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Andros Island, some 2300 square miles in size, is the largest and least-explored island in The Bahamas. A coral limestone formation, Andros is dominated by thick impenetrable bush, sliced in pieces by inland waterways, inlands, cays, bights, mangroves, farm land and edged by mangrove swamp. To the north are hardwood and pine forests, including Andros Pine, Mahogany (Madeira), Horseflesh, and Lignum Vitae; along the east coast are the fishing and diving grounds of the Andros Barrier Reef. On the West Coast are the pristine fishing flats of the Great Bahama Bank.
Andros is known as the Bonefish capital and as having the oldest dive resort in the world. The average ocean temperature is 80°
The Andros Barrier Reef, the third largest in the world and the second largest in the western hemisphere, stretches 140 miles along the east coast of the island and rims the Tongue of the Ocean, with its 6,000-foot drop-off. Additionally Andros abounds in Blue Holes (underwater cave systems), which have been the scene of some of the deepest underwater cave explorations in the world. This is the site of the US base for submarine exploration and evaluation.
There are more than 40 known species of wild orchids on Andros, as well as endemic and migrating bird and butterfly populations. Other wildlife includes iguanas, wild boars and land crabs.
Andros has a population of approximately 10,000 people, most of them residing in small towns located on the eastern coast. The island itself is the great provider, with the main occupations being fishing and farming. In addition, the island has long traditions in boat building, straw work, and wood carving. Androsians have deep pride as artists and craftsman and were formerly a major producer of sponges. Their heritage dates back to Seminole Indians, runaway slaves from Florida, a mix of different people from Africa to South America. It is widely believed that the name Andros was not influenced by the Greek island but rather from St. Andro off the coast of Africa.
There are over 200 species of birds that inhabit the Bahamas--and Andros, with its vast undeveloped land, is home to many of them. Among the most common ! are: The Bahama Woodstar, the West Indian Woodpecker, the Loggerhead kingbird, LaSagre's Flycatcher, the Great Antillean Pewee, the Bahama Swallow, the Bahama Mockingbird, The Red-legged Thrush, the Thick-billed Vireo, the Black-whiskered Vireo, the Olive-capped Warbler, Kirtland Warbler, the Bahama Yellowthroat, the Black-cowled Oriole, the Great Antillean Bullfinch, the Black-faced Grassquit, the Melodious Grassquit, the Least Grebe, Olivaceous Cormorant, the Flamingo, the Bahama Pintail, Osprey, Kestel, Sooty Tern, Roseate Tern, Noddy Tern, White Crowned Pigeon, Zenaida Dove, White-bellied Dove, the Key West Quail Dove, the Great Lizard Cuckoo, the Smooth-billed Ani and the Cuban Emerald Hummingbird.
When the Spanish discovered Andros, they named it Isla del Esperita Santo, the Island of the Holy Spirit, a tribute to the abundance of water in Andros. It is a fact that Andros is laced with thousands of miles of inland waterways and fishing flats. North, Middle and South Bights cut right through the island, east to west, creating a natural access to even more flats on the west side of the island. These provide world-class conditions for fly fishermen in pursuit of bonefish and tarpon. Andros is also blessed with an abundance of fresh water. In fact, nearly 7 million gallons of water are shipped from North Andros to Nassau every day. The source of the water: rain water, which collects in underground tunnels and caves, and forms a fresh water lens that sits on top of the salt water.
Andros is believed to have two mischievous, legendary creatures. The first is a Lusca and supposedly drowns those carelessly exploring blue holes which link the ocean with fresh water creeks inland. Also is a three-toed, red-eyed, bird-bodied chickcharnie, said to have indirectly started World War II. The bloodshed was supposedly the end result of a British plantation owner bent upon chopping down trees said to house Chickcharnie nests.
Andros is home of Androsia, the colorful handmade island clothing of the Bahamas. Begun in 1972 as a cottage industry, The Androsia Batik Factory is open weekdays for guest visitors to view the batik/dying and sewing process. Great deals on clothing and fabrics can be found at both the Androsia Factory Outlet Store and the boutiques all around the different islands of the Bahamas.