Notes on Cat Island

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.

Sunset at New Bight.

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.

Allan’s cracked lobster at Hidden Treasures.

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.

A paved road leads up to the Hermitage, visible at the top of the 206-foot tall hill.
Going up the side road to the Hermitage.
Stations of the Cross line the path leading to the Hermitage.
The Hermitage awaits at the top of the 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.

The Hermitage sits on the highest spot in The Bahamas.
The tiny chapel has seating for one.

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.

Vinyasa at anchor in Bennett’s Harbour.

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!

10 thoughts on “Notes on Cat Island”

  1. Good Morning ! I love your stories. I have been following you as you meander. I think you found the soul of Cat Island: The Hermitage on Palm Sunday…well done! It’s a beautiful island with good people. Love the photos…Allan’s cracked lobster looks wonderful, but he’s too big for the church pew.😂 Isn’t it interesting how everything there seems to scaled in miniature? Happy Easter to you both🐰

    1. Happy Easter to you, too, Susan! We’re so glad to have had that beautiful experience at the Hermitage.

  2. Looks and sounds wonderful. Thinking of you in the warm as we make our way North to Alaska. Trying to stay in Spring weather, but mother nature has her own ideas. Much cold, snow and wind accompany us on this journey.

    1. Safe travels, Dennita! Hope you’re soon seeing spring blooms and warmer weather!

  3. Glad you stopped on Cat Island. The church and Stations of the Cross seemed divinely inspired. Btw, Sidney Poitier is from Cat Island, although he was born in Miami. So happy you and Allan are able to sail like this. Enjoy!

    Do you know where the name comes from?

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post, Maria!

      According to “It is believed that Cat Island was named after pirate Arthur Catt, who used to frequent the island.” Wikipedia says it might be named after the pirate, or after a large population of feral cats, so you can decide which you prefer, lol.

  4. We loved our walk up to the Hermitage, the highest land mass in The Bahamas. As we walked the road, there was a community vegetable garden off to the side, many peppers and tomatoes growing in the very inhospitable soil

    1. We noticed two plots planted with pigeon peas and corn along the road—-we didn’t see any tomatoes, though!

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