Cat Island is located in the central Bahamas and boasts the countries’ highest elevation – Mount Alvernia, which rises 206 feet above sea level. Rich in legend, history and culture, there is much to do on this island! See a rake ‘n scrape band! Climb Mount Alvernia! Search for the legendary sea monster at Armbrister Plantation! Feel the historical significance among the ruins of the 18th century Deveaux Plantation, and the Griffin Bat Cave which sheltered many a run-away slave in the old days. This small island has a population of less than 2,000 it has in recent years become a popular destination for tourists who want to explore our “Family Islands”. It is the birthplace of actor Sidney Poitier and famous Bahamian musician Tony McKay, better known as Obeah Man.
Christopher ColumbusIt’s believed that the island got its name from pirate Arthur Catt. At one time it was thought that Cat Island was the “Guanahani” discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. It also housed at least 2 huge cotton plantations. Following the American Revolution, Loyalists established wealthy cotton plantations sometime around 1783, however today cascarilla bark farming is the primary industry for Cat Islanders. The bark is harvested and shipped to Italy where it is used in the production of Campari, medicines and scents.
The HermitageA trek up the steep rocky incline of Mount Alvernia will lead you to the peak and a small stone monastery hand-built by the architect hermit, Father Jerome. It’s also the best place on the island for an awe-inspiring view!
Sea MonsterCat Island even has it’s own sea monster! Among the ruins of the Armbrister Plantation is Boiling Hole, believed to be the home of the islands own sea monster, a creature that is believed to live just below the bubbling surface. For the less fanciful of you, it’s a great spot to spot rays and baby sharks and the numerous birds that nest among the mangroves. Bain Town is home to Mermaid Hole – where many believe a mermaid lives amongst the 4 bed holes within that lead to underground caverns and passageways. She is said to live in large Blue Hole located near Orange Creek, off of Dickies Road. This deep blue hole has strong undersea currents that flow through its caverns linking to the sea, where many objects tossed into the lake ended up. This folklore still scares local fisherman from venturing too far in this freshwater lake. In the settlement of Old Bight is St. Francis of Assisi Church, another beautifully crafted legacy built by Father Jerome, with amazing frescos, engravings and sculptures.
In Port Howe you’ll find Deveaux House, the ruins of an 18th-century plantation mansion. It was awarded to Colonel Andrew Deveaux for his successful protection from the Spanish at Nassau in 1783.