Cat Island is unspoiled by tourism and is one of the most productive islands
in terms of agriculture.
It boasts a number of fantastic beaches but we were short on time here so
were not able to do it justice.
We sailed over from Conception on a beautiful day with reasonable wind and a
distance of 32 miles, arriving in the late afternoon in Hawk's Nest Creek on
Cat Island. Here we tied up to a mooring buoy in the mangrove creek close to
Hawk's Nest Marina.
At the marina were laundry and shower facilities and also a
pool of bikes available to all. We chose two and rode towards Hawk's Nest
Resort, a very well run small resort on the opposite, (west) beach. In order
to reach the resort you have to cross the airstrip, watching carefully for
the occasional aircraft movement.
Hawk's Nest Resort have various dinghy mooring buoys positioned over the
reef for divers. Having found out their location, we planned a dive the
following morning on Twilight Reef. The bar in the resort is interesting.
You help yourself and sign up on a tab. Very trusting. We used their wi-fi
connection in the bar that evening for our previous web site update.
The next day we made our dive on Twilight Reef. Again, very deep coral, so a
relatively short dive for us. We are used to dives close to two hours in
Jeddah. Here we are down to 40 minutes and some decompression stops on the
On our return to Dream On we found that she was slightly too long for the
creek and could not swing around on the tide. The rudder was stuck against
the sand bank at the side of the creek. We started the engine, motored
forward slightly and she swung around.
Shortly after that we heard Wanda on the radio and she later arrived and
went into the marina. We then moved Dream On out of the creek where there
were too many bugs, took her around the southwest corner of Cat Island and
anchored off the resort beach. We dinghied ashore that evening to meet up
with John & Mikki.
We were now on a tight schedule. We had arranged to be in Marsh Harbour, in
the Abacos by 13th May to meet up with Geoff's son, Simon. Before that, we
needed to go to Nassau, to the US Embassy to try to extend our US tourist
visas that we had obtained in Jeddah. We figured we would need three working
days, judging by Saudi standards. We also wanted to see more of Cat Island,
particularly the Hermitage. So we said our farewells to John and Mikki, with
the possibility we might catch up with them at Royal Island, north Eleuthera
after our visit to Nassau. They would probably then head back to the US via
Grand Bahama Island to the west, while we would route north to the Abacos.
So, on 2nd May, we sailed from Hawk's Nest Resort beach further up the coast
of Cat Island to New Bight. We anchored then dinghied in to the beach. From
there we walked up Mount Alvernia, the highest point in the Bahamas (around
300 feet) to visit the Hermitage, built by Father Jerome as his retirement
retreat. (See our Long Island highlights for a history of Father Jerome).
The same afternoon, we weighed anchor and set off for an overnight sail
across the deep Exuma Sound, to Highborne Cut in the Exumas. We planned to
be there for breakfast and if we still felt okay we would then continue
towards Nassau across the Bahamas Banks.
Just before sunset, we caught our second dorado, (mahi-mahi or dolphin
fish). This was 47" long, far larger than the first. After the challenge of
keeping it hooked and landing it we then had the race to prepare it before
dark. We have had some amazing steaks off this one.
As dawn rose, and 75 miles later, there was Highborne Cut 3 miles ahead.
Good old Fred the autopilot has done it again. Spot on.
We entered the fairly narrow and tidal cut with the rising sun behind us so
we could clearly see the various rocks, coral and shallows, weaved around
the channel past the mega-yachts in Highborne Cay Marina and out onto the
banks where we anchored for breakfast then continued towards Nassau, a
further 40 miles northwest.