About 130 miles southeast of crowded tourist ridden Nassau and Paradise Island near the Tropic of Cancer lies the pristine Cat Island. Here one can enjoy the unspoiled beaches, the shelling, snorkeling and explore uninhabited cays and hidden coves. Divers love the coral reefs and blue holes, walls, caves and shipwrecks.
The reef harbor in Port Howe is a beautiful destination, if you come from the south in calm weather. The range markers for the break in the reef are hard to see, but in good light the channel is obvious, and you can see well enough to run east to the anchorage. These days there are a couple of resident boats on moorings. Walk ashore, visit the ruins of Deveaux Mansion and enjoy some island flavor and lunch at the small bar and restaurant there.
There is excellent snorkeling in Winding Bay just around the unhabituated bay east of Port Howe. The sportfishing along the edge of the ocean and off Columbus Point is some of the best in the Bahamas.
Follow the coast south west of Port Howe until you reach Hawk’s Nest. The Hawk’s Nest Marina is a 28-slip marina that has all the personalized service and amenities visiting boats require. Two air-conditioned fish-cleaning houses, 40,000-gallon diesel storage, 50 and 100 amp electric pedestals round out the services at Hawk’s Nest. Marina guests can utilize and enjoy all the additional amenities Hawk’s Nest Resort has to offer. The club serves some of the freshest fish around.
If you need a little land time, there are world class accommodations available at Hawk’s Nest. Each beach front room has a breathtaking view of emerald Caribbean waters and a full baths and luxurious robes. They also have two 3 bedroom homes for weekly rental, The Blue Marlin and The Sailfish houses.
Cat Island’s Bight is a favorite place to anchor in the Bahamas. The holding is excellent almost everywhere. The white sand beach runs almost uninterrupted, so landing is easy, and walking is wonderful. New Bight is the hub of the island with a BTC office, Administration office, police station, and regatta site. Lunch at the Blue Bird Cafe is a treat as the Dorsett sisters serve delicious food with down-home charm and hospitality. You should then purchase a couple of bottles of water and head up to the Hermitage, Mount Alvernia is the highest elevation in the country at 206 feet above sea level. The hill served as the hermitage of Father Jerome Hawes, who settled on The Bahamas Island in 1939, where he built a miniature monastery and hand-carved steps out of solid rock. On your way back down stop and get a fresh loaf of bread at Olive Kings to take onboard.
Named after the pirate Arthur Catt, much of this island has not been developed, which provides a unique vacation for those who want to get away in a private, relaxing, laid-back environment. There are fascinating ruins, hardwood coppices, beautiful walks, and good places to eat along the way. Untainted by tourism, there is much to be discovered on Cat Island in The Bahamas Out Islands.
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