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Paradise Found at Small Hope Bay in Andros

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Andros is a Bahamian island we had not visited on any of our previous trips and so we were looking forward to a new experience. We arrived at Small Hope Bay, a family run, (truly) eco-friendly all-inclusive resort that sits right on the beach overlooking the clear blue waters we would soon be diving into. Our early morning flights meant that we had time to meet the team, head to our rooms, set-up our camera equipment and then walk along the jetty to the dive centre to get ready for a day of diving. We only had one day of diving here, so we were determined to make the most of it.

Our three dives were to cover a wide range of types of diving. Our first dive was to visit the famous oceanic blue hole and we were to be led by Jeff Birch, the owner of the resort and a legend in the scuba diving world. The dive started off on a beautiful reef and then Jeff beckoned us towards a crack in the reef. We followed him down and suddenly we found ourselves within the blue hole, heading deep to enable us to look up at the “window” of the blue hole and watch the divers swim past in the blue.

All too soon it was time to start to head to shallower water, and Jeff led us up through a fissure in the reef back up to the coral, where we found a school of friendly batfish to play with as we carried out our safety stop. Andros is famous for its blue holes, with both oceanic and inland sites to explore and the Small Hope team offer a speciality in this type of diving.

Our second dive was a real treat, as we got to see the pioneering conservation work that Small Hope Bay are involved in. They have set-up a coral allotment on the seabed, where they are growing new coral to transplant onto the reef. Our group even got to try their hand at a bit of coral “gardening” by helping to clean off any algae. There was also time to explore the reef and enjoy the marine life such as turtles, angelfish and barracuda.

Our final dive saw us visit the famous wall off Andros. Here the reef plummets to huge depths. We kept to the top of the reef and peered down the wall, watching reef sharks cruise by. We got a taste of the incredible diving that Andros had to offer and we wished we had more time to further explore the island and its diving.

For a day off diving before our flight, our hosts at Small Hope offered us a tour of the island, allowing us to visit the inland blue holes, as well as visiting the batik fabric industry that the island is famous for. Our walks would find us following trails through woods full of medicinal plants, that would suddenly open up to reveal a beautiful blue hole. Many of the group took the chance to jump in and go for a swim and the braver ones took a dive off the high platforms!

Whilst our visit to Small Hope Bay was very short, we were immediately made to feel like family. The staff join you for nibbles and cocktails after a day of diving, and everyone sits around talking about their experiences of the day. The food was excellent with some of the best vegetarian food we have eaten in the Caribbean.

We wish we could have stayed for longer!

For more information please visit:

www.smallhope.com

www.bahamas.com


All images & text by Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown of Frogfish Photography.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and they are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Blogs

Curaçao Dive Site of the Month – Smokeys (Watch Video)

Bryan Horne

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New Video Release: Smokeys near Eastpoint Curaçao.

Learn about https://bit.ly/Smokeys-Dive-Site-Curacao – a Top 10 Dive Site in Curacao located near Eastpoint and arguably one of the best dive sites in the Caribbean. 

It rivals the finest dive sites in Belize, Bonaire and the Cayman Islands.

Video produced and edited for Dive Curacao, by NaturePicsFilms.

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Top 5 things to do above water on a diving trip to Barbados

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Whilst you will want to spend as much time underwater as possible on any diving trip to Barbados, with its amazing wrecks, reefs and marine life… you will have to spend some time on dry land! So here are our top tips on what to do topside on this stunning Caribbean paradise.

1) Go Caving!

Babados offers the perfect instagram cave experiences. Two stand out from the crowd: Harrison’s Cave and Animal Flower Cave.

Harrison’s Cave offers a guided tours on a tram to allow you to safely explore these incredible underground caverns. Located in the central uplands of the island, this crystallized, limestone cave is characterized by flowing streams, deep pools of crystal clear water and towering columns.

Animal Flower Cave is named after the anemone’s that can be found in the rock pools that sit within the cavern. This is a perfect spot for a photo or two, with the wild coastline visible through the cavern windows that have been carved out by wave action.

Both these tours are great options for your non-diving day before you fly home.

2) Take in a show

I have to admit that we do not usually get excited about an evening show put on for tourists. But just a few minutes into the show at Harbour Lights and we were dancing along with locals and tourists alike. The show is great fun and is full of talented performers. The buffet dinner included with the event is perfect too, with something for everyone. They had to throw us out!

3) Head to the Beach

Barbados is packed with incredible beaches. Some are setup with entertainment, resturants and bars, others are completely deserted. So it is up to you to find your perfect one. Whether you love to surf, want to relax in the sun, or get into the party spirit – there is a beach for you waiting to be discovered.

4) Learn to cook Bajan Style

If you love your food, and are a whizz in the kitchen, then why not spend an evening with a local chef to show you how to cook some of your favourite Bajan dishes. Award winning Chef Creig Greenidge joined us in our hotel to pass on some of his secrets. An amazing evening saw us chatting about our love of Caribbean cuisine, he guided us through a three course meal, even stopping to help us work out what we could replace hard to find ingredients in the UK with. The food was incredible, but it was also a wonderful experience. Great food and wine too!

5) Rum and Food Pairing Dinner

Barbados is the home of rum. This was a perfect way to round off our trip. Set in the Rum Vault at the Colony Club Hotel, we were treated to a private 5 course meal, each course paired with a rum cocktail. Finished with some fine sipping rums and delicious chocolates. Heaven!

Of course there is so much more than these 5 we have picked. So here are a few more things you should try out: Horses on the beach on Sunday mornings; Friday night is party night at the Fish Fry; Eat out! There are too many amazing restaurants to name here. Have a Mango Chow cocktail. Do a rum distillery tour at Mount Gay or St Nicholas Abbey or try our a local craft beer. Most of all – get out and explore. Barbados has so much to offer.

Next up… we will be back underwater exploring one of our favourite diving areas – Carlisle Bay.

For more information about Barbados click here.

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