Cat Island is located on the outer reaches of the Eastern Bahamas (also known as the Far Bahamas); a well-worth sail from the Exumas. We anchored in Old Bight, off of a 3-mile long, perfect sand beach, that we shared with two other buddy-boats: sv Wrightway and sv The Lucky One. This area has one small bar to the north and a large creek that is the home of lots of turtles to the south.
We traveled to North Bight in order to check out the local shops and the Hermitage. Father Jerome (John Cecil Hawes), an architect and Catholic Priest, known throughout the Bahamas for his work, built the Hermitage (along with many other churches on various Bahamian islands). The Hermitage, located on Mt. Alvernia, the highest hill in the Bahamas, is amazing. When you first see it from the water, you would think that you are about to embark on an epic journey to get to the top of the mountain where it is located. In reality, nothing is very tall in the Bahamas. Having hiked parts of the Appalachian Trail; the tallest point in the Bahamas would be comparative to hiking to the base of any of New England’s mountains. The trail begins as you walk through the archway at the Hermitage’s entrance at the base of the hill. As you ascend the hill you will see the Stations of the Cross and the replica of Jesus’ tomb. Once at the top of the hill, you arrive at the beautiful, yet humble Hermitage. The tallest part of the building, the bell tower, is only about 15 feet tall. This is where Father Jerome prayed and lived in his retirement years. On the back side of the hermitage, you can see the cave that Father Jerome lived in for several years while he was building the Hermitage.