Andros Bahamas: Bonefish Capital of the World
Andros is the largest of all the Islands (104 miles long and 40 miles wide) but has the smallest population for its size. It has an abundance of bonefish and the world’s third largest barrier reef which is over 140 miles (225km) long and is renowned for its superb diving sites and marine life. Andros (2,300 square miles) is the fifth largest island in the Caribbean, but only has a population of 8,000 people. Andros is 167 km (104 miles) long and 64 km (40 miles) wide at its widest point.
Andros is composed of three major islands: North Andros, Mangrove Cay, and South Andros, and hundreds of cays adjoined by mangrove estuaries and tidal swamp lands. An astonishing two hundred different types of birds are native to Andros Island!
Andros is the largest of the Bahama islands, dwarfing the more densely populated New Providence in size almost tenfold. Teaming with lush green foliage, spunky land crabs, and wild orchids of every possible color, Andros is an Edenic paradise. And if you like to get your feet wet, Andros has more then a few beaches to do it, as well as some of the best diving sites in the world, filled with deep coral canyons and magnificent blue holes. Due to its proximity to the Tongue of the Ocean and network of fresh and saltwater blue holes, Andros Bahamas was a popular scuba diving destination in the early days of the sport. It was a populardestination for famous divers as Jacques Cousteau.
Andros is the least densely populated of all the Bahamas, with a population of a little over six thousand. Most of these people live on the east coast of the island in the three major towns on the island; Nicholls Town and Andros Town on North Andros, and Congo Town, on South Andros. Andros Island’s port of Fresh Creek was once a popular hangout for the “Rat Pack,” including Sammy Davis, Jr.
Unspoiled and virtually undiscovered: Andros Island, Bahamas is a world apart from the crowds and an authentic Bahamas Vacation.
Andros Bahamas History: Island of the Holy Spirit
Following Columbus’ landfall in the Bahamas in 1492, the Spanish first discovered of Andros around 1550. The island was given the name “Espiritu Santo,” the Island of the Holy Spirit” by the Spanish, but is also called San Andreas on a 1782 map. The modern name is believed to be in honour of Sir Edmund Andros, Commander of Her Majesty’s Forces in Barbados in 1672 and Governor successively of New York, Massachusetts and New England. Some say that the island could have been named after the inhabitants of St. Andro Island on the Mosquito Coast as 1,400 of them settled in Andros in 1787.
Around the 18th century, pirates staked positions on Andros in an effort to prey on passing ships traveling between Cuba and Florida. Sir Henry Morgan headquartered at what is known today as Morgan’s Bluff, in north Andros.
Loyalists and their slaves also settled in Andros in the 19th Century. Cotton and sisal were grown and later sponging became a flourishing industry in Andros for many years. By the 19th century freed slaves found their way to Andros. Seminole Indians from Florida also came–first as visitors, then as settlers. The two groups intermigled. A small community sprang up around Red Bays, where they farmed corn, harvested fish and plantains, yams, potatoes and peas. They also worked in lumbering, sponging, and pirating.
Legend has it that a sort of leprechaun or gremlin known locally as the chickcharney holds sway and migrated to Red bays in the 19th century with the Seminole Indians. The Chickcharnee, the most famous of the mythological creatures of Andros, is said to live in the tops of the tallest pine trees on Andros. Legend has it that if you cross the Chickcharnee, he will turn your head on backwards. Other lesser known mythological creatures include the Lusca of the blue holes, the Bosee Anansee, and the Yahoo (no relation to the search engine company).
Small communities established them selves up and down the east coast of the island, with the population peaking at about 8,000 where it remains today.
A type of fabric called Androsia is manufactured in Andros. Androsia is the local type of batik fabric, produced in a variety of bright vibrant colors and designs. It is distributed widely throughout the Bahamas.
With a formidable barrier reef on one side, and the shallow water flats of the Great Bahama Bank on the other–Andros remained overlooked for many years from any potential development. However, the Bahamas government is working hard to change that.