Cat Island’s The Hermitage and other historic sites

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By Jennifer

We rented a car to tool around Cat Island with our main objective to see the historic Hermitage and Arthur’s Town, Sidney Poitier’s childhood home.

In this slideshow, you’ll see at the top of the 206 ft Como Hill is Mt. Alvernia Hermitage on Mount Alvernia, the highest point in The Bahamas. This small stone monastery built by hand by the architect hermit, Father Jerome, is at the peak and was worth the trek up the steep rocking incline, as well as the awe inspiring view.

You’ll also see the ruins of Armbrister Plantation.

A little background on Cat Island: The first European settlers were Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, who arrived in 1783. The island may have been named after Arthur Catt, a pirate, or the name may refer to its one-time large population of feralcats.[citation needed]

Historically, the island gained wealth from cotton plantations, but slash and burn farming is now the main way of life for Cat Islanders. An economic crop is cascarilla bark, which is gathered and shipped to Italy where it becomes a main ingredient in medicines, scents and Campari.

Arrival at Hawks Nest Marina, Cat Island, Bahamas

By Jennifer

After our stay at Calabash Bay we set sail for Cat Island — about 35 miles north on the Exuma Sound. We anchored outside of Hawks Nest Marina in a narrow creek to protect us from several days of strong, cold, northerly winds. Hawks Nest Creek was quiet and calm. The no-see-ums didn’t seem to mind sharing their habitat with us. We zipped in the screens for the duration of our stay.

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Up the creek, Cat Island

By Kevin

For the second time in the past week, we took the dinghy for a ride up a creek. This time it was the Hawks Nest Creek that Real Life was anchored in during our stay at Cat Island.

The creek changes direction twice a day because of the tides so we had to deploy two anchors so that one anchor was always upstream holding us in place no matter which direction the current was flowing. Unfortunately, the bottom at Hawks Nest Creek is rocks on top of a thin layer of sand on top of more rock. We got lucky in that our primary anchor got firmly wedged behind a good sized boulder and held us for the four nights we were there.

Mahi Mahi Off Long Island

By Kevin

Zach and I caught a 5-6 pound mahi mahi on our sail from Long Island to Cat Island. We caught it about an hour after leaving, about 9 a.m. with a 6″ cedar plug. It provided two separate dinners for four while we were anchored at Cat Island.

We caught a crab!

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By Jennifer

It was really quite simple — a little bit of raw chicken skin on the hook and dangle it over the side. Look what came biting!  We’re not sure what type of sea crab it was, but it only had one eye. We took pity and sent him on his way.

Hangin’ at the Resort

By Kevin

Cape Santa Maria is at the northern tip of Long island, just a mile or so from where we were anchored at Calabash Bay.

The Cape Santa Maria Resort is at Calabash Bay and we read in the cruising guides that they are cruiser friendly. And they were.

In the slideshow, you will notice a snapshot of a piece of art of the Christopher Columbus crossing. It is speculated in 1492 that he landed in the Bahamas. Columbus’ ship logs, according to the cruising guide, weren’t clear about his official landings in the Bahamas. However, the island of San Salvador stakes claim to his first official landfall and Cape Santa Maria is said to be one of his stops.

We spent several days lounging on their beautiful beaches and had an afternoon of WIFI and food at their beachside restaurant.

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