A Pirates' Paradise, Ready-Made For Exploration

Scattered like precious jewels over 3,884 square km of clear tropical sea at the top of the Caribbean, the chain of 700 islands, uninhabited cays and large rocks that make up the The Bahamas covers just 13,939 square km of land.

Formed mainly of flat coral, with just a few gently rounded hills, the highest point in the entire archipelago is just 206 ft. But despite this shared topography, the character of each island is as individual as the 300,000 people who live here.

Once you set foot in The Bahamas you’ll immediately understand why a who’s who of sailors - from Christopher Columbus to Blackbeard - were so enchanted by it. It’s no wonder those seeking the good life have converged on the country for centuries.

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Places You'll Visit

Our programs are based on the Bahamas' largest and least-explored island, with miles of deserted beaches and lakes.
Andros Island: 2,300 Square Miles of Adventure

You‘ll fly into Nassau airport and catch a little island hopper to Andros Island - 2300 square miles in size, it’s 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, cays, bights, mangroves, farm land and edged by mangrove swamp. It has a population of approximately 10,000 people, most of them living on the East coast, fishing and farming.

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 is punctured by masses of ‘Blue Holes’ - underwater cave systems, which have been the scene of some of the deepest underwater cave explorations in the world. On land you’ll find 40 known species of wild orchids, as well as endemic and migrating bird and butterfly populations, iguanas, wild boars and land crabs.

Here you’ll stay on the southern coast in our colourful beachside house near the dive centre.

How You'll Contribute

Check out the volunteering projects that you could help us work on in whilst you're in The Bahamas
Bahamas National Trust
Reef Surveys with the Bahamas National Trust

We are currently working on the East Coast of Andros Island at Staniard Creek where we are working in partnership with the Bahamas National Trust. They have asked us to survey the underwater environment of the Andros coastline with the aim of protecting the island against unplanned tourism.

So you and your fellow volunteers will get ‘scuba skilled’, learn how to use line points, transects, quadrats and fish identification surveys to collect all sorts of data to identify areas along the coast that can be used for tourism, areas that should be marked off as Marine Parks (i.e. fish breeding grounds) and finally, areas suitable for local fishing communities to work and live.

The “big picture” is to make the island a sustainable environment for everyone who needs to live/work there while also protecting the wonderful and varied marine life that lives on the reefs around the island.

Staniard Creek Primary School
Community Involvement at Staniard Creek Primary School

Once a week (to give your body a rest from the deep waters) you can head down the beach to the local village where you’ll find the Staniard Creek Primary School, (or they’ll find you as the kids love their Thursday visits).

Here you’ll teach the kids about the local fish (and their body parts!) and take them for swimming lessons in the sea.

Awesome Things You'll Do

Learning how to scuba dive, marine science and survey's are all part of the program.
PADI Diving Training
PADI Open Water Diving Training

To participate in the marine surveys it’s essential to be scuba advanced and have your EFR. You can arrive with some or all of these qualifications but equally it all available to the total beginner and during the first 3 weeks we will make sure everyone gets up to speed.

Our local team in Andros is an accredited PADI Educational Dive centre and all their instructors are fully PADI certified. All the necessary PADI textbooks & PADI registration fees are included, so everyone will leave with their newly acquired PADI qualifications and membership cards.

PADI Open Water – cost £300 The PADI Open Water Diver course consists of three main phases: Knowledge Development to understand basic principles of scuba diving Confined Water Dives to learn basic scuba skills – completed close to shore. Open Water Dives to review skills and explore.

PADI Advanced Open Water – cost £250 The Advanced Open Water Diver course helps divers to increase their confidence and build your scuba skills so you can become more comfortable in the water. This course builds on what has been learnt and develops new capabilities by introducing divers to new activities which on our programs includes: Underwater navigation Deeper water diving (typically anywhere from 18-30 metres/ 60-100 feet) Buoyancy control fine-tuning. Search and recovery practice (advanced navigation and search patterns used for mapping)

Emergency First Response (EFR) - £100 The EFR course is a basic First aid and emergency management course, which teaches internationally recognised first aid and lifesaving skills.

Our aim is for you to dive 5 days per week with 4 being survey related and one for fun.

The total cost on the itinerary pages includes all three courses described above. However if you've completed any of these courses beforehand, you do not need to repeat, so subtract accordingly.

Marine Science Training
Marine Science Training

Running parallel to the dive training is the Marine Science Training run by the scientists who organise the program.

The science training takes place in the afternoons and evenings after dive training. The training is extensive and hard work but this is because we need to make sure the data collected is robust - as we are the only people out there collecting this data for our partners so we need to be sure of consistency and accuracy.

Typical topics covered include an overview of marine biodiversity, conservation, ecology, biology and data collection techniques.

PADI Specialist Courses
PADI Specialist Courses

You'll have the chance to complete 3 specialist padi courses such as:

Padi Underwater Navigator Course Where you’ll learn about navigation patterns, natural navigation (without a compass), compass navigation, how to “mark” or relocate a submerged object or position from the surface, underwater map making, how to follow irregular courses with the Nav-Finder and dive site relocation.

Padi Fish Identification Course During your dives you’ll gain hands on experience in identifying the characteristics of local species, learn about fish survey techniques, strategies and how to practice fish identification, dive planning, organization and procedures.

(Only available for those on the 12 Weeks in The Bahamas: PADI + Advanced Marine Scientist Training Course.)

Advanced Marine Science + Dive Management
Advanced Marine Science + Dive Management

A final phase providing the chance to supplement all of your science and scuba learning. It will include:

Boat handling training. Expand your knowledge about boats and boat safety.

Advanced academic lectures More detail on survey techniques, different ways to analyse data etc.

Marine survey training. Training on how to organise and supervise a marine survey team.

(Only available for those on the 12 Weeks in The Bahamas: PADI + Advanced Marine Scientist Training Course.)

Backpacker Favourites
Heaps of Other Popular Backpacker Activities

You’ll be busy with the marine conservation Monday to Saturday, with Thursday’s off to teach in the local school but the evenings and Sundays are all yours to chill and explore.

Andros Island has loads to offer including every sort of water sport known to man, blue holes and jetties to sunbath next to, and stunning crater lakes to hike around. Not forgetting the endless possibilities of island hopping.

Saturday night is party night when the island goes nuts and slips into fancy dress – probably best to be prepared and pack a super hero outfit or two!

Gap Year Programs in The Bahamas

If this looks like your dream destination, the next step is to pick one of our programs
Can't Wait to Get Started? Fantastic.

There are several different teams departing to the Bahamas throughout the year. Four departures are for ten weeks, four departures are six weeks long, two for twelve weeks, taking in some or all of the sights and experiences you'll find described on this page with plenty of downtime for you to explore the country as you please.

Particularly popular is the July departure date, which because of its timing, is an ideal fit for the gap between A-Level exams and results day, or for those on university summer holidays.

Want to join any of our programs and leave early? No problem, get in touch and we'll help you sort something out.

Bahamas Boy on the Beach