By Guy Britton
“Beware the Lusca,” he said.
“What’s that?” I said.
The dive instructor smiled and slipped under the surface of the deepest blue hole on Andros Island in The Bahamas, the kind of deep, dark place where these half-octopus, half-shark creatures are said to live.
Blue holes are sinkholes or underwater caves, typically circle-shaped, always with dramatically steep walls. And there are more blue holes on Andros than anywhere else on earth, with 175 of them inland and another 50 scattered around the shallow waters offshore.
The island even has its own Andros Blue Hole National Park, home to 40,000 acres and lots of deep, dark places.
It’s these kinds of unique blue holes and underwater caverns, streams and passageways that only add to the mystery of this island, a place filled with folklore and legend and, they, say, luscas.
Much of this place is unexplored — and it was this otherworldly allure that drew Jacques Cousteau to the park in 1971, when he released a dye in a blue hole located miles inland and later recorded the dye offshore in the tongue of the ocean.
The famed oceanographer’s experiment proved that the blue hole caverns and passageways are connected to the ocean.
Even today, the depth of Cousteau’s blue hole is unknown.
It’s a raw, natural and impossibly exotic landscape — but while Andros and its environment are at the edge of the frontier, they can be explored — and readily welcome the adventurous traveler.
For one, Andros’ Small Hope Bay Lodge offers guided blue hole adventures for exploration above and below the surface, with several close to the lodge.
Rainbow Blue Hole is the closest, accessible via a short hike though a well maintained nature trail. Two of the blue holes in the park are equipped with a dock for access to water for those how feel the need for swimming — if you feel like exploring further.
Some people are drawn to swimming and diving in a blue hole; it makes others uneasy, overwhelmed by the mystery of them.
For those who are drawn to diving in these underwater cave entrances, Small Hope Bay has experienced dive guides and organized dive trips in the blue holes — but it’s not something one should do without a very experienced guide.
Because you never know what you may find inside a blue hole.
It could be a lusca.
See more in the latest CJ Video.