We didn’t give Cat Island any thought on our first cruise through The Bahamas, but we wanted to make sure to visit it this time. So after a brief weather detour from Conception Island to George Town, we pointed Vinyasa’s bow northeast across the Exuma Sound.
We anchored at Old Bight for a calm first night with southeast wind, and sailed under jib across the bay to New Bight the next day in anticipation of a wind shift to the northwest and north.
Getting ashore was a splashy affair, as we beached the dinghy with wavelets breaking over its stern. After we secured the dinghy, we set out on a 30-minute walk to Hidden Treasures, a restaurant for which we’d read many glowing reviews.
Trudging along the road under a beating sun we were hoping the reviews were accurate. When a kind Bahamanian offered us a ride in a double cab pickup truck we gratefully hopped in and then realized we’d almost made it on foot power.
The food—and the mango daiquiris—made up for our effort in spades. Allan’s cracked lobster (lightly breaded and fried) was excellent. And so was my jerked grouper. It was the tastiest meal so far in The Bahamas, and the most expensive.
The next day, which happened to be Palm Sunday, we set out to visit the Hermitage at Mount Alvernia, directly across from where we were anchored. It was a beautiful morning for the walk up the hill, first along a paved road, then along a side road followed by a path through Stations of the Cross, and finally up some very steep rock stairs.
The structures at the top, built in 1940 by Monsignor John Cyril Hawes, and the views of the harbor and the island made it all worthwhile. The Hermitage’s blue doors were all unlocked, and it didn’t take long to explore its nooks and crannies.
On our way down, we took a service road that looped around past the steep stairs and the path through the stations of the cross. It was a very peaceful walk, and a highlight of our time on Cat Island.
From New Bight we sailed to Bennett’s Harbour near Cat Island’s north tip. There was only one sailboat in the harbor on our first night, and we had the harbor to ourselves on our second night. Vacation villas and a few houses lined the shore, and each evening when Allan blew his conch horn at sundown there were spirited conch horn responses from shore.
We’d hoped to eat at Da Island Restaurant in Pompey Rock Villas, but that didn’t work out as the chef was not provisioned for dinner that day. Maybe next time, if we sail that way again.
For now, we meander north along Eleuthera aiming for the Abacos as our next “new” destination. More about that next time!