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

Small Hope Bay Lodge: "Superb", Nov, 2019,

by Eric Schroeder, KS, US ( 1 report with 2 Helpful votes). Report 11253 has 2 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Our ten day trip was arguably the most enjoyable trip that we have been on in over 40 yrs of diving. We were treated royally during our stay and within an hour of our arrival we felt as if we were members of the family. Jeff Birch, the owner, and his son Brian have perfected the art of customer service and every employee that we met shared the same sincere philosophy.

We had 3 dive masters; Dan, Dennis, and Kate during our 10 day stay. They were all consummate professionals and were very safety conscious. Our boat captain, Tonno was superb as well. As a bonus, they were extremely nice people and became good friends of ours during our stay. They were always eager to point out interesting critters and very agreeable to our dive site requests.

The shallow reef dives were somewhat disappointing at first, as the coral had taken some serious hits from prior storms and the tropical fish densities were accordingly low. For new divers, these sites should be just fine, however. Fortunately there is a 6000 ft deep wall very close by and the corals and sponges on the wall are all quite healthy with lots of fish. There were a significant number of pelagics on the walls and we typically saw multiple sharks and barracuda on every dive, regardless of the reef.

Small Hope Bay resort is actively participating in a project to re-populate the reefs with elk horn and stag horn coral by establishing coral nurseries on two of the shallow reefs. Our group had the privilege of working with Haley, one of the coral restoration experts from the Perry Institute in Nassau who happened to be there while we were diving. The work was fascinating and we can hardly wait to return next year to see how the "kids" have grown.

Spearfishing for Lion Fish was allowed which made the shallow reef dives quite fun, even for the experienced divers in our group. I quickly learned that it is not as easy as one might think. On more than one occasion our hunting was terminated due to the appearance of a number of large reef sharks that seemed to come out of nowhere. The remaining bottom time then became a shark dive which proved to be equally exciting.

One unique feature of the diving at Small Hope Bay is the opportunity for experienced divers to engage in some VERY challenging dives once they have demonstrated to the DM that they have the necessary experience and skills to safely conduct such dives. There are multiple options available that are outlined in great deal on the resort website. I would highly recommend considering one or more of these dives. Diving the Blue Hole in particular, is a must, as multiple different dive plans can be tailored for divers with all levels of experience on the same boat trip.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of our trip was the interaction that we had with the owner, employees, and other guests during our non-diving time. The majority of the non-diving guests were there for the bonefishing and they proved to be a great addition to the fun atmosphere. Small Hope Bay Resort has an open bar and as the evenings progressed there were a number of fine diving and fish stories that were told! Three wonderful buffet style meals were served every day and one or more of the dive masters, instructors, interns, or management would always join us at our table. Cocktail hour started at 6:00 pm with fresh conch fritters and a variety of other appetizers followed by a special dinner.

The majority of the guests that we met were longtime repeat visitors and by the end of our visit it was quite obvious why there are so many repeat customers. We will be back!

As an aside, I would STRONGLY recommend that everyone who goes on a dive trip carry plenty of medical insurance. Shortly after our arrival in Nassau I developed an acute neurological event and ended up spending 8 hrs in the ED at Doctors Hospital. This is an amazing, state of the art facility and I received top notch care. Fortunately everything turned out fine and my $4500.00 bill will be covered completely by Dive Assure! Had things gone south, my insurance would have covered air evacuation to Miami, as well as subsequent evaluation and treatment which could have amounted to a small fortune. Not a bad deal considering that I only paid $180.00 for the insurance.
Websites Small Hope Bay Lodge   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Cozumel, Akumal, Chinchorro Bank, CA Channel Islands, Southwest Sulawesi (Wakatobi), Saba, St Barts,
Closest Airport Nassau Getting There 15 minute flight from Nassau on regional twin propeller plane

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, cloudy, dry Seas calm, choppy, no currents
Water Temp 80-°F / 27-°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 50-100 Ft/ 15-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile ?
Enforced diving restrictions Obey the DM's dive plan. Plans were custom tailored to diver's abilities and desires
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins 1 or 2 Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 3 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 4 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter N/A Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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