What can you expect to see on your expedition?
Andros has some of the healthiest and most abundant shark populations in the Caribbean! On any typical day out on the water you can expect to see juvenile to adults of various species, including Caribbean reef (Carcharhinus perezi), blacknose (C. acronotus), sharpnose (Rhizoprionodon terraenovae), lemon (Negaprion brevirostris) and nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) traveling the flats, mangroves and reefs. Further within the creek system there are areas where young bull (C. leucas) and bonnethead (Sphyrna tiburo) sharks reside, and like other Bahamian islands great hammerheads (S. mokarran), tiger (Galeocerdo cuvier) and bull sharks cruise the shallows and the healthy reefs for prey. The pelagic zone of the Tongue of the Ocean is completely unexplored but silky sharks (C. falciformis) can be found frequently a few miles offshore, and blue (Prionace glauca), oceanic whitetip (C. longimanus) and mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) have all been known to make an appearance!
Southern stingrays (Himantura americana) are a regular along the reefs, shallow flats, creeks and mangroves. Eagle rays (Aetobatus nari nari) can be seen in fevers often patrolling the reef edge, as well as, feeding on the flats. Manta rays (Manta birostris) are seen during the summer months, however observations are infrequent and sporadic. Finally, Andros is the best place in the Bahamas to see the critically endangered smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata), a large ray that can reach up to 6m in length. This species has experienced huge population declines globally and sightings in Andros are not common, however much of Andros and its vast creek systems remain unexplored – so there is always a chance of bumping into one!
As with many Bahamian islands dolphins are commonly seen in Andros, two species are frequently encountered, the bottlenose (Tursiops truncatas) and the Atlantic spotted (Frenella frontalis). These mammals can often be observed feeding in the flats or travelling in large pods. The proximity of the deep oceanic waters of the Tongue of the Ocean sees the passing of some charismatic whale species too, such as the sperm whale (Physeter microcephalus) and blainvilles beaked whale (Mesoplodon densirostris). These animals are highly migratory, traveling huge distances, however the warm climate provides some of the calmest days out at sea that will aid in our search for encounters with these charismatic megafauna.
The coral reef, flats and mangroves are teaming with life supporting abundant populations of invertebrates, fishes and turtles. Catch and release fishing is extremely popular in Andros with bonefish (Albula vulpes), permit (Trachinotus falcatus), barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) and tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) commonly caught. Turtles are regularly encountered, including green (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta). Further the huge barrier reef and drop-off to the Tongue of the Ocean provides a productive habitat for big game fishes, such as mahi mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) and wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri).