Bahamas – Cat Island

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Cat Island

DATES OF STAY: 01/05/2013-01/13/2013.
OF INTEREST: Cat Island is home to numerous plantation ruins and remnants of when the Loyalists settled this island after the American Revolution.  Also don’t miss Father Jerome’s Hermitage, a scaled-down medieval monastery built on the highest point in the Bahamas.

Cat Island has some of the same fate as Eleuthera, which you can read about HERE.  Cat Island had a large farming community, providing a lot of produce to North America.  Some time in the early 20th century, America stopped importing goods from this island.  In Bennett’s Harbour, the population decreased 90% and now supports only 70 inhabitants.  Yet it is also one of those places where a cruiser needs to stop, eat some of the delicious local food, and talk to the locals – they’re a fantastic source of information and local history.  All throughout the island, moving up and down the main highway, you come across empty buildings – some as old as the original Loyalists who inhabited the island, and some as new as the golden age of the drug trade when a lot of dealers built estates on the island.

Cat Island, like Eleuthera, doesn’t have a lot of “cruiser’s centers”.  There is one marina at the south end of the island and a scattering of anchorages in front of small villages along the western coast.  Fernandez Bay is a great anchorage with rental cottages and a clubhouse with self-serve bar and a great buffet.  The kayaking and exploring opportunities in the mangroves and creeks are outstanding.  This is a stepping-off point to Long Island or Conception Island, for the cruisers who have more time available.

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