Andros Island, teaming with natural beauty from it secluded beaches to it’s inland lakes, creak systems, Pine and Red Mangrove forest.
Andros Island (Greek: Άνδρος) is an archipelago within the Bahamas, the largest of the 26 inhabited Bahamian Islands. Politically considered a single island, Andros in total has an area greater than all the other 700 Bahamian islands combined.
Andros is 30 miles west across the Tongue of the Ocean from the Bahamas’ national capital of Nassau on New Providence Island. Its northern tip lies 138 miles (233 km) from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Geologically and geographically the Bahamas, including Andros, are not located in the Caribbean, whose northern boundary is the Windward Passage, but rather in the Atlantic Ocean.
The land area of Andros consists of hundreds of small islets and cays connected by mangrove estuaries and tidal swamp lands, together with three major islands: North Andros, Mangrove Cay, and South Andros. The three main islands are separated by “bights”, estuaries that trifurcate the island, connecting the island’s east and west coasts. It is 104 miles (167 km) long by 40 miles (64 km) wide, at the widest point. The land area is as large as the state of Delaware in the United States.
Noteworthy for a unique combination of marine features and ecosystems, Andros is bordered on the east by the 6000 foot (3+ km) deep Tongue of the Ocean. The Andros Barrier Reef is the world’s sixth longest. It runs for 142 miles (225 km), averaging a distance of 1–2 miles from the Andros shore. The extensive flats of the Great Bahama Bank lie to the west, northwest and south of Andros. The island has the world’s largest collection of blue holes.
Geographically, North Andros is the sixth largest island in the West Indies, at roughly 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi) in area and 167 km (104 mi) long and 64 km (40 mi) wide at its widest point, and the 153rd largest island on Earth. If all three main islands are included, Andros is the fifth- largest island in the West Indies, after Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
Although comparable in total area to the state of Rhode Island (3140 km2, population 1.05 million) and Long Island, New York (3600 km2, population 7.5 million), Andros has a population of approximately 8000, almost all of whom are settled in a thin strip near the Queen Elizabeth Highway running along the island’s eastern coast.
Politically the nation was historically part of the British West Indies and is considered culturally to be part of the Caribbean. The Bahamian dialect of the English language is distinctively Caribbean in character, similar to those of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, also formerly part of the British West Indies.
“As the largest island in the Bahamas, Andros exhibits greater botanical diversity than any other island. The presence of Andros’ barrier reef and the Tongue of the Ocean give the island a great zoological diversity.”
Among the various land eco-systems are hardwood coppice, pineyard, scrub, saltwater marsh, rocky and sandy beaches, palm savannas and mangroves. Non-coastal areas on Andros are referred to generically as ‘the bush.’ Coastal mangrove flats and estuaries are referred to as ‘the swash,’ or salt water marsh.
Andros has the Bahamas’ only freshwater river, contributing to its biodiversity. Thousands of kilometres of underground water from rainwater collect in aquifers below the island’s surface. Nineteen million litres of freshwater are shipped daily to Nassau by barge through the pumping station located in Morgan’s Bluff.
Tourism is Andros Island’s largest industry, and the largest private employer. The Bahamian tourism industry markets Andros as the least-explored island in the chain. From Nicholls Town in the north to Little Creek in the south are 35–40 hotels, motels, resorts, guest houses and lodges (the number varies), with a total of approximately 400 rooms.
Tourists are composed primarily of scuba divers, attracted to the barrier reef, Tongue of the Ocean, and the Blue Holes; bonefishing anglers, Bird watching and those looking for relaxation at a destination that, while off the beaten path, has easy air connections.