Andros Island is the largest
island of the Bahamas and the
fifth largest island in the West Indies at roughly 2300 square
miles (6,000 km²) in area and 104 miles (167 km) long and 40 miles
(64 km) wide at its widest point. It is actually
composed of three major islands: North Andros, Mangrove Cay, and
The island has the
world's third largest barrier
, which is over long. It is affectionately known by
Bahamians as the "Big Yard".
Etymologically the name Andros is derived
from the Greek word άνδρας
(andras) meaning "man", from Ancient
Greek ανδρείος (andreios) "of or for a man", "manly"
and is also the name of a Greek island
(Andros) in the Aegean Sea.
There is some evidence that suggests that the first inhabitants of
Andros Island were the indigenous Lucayan
people. The Lucayans
throughout the Bahamas were wiped out mainly by exposure to disease
following the arrival of the Spanish in the
The island was given the name “Espiritu Santo,” the
Island of the Holy Spirit, by the Spanish, but is also called San
Andreas on a 1782 map. The modern name is believed to be in honour
of Sir Edmund Andros, Commander of Her
Majesty’s Forces in Barbados in 1672 and
governor successively of New York, Massachusetts, and New
It is also believed that the island could have been
named after the inhabitants of St Andro
(St Andrew or San
) on the Mosquito Coast
because 1,400 of them settled in Andros in 1787. Still another theory
suggests that the island was name after the Greek isle of Andros, by Greek
During the 1700s pirates
occupied the island.
Morgan's Bluff and Morgan's Cave on North Andros are named after
the famous privateer-pirate, Henry
and their slaves also settled in Andros in the late 18th
Andros Island's port of Fresh Creek was once a popular hangout for
the "Rat Pack
," including Sammy Davis, Jr.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Owens Lumber company, a US-owned
company, deforested much of the indigenous pine forests that grew
on North Andros. As a result of poor planning for re-growth, what
is found on the island today consists mainly of young, over-crowded
Owing to its proximity to the Tongue
of the Ocean
and network of fresh and saltwater blue holes
, Andros Island became a popular
destination in the early
days of the sport, frequented by such well known divers as Jacques Cousteau
. The first dive resort on
Andros was built by Archie Forfar, a Canada native who later died
trying to break the Guinness world record for deep diving. His
resort, in Blanket Sound, is now home to Forfar Field station, an
environmental education facility owned and operated by
International Field Studies.
The island today
Andros is the least densely populated of all the Bahamas, with a
population of a little over six thousand. Most of these people
live on the east coast of the island in the three major towns on
the island; Nicholls
Town and Andros
Town on North Andros, and Congo Town, on South Andros.
water comes from this island, with about nineteen million litres of
freshwater being shipped to Nassau a day
through the pumping station located in Morgan's Bluff.
Andros has thousands of kilometres of
freshwater rivers that come from rainwater collected in the many
caves in the island's interior.
A type of fabric called Androsia
manufactured in Andros. Androsia is the local type of batik
fabric, produced in a variety of bright vibrant
colors and designs. It is distributed widely throughout the
, an extinct cryptid
some to be based on the flightless, 1 metre tall barn-owl
, is said to have formerly occurred on
Andros is hit by a hurricane
every two and a half years.
- Atlantic Underwater Testing and
Evaluation Center Deep Water Weapons Range runs parallel to the
east coast of the islands, and operates a base on North
International Field Studies, Inc. runs Forfar Field Station,
located on the east coast near North Blanket Sound. Students can
stay there to learn about the culture, biology, and geology of the
International Airport serves the island.
Unlike most of the Bahamian islands, Andros's interior has been
largely free of commercial development for the tourism
industry, preserving much of its natural
beauty. Current Bahamian tourism efforts refer to it as the
least-explored island in the chain. 
There are currently efforts being made
by the Bahamas National Trust and the Nature Conservancy to
establish a national park on the island.
There are few hotels and resorts on the island. However Andros,
famous for its bonefishing
, is home to
many lodges which cater to the sport.
The island is filled with natural beauty. It has the second
largest barrier reef in the Northern
Hemisphere and the third largest in the world, at 140 miles
(225 km) long, and has a drop off of over 6,000 feet (1.8
The water above the reef averages twelve feet (4 m)
deep. There are more than forty square miles (104 km²) of
subtropical forest area and the swamp
that is inhabited by more than 50 species of orchids
. Andros is actually made up of three
different major islands (North Andros, Mangrove Cay and South
Andros Island) and hundreds of cays adjoined by these mangrove
estuaries and tidal swamp lands. Two hundred different types of
are native to the island.
Andros Island draws thousands of visitors every year. Angler
come from all over the world to fish there.
It is said to be "the bonefish
the world". Divers
come to explore the
blue holes and reefs. Andros Island is next to the Tongue of the Ocean
, a deep oceanic trench
and is famous for its wall
The island's blue holes
are water filled
cave systems. They attract cave divers from all over the world to
dive sites such as 'Stargate', 'The Guardian' and 'Little
Frenchman'. There are blue holes in the ocean and inland. Two of
the inland blue holes on Andros include Charlie's Blue Hole,
reputedly first explored by Jacques-Yves Cousteau
, and the larger
Church's Blue Hole and Guardian Blue Hole.
Cave diving is dangerous. Divers require training before entering
any cave system and should be accompanied by a guide.
There are a number of church denominations represented within
Andros. In North Andros, the Anglican Episcopal Church has a
presence through St Margaret's Parish
. This parish consist of
two churches, St Margaret's located in the settlement of Nicholl's
Town and St Mary Magdalene located in the settlement of Mastic
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nassau 
provides clergy for parishes throughout Andros. On South Andros
Sacred Heart parish is in Little Creek and St. Robert Bellarmine
parish is in High Rock. Mangrove Cay is served by St. Benedict's
parish and Central Andros is served by St. John Chrysostom parish
in Fresh Creek and Christ the King parish in Cargill Creek.
Catholic services are also provided on Saturday evening at the
AUTEC Navy Base chapel.
Image:Andros_island2978.jpg|South Andros Island, at
CayImage:AndrosSunset.JPG|Sunset from Blanket
HoleImage:SHBNorthBeach.jpg|The North Beach of Small Hope Bay
Tongue of the Ocean