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Map of Andros Island Bahamas - Small Hope All Inclusive

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)

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Sharks on Andros Island, Bahamas

"There's something sleekly clinical about a shark. Watching the effortless grace of the gray shape flicking through the waters of a deep Bahamian reef, you can see how successful the slow evolution of millions of years has been."Robert Palmer, author "Deep Into The Blue Holes"

Although the origin of sharks is obscure, their geological records date back some 320 to 400 million years. They are a cartilaginous fish (having a cartilage skeleton instead of bone) making them relatively light in proportion to their size (and therefore requiring a minimum of energy to move.) They have a pointed snout extending forward and a crescent-shaped mouth set with sharp triangular teeth. They have paired, largely lateral, gill slits, well-defined eyes, pointed fins, a muscular upturned tail, and tooth-like scales.

Furthermore, sharks have no swim bladder. Instead they have an oil rich liver that provides them buoyancy. Shark DiveThis enables sharks to move rapidly in all directions including up and down.

Sharks have two methods of swimming. The first method is "eel style," whereby the shark twists its body in a slow sinuous and reflexive fashion. This method conserves energy and is used for travelling distances. The second method is the "tuna style," in which sharks obtain explosive speeds by the rapid movement of their tail in a backhand forth fashion. Sharks cannot swim backwards.

There are an estimated 200 to 250 living species of shark, most of which are similar in appearance and nondescript in color--varying from cream to gray, brown, yellow, slate or blue, and sometimes patterned with spots, bands, marblings or protuberances. Their vernacular names often indicate colors or appearances, such as the Blue (Prionace) the White (Carcharodon) and the Lemon (Negaprion). Young Tiger Sharks Caribbean Reef Shark(Galeocerdo) have a barred pattern of dark spots. The smallest species are only a few inches long, the largest grow to over 18 feet in length,the largest of all fishes. Some shark give birth my laying eggs, some give birth to live young, but few shark give birth to large broods.The geographical range of sharks extends from tropical waters to the seas of Greenland, from the water surface to the abysmal depths of the worlds' oceans. Tagging returns from large sharks on the East Coast of the U.S. indicate regular movements between New Jersey and Florida. Extensive movements are related to reproductive or feeding activities or to seasonal environmental changes. A tagged spiny dogfish (Squalis) was recovered after traveling about 1000 miles in 129 days; a leopard shark(Triakis) after 47 days moved only about 1.5 miles. Some members of the Carcharhinus genus enter fresh waters, principally the Zambezi, Ganges,Euphrates and Tigris; the lesser rivers in Asia, Australia, tropical South America, Central America, and southern U.S; and Lakes Nicaragua and Yzabal (Guatemala). No sharks have been observed or captured in the Antarctic.

Most shark - but not all - prey on smaller sharks, fish, squid,octopus, shellfish, and in some species, trash. The largest among these"meat" eaters is the voracious great white shark, which is know to attacks seals, sea turtles, large fish and occasionally people. (Picture of SharkThere are no great whites in the Bahamas). Normally, however, shark feed on fish, often attacking schools.Open-ocean species, such as the mackerel, mako and thresher sharks, frequently feed near the surface and are much sought after by rod-and-reel sportsmen. Beautifully streamlined and powerful swimmers,these open-ocean shark are adept at feeding on fast fish like tuna and marlin. Some sharks are bottom-feeders, with stout, blunt-headed forms,tending to more sluggish habits; these shellfish eaters have course pavement-like crushing teeth. The oddest-looking shark are the hammerheads, whose heads resemble double headed hammers with an eye on each stalk.

Furthermore, size does not necessarily correlate with voracity in shark. Riverine sharks, small to medium-sized, are exceptionally voracious and bold, while some of the largest shark, such as the whale shark (Rhincodon) and basking sharks (Cetorhinus)--which may reach 50 feet in length and weigh several tons--are harmless giants that subsist on plankton strained from the sea through modified gill rakers.

Caribbean Reef Shark - Andros, BahamasSince large shark feed on lesser ones, the habit of segregation by size appears vital to their survival. In a uniform grouping, dominance between various species is apparent in feeding competition, suggesting a definite "nipping" order. All sharks keep clear of hammerheads, whose maneuverability, enhanced by the rudder-effect of the head, give them swimming advantage over other sharks. Sharks circle their prey, disconcertingly appearing out of nowhere, and frequently approaching from below. Feeding behavior is stimulated by numbers and rapid swimming when three or more shark appear in the presence of food; activity progresses from tight-circling to rapid criss-cross passes. Under strong feeding stimuli, excitement can intensify into cannibalistic feeding, or "shark frenzy" in which injured sharks, regardless of size, are devoured. Sharks may abstain from food for long periods and in captivity may refuse to feed. Feeding is inhibited in males during courtship and in graved females while on the nursery grounds. Areas selected for giving birth are usually free of large sharks.

In locating food, the chemical senses, particularly the olfactory,appear to dominate. Visual acuity is adapted to close and long-range location and to distinguishing moving objects more by reflection than color, in either dim or bright light. Pit organs over the body serve as distance touch-receptors, responding to displacement produced by sound waves. Irregularly pulsed signals below 800 Hz will bring sharks rapidly to a given point, suggesting acoustic orientation from considerable distances.

Biting habits vary with feeding methods and dentition. Sharks with teeth adapted to shearing and sawing are aided in biting by body motions including a rotation or the body, or twisting movement of the head anybody, shark dive - Andros Bahamasor rapid vibration of the head. In coming to position, the jaws are protruded, erecting and locking teeth in position. The long tail of the thresher shark is used on schooling fish feeding on the surface.Sharks' teeth are actually made of "skin" material and have no root system. Most sharks have 7 rows of teeth (the Caribbean Reef Shark (Carcharhinus Perezi) has more than 300 teeth!) and can lose up to a dozen per feeding session. Replacement teeth then migrate to the front within a couple of weeks and these replacement teeth are always slightly larger than the previous ones. .Fertilization in sharks in internal, with the male introducing the sperm into the female by means of special copulatory organs (claspers) derived from the pelvic fins. There are two male claspers but only one is functional at a time. The young in most species hatch from eggs within the female and are born alive.


Whale Shark (Rhiniodon typus)

Charcoal to brown with white spots
Largest fish in the sea
Reaches lengths up to 40 feet
Plankton feeders but have approx. 300 teeth
Gentle and rare to see

Nurse Shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum)

Mustard gray in color
Reaches lengths up to 12 feet
Feeds on mollusks and crustaceans
Nocturnal and like to sleep on ledges during day
Gentle and seen frequently

Silky Shark (Charcharinus falciformis)

Dusky with sooty paler below
Has smooth skin hence name
True pelagics and prefer open ocean
Travel in packs of 12-40
Reaches lengths of up to 8 feet but usually 2-4 feet
Very rapid swimmers and move constantly

Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus)

Charcoal in color with white underside, black tips on fins
Very competitive when feeding
Active and fast
Reaches lengths up to 14 feet

Caribbean Reef (Charcharinus perezi)

Most common you will see and our favorite
Range in length from 4 feet to 8 feet, maximum 10 feet
Silver-gray with white underside at a distance
Bronze with cream underside up close
Dark black fringes on the underside of fins except dorsal
Blunt rounded nose

Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris)

Mustard slate in color
Commonly seen in shallow bights

Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna Mokarran)

Dark olive and paler below
Reaches lengths of 18 feet up to 23+ feet
Solitary in these waters, mostly feed on stingrays

Small Hope Bay Lodge offers Shark Observation opportunities for divers and snorkelers.
For details, see Diving and Snorkeling pages.

Small Hope on Trip Advisor
261 reviews of Small Hope Bay Lodge in Andros
Small Hope Bay Lodge
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating:
4.5 of 5 stars
Based on 261 traveler reviews
TripAdvisor Popularity Index: #1 of 12 + hotels in Andros
Most Recent Traveler Reviews:
  • Jan 15, 2013: "Small Hope Bay, Andros Island, the Bahamas"
  • Jan 7, 2013: "Small HopeBay - The Friendly Getaway"
  • Nov 26, 2012: "Post Sandy Stay"
  • Nov 16, 2012: "Simply Paradise!!!"
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