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A History of Small Hope and the Birch Family

Opened in 1960, Small Hope Bay Lodge is the oldest water-oriented resort in the Bahamas. It was built by former Canadian Dick Birch and continues to be operated and managed by the Birch Family, which now spans four generations. Small Hope Bay Lodge was the first resort in the Caribbean to offer Resort Course SCUBA Diving Instruction, Wall Diving and Blue Hole Diving to recreational divers.

Dick Birch, with wife Joan and their three children, came to Andros in 1959. Dick had recently tried scuba diving and believed it was the sport of the future. He saw the proximity of the reef and realized Small Hope Bay was the perfect location for a resort with scuba diving.

History of Small Hope

When they opened the resort in 1960, it was the first dive-dedicated resort in the Bahamas. It started with just four cabins. His brother, Jack, joined him. The ensuing years brought 17 more cabins, two more wives, step children, adopted children, former and future spouses, in-laws, out-laws, and a legacy of intertwined lives that continues on to this day. Half a dozen family members have been laid to rest here, some far too soon. Dick himself died in 1996, but his family carries on the vision.

Today, Small Hope is run by Dick's son, Jeff. The immediate and extended Birch family members are now spread between Andros, Nassau, Florida, and beyond, some as far away as Norway. But they all still find time to come home to Small Hope. Usually around the winter holidays you can see them at the bar, or in the dining room, or maybe even on the dive boat! See our Family and Staff.

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