Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas at Small Hope Bay Lodge

Small Hope Bay Lodge is now preparing for our New Year's Eve party and celebrating going in to our 53rd year!!! Can you believe it? 53 years is an incredible feat and we plan on commemorating it with a great party.

We just wrapped up a fantastic Christmas, filled with old and new friends and family. We got to enjoy some exceptionally sunny and warm days and spent the time diving Over the Wall AND a Shark Dive. Other guests took a field trip to Captain Bill's Blue Hole, played some beach football and relaxed on some of our coziest beach hammocks. What could be better than that?

Here is little video of how we spent our Christmas . . . 

And our wonderful Shark Dive . . . 

This will be our last blog of 2012. We send all of you our warmest wishes for the new year. Love from all of us at Small Hope and enjoy your New Year celebration!

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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pea Soup N Dumplings

Winter has officially arrived and for all of you who are looking for something delicious to warm you up after a long day out in the cold here is the perfect recipe.

 Bahamian Peas Soup N Dumplings 

Vegetable oil, as needed
2 small onions, small dice
1 sweet pepper, small dice
2 tomatoes, small dice
½ cup tomato paste
2-16 oz. can coconut milk
2-16 oz can Pigeon Peas (beans can be substituted for peas if preferred)
Water, 3 qts.
4 tbsp. browning
2 Sweet potatoes, medium dice
2 tbsp. Thyme dried
salt, and pepper as needed
Dough for dumplings (recipe below)
1 lb. Ribs, already boiled separately
1 cups smoked Ham, already boiled and cooked separately, then diced into medium cubes

  1. Sauté onions, pepper, and tomatoes in a pot with a little vegetable oil until a little brown and tender.
  2. Add tomato paste, cook until aroma rise, and brown a little.
  3. Add coconut milk, and pigeon peas to pot, and stir.
  4. Add Water to pot.  Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
  5. Add a little browning to water.
  6. Let come to a boil, and reduce down to a simmer.  Cook for 15 minutes to let flavor develop.
  7. Add sweet potato to pot, and continue to cook on low simmer until tender, 15 minutes.
  8. Add the meat to the pot.
  9. Turn heat up to medium.
  10. Add dough by pinching off small pieces of dough and spreading with hands, until a flat piece, and drop straight into hot soup.  Add until all dough is gone, or enough in pot for your liking.
  11. If not thick enough, add cold water to the mixing bowl that you did the dough in and pour into soup.
  12. To finish cook just until dough is cooked all the way through.  Take off the heat and serve

Dumpling recipe:
2 cups Flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
¼ cup. shortening (or vegetable oil, shortening best)
liquid, as needed (use some liquid from the pot to mix dough)

  1. Flour, salt, and pepper, together.
  2. Cut in shortening until look like cornmeal.
  3. Add liquid slowly until dough comes together, soft, smooth and pliable.
  4. Let rest at least 5 minutes and then add to soup by spreading thin and dropping into hot soup
Enjoy this classic Bahamian dish this holiday season and bring a bit a the Bahamas to your dinner table!
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jonathan Bird's Blue World Comes to SHBL

Jonathan Bird's Blue World is an Emmy Award winning underwater adventure series. Hosted by the charismatic underwater cinematographer Jonathan Bird, this show explores all areas of our world's oceans. Jonathan and his crew travel the globe filming marine animals small and large, from the tropical waters of the Caribbean to the frozen waters of Antarctica. Episodes focus not only on the marine life that live in these incredible places but also on marine research and the scientists involved, underwater exploration of ship wrecks and caves and shedding some light on the recent discoveries within the oceans. Jonathan Bird's Blue World is both educational and exciting and perfect for viewers of any age. The Oceanic Research Group is the principle partner in the production of the show along with Jonathan Bird Productions and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.  The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funds inspired scientific research and innovative educational programs to encourage conservation and practices for sustainable marine environments.

Todd, Cameraman Tim and Jeff Birch with a loaded truck ready to head out to Stargate!Back in 2010 Jonathan brought his team down to Small Hope Bay Lodge on Andros Island in the Bahamas to explore the underwater caves systems that exist within the many Blue Holes on the island. Jonathan, along with cameraman Tim and Mike Hornby of SHBL packed up their gear and headed for the Guardian, an inland Blue Hole with an extensive cave system.  Jonathan and Tim both had an incredible time filming in the cave and got some great footage for the first episode of their third season.

It has been nearly two years since the film crew has been here at the lodge but early in December they were back again and eager to start filming for their fourth season. This time Jonathan, Cameraman Tim and tech diver Todd came to Andros hoping to dive the incredible Stargate Blue Hole located on South Andros. This blue hole took the team through sulfur layers and past large stalactite and flow stone formations. It is a beautiful dive and no doubt gave the crew some amazing footage. We are all eager to watch Small Hope Bay Lodge on the episode which should air summer 2013. 

 All of us here on Andros Island would like to send out a big thanks to Jonathan and his team. It was great to have the Blue World crew back and we look forward to their next trip. Perhaps they will explore the Ocean Blue Hole next. 

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Hawksbill Turtles in the Bahamas

A Great sighting at Small Hope Bay Lodge

The divers at Small Hope Bay Lodge, after a few days of higher then normal winds, woke up Thursday morning to a perfectly calm sea and they knew it was going to be a great day. Giant staircase, a wall dive, was on the docket for the morning. This dive would take the group over the edge to 120 feet to cruise along a beautiful section of the wall, and then bring them back up to the top of the wall at approx 65 feet to hang out exploring the corals for the remainder of the dive.

The dive started off great, after getting down to their maximum depth of 120 feet a couple Caribbean Reef Sharks cruised by to say good morning. Everyone felt great after seeing the sharks and they would have been more then satisfied with that. Little did they know however that another surprise was waiting for them at the top of the wall.

Once they all made it back to 65 feet an extremely curious Hawksbill Turtle was there to greet them. This turtle was not phased at all by the divers and came very close to say hello and give everyone an opportunity to take some great pictures, and in the case of divemaster Dennis some wicked video footage!

Divers Paul and Axel admire the beautiful Hawksbill Turtle
The Hawksbill Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata is classified as critically endangered on the IUNC (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Redlist of Threatened Species. They are migratory marine reptiles that are found in tropical and subtropical waters. Hawksbill sea turtles, like other marine turtles, have a flattened body shape, a protective carapace or shell and flipper-like arms, adapted for swimming in the open ocean. They are however easily distinguishable from other sea turtles as they have a sharp, curving beak

There are many challenges facing this beautiful species, some of which include;

Direct take: both eggs and adults for food, adults for the tortoiseshell trade
Fishing Impacts: accidental capture and entanglement in nets and long lines
Beach Front Development: alters or destroys nesting beach habitat
Pollution: Injestible platics in the ocean are a huge threat. The turtles will either mistake the plastic for food and injest the harmful trash or young turtles will find themselves entangled in the plastic and unable to get out, they will continue to grow around the obstuction causing restrictions and mutations to their shell.    

Hawksbills are also threatened by the loss of coral reef communities which act as their feeding sites.  Ocean conservation has never been more important then it is today. Our oceans are threatened by pollution, climate change, exploitation and development. If we want to continue to have amazing sightings like the one our divers had at Small Hope Bay Lodge  we need to do our part to protect our oceans and coral reef systems. 

Find out how you can help!  
Visit these sites and do your part to protect our seas and those that inhabit them! 

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