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Dive Review of Small Hope Bay Lodge in
Bahamas/Andros Island

June, 2004, an Instant Reader Report by Jean and Bob Kirkpatrick, KY, USA
Report Number 1114
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
Over 1000 dives
Where else diving
Many places in Caribbean; Palau, Yap, and Truk; Maldives; Indonesia;
Solomons; PNG; Thailand.
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
calm, noCurrents  
Water Temp
80   to 82    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 100    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth and time limits  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  2 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  3 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
2 stars  
Shore Facilities  
2 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
1 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
3 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
2 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
2 stars    
We've been looking since 1985 for the perfect place for a family vacation,
from babies to grandparents.  Small Hope comes so close to being just that.
 The ambience is wonderful - you feel right at home as soon as you arrive. 
The staff - especially the locals - are very friendly and accomodating. 
The food is served buffet style for lunch and dinner on a beautiful, shaded
terrace, and is excellent.  The staff takes care of younger children during
cocktail hour and dinner, and plays with them while the adults enjoy their
meal in peace.  The bar is on the terrace, and all drinks are included. 
Breakfast is indoors, with a selection of hot and cold dishes.  There's a
large lounge area, a library with reference books and game tables, a big
playroom for children with a TV for videos, and a small shop.  The resort
is situated on a point with long beaches on each side and the dock in the
center.  The dive operation is not as convenient as some -the boats have
center tank racks, which are hard to set up and cause traffic jams when
people are between the seats and the tanks.  Benches along the sides have
covered storage, but that means you have to ask people to move in order to
get to your items.  They do furnish water, and a camera rinse tank, but
there are no tables.  You have to bring towels from your room.  Tanks are
loaded onboard, and you are responsible for getting all your gear to the
boat.  There is storage at the dock, but you go down a steep ladder to get
to the boat.  Nitrox is available at extra cost.  The divemasters are very
nice about helping guests by lifting tanks for entries and exits. The reefs
are not very colorful and have a lot of algae, though they told me this is
a summer problem.  There are some interesting formations, such as the blue
hole, and several specialty dives which are unique.  Departing divers and
snorkelers are given "Certificates of Accomplishment", which are
nice keepsakes, and are particularly exciting to children.  Boat trips to
reefs for snorkeling were also exciting and fun for the children, and for
the adults helping them.  Three of our group were the first to ever take
courses titled "Beach Ranger" and "Beach Naturalist". 
They graduated!!! and were given diplomas and T-shirts for the occasion.
Another favorite activity is a walk down to the creek which flows into the
sea near the resort, and swimming or snorkeling there.  Fishing is also
available, and there are nature walks.  A fabric called Androsia is
produced nearby, and a trip to this building to make your own design can be
arranged.  So - what could be wrong with this paradise?  Well, it's hot. 
We hoped June would be cooler than our previous July trips, but it wasn't. 
The cottages, which are along one of the beaches, are not air conditioned,
and the ceiling and floor fans just don't work well enough to cool in the
summer months.  Naps are almost impossible, unless you're happy in a
hammock along the beach, hopefully with a little breeze.  Sleeping at night
was very uncomfortable most of the week we were there.  The cottages are
basic - some more spacious than others - and have no phones or TVs.  We
compare it to summer camp, and not a very fancy camp, at that.  There's
also a great need for shade on the long swimming beach.  With very young
children, there's nowhere else to go during the day, as the rooms are too
hot, and there are no umbrellas or covered thatches to get you out of the
sun.  This is an easily remedied problem, and we hope they will take care
of this soon.  They also are discussing adding air conditioning, and we'll
consider going back if they do so.  We've tried many spots and this small
operation has the best feel of any - if only you weren't so hot!
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All Bahamas Dive Reviews and Reports
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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