highlight the diversity of Andros Island diving.

So named due to their deep blue color when viewed from the air, Blue Holes are a signature feature of Andros Island geology and scuba diving. Occurring inland and offshore, Andros has more Blue Holes per square mile than any other place in the world. The Great Blue Hole, just a short boat ride from the Small Hope Bay Lodge, is a favorite off-shore site for divers. Diving the Great Blue Hole doesn’t require lights or special equipment, and while not constrictive, has the feel of a cavern dive.

You’ll enter the Blue Hole at forty feet along an ancient waterfall, then pass through a huge swim-through as you begin a slow tour around the collapsed roof of the Blue Hole. Be ready with your camera as divers create dramatic silhouettes in the Sky Light Room. Huge boulders and enchanting lighting lead the way to your exit up an ancient riverbed. You just dived the King Kong Cavern!

In sharp contrast to the geological features of the Great Blue Hole, Dianna’s Dungeons is a riot reef life. You may follow your dive guide through the wide, well-lit but twisted corridors of color plunging through the false wall or strike out on your own along the crest of the reef enjoying the gently swaying soft corals and congregations of reef fish. The summer season brings Bar Jack and other predators looking to snack on the silversides that swarm the swim-throughs.

As for “Hellos,” guests have made several recent sightings of an eight-foot hammerhead shark cruising some of the shallower sights. We’ll have to wait and see if she is a resident or one of our new favorite guests. If she sticks around, we’ll need some suggestions to name her!

On the bittersweet side, we are saying “until we meet again” to popular dive masters Nick and Brittany who are returning to Britt’s hometown of Seattle. We know all our friends and guests will be missing them. Good Luck, Nick and Britt, from the Small Hope Bay Lodge family! Pin It Now!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Brads Mountain

Sun and calm seas make for a great afternoon dive at Brads Mountain. The second we entered the water we were greeted by a few friendly Caribbean Reef Sharks,
Schools of Atlantic Spade Fish,
Blue Chromis and Grey Sea Chubs.
Brads Mountain is a honeycombed coral “Hill” amidst a large dense coral garden. The base of Brads Mountain starts off at a depth of 50’ and reaches up to 25’. There is no need to venture off to far on this site, the Mountain is always teeming with life and there are plenty of nooks and crannies to poke around in, you never know what you might find. For those who enjoy exploring, just north of Brads Mountain is a large cable that runs from shore all the way down into the Tongue of the Ocean. The cable was laid by Autec the US Navy Base and now servers as a great navigational tool for divers who would like to venture off into deeper water.
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Friday, November 2, 2007


As you all know Noel has passed and the lodge is up and running.

The staff prepared the lodge in the event of a Hurricane, although Noel never reached such status. We laid sand bags, covered up window, doors, and valuable equipment. We moved all outside furniture to a protected area, set up protective nets around all cabins and cut the power leaving only the necessary areas with electricity. We relocated all boats to a sheltered area in Davis Creek, secured all items on the dock and locked down the dive centre.

The brunt of the Tropical Storm hit Thursday morning. By the late afternoon the wind died down and the sea clamed. Lucky the lodge sustained no damage. Only minimal clean up of the grounds was needed, due to the collection of debris deposited by wind and tidal surge.

We re-opened this morning, Friday Nov. 2nd with our first guest arriving this afternoon. The sun is out, the airports are open, the wind has died, and it is time to get outside and enjoy the weather! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Small Hope is prepared for Tropical Storm Noel

Small Hope is fully secured and prepared for Tropical Storm Noel which may be paying us a visit early tomorrow morning. We plan to be up and ready for business on Thursday, November 1st. If you have any questions, please call Jeff at 1-242-471-8008 or Mike at 1-242-357-2746. Enjoy your Halloween!
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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Conch Fritters with Calypso Sauce

Conch Fritters

1-2 lbs conch meat (dependant on how meaty you want it)
8 oz. onions
4 oz. sweet pepper
4 oz. celery
2 lbs all purpose flour
4 ½ tsp. Baking powder*
4 oz tomato paste
2 oz. ketchup
2 cups Fish Stock
Salt, to taste
2 tablespoons goat pepper, minced (or any local spice or homemade pepper sauce)
4 oz. thyme, chopped up

-Grind up conch meat, onions, sweet pepper, and celery in food processor and place in mixing bowl.
-Add flour, baking powder (see notation at bottom), tomato paste, ketchup, Fish Stock, salt, goat pepper, and thyme. Mix until well incorporated.
-Mixture should be of paste like consistency, not to stiff and not to wet. Use excess stock and flour to adjust as necessary to achieve right consistency. (Remember for every 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon extra of baking powder has to be used.)
-Heat oil in deep fat fryer (or in a lot of oil in a big pot to simulate the same) to 375˚. -Drop by rounded teaspoons into oil. Conch fritter should float to top, when bottom side in oil is golden brown use slotted spoon to turn over and let cook on the other side. Remove from oil and place to drain in bowl lined with paper towels.
-Serve aside calypso sauce.

Calypso Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
¾ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon mustards
3 tablespoons hot sauce

-Place everything in mixing bowl and whisk together until everything is blended properly and of a smooth consistency.

*If you want to save batter and keep in fridge, omit baking powder and just before using add the baking powder and a little more flour to adjust consistency to a paste like substance.
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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Trash packs

Guest participation and support is a major part of our Environmental Management System. Amanda Wells introduced the idea of “Trash Packs” back in September 2005. The “Trash Packs” are for our guest who would like to do their part for the environment by picking up any trash that they might find along the roads, trails and beaches.

Even Rex takes one along with him while he hunts for Crabs along the beach
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Eco Girl

For those of you who may or may not know Amanda Wells, she is our Environmental Liaison Officer. From September 2005- September 2006 Amanda contributed to the development of our Environmental Management System and from time to time she returns to the Lodge to make sure it is in working order. Her contributions to our Environmental Management System include the creation of our 3 Eco tours (Historical Andros, The settlements of Andros and The Blue Holes of Andros). She introduced our Recycling Program in which we convert food scraps into compost and recycle all the steel cans, soda cans, compost, wine and beer bottles produced by the lodge. Amanda generated the conservation educational materials along with the “Trash Packs” and Eco-signs that are found through out the Lodge and the surrounding grounds.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dicks Crossing

With fall just around the corner and our Closing period coming to an end, taking a walk in the afternoon sun down one of our Natural trails is a great way to relax. You can clear your head and let your mind wander as you stroll down “Dicks Crossing”

Surrounded by the Andros Pine forest, Fascinating geological features, Mangroves, Fresh Creek

And all the beautiful colors found on this trail.

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Friday, September 7, 2007

Staff Party

Here are a few pictures from the annual staff party.

Lots of fun in the sun and sea.

Relaxing and eating with fellow staff.
And of course socializing at the bar.
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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Small Hope is doing its annual rest, relaxation, and rennovation ...

Hi all,

We are just recovering from the annual staff party following US Labor Day, and have closed the resort down for 4 weeks. We will reopen on Wednesday, October 3, 2007. During this time we will be painting, refinishing, landscaping, doing a bit of electrical and plumbing work, as well as a bit of R&R, and finding new and exciting dive sites. The office will be open if you have a question, or want to book your next holiday. Give us a call at 800-223-6961 or 242-368-2014, or of course email See you in October ...
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Saturday, September 1, 2007

After Hours in the dining room

Guests and staff gather together inside the lodge to enjoy a few drinks, dessert and a good conversation after dinner.
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Bahamas Snorkeling at Small Hope on Andros

One of our guests, Will Killmore, free dives down on to pick up an empty shell he spotted on one of our snorkel spot called "End of the Reef."
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The Dock at Night

This picture was taken by Nick Goddard (SHBL Diver Master) on a near full moon. Being that there are no outdoor lights on the lodge the picture was able to be taken with out any disruption to the exposure. The only lights that can be seen are the lights from Nassau on the horizon. Add to this the brightness of the full moon and its reflection and you get an effect as if the SUN was rising instead of a rising moon.
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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sea Slug while Diving at Small Hope on Andros Island, Bahamas

Brittany (Small Hope Bay Dive Master) holds up a Sea Slug to show guests. This big guy was found on the Barge during one of our afternoon dives. The picture was taken by Nick Goddard, another Small Hope Dive Master. He has just started a new hobby, underwater photography. Not a bad picture if I say so myself.
*No Sea Slugs were harmed in the making of this Blog :-)
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Small Hope Gets a Little Greener

Our Nursery is up and running. We just received a delivery of Boston and Kimberly Queen Ferns, as well as some Bleeding Heart's and Jasmine plants. Franko, our new gardener, is doing a great job maintaining the grounds around Small Hope Bay. Just have a look for yourself in the picture above; we have decorated the patios of the cabins with some of the Kimberly Queen ferns.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Children at the Lodge

These coral-rock cairns were made by several of our young guests at low tide and can be seen throughout the day standing proud out of the water.

These same children are enjoying the wonder of one of our hammocks, having discovered its ability to double as a spinning swing!

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Relaxing Times on the patio at Small Hope

The beach-side patio occupied by returning guests, off-site friends, and others relaxing in the warm breeze after lunch.
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bahamas Birding on Andros Island

Earlier this week, Skeebo presented a slide show on the local Bird life for a group of children off the US Navy base here on Andros.
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View of Sunrise from Small Hope's Beach

A few pictures of a beautiful sunrise at Small Hope Bay
The Dock at sunrise

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Scuba Diving Certificates!!

Here a pair of wonderful guests received certificates of achievement from Skeebo, one of our divemasters.

These two in particular not only get certificates in the noble art of diving, but in the awesome endeavour of becoming Open Water Certified Divers in only a couple of days!

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Red Bays - Andros Island, Bahamas

Gertrude comes to visit Small Hope Bay Lodge from time to time, bringing with her the amazing wares of her home community in Red Bays, the only settlement on the west side of Andros. The people there are direct descendents of the Seminole Indians that fled there many years ago. They create baskets and pitchers and other sorts of wonderful artwork all woven with the bark from Horseflesh and Silvertop trees. Many of these items are woven so tightly that they can actually hold water! Gertrude also brings wooden carvings, mostly the products of Henry Wallace, who work on display in the Smithsonian, as well as those of other natives. The carvings range from fish to birds to lizards and turtles to even some fantasticals such as mermaids. Pin It Now!