Diving Andros

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Andros, Bahamas

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Country: Bahamas  Area: Bahamas

Water Temp: 24 - 31°C (75 - 88°F)

Visibility: 20 - 50m (66 - 164 ft)

Lobster March – Late Oct to Early Nov, Grouper Spawning – Late Jan to early Feb

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Set in a tropical scattering of islands, surrounded by the third largest coral reef and some of the clearest water in the world. Andros has a wide range of exciting and beautiful marine life making this an exciting scuba diving location.

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The Bahamas means “Shallow Seas” and consists of a group of 700 breathtaking islands at the top of the Caribbean above Cuba and starting just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. This tropical archipelago has 16 main islands from which you can base yourself on to explore the rest of the area. Andros is the largest in area of all the islands in the Bahamas and yet most sparsely developed.  Although it is considered to be one island is actually made up of hundreds of small insets and cays connected by mangrove estuaries and swamps.

It is the fifth largest island in the whole of the Caribbean. It is renowned for its spectacular on-land beauty, in addition to vibrant underwater landscapes. Andros is known to locals as ‘The Big Yard’.

Diving Andros, Bahamas, Credit

Just off the shoreline of Andros lies the world’s third-largest barrier reef. This reef is 190 miles long and plunges to over 6000 feet deep in the ‘Tongue of the Ocean’, an oceanic trench separating Andros from New Providence. The sheer size of this reef is remarkable, as is its incredible health. Overall, there is a very low incidence of coral disease, and marine life more broadly is vibrant. This area also has the highest concentration of blue holes on the planet, which act as a home to a number of rare and endemic cave fish and invertebrates.

The Bahamas offers a huge array of different scuba diving experiences for all levels of diver, ranging from diving colourful coral reefs teeming with life, underwater caves, sunken ships, spectacular blue holes and exhilarating Shark Feeding Dives. The biggest draws to Andros are the opportunities to dive with impressive shark populations, the chance to watch the Grouper Spawning and the annual ‘March of the Spiny Lobster’.

Whether it’s the thrill of diving into a deep blue hole, cave system or a close encounter with sharks, Andros and the Bahamas are some of the best and most unique dives in the world and a once in a lifetime experience for a diver.

Octocorals, Credit

Climate & Sea conditions

The islands all have a warm agreeable climate which hardly varies all year round, but they are more susceptible to weather during the hurricane season which runs from June to November. Even so this doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t visit at this time as with less tourists you can get the dive sites all to yourself. 

The water is very warm and settled throughout the year, and ranges from 24C in the winter months of December to March to 31C in the summer months of June to August. The dive season is year round and even in the rainy season the water is still very clear.  This amazing visibility is due to virtually no runoff from the land, nearly all the rain water is absorbed into the porous limestone of the islands.

Marine life, Andros, Credit

Marine Conservation

The waters surrounding Andros are extremely well protected by both governmental initiatives and private organizations. Andros Park System is the largest protected area in the whole of the Bahamas. This system includes: the Blue Holes National Park, the Crab Replenishment Reserve, the North and South Marine Parks and the West Side National Parks.

Each of these parks are home to a number of endangered and endemic species, which are often the subject of intensive research and conservation. As an example, in 2006 the West Side National Park boundary was nearly doubled in an effort to conserve the natural wilderness which is home to baby sharks and turtles. The Nature Conservancy was instrumental in this initiative. The Andros Conservancy and Trust Bahamas (ANCAT) has also been an important player, given the role they played in the creation of the Central Andros National Park. It often partners with the Nature Conservancy, and is one of only two organizations recognized by the UN Social and Economic Council, a body that supervises international NGOs.

Additionally, most dive operators in Andros are members of Project AWARE and make independent efforts to protect and conserve the local environment.

 
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Wildlife Calendar

   
   
   
   
                                       
   
   
   
                               
   
                             
   
   
   
   
   
                               

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Shore Diving

Most of the best diving occurs by boat.  There are some small house reefs, which can be accessed from the shore.

Pretty in yellow! Credit

Boat Diving

Just off the coast of Andros lies the third largest coral reef in the world stretching over 100km along the East Coast. This offers some of the best diving in the Bahamas and a variety of dive sites with exciting swimthroughs and spectacular coral towers. Just a mile from shore there is a dramatic narrow drop off known as “The Tongue of the Ocean” which plunges over 3km plus to the ocean floor. These two main geographical features give divers a wide choice of types of diving from relaxed shallow reef dives in the colourful coral gardens to an exhilarating wall dive along the “Tongue of the ocean” where you can look down and see the wall disappearing into the black depths below.

Queen triggerfish, Credit

Blue holes are underwater cave systems and Andros is home to the world’s largest collection, both inland and in the ocean. Diving in these impressive natural wonders created over several ice ages is an unforgettable experience. Many of these Blue holes are home to specialised and rare species found nowhere else on the reef. You may also be lucky to share a dive with a Nurse Shark as the Blue Holes make perfect feeding grounds due to their abundance of crustaceans.

The teeming life living in the mangroves marshes on the mainland and the upwelling of cool water from the depths of the “Tongue of the Ocean” results in a extreme variety of marine life, many tropical colourful fish turtles, sharks and dolphins.

Diving the Bahamas you are likely to see many different Shark species, Nurse, Black tip, Bull, Tiger, Great Hammerhead and Caribbean Reef sharks all inhibit the crystal blue waters. They can best be found near the coasts near the “Tongue of the Ocean”. Shark Feeds are a huge attraction as The Bahamas is one of the only places in the world to take part in this activity. The opportunity to watch these fascinating creatures feeding at close range will be a thrilling underwater experience that any diver will remember for a long time. Most areas will have Shark Feeding dives available and most liveaboards will do at least one in the week.

More Fish, Andros, Credit

The Bahamas is also home to a few strange wildlife events that happen at set times of the year. These are the Grouper Spawning and the “March of the Spiny Lobster”.  Groupers are among the larger fish well known to divers and seen throughout The Bahamas. Usually solitary creatures the exception is every year at the full moon in late January or early February. At this time they will gather into huge schools sometimes over 30,000 in size. This happens in many spots in the Bahamas.  Andros is one of those locations as well as Long Island, Cat Cay and in the Berry Islands.  

The other famous event of the Bahamas is “The March of the Spiny Lobster” which is a widespread Phenomenon occurring on the Great and Little Bahamas Banks near Abacos, Grand Bahama and Andros. The lobsters are usually found solitary on the reef like the groupers but again gather in huge numbers for this event. The march is usually triggered by the first autumnal storms that arrive from the north and west in late October or early November. The lobsters agitated by the storms leave their ledges and overhangs and begin to march to deeper water. Chains of lobsters can then be seen marching in single file, each lobsters vulnerable parts protected by the lobster behind. This makes them become fearless and as a diver you can get very close and they will even march over you if you lie down in their way.

Reef Shark, Credit

Liveaboard Diving

Numerous liveaboards operate throughout the Bahamas. Most depart from the capital city, Nassau, sailing to a variety of dive sites over several days.

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How to Get there

Located just 170miles south of Miami it can be easily reached by a short flight from Fort Lauderdale or the capital of the Bahamas, Nassau.  The other option is by ferry from most of the other islands in the Bahamas.

Reef fishes, Credit

 

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Where to Eat & Drink

Andros is a sparsely inhabited island, and most of the infrastructure for tourists comes out of all-inclusive resorts. You should generally plan to eat all of your meals at your hotel, occasionally venturing out to small restaurants for a change of pace. Restaurants on the island are all very casual, and typically serve traditional Bahamian dishes. The roadside shacks are a great way to sample local cuisine! It is possible to eat at other resorts as a non-guest as well. Nightlife as well occurs largely at the resorts.

Time to chill, Credit

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Other Activities

There is a whole lot more to the Bahamas and on the island of Andros than just the wonderful exciting diving.  The empty beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters make it a relaxing, peaceful holiday destination for all. 

There are many other activities on the island to take part in and one that is recommended is a cruise up the tidal river to Fresh Creek where you have the chance to see the inland habitat and mangrove swamps where there is a high chance to see wild dolphins. Snorkeling is also very popular, especially since certain sites give you a high chance of swimming with dolphins.

Snorkeling, Credit

Fishing is also extremely popular in Andros. Record-breaking game fish are found in the Gulf Stream and in the offshore waters, and the region is known as the ‘bonefish capital of the world’.

For those keen on exploring the waters independently, consider renting a kayak for the day to explore the shoreline and the mangroves. Hiking is also very popular, and a number of trails that run through the island. Birdlife is prolific as you walk on these trails, and it is certainly worth traveling to the Out Islands for some of the best groups of migratory birds, pink flamingos and the Bahama Parrot.

A favourite place for shopping is the Androsia Batik Works Factory. Here, you can take a tour to see how Batik – the country’s official fabric – is made. It can be used as either clothing or a wall hanging. A number of stores are open across the street from the factory.

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Tips

There are two hyperbaric chambers located in Nassau. There are none located on Andros directly, but Nassau is easily accessed by boat.   

Call restaurants ahead of time since some require that you make reservations, while others will request that you pre-order your meal.

Generally, the island attracts divers and fishermen, with limited tourist facilities outside of these industries. Prepare yourself for an experience that is either based out of a resort, or a very low-key and informal adventure!

Green moray eel, Credit

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Rating 9/10

ok was not in andros but this was only location for bahamas

Andros15 Nov 2011 - 13 Apr 2012

even though i was over in the bahams for work i spent every free moment i had in and under the water from the more crowded waters of nassau to the more laid back and peaceful waters in freeport and abaco it is hard to say which of my dive locations were my favorite was mermaid's reef on abaco there was an over abundance of life on mermaids reef it was a shore dive since the small reef is very shallow not much more than 30 ft during high tide and less than 200 yards off the beach but the welcoming committee was outstanding everytime from the schooling needle fish through the sea turtles and occasional cuda every little nook and cranny of the reef was filled with life wish i could post more pictures if you are ever in the area i highly recommend visiting this site

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Showing 3 of 5 comments. Show all

Jennifer Titus

I am heartbroken. visiting south Andros in one week. there are no dive operators open and running in September. I've been told "you can dive the next time you visit Andros". apparently many business' close down in September. I have called 6 different dive resorts in south and middle Andros. every last one of them is closed for September.

Jennifer Titus

i found an operator to take me to the reef for a half day of snorkeling for 300.00. going to try kayaking and snorkeling to get a dive like fix. you would think the largest Bahamian island would have dive services year round. apparently not.

Erika Huddle

Oh that sounds gutting :( - you really would think you could get someone to take you diving!!! Dive Report need to update this calender to prevent this from happening.. I will drop Catherine a mail to highlight it.

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