The highlight of this week was seeing the third item I put on my “must see” list before I left on this trip…The Hermitage on Cat Island. Father Jerome (1876-1956) was an architect before he became an Anglican priest serving in The Bahamas building churches (the two from Long Island are his work). He later switched to be a Catholic priest and work in Australia for a long time, before returning to The Bahamas and retiring. He selected Como Hill on Cat Island (highest point in The Bahamas) for his miniature hermitage. He built the stone structure by hand and it has a small chapel, bell tower, study, kitchen, and bedroom. Every room is only made for one person. He even had his own cistern and a small cave, which later served as his burial chamber. On the way up the hill he set up stone carvings of the 14 Stations of the Cross. I have provided a picture of the front and back of The Hermitage, plus a picture of station #2 (so you can see the handy work). It was the perfect place to visit during Easter week!
The remainder of the week I explored the rest of Cat Island, starting with Hawk Nest Resort and Marina. This place is on the southern tip of the island and is great. They have an all weather anchorage in the creek or you can anchor off the beach in lighter winds (no bugs). Even though I did not stay in the marina they had no problem with me hanging out at the pool where I ran into Wade (Just Drifting) and his new girlfriend. I keep running into him in the lower half of the Exumas. I also met Chandler and Cinnamon who are cruising around The Bahamas for a couple of weeks, but they are doing it in four seat plane. It was interesting talking about the similarities and differences of planes and boats.
After a day there I headed along the coast and saw a small old Catholic church in Old Bight and spent two nights in New Bight where the Hermitage is located. I then spent a day in Arthur’s Town, where Sidney Poitier’s parents are from and he visited growing up. I found a great little place called Cocktails By The Sea and relaxed/napped in a swinging chair. There was a straw works shop and I bought a basket for the boat and the best concealed carry purse for my youngest niece (they were both $5 each, which is more than half the price in the Exumas and elsewhere). My last stop on Cat Island was the island of Little San Salvador 10 miles west of the north part of the island. The island is not much, but has a perfect anchorage on the west shore called Half Moon Bay. Holland America cruise line bought the whole island to use as a beach paradise stop. They have cabanas, hammocks, chairs, swim areas, a water playground, and a big pirate ship bar on the beach. They also have built some souvenir shops and a cafeteria. They did not hassle me about walking around and hanging out with every one. I bet I could have even had lunch, but I did not try. It was a great stop.
My last anchorage for the week was Rock Sound, which was a 40 mile sail away on the island of Eleuthera. When I got here on Friday afternoon I noticed White Pepper (I talked to them in San Salvador) was here so I anchored next to them. When I stopped to say hi they introduced me to Randy, Paula, and Tova, who live on Grand Bahamas Island and are visiting their childhood home for Homecoming weekend (not the same meaning as in the states). These guys were great and took us to the festival and then I got a personal tour of the town, Ocean Hole (it is right in the middle of town and is the local swimming hole), and caves (where Randy played as a kid). He and I swung around on the tree roots growing down from the ceiling. It was great getting a local’s perspective on the town and I look forward to seeing them when I get to Grand Bahamas Island in a month or so.