History of Cat Island
The first settlers of Cat Island Bahamas were believed to be a peace-loving people called the Arawaks. They used to live in the caves which served as their shelter. Some historians believe that Christopher Columbus may actually have landed first on Cat Island which is why it is now called Columbus Point in the south.
In the 1600s, the island’s coves and bays were used as a hiding place by privateers and pirates who prowled on unsuspecting vessels that sailed past on their way to the Old World. In 1783, the Loyalists established a permanent settlement and took advantage of the rich and fertile soil. From then on, people started cultivating various crops such as tomatoes, sisal, pineapples, and cotton. These crops were delivered to Nassau to be sold.
During the 1800s, slavery was abolished so many of the settlers left the island and gave their lands to their slaves. Cotton plantations had also become unprofitable at that time because of an infestation of weevils. The descendants of the early settlers still remain in the same town where their ancestors had lived. Over the years, Cat Island Bahamas has retained its old way of life. It is one of the few islands in the Bahamas that retains the good old days.
Early on, Cat Island was also called San Salvador, but when a nearby island got the San Salvador name in 1926, Cat Island’s name was restored. Some stories reveal that locals favored a pirate named Arthur Catt, who is a contemporary of Edward Blackbeard Teach, also a notorious pirate. According to local stories, these pirates frequently visited the island to hide their plundered treasures.
Famous/Notable People of Cat Island Bahamas
Sidney Poitier, the first black person to ever win an Academy Award for Best Actor, is a native of Cat Island Bahamas. Though born in Miami, his parents were Cat Islanders and were only in the US to sell produce when he was born prematurely. He grew up on the island and only went back to Miami when he was 15.
There are also several notable personalities that fell in love with Cat Island Bahamas. Aside from Christopher Columbus, Monsignor John Hawkes, also known as Father Jerome, built the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church on the island. He also built an entire medieval monastery by hand atop Mt. Alvernia, the highest point in the Bahamas. He chose to stay on the island in 1939 when he was 62 years of age and spent the last 17 years of his life there.
Col. Andrew Devaux, a US Navy man who helped in recapturing Nassau in 1783 from the Spaniards, also built a Deveaux Mansion on the island when he was rewarded for his victory. The ruins of the two-storey whitewashed building can be seen at Port Howe.
Places to Stay on Cat Island
If you are looking for Cat Island Bahamas resorts, there are many hotels or resorts that you can choose from. Fernandez Bay Village offers personalized service and an informal atmosphere. The resort has 10 cottages and 8 villas. The Greenwood Beach Resort provides guests with a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere along with a fantastic but secluded beach. The resort has 16 rooms, a swimming pool, free high speed internet, a restaurant, and a bar.
The Hawk’s Nest Resort & Marina offers a tropical beachfront paradise located on the southern tip of Cat Island. The resort has a 4-star rating with 11 rooms and a swimming pool. If you are looking for true island living during your Bahamas vacation and a home-away-from-home atmosphere, you should stay at the Island Hopp Inn where you can enjoy private and air-conditioned oceanside suites with garden showers and tropical décor.
There are many other Cat Island Bahamas Resorts to meet each kind of traveler’s needs including Apple Tree Inn, Boggie Pond Lodge, Gilbert’s Inn, and Hallover’s Inn, Ke View Motel, and Orange Creek Inn.
Things to See & Do on Cat Island
Cat Island offers an unforgettable Bahamas vacation for those who want to have a laid-back, relaxing, and private getaway. You may stay in a rustic and remote village where you can relax in tiki bars. Fishing, diving and boating are some of the fun activities that you can enjoy on the island. You can also go for snorkeling, swimming or sunbathing. There are also fishing marinas that cater to enthusiastic anglers who want to enjoy a spot of game fishing. One of the most famous attractions on the island is the Hermitage, a small stone retreat built completely by hand by Father Jerome. It sits atop the highest point of the Bahamas and affords you with one of the most spectacular views on the island. Cat Island Bahamas features an eight-mile Pink Sand Beach, beautiful empty beaches, rolling hills that are 50 miles long, and long stretches of nature trails.
Cat Island’s Folklore
Choosing to spend your Bahamas vacation on Cat Island Bahamas will not only let you experience the beauty of the island, but you will also get to learn a lot about their local legends and myths. Cat Island is one of the remaining islands that still practices Obeah, the Bahamian version of voodoo. Many believe it to be the major center for practicing believers. Though many locals still practice it to this day, it is not spoken of openly. Locals also believe that the spirit of the dead remains with them thus many will not live in the houses whose last generation has already died, preferring to let the house remain empty and simply build a new one near it.
Cat Island Bahamas Blue Holes are also filled with island folklore. Locals believe that blue holes are the homes of mermaids and sea monsters. One particular blue hole called the Big Blue Hole is believed to house a monster that eats horses. Mermaid Hole is believed to be the home of a mermaid. Other blue holes are said to be the home of creatures that looked like manatees.