Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Overcoming Fears

When she arrived at Small Hope Bay Lodge, Kacey wasn't even sure she was going to be able to snorkel, much less scuba dive. She had never been into the water deeper than her waist but she overcame her fears and did a snorkeling lesson around our dock. At the end of the lesson, she was hooked and signed up for the resort course Discover Scuba Diving lesson the next afternoon. Before the end of the week, Kacey (along with her boyfriend Warren) had completed three open water dives!

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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Spontaneous Entertainment

The tradition of spontaneous entertainment continues in our 50th year here at Small Hope Bay Lodge. Georgia took many of the guests back in time by playing songs by Jimi Hendrix, the Who and other classic rockers. Here's a video of her musical stylings:

Our resident musician, Ashley, has left Small Hope Bay Lodge to pursue his music career in Nassau. We wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him become a big success! Pin It Now!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Cheer At Small Hope Bay Lodge

The lights are hung and the Andros Pine Christmas tree has been put up and is being decorated throughout the week as guests make the ornaments. The smells coming from the kitchen are enticing and delicious as Renauldo and the rest of the chefs begin preparing for our Christmas feast!

We are so grateful for all of our new and old friends that are here to celebrate the holidays with us!

Here is a video of the guests enjoying cocktail hour, Christmas music and homemade hummus and tapas that Renauldo whipped up for us last night!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Doc Atwell and His Boys

Grant Atwell has made it a practice to show the students of Myersdale High School more of the world than they would see in their small town. He's selects a few kids every year and takes them somewhere in the world to learn how to dive. We were lucky enough at Small Hope to host Doc and his boys twice this year -- once over the summer and once at Thanksgiving. Dusty, Dan and Tanner learned how to dive with Divemaster Loren and they spent some time playing ping pong, hanging out and enjoying the warm Bahamian sun.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Fred Calhoun - The Middle Years

The second installment of Fred Calhoun's interview about his memories of Small Hope Bay Lodge.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hunting the Gray Ghosts

Bonefish are considered one of the most elusive sport fish in the world. The gray ghosts of saltwater flats, these fish don't come to the fishermen; they have to be stalked and found using an "active hunting" method. Whether fly fishing or spin casting, the hunt, fight and capture of a bonefish is a thrill that no fisherman should go without.

Small Hope Bay Lodge offers casting lessons, full and half days of fishing on the Andros flats with a fishing program that will satisfy novice and experienced fishermen alike. Our experienced Bahamian fishing guides will take you wherever you need to go to land your fish, from Joulters Cay up north to the South Bight and everywhere else in between.

There is even plenty of fishing to be done around the property of Small Hope. Schools of bones will wander into our bay during certain points of the tide and Davis Creek is always a good place to spot the fish also.

Here is a video of one of Small Hope's long time guests, Chris, as he goes out with our house guide, Jeff Cartwright, for a flyfishing casting lesson and some spin casting.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fishing and Snorkeling for Couples

Peter and Carol have been coming to Small Hope Bay Lodge for years because they can do both of their favorite activities -- great snorkeling and fantastic bonefishing -- all in one place. Carol surprised Peter for his birthday with a trip to wander the Andros flats and she got her fill of Bahamas snorkeling while he was at it!

Thanks for sharing your special day with us!

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gregg Bemis Dives Small Hope

Gregg Bemis, diver and owner of the Lusitania wreck, and his lovely wife, Lisa, came to dive with us for a week in November. While Gregg was out on the boat, doing wall dives (his favorite was the Elevator Shaft!) and the Blue Hole, Lisa stayed on shore painting beautiful watercolors that she donated to the Lodge and staff. She even had Divemaster Dennis sit for a portrait.

The staff had a wonderful week with the Bemis' and we hope to see them soon!

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Thanksgiving at Small Hope Bay Lodge

It looks like it took us two weeks to recover from our food coma from the fantastic Thanksgiving feast we had here at Small Hope.

Thanksgiving Day dawned beautiful and clear and there was excitement in the air for two things -- the Second Annual Underwater Turkey Bowl and for DINNER! Renauldo and Michelle were working diligently on our feast, which included a number of desserts that they wouldn't reveal until dinner time.

Our holiday feasts happen four times a year; Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve and Easter. Thanksgiving always sets the precedent so guests and staff alike were eager to see what the chefs cooked up.

Reading about it is not always as fun so Divemaster Amanda put this video together for our loyal readers.

Here is the video of the Turkey Bowl. We were pleased to have returning players, Norm and Conor, who helped make the game as a successful as ever!

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rocking and Diving at Small Hope Bay Lodge

We were lucky to have an entertaining visitor last week at Small Hope Bay Lodge. Jeff Hix, frontman of Atlanta-based Jeff Hix and the Heretics, came down with his friend, Michael Jones, to get certified to scuba dive during the day and to entertain the guests at night.

Jeff and Mike joined Divemasters Ashley, Amanda and Dennis (plus some talented guests like Barbara and Key) in jamming after dinner. Jeff also did some reef diving and trekked into the interior of the island for a dive at the Stalactite Blue Hole.

Here is what Jeff had to say about Small Hope.

Here is a video of one of the jam sessions.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fred Calhoun Remembers Small Hope Bay Lodge

Fred Calhoun, captain of the Easy Diver, filmmaker and author, has been coming to Small Hope Bay Lodge for its diving for 40 years. This is part one of his memoirs about what Small Hope was like in the beginning.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Family Vacations Through The Generations

Jack Jones and a friend brought their families to Small Hope Bay Lodge when their sons were just boys. Now Reed and Mike are all grown up and they still come to Small Hope Bay Lodge every year for a weekend or so of bonding, playing music and of course, great Bahamas diving!

This year, Jack, Mike and Reed were joined by Jeff, Key Sr. and Key Jr. Jeff got his Open Water Certification and both Keys completed the Discover Scuba Diving Course and went for a dive on the Andros Barrier Reef.

Once the boats were put away, the guitars came out and the boys joined the Small Hope band in entertaining all of the guests late into the night!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

John and Kay Visit Again

John and Kay have been guests and family at Small Hope Bay Lodge for years. John is an avid bonefisher and spends most of his days wandering the flats in search of the "gray ghosts" on the many flats around Andros Island. While John spends his days fishing, Kay comes out on the boat and does some fantastic Bahamas diving.

They head out in the morning to one of our many nature trails to do some birdwatching before splitting up to their separate activities for the day. They reunite again at cocktail hour for drinks and delicious conch fritters.

John and Kay are also great patrons of Rex and Sarah, who are sporting awesome personalized collars that were gifts!

Hear what John and Kay had to say about Small Hope Bay Lodge and watch John wander the flats in these videos!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Calhoun Crew Returns

Dr. Don Butterfield came to Small Hope Bay Lodge for the first time in 1965 on a sailboat and has been returning for 45 years, bringing with him divers, photographers, videographers and friends. Since he introduced Fred Calhoun to the Lodge, Fred has been making films here and diving here for over 40 years.

This year the Calhoun crew consisted of Dr. Don, Fred, Cris, Peter, Ken and newcomer, Janet, who was snapping away with her underwater photography set-up.

We were able to sit down with Fred, Peter, Dr. Don and Ken to get their takes on Small Hope over the years.

Small Hope Bay Lodge is in its fiftieth year of operation on the Andros Barrier Reef, where the great Bahamas diving inspired loyalty from a multitude of experienced divers worldwide!

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Professional Relaxation

If you work hard, you play hard and that is what the six ladies from California did when they came to SHBL. Kate and Le have been coming to Small Hope for years and enjoy spending time in their life together diving with us and this time, they brought four of their friends along. All of the women are doctors and nurses and they took time out of their busy schedules to dive, hot tub and go on eco tours here on Andros Island.

One of their hot tub excursions resulted in the formation of the the multi-national North American Dive Association or NADA. This fun loving dive group had the whole Lodge in stitches (todo por NADA) all week long!

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Jeff Birch Welcomes Everyone To Small Hope Bay Lodge

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

From Farming To Fish

Ryan and Holly, of Vermont, came to SHBL on their honeymoon. They left their goats, chickens and miniature donkeys behind in Vermont and spent the week relaxing on the beach and learning how to scuba dive. After their initial lesson in our inland blue hole, the honeymooners went diving every chance they got -- even going out to Brad's Mountain and diving with the sharks! They also spent some time relaxing and snorkeling on Goat Cay and had many long, romantic walks on the beach.

Everyone at SHBL wishes them the best of luck on their new life together!
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

50 Years All Around

Jo Ann came to visit Small Hope again this week and this is a woman who knows about longevity. She has been married to her husband for over 50 years! She took a break from the love of her life to spend some quality time underwater at SHBL. Jo Ann learned to dive in 1999 and loves coming to Small Hope because she can come here as a single diver and be taken care of. As Jo Ann liked to say, she come to "eat, sleep, and dive." She could do all three in style here on the bay! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

International Flair at SHBL

Our first guest of the 50th Season at Small Hope Bay Lodge was Janine Rietdorf. Janine joined us all the way from Germany and Small Hope was one of the first stops on her three month whirlwind tour of the world. She used the relaxing atmosphere to recharge her batteries and prepare for all of her other stops in the US, South America and Australia. Janine took bike rides, went snorkeling and learned how to dive in one of our inland blue holes.

We also had a visitor from Norway, Jo. Jo stopped in for a couple of days to refresh himself after a conference in Florida. He spent time biking around the island, relaxing on the beach and did a refresher scuba diving course.

We had great fun with our international friends and hope to see them again soon!

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Skeebo Goes Fishing

Skeebo was back fishing for a week in October with Steve and Mike from California.

They fished for 6 whole days in the Joulters and West Coast. The air temp was 90 degrees and sunny. They caught some 7-8 pound bonefish.

"You better believe it!"

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Jander Family Returns

The Jander Family returned to Small Hope after a 15 year absence to celebrate Markus' 40th birthday. Markus and Philip came down first for Markus' surprise trip and the surprise got even bigger when the rest of his family showed up the next day!

Peter is a private pilot and he worked closely with Mike and Jeff at Small Hope to come up to date with the EPIS procedures and frequencies necessary to fly his small plane to the Bahamas. After he, his wife Susie, and his other son Jan arrived, they joined Markus and Philip in diving and relaxing at Small Hope. Philip even completed his Open Water Certification!

This is what Peter had to say about SHBL:

We spent another wonderful week at Small Hope Bay Lodge. As always the service was out of the world. The diving, in large part to the divemasters who will go out of their way to make the diving an unforgettable experience, was over the top. We very much enjoyed the food, three chefs who competed for our appreciation.

We hope that we can come back many more times as we have over the past 30 years.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Stylings of Stan and Bob

We were lucky enough here at Small Hope Bay Lodge to have our 50th season kicked off with the presence of Bob and Stan. Buddies from Massachusetts, Stan and Bob travel all of the world for their annual dive vacations. They chose SHBL for their 25th (or was it 26th? We'll have to ask Bob's wife.) dive trip.

Not content to just dive, Stan and Bob took advantage of all that Small Hope had to offer. You could often see these two in the hot tub, or grabbing bikes to go see the island or heading off to Goat Cay in their kayaks. They were legendary hosts at the bar, teaching all the SHBL divemasters how to make the perfect Cosmo and entertaining and charming all the other guests.

The Lodge is definitely quieter now that they are gone but we hope that we get to see their smiling faces again soon!
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

We're almost ready for you!

We'll be opening for our 50th season on October 17th! We're working hard getting everything ready for a fantastic season!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sonya's Praise

We recently received this email from Sonya, who visited us in July:

I was a solo diver with limited experience, looking for a nurturing dive environment where I could gain the practical knowledge and confidence I lacked. I decided on SHBL as part 2 of my dive vacation but did not sensibly plan how I would get there from my first destination, Aware of my dilemma, Jeff Birch, Very Graciiously offered to pick me up as my best other option would have been taking 2 planes approximately 8 hours apart.

Instead of showing my appreciation my first words to him were "where is the rest of the plane", when he showed up in the single engine cessna 182 pictured on the website. Wondering if it would be safer to swim to the lodge, I eventually boarded the plane and there began my relationship with the soothsayers of SHBL. Sometime after takeoff Jeff convinced me to open my eyes and something shifted at that moment. I don't know whether it was his calm demeanor or the the beautiful scene spread out below me, probably a bit of both, but my fear of flying in that "pint sized plane" was replaced by my gratitude for the sublime experience.

One by one, my fears were challenged. While diving, Ashley calmly and unhurriedly coaxed me through caverns that I had initially refused to enter. I set my depth goal at 90 feet and achieved 185. WOW!!! I dove with sharks, and the Back of the Blue Hole is an under water experience that I doubt I will ever surpass. But thats OK, as long as I get the chance to do it again.

I had a personal underwater guardian angel in Alex, always there when I needed him. And Danielle was the angel on land. I began my underwater photographic experience with the advice and guidance of Loren. "Thanks so much, Loren." Chef Renauldo went beyond expectations to accommodate the special requests of his guests. My inability to tolerate those weight belts was no problem for Amanda whose technological prowess had her whipping up an alternative in no time. Tonya is fun and spirited and Moose exhibits such calm and competence that I basically stuck to him like glue during my 185' dive. I hear Mike is "the man", but I didn't have the pleasure of diving with him. Looking forward to it in the future. Congrats to dive master Dennis, who I also look forward to diving with.

The guests are at least as lovely as the staff and interns. The British Padmores and the Mississippi McCalls really went out of their way to embrace a solo traveler and I look forward to seeing them again in the future. What great luck that there was another solo diver, Wes, that became my dive buddy for the rest of the trip.

When I compare my dive competence and level of comfort pre SHBL to post SHBL I can hardly believe it. These people are nothing less than bonafide Dive Whisperers!
I highly recommend Small Hope for a fantastic dive vacation and don't forget to bring your "extra baggage", I am sure you will leave a lot lighter. I did.

Thank you Jeff and the entire Small Hope Staff!

Sonya Preudhomme
@SHBL July 2009

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Small Hope Staff Party

To celebrate the close of the 2008-2009 season, the entire staff at SHBL had their annual meeting and staff party. The entire staff - dive, maintenance, kitchen and housekeeping got together to enjoy a delicious Bahamian meal and a fishing expedition.

First, we had to take care of the serious stuff and Jeff went over the customer exit surveys for the year. We learned that for the fifth year running, we have scored 100% in the customer service category! Thank you to everyone who returned a survey this year. We do read them and we do learn from them!

After the business was taken care of, the staff split up onto two boats and headed out to the reef to do some fishing. It was a tight competition between the boats to see who could haul in the most catch -- it was especially tight between our two best fisherman, Austin and Terrance!

We then all moved to Goat Cay for some music and relaxation. Gearing up for our 50th season is keeping us busy so the staff all enjoyed our day in the sun!

See you soon!
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

SHBL On Destination Truth

In February, the team from the SyFy channel show Destination Truth came to SHBL to film an episode for their third season. The paranormal and crytpozoology show was in search of the mythical lusca, which is the half shark-half octopus that is claimed to inhabit our inland blue holes. The Nassau Tribune wrote an article on the filming, which can be viewed here. If you missed the original airing of the show on SyFy, which was September 16, you can view the rewind on here. Pin It Now!

Monday, September 7, 2009

New Instructors at SHBL

Jeff and everyone at Small Hope Bay Lodge would like to congratulate Brian and Ashley for successfully completing their PADI Instructor Examination this past weekend.

Many of you are already familiar with Ashley, who started out at SHBL last April as a young Bahamian intern. After working diligently over the last 18 months, Ash completed all of his certifications necessary to reach Divemaster, Assistant Instructor and finally, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor!

Jeff's son, Brian, came down from Canada to participate in the Instructor Development Course and the Instructor Exam. Growing up on the shores of Andros Island have its perks and Brian flew through the exams with flying colors! Now that he is an instructor, he'll be leaving us to go back to college, where he plans on studying abroad in Germany for 18 months.

Now that Ash is back as an Instructor, we have six full time PADI Instructors on staff -- Loren, Amanda, Moose, Ashley, Mike and Jeff -- along with new PADI Divemaster Dennis! Whatever our level of certification, we all are here working together at being the best Small Hope Bay Divemasters that we can be, providing the best level of service for our awesome guests!
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

A week of certifications at SHBL

Doug and Jess came down here for their first time. They came down with (little) Doug‘s stepfather, (big) Doug who came down to Small Hope to teach a 7 day IDC course our full time staff member, Ashley, our summer intern, Tanya and Jeff Birch’s son, Brian.
During Doug and Jess’s stay, Doug completed his rescue diver certification, and Jess completed her open water certification as well as her advanced open water! They dove almost everyday, and were ecstatic that they were able to do two shark dives at our signature Shark Emporium dive site.
“Small Hope Bay is the epitome of a nice, down to earth resort with the relaxation and comfort of a five star resort. The diving is an absolute glorious experience I have not seen anywhere else. All the staff makes you feel like your family, and belong on the island. I would recommend this resort to anyone that wants to experience total fun in combination with relaxation.” – Douglas
“This was one of my favourite vacations. Fun in the sun, diving, kayaking, diving, bicycling, and of course diving! The staff is amazing!! So personal na ddown to earth. They don’t feel like strangers, they feel like family.” – Jess

Congratulations to Ashley, Tanya and Brian for completing a grueling 7 day course. Now they are off to write their Instructor’s exams in the states, in order to be fully certified as diving instructors. Thanks to Course Director, Doug, to come down here, bring his family, and dog “stuart little”. It was a great experience! Pin It Now!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Doug and Gloria return to Small Hope

Doug and Gloria returned to Small Hope Bay for their 5th year anniversary. 5 years ago, Doug brought Gloria here telling her that they were standing up as witnesses for a wedding at Small Hope Bay.
On the day of the wedding Gloria came out of her cabin, with a beautiful dress and her hair done and proceeded out to the bar. As Gloria recalls, when she tells this story now, “I thought to myself, this is great music that is playing, it’s all my favourite songs…”
Doug was standing up at the bar awaiting for Gloria, when she arrived he started making his speech, at the end of which he said: “and Gloria, this IS your wedding!”
On the day of their anniversary, the staff at Small Hope came out of the kitchen singing with instruments in hand along with a cake. Happy Anniversary Doug and Gloria!
Watch our wedding videos here, or look at to find more about having your wedding at Small Hope Bay Lodge. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Androsia's debut at Miss Universe 2009

The 2009 Miss Universe was held this year at Atlantis, Paradise
Island in the Bahamas. Androsia Batik Fabric was used during the August 12 and August 23rd fashion show and our classic Androsia Pareos were worn during the August 23rd swimsuit fashion show.
We are so proud to see our fabric, that first started as an experiment in 1973 with wax and dye, to turn into what is now referred to as “The National Fabric of the Bahamas”, was featured in more than two thirds of the Miss Universe Competition. Follow this link to watch a video of the fashion show, where the Androsia Fabric was worn and designed by Bahamian designers such as Basheva Eve.
Androsia Fabric is made on Andros Island, which first started in 1973 by Dick Birch and his wife, Rosie. The first six years the Androsia fabric was made at Small Hope Bay Lodge, the diving resort on Andros, which Dick opened and operated at the time. In 1979, Androsia Batik Factory and Androsia Outlet were opened in Andros Town.
All Androsia Fabric is hand-stamped, hand-dyed and hand-sewn, and is really one of a kind. Watch the process for yourself on our YouTube Channel. The factory creates fabrics, uniforms, outfits, beachwear and anything you can imagine to the other islands in the Bahamas. Visit the Androsia shopping cart for a full list of items available!

To find out more about Androsia Batik, visit the Androsia Website. Pin It Now!
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Boys Vacation

Dr. Howard Khani, has been coming here for over 20 years. Usually bringing along his son, Josh, who was certified here at Small Hope. This year, Howard and Josh made this a boys retreat and brought along father and grandfather, Fred, and their cousin Mike. The boys enjoyed diving, relaxing, bone fishing and socializing at the bar. Click here to hear Fred talk about one of his favorite times during his vacation.
Before leaving, Josh wrote testimonial describing his time here: “We’ve been coming to SHBL for about 20 years, and regardless of weather, time of year, or Jeff Birch’s mood the diving, relaxing, and partying is always amazing and we will continue to be SHB guests for eternity.” – The Khani Family Pin It Now!

Friday, August 21, 2009

"Real Divers wear PINK"

Keith Hanson, an experienced tech diver and long term guest comes to Small Hope to buddy up with our manager and expert tech diver, Mike Hornby, together they do some of the most exciting tech and deep dives discovered on the tongue of the ocean. A common joke between both of them was the pink crocs and pink fins they wore in the water! “Only real divers wear pink!”
To hear Keith talking about some of his tech diving experiences, and describing the new deep dive him and Mike discovered visit our video channel here. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mexican Night!

During April 2009 Scott Schultz, Small Hope’s Guest Chef, came down and helped revamp Small Hope’s delicious menu! This summer Scott returned to help again with our new Culinary section of our website, and to do a little extra for our guests in the kitchen!
His first debut was Mexican Night, Small Hope guests started off the night with homemade tortilla chips and homemade salsa (along with our one of a kind conch fritters of course!). The main course started with black bean soup, make-your-own burritos, Mexican style beans, jalapeƱo rice, chicken and beef enchiladas, and grilled fish. As guests enjoyed seconds of the delicious main course, Scott passed around baked tortillas with cinnamon and whip cream spread! Finally for dessert was Mexican Flan in Nassau Royale Rum. We can’t wait for more meals from Scott, and for the innovative and delicious ideas he has for Small Hope Bay’s cuisine! Keep an eye on for our new culinary section. Pin It Now!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Warm Wishes from the Snow Family

The Snow family came to Small Hope Bay Lodge looking to spend quality time together as a family. Isabelle, age 11 and her Dad, Ben, took the discovery scuba diving course and enjoyed diving some of our 40 foot dives! Oliver, age 9, and Mom, Alison, enjoyed snorkeling around the dock and on the beaches of Small Hope.
The Family also took a trip to the inland blue hole where they enjoyed an entire afternoon jumping off the dock and swimming in the giant fresh water blue hole. It took a little encouragement to get Isabelle to jump off, but after her first jump, anyone 20 miles around could hear her yell "That was Awesome!". Isabelle set the new Small Hope record for most jumps off the Blue Hole dock, when jumping 46 cannonballs in a row!
Watch a video of the Snow's and other guests time at the Blue Hole here.
Before leaving, Isabelle and Oliver made thank you cards about the fun they had here at Small Hope Bay Lodge.
“Dear Small Hope Staff,
Thank you for being the best resort staff that I’ve ever had. In a few days you guys made me and my family feel like family. You taught me how to dive, to never-ever do a belly flop again and the song “Buttercup Baby”. It was fun to learn your personalities. From acting to diving, to jumping off a platform into deep water really well.
When I grow up I want to work in Small Hope as a summer job. Thank you for giving me the stay of my life.
From Isabelle, August 7- 12th 2009”
“To all staff,
Thank you for a wounderful stay it was very fun.
From Oliver” Pin It Now!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Miss Universe 2009 in Bahamas

On June 9th 2009, Small Hope Bay Lodge had the pleasure of hosting Dayana Mendoza, Miss Venezuela and winner of Miss Universe 2008. Dayana was here to promote the 2009 Miss Universe competition that was held earlier this August in Nassau.
Dayana spent the morning with Small Hope’s staff, Mike and Danielle, who took her on her first dive ever. Dayana could not have been more thrilled after her dive at Central Park, a dive signature to Small Hope Bay Lodge.
After she dried off, Dayana visited The Androsia Factory, learning a how the unique fabric is individually stamped, dyed and sewed. Dayana made her own personal fabric, signing her name in wax and stamping with her favorite design. She then went shopping in the outlet boutique located beside the factory where she took some time shopping through our various designs, colours and outfits!
You may have seen the Androsia fabric featured in the 2009 Miss Universe competition this August. The fashion show included many Adrosia Batik fabrics, to see some of the contestants wearing the national fabric of the Bahamas click here.
Androsia is one of the most unique fabrics you can buy, each hand made, stamped and dyed, many of our guests who work within the corporate world wear our shirts and fabrics to work. Visit our YouTube to hear from Robert Young, a repeat guest to the Small Hope Bay Family. Pin It Now!

No Better Spot to Watch a Meteor Shower

The night of August 11th, guests went out to lie on the dock around 11 pm until the early hours of the morning and enjoyed looking up into the sky watching an amazing meteor shower. Since Andros Island is all rural towns and farms, Small Hope Bay Lodge doesn’t get any white light pollution in the sky, so many of the guests were able to see a few meteors per minute! The meteor shower was called the 2009 Perseids Meteor Shower and happens once a year and with the full moon, guests and staff were able to see 80 meteors a minute. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Captain Bill's Inland Blue Hole

Small Hope Bay Lodge took 15 guests and two car loads 20 minutes down the road and into the inland Andros to visit Captain Bill’s Fresh water inland Blue Hole.
Blue Holes are submarine cave systems. Their name is derived from the fact that when viewed from the air, they often have a deep blue color--deeper and bluer than the waters that surround them. To understand their formation, one needs to go back to the beginning of the Bahama Islands themselves, back over 150 million years ago when marine sediments began to accumulate in the warm shallow seas of the tropical Atlantic. (The origins of the name Bahamas is from the Spanish words Baja Mar, meaning shallow sea). It was during this time that early corals began to colonize along the banks of sediment. These tiny corals slowly grew to form a fringing reef, which eventually solidified into limestone barriers, which in turn acted as retaining walls, trapping the sediments. Andros Island has over 350 known inland and ocean blue holes.
You can take the plunge from 15 feet off the dock to cannonball into the freshwater, or walk down the dock and slip right in. Many of the guests enjoyed their afternoon jumping, swimming and keeping their eyes peeled for the legendary Lusca. The Lusca is a old myth of a half-octopus half-shark monster that lives in the Blue Hole, this kept many of the children on the island from diving too deep into the water, so their parents could keep an eye on them! Although no Lusca was spotted the guests enjoyed their afternoon of swimming, and their cannonball competition where eleven-year-old Isabella beat everyone with her record of 46 cannonballs off the dock!
Afterwards everyone came back to Small Hope to watch a slideshow of pictures from their afternoon adventure! Follow this link to watch some cannonball action, the reaction and the excitement from Captain Bill’s Blue Hole. Pin It Now!

Kalsi Family Reunion

The Kalsi family has been coming to Small Hope since 1984. Now that the kids are all grown-up with their own families every year they all get together to see eachother and reunite with the Small Hope Bay. Reunite with each other and the Small Hope Bay Family. It is a right of passage to turn the age 10 within this special family, because at 10 you can learn how to dive. Which the majority of the family have earned their open water certifications here at Small Hope. With a grandmother like Ise, who is extremely experienced in cave diving, it’s not hard to understand that the whole family inherited the “love for diving” gene. To see a testimonial from Ise about specialty diving and her experiences at Small Hope click here. We welcome back the Kalsi’s every year and always look forward to them returning to Small Hope Family. Follow this link for a video from Indra, John, Andrew, Fletcher and Carmen on why they love Small Hope Bay Lodge.
Before leaving, Kalsi, the grandfather wrote us a testimonial about their past and present experiences at Small Hope Bay Lodge:
“We have been coming to Small Hope Bay Lodge every year since 1984, because we have found this place to be the ideal place for family vacation – wonderful diving, snorkeling, hermit crab catching, lying in the hammock, kayaking, watching satellites… and so much,much more! It always feels like coming back to a family home!” Ise and M.S. Kalsi, &family. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

SHBL - a perfect place for honeymoons and anniversaries

Wayne and Sheila first visited SHBL 31 years ago on their honeymoon, and returned to the Small Hope family to enjoy a week of snorkeling, diving, hammocking and going on a tour of the many eco trails we offer where they could enjoy bird-watching the many rare species that are native to our island.
Wayne and Sheila also met up with Kevin and Rachel who were newlyweds here on their honeymoon. Kevin and Rachel learned to dive here together while doing our discovery scuba course and enjoyed days snorkeling around Goat Cay Island. Click here to hear about honeymooning at SHBL from the two couples.

“Small Hope – Large Hearts – Deep Dives – Renewed Energy. We first came to Small Hope 31 years ago on the second half of our honeymoon. We wanted the nightlife and excitement of Nassau and then wanted to dive and ‘unwind’ in a small resort away from the lights. We’ve been back to Small Hope several times since then and haven’t returned to Nassau, no desire to go back. Every time we return to Andros we ask about our first dive master, Abe, our hostess, Danby and...“the family”. Small Hope Bay Lodge is all about “the family”, because we became apart of the family, and that’s the way Dick Birch planned it. Diving is the central theme, as it should be, but people are the focus. Our desire to dive, hike, bike, kayak, explore, relax and share experiences with other guests always leaves us with something to do ‘the next time’, and there will always be a next time. Families always plan reunions.” - Wayne and Sheila Pin It Now!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Young Family Returns

The Youngs, Robert, Kathy, Robbie and Kylie, have been visiting us for 12 years. The Small Hope Bay family welcomed them back during their most recent visit here, where Robby earned his certification as an advanced diver! The family enjoyed diving, snorkeling and visiting the Androsia Batik, where Robert keeps his tradition of buying a new shirt every year and wearing it to work back in the states! Follow this link to see a video from Robert.

“Howdy, We’ve been coming to Small Hope Bay every year since 1997 when Robby was 5 and Kylie was 2 (missing only 1 year visit). This year Kylie dove the backside of the Blue Hole and Robby went Over the Wall at night with Dad for the first time. It has been a great place for the kids to grow up and for us to relax and recharge every year. Now we have the opportunity to visit with friends that we have met in past years as well as all our friends that live on Andros. Share some our memories by visiting www.docrob.fotki.comPin It Now!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

One of a kind dive!

This morning SHBL’s divers left the dock early at 8AM to visit the Backside of the Ocean Blue Hole. The reason for the early morning was due to the changing of the tides in order to see the ancient underwater riverbed, the mixing zone, and the “Spider Webs”.
Due to the change of tides, divers witness an underwater riverbed and a mixing zone while diving the Backside of the Blue Hole. During outgoing tide, fresh water from the interior of Andros Island migrates to the Blue Hole through connection cracks and fissures as a result of the tidal lag or the freshwater hydraulic gradient, causing denser saltwater, forming two layers. During our rainy season the denser saltwater is cooler than the above salt water by as much as 5 degrees Celsius. This allows divers to visually see 2 levels of water and what appears to be an underwater river!
The third phenomenon is “Spider Webs” or what they have also been affectionately referred to as “Whale snot”. During low tide, the decaying vegetation, which was deposited in the Blue Hole thousands of years ago, breaks down into hydrogen sulfide which is eaten by small marine life. The digestion of the hydrogen sulfide creates spider-like webs of organic material which can range in size from a few inches long to well over 20ft. in length.
This is by far one of the most unique dives Small Hope has to offer,and is the only dive like this in the Bahamas! Many divers this morning commented, “They never experienced any dive like this before”. Follow this link to watch a video on the Backside of the Blue Hole and for more information on our Blue Holes and other dives offered at Small Hope click here. Pin It Now!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Caleb's Coconut

Six year old Caleb came down during the last week of July with his family- grandma and grandpa, Charlene and Randy, Mom and Dad, Stacy and Chris, big brother, Ben, Big sister and her boyfriend, Ashley and Cody. Follow this link to read about the family's time here and their testimonial to Small Hope. Caleb enjoyed fishing and SASSY diving with his family in the mornings.

However, His mission for the week was to find and eat a real coconut from the Bahamas! On his last day some of the staff got together to help Caleb find his coconut, crack it open and enjoy the coconut water, and eat the delicious pulp. Click here to watch! Pin It Now!

Welcome Back!!

During last week of July Small Hope Bay welcomed back the McCalls: Randy, Charlene, Chris, Stacy, Ben, Caleb, Ashley and her boyfriend Cody. The family is long-term repeat guests here at Small Hope all whom love to dive here on Andros. Cody started diving for the first time this year while doing his discovery scuba diving course. Ben finished his certification for Advanced Open Water Diver while he was down here, and is planning to come back next year and do his Rescue Diver. Their week was full of diving, fishing, relaxing and finding the perfect coconut for six-year-old Caleb!

"One of the few running jokes among the family and some of the divemasters is when the dive boat motors start, I’m on the boat, so don’t bother asking if I’m diving tomorrow, which is absolutely true. It has been said by many kindred spirits before me that the sea seems to call me, lure me back to it time and time again, especially at Small Hope Bay. The combination of the variety of dive sites, knowledge and experience of dive staff, friendly atmosphere, and beautiful surroundings prove too strong to resist. Every member of our family settles into the island’s rhythm of fun, rest and true relaxation." - The McCall Family Pin It Now!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Ornithology at SHBL

Ocean, sand, mangroves and beautiful trees all surround Small Hope Bay Lodge. Living within this ecosystem are more than 300 species of birds! 109 species breed in the Bahamas, 169 species are migrants or winter here, and 45 species are endemic. Some, like the Greater Flamingo and the Bahama race of the Cuban Parrot, can only be found in the wild on one or two of the islands.
In the Mangroves between the beach and road of Small Hope Bay Lodge you can spot waders, rails, bitterns, ibis, and ducks. In the nature trails there are many chances to see some of the shy denizens of the coppice, like the Key West Quail Dove, the Great Lizard Cuckoo, the Bahamas Yellowthroat, the Greater Antillean Bullfinch.
Currently, a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron is bravely walking along the beach here at Small Hope. During cocktail hour at the bar many Red-Winged Blackbirds are flying about. Just a few days ago a baby Savannah Sparrow visited the bar and sang for all the guests before flying inland.
To find out more about bird watching at Small Hope Bay Lodge you can follow this link. Pin It Now!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Message in a Bottle

Last night while walking the beaches on Small Hope Bay Lodge, one of our guests noticed a bottle washing up on shore. Cody who is here with his girlfriend, Ashley and her family Ben, Caleb, Chris, Stacey, Randy and Charlene, ran into the water and snatched the bottle. The group quickly came back to the bar where they popped the cork and pulled out the message to read in front of everybody.
The message was from a couple living on a Catamaran on the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas. The letter was written three weeks ago and cast into the Ocean. It gave us an email address to contact, and we are still awaiting the reply!
Needless to say this was an eventful night and it was quite neat that the bottle washed up onto the shores of Small Hope rather than the many isolated uninhabited islands we have here in the Bahamas! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Life as a Conch at SHBL

Fifteen years ago we had our first Conch Fritter at Small Hope, and since then we have not been able to find a conch fritter as good as they are here. It was one of the first things to look forward to once we arrived! - Pat & Patty

Get em’ while they’re hot! Small Hope’s conch fritters are one of a kind. Every cocktail hour a platter of them is devoured along with our special conch sauce and spicy conch sauce. Follow this link to see the delicious treats being enjoyed by guests!
The conch fritters are made fresh daily, first the conch is fished from Small Hope’s personal conch farm located off the dock. The conch is added as the key ingredient to our secret recipe. The mixture is then fried and served!
Come and experience them for yourself!! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SHBL welcomes the Wombles

This past week, Father and Son, James and Ben Womble visited Small Hope Bay for the first time. Looking for a bone-fishing trip, James and Ben spent several days out at Red Bay, our local bone fishing hot spot. Although their goal was to come and fish, both of them fell in love with our diving. James and Ben took our Discover Scuba diving course and dove one of our local site, Peter’s Mystery Special. Click here to see a video of the Father-Son duo talk about their time vacationing at SHBL.

“We the Wombles, Father and Son (17), spent our first 5 days at Small Hope Bay Lodge. Our activities included bone fishing and diving. We dove 2 days and fished 2 full and 2 half days. Those were wonderful days. Nothing else compares to floating the flats at Red Bay, except maybe the beauty of the coral. The evening fellowship and the meals served to top off this heavenly place. Thank you Small Hope Bay Lodge! We love you!” – James and Ben Womble Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

SHBL gets two thumbs up from travelling dive instructor

Heather Wisnieski traveled to Small Hope Bay Lodge to dive and relax. Heather is certified as a diving instructor and has spent many years traveling the world working as an instructor. Heather became apart of the Small Hope family dining and diving with us all week. She experienced some of our best dives such as: the Ocean Blue Hole, our night dive to Klein's Place and some of our wall dives!

“Small Hope is awesome. The staff contributes to the type of vacation one is seeking the diving is amazing! The food is great! The resort is the best of rustic chic one can imagine! I highly recommend Small Hope as a vacation and dive destination! One arrives a stranger and leaves in the feeling of family. Thank you!” - Heather Wisnieski Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Celebrating Birthdays at Small hope Bay Lodge

July 12 we celebrated 10 year old Florence’s birthday. The Small Hope staff brought out the drum, guitar and cake to serenade Florence after her dinner. The celebration was captured on video and can be seen here. Florence came down with her family of eight. Christain & Antoinette (Grandpa and Grandma), Isabelle and Julienne (Mom and Dad), older brother Thomas, and younger brother and sister, Gregoire and Matilda, all of whom spent a week at Small Hope enjoying time diving, relaxing, and dolphin watching together. Florence took the Discovery Scuba Diving course offered here at Small Hope and spent her birthday week diving!
“We’re a family of eight, ages sixty to three years old, and Small Hope Bay Lodge has something to offer for all of us. Scuba Diving! Snorkeling! Dolphin watching! Relaxing! Babysitting!” Pin It Now!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Music at Small Hope Bay

Small Hope Bay's resident musicians and Divemasters, Ashley Algreen, Dennis Burrows and Amanda Lee, frequently perform for and with our guests. The past couple nights guests, like 4 year old Lucy (in picture above), sang and preformed while the band played.
Father and son, Ben and Avery, borrowed guitars and played with the band until late into the night. A video capturing the night can be seen here.
The band plays frequently and we always encourage guests to debut their musical talents or they can just relax and enjoy the music. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SHBL welcomes back the Kilgores

Small Hope Bay Lodge welcomed back Gina, Frank, Caitlin and Elena. This was their third visit overall, and second trip this year to the SHBL family. However this time they brought back the extended family. The group of fifteen: Mark, Lynn, Randy, Kathy, Lynn, Rachel, Kayla, Rebecca, Sarah, Faith and Buddy all enjoyed snorkeling, diving, swimming at the Blue Hole, eating conch fritters and shopping at Androsia.

The eldest of the girls, Caitlin, did her 3 day Open water course and was certified during her stay as a PADI Open Water Diver. The Other girls, Rachel, Kayla, Rebecca, Sarah, Faith (all ages ranging between 10-14) dove after certifying in the resort diving course we offer. The girls, including some of the parents, braved the Shark Emporium where they watched our local reef sharks enjoying a delicious meal of chum.
Their stay was not complete without trips to Androsia, where the entire family bought the signature Andros Island attire, and to the inland Blue Hole, to swim in nature’s unique freshwater sinkhole.

Their trip was highlighted when dolphins swam up to SHBL’s dock, and one of the girls, Rachel, jumped in the water to swim alongside them. To see a clip of the dolphin footage, visit click here.
Before leaving we presented the family with Certificates of Achievement, as appreciation for their stay with us. You can watch the certificate announcement here. Pin It Now!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Our Friendly Neighborhood Hammerhead

A Hammerhead shark usually cruises one of our Wall dives here at Small Hope Bay Lodge. Hammerheads are usually difficult to spot because they are scared away by loud diving boats in overpopulated diving areas. Yet the remote spots special only to Small Hope Bay Lodge allow some lucky divers to spot this beautiful shark swimming underneath them as they are descending down the wall. Helen Ambuge and Win Robinson took the above shot two years ago. Win has been diving at Small Hope since 1965, and his daughter Helen emailed us this picture after her fourth visit to Small Hope Bay. Pin It Now!