Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Discovery of a New Dive Site

Al's Cooler
A New Dive Site for Small Hope Bay

A new dive site has been officially added to the Small Hope Bay Lodge site roster. A multilevel dive, this site takes divers South along a beautiful section of the wall then comes up to a large sand patch and some lovely plate coral. Both sharks and turtles have been spotted out over the wall but the real attraction at this site is the old 'fish pot' that is now and will forever be known as Al's Cooler. Here is a little history about the discovery and naming of our new site.... 

Al and Alison Scheflow have been coming to Small Hope Bay Lodge for many years. Ever since their first visit in the summer of 2003 they were hooked. Avid divers, they have been diving everywhere from the Florida Keys to Bonaire, but when they were looking for some more diversity and the opportunity to experience some different dives they decided to try the Bahamas. Andros Island, home to the third longest barrier reef and just minutes from the tongue of the ocean was the perfect choice. So they packed their bags and took the short flight over to the beautiful and secluded Small Hope Bay Lodge. 

The diving at SHBL is unlike the diving found in other places. Whether it is a cavern, a wreck, a wall or a blue hole you are never disappointed and as Al and Alison discovered there is always something new to see. This was particularly true on their latest visit to the lodge as they were given the opportunity to explore some never before seen areas of the reef with a few of the Small Hope divemasters.  

It was on one of these exploratory dives that they happened upon the new site. The plan was to anchor and travel along the wall until they found an interesting spot. It was clear however that where they anchored was just perfect. They cruised along marveling at the beauty of the wall and at the magnificence that is the tongue of the ocean. Few things are as spectacular as a 6000 foot drop to the bottom of the deep blue. As the divers came up over the top Al and Alison made the discovery of an old fish pot that had long since been forgotten. Everyone knew that they had found a wonderful site.

But what to call it? Many different names were tossed about, however after some consideration the name that seemed most fitting was Al's Cooler. 

To understand how the site got its name "Al's Cooler" it is important to know a little more about the Scheflow's and their time at SHBL. As members of the Small Hope family Al and Alison have implemented their own Small Hope traditions whenever they come. Al, a serious advocate for drinking only seriously cold beer not only created the Small Hope Beer Koozie but also the tradition of serving beer out of a cooler of ice at the bar.

 "Straight from the cooler to the koozie and the beer stays colder longer".

So when Al discovered the old fish pot on the mystery dive he said it was like finding himself an underwater cooler. Divemaster Dennis joked that he could have cold beer...even on a dive! Believe it or not that is just what he did. To christen the new sight Al and Alison brought down a few beer bottles to put in the "cooler" and even cracked one open and took a sip before tossing it in. Everyone had a great time finding, naming and making the new site official. 

Small Hope would like to send out a BIG thank you to divemasters Dennis, Sam and Laura and especially Al and Alison Scheflow for all the their help with the new site. Last week the first official group tried out the site and all the divers agree it is a beautiful place! 

Check out The Christening of Al's Cooler here and watch how Al and Alison pay tribute to the new site! 
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