Andros, Bahamas

Andros, Bahamas

Infobox Islands
name = Andros


image caption =
image size =
locator
Location map|Bahamas|lat=24.433333|long=-77.95
map_custom = yes
native name =
native name link =
nickname = "Big Yard"
location = Atlantic Ocean
coordinates = coord|24|26|N|77|57|W|display=inline
archipelago = Bahamas
total islands =
major islands =
area = convert|5957|km2|sqmi
length = convert|167|km|mi
width = convert|64|km|mi
highest mount =
elevation =
country = Bahamas
country admin divisions title =
country admin divisions =
country admin divisions title 1 =
country admin divisions 1 =
country admin divisions title 2 =
country admin divisions 2 =
country largest city = Andros Town
country largest city population =
population = 7,800
population as of =
density = 1.31
ethnic groups = Blacks 85%, Whites 12%, Asian and Hispanic 3%
additional info =

Andros Island is the largest island of the Bahamas and the fifth largest island in the West Indies at roughly 2300 square miles (6,000 km²) in area and 104 miles (167 km) long and 40 miles (64 km) wide at its widest point. It is actually composed of three major islands: North Andros, Mangrove Cay, and South Andros. The island has the world's third largest barrier reef, which is over convert|140|mi|km long. It is affectionately known by Bahamians as the "Big Yard".

History

Etymologically the name Andros derives from the Greek word "άνδρας" (andras) meaning "man", from Ancient Greek "ανδρείος" (andreios) "of or for a man", "manly" [ [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%237916 Andreios] , Liddell and Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", at Perseus.] and is also the name of a Greek island (Andros) in the Aegean Sea.

There is some evidence that suggests that the first inhabitants of Andros Island were the indigenous Lucayan people. The Lucayans throughout the Bahamas were wiped out mainly by exposure to disease following the arrival of the Spanish in the 1550s. The island was given the name “Espiritu Santo,” the Island of the Holy Spirit, by the Spanish, but is also called San Andreas on a 1782 map. The modern name is believed to be in honour of Sir Edmund Andros, Commander of Her Majesty’s Forces in Barbados in 1672 and Governor successively of New York, Massachusetts, and New England. It is also believed that the island could have been named after the inhabitants of St. Andro Island (St. Andrew or San Andrés) on the Mosquito Coast as 1,400 of them settled in Andros in 1787. Still another theory suggests that the island was name after the Greek isle of Andros, by Greek sponge fisherman.

During the 1700s pirates occupied the island. Morgan's Bluff and Morgan's Cave on North Andros are named after the famous privateer-pirate, Henry Morgan. Loyalists and their slaves also settled in Andros in the late 18th Century.

Andros Island's port of Fresh Creek was once a popular hangout for the "Rat Pack," including Sammy Davis, Jr..

In the 1960s and 1970s the Owens Lumber company, a U.S. owned company, deforested much of the indigenous pine forests that grew on North Andros. As a result of poor planning for re-growth, what is found on the island today consists mainly of young, over-crowded tree forests.

Due to its proximity to the Tongue of the Ocean and network of fresh and saltwater blue holes, Andros Island became a popular Scuba diving destination in the early days of the sport, frequented by such well known divers as Jacques Cousteau. The first dive resort on Andros was built by Archie Forfar, a Canada native who later died trying to break the Guinness world record for deep diving. His resort, in Blanket Sound, is now home to Forfar Field station, an environmental education facility owned and operated by International Field Studies.

The island today

Andros is the least densely populated of all the Bahamas, with a population of a little over six thousand. Most of these people live on the east coast of the island in the three major towns on the island; Nicholls Town and Andros Town on North Andros, and Congo Town, on South Andros.

Much fresh water comes from this island, with about five million US gallons of fresh water being shipped to Nassau a day through the pumping station located in Morgan's Bluff [http://pw2.netcom.com/~bahamas1/scuba.html] [http://www.sailnet.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20540] . Andros has thousands of kilometres of fresh water rivers that come from rain water collected in the many caves in the island's interior.

A type of fabric called Androsia is manufactured in Andros. Androsia is the local type of batik fabric, which is produced in a variety of bright vibrant colors and designs, and is distributed widely throughout the Bahamas.

The Chickcharnie, an extinct cryptid believed by some to be based on the flightless, 1 metre tall barn-owl, "Tyto pollens", is said to have formerly occurred on Andros.

Andros is hit by a hurricane on average every two and a half years.

The AUTEC- Atlantic Underwater Testing and Evaluation Center Deep Water Weapons Range runs parallel to the east coast of the islands, and operates a base on North Andros.

Transportation

Andros Town International Airport serves the island.

Tourism

Unlike most of the Bahamian islands, Andros's interior has been largely free of commercial development for the tourism industry, preserving much of its natural beauty. Current Bahamian tourism efforts refer to it as the least-explored island in the chain. [http://www.bahamas.com/bahamas/island/introduction.aspx?island=andr] There are currently efforts being made by the Bahamas National Trust and the Nature Conservancy to establish a national park on the island.

There are few hotels and resorts on the island. However Andros, famous for its bonefishing, is home to many lodges which cater to the sport.

The island is filled with natural beauty. It has the second largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere and the third largest in the world, at one hundred and forty miles (225 km) long, and has a drop off of over six thousand feet (1.8 km). The water above the reef averages twelve feet (4 m) deep. There are more than forty square miles (104 km²) of subtropical forest area and the swamp land that is inhabited by more than 50 species of orchids. Andros is actually made up of three different major islands (North Andros, Mangrove Cay and South Andros Island) and hundreds of cays adjoined by these mangrove estuaries and tidal swamp lands. Two hundred different types of birds are native to the island.

Andros Island draws thousands of visitors every year. Anglers come from all over the world to fish there. It is said to be "the bonefish capital of the world". Divers come to explore the blue holes and reefs. Andros Island is next to the Tongue of the Ocean, a deep oceanic trench and is famous for its wall diving.

Blue Holes

The island's Blue Holes [Deep into Blue Holes by Rob Palmer. Published by Unwin Hyman Limited in 1989. ISBN 0-04-440380-1.] are water filled cave systems. They attract cave divers from all over the world to dive sites such as 'Stargate', 'The Guardian' and 'Little Frenchman'. There are Blue Holes in the ocean and inland.

All cave diving is risky. Divers require training before entering any cave system and should be accompanied by a guide.

References

Photographs

Churches

There are a number of church denominations represented within Andros. In North Andros, the Anglican Episcopal Church has a presence through [http://www.stmargaretsandros.org// St. Margaret's Parish] . This parish consist of two churches, St. Margaret's located in the settlement of Nicholl's Town and St. Mary Magdalene located in the settlement of Mastic Point.

External links

* [http://www.tamug.edu/cavebiology/Bahamas/Andros.html Blue Holes of Andros]
* [http://www.blueholes.org/about.html Blue Hole Foundation]
* [http://addiator.blogspot.com/2006/09/bloggers-selection-guardian-blue-hole.html Diving a Blue Hole]
* [http://addiator.blogspot.com/2005/03/bloggers-selection-over-wall-to-185.html Andros Wall Diving]
* [http://www.intlfieldstudies.org// International Field Studies]
* [http://www.stmargaretsandros.org// St Margaret's Anglican Episcopal Church in North Andros]

See also

Tongue of the Ocean


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