December 7, 2019

Andros Island (day 2)

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small, easy hiking trail at Captain Bill’s blue hole

Andros Island doesn’t get a lot of tourists which means getting around isn’t easy. There are no buses and taxi was ridiculously expensive. Most of the people who do visit, are there mainly for bone fishing. I’ve never gone fishing in my life and I wouldn’t mind trying but as I mentioned earlier, the weather didn’t cooperate. We could have continued to explore the island on our bicycles but I wasn’t excited about the prospect of having a screaming match with stray, barking dogs. We decided the best option is to rent a car. After calling a few people, we were told a woman named Nikki had a car for us and I was ready to take on all the stray dogs in Andros.

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drive to Captain Bill’s blue hole

One of the first stops we made was at Love Hill beach. It turned out to be a typical beach, nothing special. The Bahamas has much better and prettier beaches to offer. We hardly spent 5 mins at this beach before getting back in the car. Our next stop was Captain Bill’s blue hole which is part of the Andros Blue Holes National Park. It was established in 2002 to protect the blue holes and the rare species of shrimp and fish, as well as fossils and Lucayan artifacts. Captain Bill’s blue hole is almost perfectly

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Captain Bill’s blue hole

circular, fresh water inland blue hole. It is 450 feet in diameter and 160 feet deep but this blue hole does not lead to underwater cave system. There is a small and easy trail leading to the blue hole. There were a few people getting ready to dive at Captain Bill’s blue hole even though there is no underwater cave system. There are stairs leading into the water so I dipped my feet in for a few mins. I couldn’t imagine going diving in such cold water.

The drive to Captain Bill’s blue hole was very peaceful and pretty. Not many people live on Andros Island so if you get lost, you’ll be waiting a while for someone to come along. I

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Drive to Captain Bill’s blue hole

suggest downloading google maps of Andros on your phone so you can still navigate your way around. After Captain Bill’s blue hole, the next stop was a beach we stumbled upon accidentally. I don’t know the name of this beach but I do remember seeing a restaurant called Rock Bar and Grill on Queen’s Highway before turning. The road looked interesting so we thought why not explore and see where it goes. There were two small boats destroyed by a storm, most likely hurricane Matthew. As we drove around Andros throughout the day, we saw the destruction hurricane Matthew had left. People all over the island were still trying to recover from the damage.

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once upon a time this was undewater

By this time, I was getting hungry again. As usual, most of the restaurants were closed because it was a national holiday: Majority Rule day. But at least toady we had a car. We stopped by Love at First Sight Hotel and Restaurant. Luckily, they had just opened. YAY! Food! I tried cracked conch with a cold beer and it was just perfect. The food was great but the best part about Love at First Sight was their outdoor deck that’s just above a small reef. I probably spent a IMG_1465.JPGgood half an hour just watching all the fish. At one point, one of the guys from kitchen came out with a slice of toast and he threw it in the water. So many fish came rushing at it to get a bite to eat. Within minutes, the slice of bread was gone. Even though it was cold and windy, I loved standing on that porch just watching all those fish swim around.

After lunch I wanted to go to Morgan’s Bluff at the northeast tip of the island. It provides beautiful views of the tongue of the ocean where the color of the ocean changes from deep

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We thought we were at Mogan’s Bluff

blue to light turquoise. It’s named after the famous pirate Sir Henry Morgan who used to capture French and Spanish ships loaded with treasures from the new world. It’s believed that he hid the treasures from his plunders in the caves around this area. We had a hard time finding Morgan’s Bluff. There are a few signs but that took us to a huge shipping yard. We turned around and tried to find more signs but couldn’t. Eventually, we saw a narrow opening to a beach near one of the signs and assumed we must that was it. Again, we saw the destruction hurricane Matthew had left. We walked around for a few mins but there were no caves nearby so I’m still not sure if that was actually Morgan’s Bluff.

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Nicholls Town

Next we wanted to go to Nicholls Town, the largest town in north Andros (possibly all of Andros). The town seemed mostly empty, the roads were full of pot holes of all sizes and shapes and the beaches were empty. We could tell that this was probably a very popular beach before the storm. We saw shacks turned over from the damage, roads were blocked from fallen trees, houses were severely damaged and more. However, one of the best conversations we had was at a small bodega type store where we stopped to get some water. My husband, Gaurav, picks up two bottles of water, goes to the counter to pay and the conversation went something like this:.

Woman at the counter: why you buying these bottles of water?

Gaurav: ummm…we’re thirsty.

Woman at the counter: Two bottles of water are more expensive than this gallon of water. Only white people buy bottles of water. You’re not white! It’s cheaper to buy the gallon of water. Save money. Buy gallon of water!

So he walked out with a gallon of water, which lasted us the rest of our trip and saved us a little money!

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Just can’t get over the color (Nicholls Town)

From Nicholls Town we drove to Red Bays, the only settlement on the west coast of Andros Island. I don’t think I’ve ever driven on a road with more potholes. Even if you drive carefully, there’s just no way to avoid them because there are just so many of them. You simply have to pick the smallest pothole to drive over. I was seriously afraid the rental car was going to be damaged or that we’re going to get a flat tire and no one will be around to help us. Our cell phones didn’t have network either so I drove very slowly and carefully. I think this was also a result of hurricane Matthew.

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Nicholls Town – I assume this used to be a food shack

Red Bays is one of the only Seminoles settlements in Bahamas so of course we wanted to check it out. We’d also read that there are food stalls where you get fresh fish, hand made straw baskets and possibly other souvenirs. They are known for weaving sturdy baskets. When we drove through Red Bays, there were no stalls, no food, and really nothing to see. Later, we found out that stalls are only set up when a big cruise ship with lots of tourist is coming. Tour guides and cruise ships let the town know ahead of time so the town looks vibrant and full of life. When we drove through, there was hardly anything around.

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Red Bays

At this point, we decided to go back to Davis Creek and on the way, get dinner at a place called Clingers Restaurant. I don’t remember the name of the town but it’s just about 10 min drive north from Fresh Creek. We tried wings and they were delicious. The only other thing we needed to do before calling it a night was go to a gas station and fill up the tank. It turns out, most of the gas stations in Andros closes around 8 pm but luckily there was one gas station open late.

Few things to mention:

  1. Even though The Bahamas is the richest Caribbean country, the people we came across in Andros were very poor. Whenever we asked for help or directions, everyone was happy to do it but in the end they asked if we could spare a few dollars. We always gave them something because we could tell, these people were poor and could probably use a little help. We didn’t experience this in Nassau.
  2. The only thing we weren’t able to see in Andros was Crab Replenishment Preserve. We probably should have visited on our first day in Andros since the next day was a national holiday (Majority Rule Day).
  3. I enjoyed Andros but overall, I was disappointed in The Bahamas. It’s not a place I’ll visit again.

For more photos, please visit my instagram page: Rupal’s Travel Diaries 

 

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