TOLL FREE USA/CANADA
Getting to Andros Island, The Bahamas is very easy!
We may be slightly off the beaten path, but that's a big
part of our appeal. Even though we're not in the center of a big tourist hub (thankfully!) we're really quite accessible.
(more info on getting to Andros)
The "Tongue Of The Ocean" running parallel to Andros Island is a 6,000 foot deep submarine canyon. Though there is doubt to the origin of the canyon, it is widely accepted that the vertical upbuilding of the coral reef margin is responsible for adding to the height of the deep-sided walls, perhaps for as long as the last 100 million years.
For us as divers, the wall provides some of the most breathtaking views of spectacular coral formations to see. One of the most interesting features of the wall are the many ledges which are basically pre-historic shorelines created during the rise and fall of sea level during the ice ages. The beautiful coral and sponges combined with the plunging depths over the wall makes for some of the most fantastic diving in the Bahamas.
Hole in the Wall was discovered over twenty-five years ago by Archie Forfar who, along with Dick Birch, was a diving pioneer on Andros. Archie died in a tragic diving accident while trying to the set the world's record for the deepest SCUBA dive on compressed air.
Since Archie's death, twenty-two years ago, many people have unsuccessfully attempted to find the mysterious Hole in the Wall site which only Archie could locate. Finally, in the summer of 1993, a team of divers from Small Hope Bay Lodge rediscovered the lost site after an extensive six month long search of the Andros Barrier Reef.
The formation of this geological sensation is the true mystery behind the dive and is almost beyond description due its bizarre and curious configuration of tunnel and wall. The site begins at the edge of the wall at 120 feet where the "hole" will lead you through a large passage opening down at 200 feet on the wall. We will explore the wall back up to 160 feet where another entrance will take us back into the tunnel and up through the "hole" again. Besides this site being rather deep, the hole and tunnel are large and spacious, with plenty of light, which allows for a relaxed dive.
Do not miss this incredible site which is full of history, beauty and intrigue!
For this dive, we will tie up to a permanent mooring line at the edge of the wall. With our dive lights on, we will descend down to the top of the wall at 70 feet. We will then follow a guide line to a 25 foot long by 5 foot wide ledge at 185 feet deep. Once on the ledge, facing the Tongue of the Ocean, we will turn our lights off and the real light show begins!
The bioluminescence at this depth is truly spectacular; everything sparkles. Your exhaust bubbles will create glowing, glittering balls of light which will roll up the wall above you. At the end of our times on the ledge, we ascend up the line with our lights still off. Your buddy will look like a human sparkler. Once back on top of the reef, with lights now on, there is an enormous amount of marine life to see like lobsters, basket starts, shrimp, gobies, sleeping parrot fish and sometimes eels.
At the end of our time on the reef, we will ascend up the anchor line with our lights off again. The line will look like a glowing snake. At 15 feet for our safety stop, we will cut a cylume stick and spread it out in the water; it will seems as if you are flying through a galaxy.
A light show you will never forget!
This is a multi-level dive taking you through different geological areas of the wall.
We start the dive at the left hand corner of the nose known as the elevator shaft. We then descend down the shaft to 190 feet, swim along the nose staying at this depth and go completely around the nose. We then cross a series of ancient shorelines which form steps leading down the wall. While swimming around the nose we enjoy the view, with black coral and gorgonians hanging off the wall. Staring into the deep blue off the wall we keep eyes peeled for big pelagics.
The dive ends back where we started at the anchor rope. Then we start to drift as we do our ascent and safety stops. Depending on the direction of the wind we will drift into the deep blue or inland across the different levels of coral reef.
This dive offers some of the most unusual formations to be seen on our wall. We will descend down to the top of the wall where we will follow a permanent line to the entrance of a tunnel or cavern at 200 feet deep. We will need our lights briefly while entering the tunnel which will be loaded with silver side minnows.
The tunnel goes in the wall and then turns left and down to where we will exit at 225 feet, above a huge limestone archway. We will immediately begin our ascent up to the top of the wall. A reef shark has been spotted here on almost every dive so we will keep a lookout for him!
Deeper in this same area, other similar tunnel systems have been found and explored in the wall. It is a mystery as to what caused these interesting wall formations.
This site takes us to one of the most diverse sections of our wall. Coral mountains that loom at the edge of 150 feet of visibility, rising up from 120 to 60 feet, filled with countless pillars of coral. Valleys of sand, dotted with sponge and gorgonian lazily waving with the deep currents. All this funnels down into an ancient river bed that long ago emptied it's roaring torrents of water over the wall to the ledges below. We will drift down this riverbed and over the waterfall to a depth of 190 feet.
The vertical wall here is spectacular, but remember to keep an eye out for those big pelagics coming out of the deep blue!
Our swim will take us along the face of the wall as we work our way back up across the sandy slope to the coral wall. Once there we will work our way back to the anchor line and drift wherever the sea decides to take us.
You can tell your diving companions back home that you went over the waterfall at Small Hope Bay Lodge WITHOUT THE BARREL-way cool!