Cat Island ,the sixth largest island in Bahamas located at about 300 miles away from Miami, and 120 miles S-E from Nassau covers an area of 48 miles long and 4 miles wide of secluded beaches. With a population of only 1.678 people , the island must not be confused with Cat-Cay, a small island in The Biminis, Bahamas.
Like the others islands in Bahamas , Cat Island has its own history. It is considered to be the first Loyalists settlement built in 1783. Locals lived from plantations, some of their ruins remained even in our times.The most known plantation is considered to have been located in Port Howe,a village built by Colonel Andrew Deveaux who recaptured Nassau from Spain in 1783.
Anyway the name Cat Island was given if we take one source after the famous pirate Arthur Catt who used this island as his perfect hide place and the other source after the hordes of wild cats the english encountered when they arrived on these lands in 1600.For centuries the island where Columbus first set in October 12'th 1492 had different names, one being San Salvador.
One of the most interesting places in the island is "The Hermitage," a monastery built on the top of Mt. Alvernia on a cliff named Comer Hill at about 206 feet distance of see level in 1940s by monsignor Jerome Hawkes an architect coming to Bahamas to repair Anglican Churches. The purpose of the top of the cliff church was to become a sanctuary for meditation. Being an architect he built someother churches: 5 on Long Island and took part in the design of St. Augustines College in New Providence .After his death , Jerome was burried on Mt. Alvernia and by visiting his tomb you can see from these high cliffs,a marvelous view consisting of forested hills and 60 miles of deserted white and pink sand beaches.
Locals are renowned for their ingenuity of using anything nature provides to build something they need. A good example are the musicians who combine a piece of wood with a fishing line and a worn tin tub to create the bass instrument . In the Cat Island lie many of the folklores, myths of the Bahamas islands, here when someone dies and the person is the last of his/her generation , the house he/she lived in is left intact for the spirit to live there.
The island is also very known in bahamas for the Obeah or Obi culture that is some kind of a middle form of white witchcraft or voodoo. Nowadays locals living derive especially from farming,the traditional slash-and-burn farming method.Cascarilla bark is gathered and shipped to Italy, where it is a main ingredient in medicines, scents, and the
italian aperitif called Campari.
Another income could be , but a lower point the deep see fishing industry.One of the most visited settlements is Port Howe, named after Admiral James Howe, the first English commander during the American Revolution where Greenwood Beach Resort can offer you some of the tranquillity atmosphere that some of you might look for. There are so many activities you can take part in that it is possible to not have enough time for all.
You can even explore Bahamas island and find yourself driven right into the past between those cotton plantations and wrecks, you can rest on the beach , go snorkell or scuba diving through the coral reefs or just stay in a hammock drinking a tropical cocktail or serving a local cuisine. Greenwood Beach Resort is owned by a german family and consists of twenty rooms lying on 8 miles on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean . All have their private bath, king sized beds and ceiling fans right opened to the fantastic pink sandy beaches.
Despite other islands in Bahamas, Cat Island has no casinos or golf courses, not even a bank. So as a form of payment shops owners will take cash ,cheques and credit cards. Local cuisine might be a real interest to visitors couse it is influenced by many cultures from South America, Britain, Africa and Spain. Delicious dishes made by seafood and tomato sauce, native fruits are combined with rum and served in cocktails or desserts, an last but not least the Bahamian Kalik-Beer, Rum-Mixdrinks, Bahama Mama and Goombay Smash.
So, wether you dive , snorkell or you are just passing by through Bahamas, you shouldn't miss a day or two in the pleasent and familiar style of Cat Island.