Scuba Diving Andros, Bahamas
The Bonefishing Capital of The World.
Andros Island is the largest of the 26 inhabited Bahamian Islands. Andros in total has an area greater than all the other 700 Bahamian islands combined. The land area of Andros consists of hundreds of small islets and cays connected by mangrove estuaries and tidal swamp lands, together with three major islands: North Andros, Mangrove Cay, and South Andros. It is 104 miles long by 40 miles wide, at the widest point.
It is bordered on the east by the 6000 foot deep Tongue of the Ocean. The Andros Barrier Reef is the world’s sixth longest. It runs for 142 miles, averaging a distance of 1–2 miles from the Andros shore. The extensive flats of the Great Bahama Bank lie to the west, northwest and south of Andros. It has the world’s largest collection of blue holes.
Andros is 30 miles west across the Tongue of the Ocean from Nassau on New Providence Island. Its northern tip lies 138 miles from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Its miles of deserted beaches and freshwater lakes play host to countless species of wildlife, marine life, flora and fauna. Andros is covered with vast areas of wetlands that create channels perfect for bonefishing. In fact, many consider Andros the Bonefishing Capital of The World. When visitors feel like taking a break from all the adventure, the island offers quaint settlements and secluded beaches known for their local charm and laid-back lifestyle.
The Andros Park System is the country’s largest protected area, and includes five national parks: Blue Holes National Park, Crab Replenishment Reserve, North & South Marine Parks and the West Side National Park.
SCUBA DIVING ANDROS
The barrier reef and the Tongue of the Ocean, together with mangrove swamps, rocky tidal pools and estuaries, provide breeding and growing habitats for a wide variety of young marine life. Andros has a variety of close-to-shore ecosystems that may be unique on Earth: tidal inland and ocean blue holes, shallow sand and mud flats, tidal estuaries, mangrove swamps, the pelagic eco-zone of the 6000-foot drop-off only a mile from shore, the world’s third-largest barrier reef, and huge freshwater aquifers.
The reef is 190 miles long, drops to about eight feet on the island side and plunges to more than 6,000 feet in the Tongue of the Ocean. It is unique in the region because of its size, luxuriant coral growth, and low incidence of coral disease.
The marine biosphere is fed by both the teeming life of the mangrove marshes and estuaries on the mainland, and the upwelling of cool water from the Tongue of the Ocean, resulting in an unparalleled variety of sea life.
Pilot whales are commonly seen off the coast of Andros. Inside the Andros Barrier Reef, staghorn, elkhorn and other corals are found in shallows 10–20 feet deep. Beyond the shallow reefs are tiny cays and islets, from which the sea bottom gradually deepens until at a depth of between 70 feet and 120 feet comes “The Wall”, with its plunge 6000 feet into the abyss of the Tongue of the Ocea
Four species of turtles are found in Andros’ waters: loggerhead, green, hawksbill and, rarely, the leatherback.
The island’s blue holes are water-filled cave systems, which attract divers from all over the world. All the main islands of the Bahamas have blue holes, but those of Andros are the best known. Andros has 178 on land with at least 50 in the sea.
Blue holes can best be described as entrances to the intricate cave systems which run underneath the island and sea floor. Their openings can be found among the shallow creeks, inland lakes, and the shallow banks of the Bahamas. The caves, which have developed within the Bahamian carbonate platforms, can be laterally and vertically very extensive.
Andros also is the first place that shark encounters were developed.
HOW TO GET HERE
Andros Island has four airports with paved runways: San Andros Airport at Nicholls Town, Andros Town International Airport located at Fresh Creek, the Clarence A. Bain Airport at Mangrove Cay and Congo Town Airport in South Andros. Andros Town International is an international port of entry for private pilots. The island is served by multiple daily flights from Nassau by BahamasAir, Western Air, and LeAir the flight to any of the four airports is 15–25 minutes. Daily scheduled flights to Nassau from London, Paris, New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas, Jacksonville, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Orlando and other major cities provide easy connection from Andros to the rest of the world.
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