By Guy Britton
WEST SIDE NATIONAL PARK — Andros is different.
Most islands are surrounded by water.
Andros merges with water.
Water passes through and around and beneath this island, the largest in The Bahamas (and sixth-largest island in the Caribbean) and just about a short flight from Nassau.
That includes blue holes — there are 178 of them on the island and 50 in the water around the island.
And then there are the creeks, estuaries and vast mangrove flats, an uncanny pastiche of sea water and fresh water.
On Andros’ east side, the ocean plunges to 6,000 feet just a mile offshore.
Andros has The Bahamas’ only freshwater river, exporting 19-million liters of fresh water a day through Nassau.
The topography, the scenery, the natural world here are without parallel — it’s different, and it’s an adventure.
At the heart of it is the legendary Small Hope Bay Lodge, a hub for experiencing the adventure of Andros.
In addition to world class diving and fishing there are blue hole tours, nature trails, kayaking trails, biking and numerous hikes and adventures.
The latter included a “water sportsman ultimate adventure trip” to take a guided flats boat from the east through the island to the wild western side of Andros.
And the west coast is where things really get interesting.
They call it the “West Side Story” and there is more to the story than meets the eye. This is a serious all day journey. Read the fine print.
Andros’ rugged West Coast is a labyrinth of mangrove flats, creeks, islands and passages.
There are many passages that go deep into the island but in the middle of the island you can pass right through from the east to the west side.
It is about 30 miles depending upon the creeks and passageways you take through the island. These passageways are called “bights.’
Middle bight is where we started our journey, departing the boat launch at Cargill Creek on the south east corner of North Andros.
From there it’s 35 miles though the bight to the western shore.
The fly fishing here is world class, but it’s a long way to go to get to the west side and there is a lot to see and do along the way.
So we used shrimp and spinning reels and had five snappers in the boat within 10 minutes.
With a deserted island in our sites and a fire to grill up the freshly caught snapper, life got way better in a hurry.
We spent eight hours on the water, and did not see another boat all day long.
It’s an experience that can be equal parts exhilarating and unnerving; you’re out there on the Bahamian frontier, without cell service, from 30 to 40 miles away from the next living soul.
But that’s what makes this corner of the island such a dramatic, thrilling adventure — you’re truly on the edge, truly away from it all, rediscovering what adventure really means.
Here, where the water and the land merge and fuse and become one and then something else entirely, things are different.
But until you get here, you don’t realize how different – and magical – it really is.
See more in the latest CJ Video.