After spending time in Eleuthera every March for the last 4 years in, we decided to jump ship and try another island. We were looking for something a bit more remote. After researching the other Out Islands and finding “Sunset Point Houseboat” (sunsetpointhouse.com) with its great reviews, we decided to try Andros. I was a bit concerned that we would not get that “aaah feeling” we always got when we arrived in Eleuthera. But we were not let down. After landing at the tiny Andros Town International Airport on a flight from Fort Lauderdale, an airport rep came out to the plane and greeted us warmly. We knew then that Andros would please us. We rented a car from Shorr’s (Shorrsrental@hotmail.com). We had arranged it from home and Laverne in the snack bar was our contact. The Taurus worked out fine (We asked for the least expensive car available) although Jeeps are more our style. Gas costs $6 a Gallon. Like Eleuthera, Northern Andros has a Queen’s “Highway” that runs North to South. The Central and Southern parts of the island are not accessible by car from the north. The Houseboat is a home built on pillars in Fresh Creek and although days have passed since I left there, I still can close my eyes and still see nothing but clear blue water everywhere. It was the most incredible marine life experience I have ever had. Small “juvenile” conchs were scattered around in the shallow water. The locals told us that the conchs grow there and then move on their own out to the deeper ocean when they are full-size. The area is also a place for the fish to “grow up”. Off our deck we saw 3 kinds of Rays (we even saw 2 leap into the air ), 3 kinds of sharks, and dozens of tropical fish. One day we saw dolphins a bit further out. The tropical birds were everywhere. We swam every day. It was very private with only 2 or 3 small bone fishing boats a day passing by. We also took kayaks out and explored further down the creek. We went ashore on a sandy beach area. As we walked along, I noticed that the sand felt a bit strange. I picked up a handful of it and discovered that it was not sand, or the crushed coral we usually see, but rather the entire beach was made up of millions of perfectly formed, miniscule conch and other shells. It was amazing.
We were concerned about the availability of food on the island, but were pleasantly surprised. Fresh fruit and veggies were available in the local stores in Fresh Creek (Adderley’s and Gator’s) and also at Mables which is located over the townline in Calabash Bay. Thursday the boat comes in so the selection is the best then. You could also get frozen meat, various cheeses, juice, milk, bread and basic staples. As expected, everything costs a bit more than in the States. There is a liquor store located near the Andros Lighthouse Yacht Club and Marina. Of course, we come to the islands for the seafood and that also worked out for us. Before we left home we had arranged to go deep sea fishing. The day we went the water was a bit rough so we (really the captain) fished for red snapper. He caught us a cooler full. Then he dove for conch and lobster. There was plenty of seafood for us to enjoy. One day we decided to explore the northern tip of the island. We ended up at Morgan’s Bluff at a small dock. A boat was unloading a pile of conch and the fisherman was happy to sell us some. A few years back we learned how to prepare delicious conch salad while visiting Eleuthera, so we were happy to make conch salad 9 days in a row. What could be better? We did not eat out simply because we enjoyed hanging out “on the water” in the Houseboat, but there are a number of restaurants in the area.
Many of the days we ate our conch salad on our favorite nearby beach, Somerset. It was endless, shallow, and sandy, although not pink. It seemed to go on forever. Some days you might see another couple or two but mostly it was deserted. It is ringed with shade trees that form a nice floor of soft needles. Sun…shade…aqua water…absolutely beautiful! You could not get a more spectacular beach. A hidden treasure for sure.
Andros is famous for its “Blue Holes” and we visited 3 of them, Captain Bill’s near Fresh Creek, Uncle Charlie’s on the northern end of the island and Rainbow. Rainbow was our favorite. It is located on a trail that starts at Queen’s Highway, north of Small Hope Bay Lodge. There is a very small sign there and the trail is marked with batik ties from Androsia. The hike in is easy and interesting. You walk on volcanic rock and see a variety of vegetation. We did not see anyone on the trail or at the hole. We did go for a quick swim and it was easy to jump in and climb out. There is a Geocache there. Check out Geocaching.com if you want to learn more about this sport.
The batik ties I mentioned? Well, that fabric is dyed at the Androsia factory located in Fresh Creek. Androsia (Androsia.com) handprints fabric with wax, hand dyes it, and then sews it into clothes and household items. We fell in love with it. The fabrics are brilliant colors with unique designs that represent the Bahamas. You can visit the factory and see it being created. We loved it so much we returned a second day to purchase more. I left some of my old clothes on the island so I could fit all the batik into my suitcase.
I can’t finish the report without mentioning the gem of the Island, Kelly. Kelly has a table set up at the roundabout near the Fresh Creek Bridge. She sells mostly baked goods, but she also has fresh-roasted, in-the-shell peanuts that turned out to be the perfect complement to our Kaliks and cocktails. We enjoyed her coconut cream pie, rum cake, and pineapple torte. She sells small pieces so we would buy a little of everything and try it all. Her coconut bread was delicious for sandwiches or breakfast toast. I wish I had some now. Her beef pies are wonderful… a bit spicy and very flavorful. Everyday there were new and different items available depending upon what she was cooking that day. The last day we stopped by for beef pies but she had land crab pies instead. They were out-of-sight with a clear taste of crab. Her 1 table had more to offer than most entire bakeries.
Sometimes it is hard to believe that a place like Andros exists so…If you are looking for water, water, water, privacy, up close and personal sea life and exotic birds, friendly folks, fresh seafood, and an away-from-it-all feeling, visit Andros.