Less populated than Long Island, Cat Island has approximately 1500 people and is less than 60 miles long and only 3-5 miles wide, with settlements smaller and further apart. We were all quite content after our very inexpensive lunch- only $8 each- and were excited to see more of this beautiful island.
Our first stop was Fernandez Bay, a private, tropically decorated, quaint inn on a beautiful large cove. All the walkways and buildings were built with the island rock, each guest room had its own private patio looking out to the beach, yet hidden with a smartly designed stick fence painted white that you could not see thru. There were hammocks on the beach hanging in the shade, tiki huts with chairs, kayaks and plenty of water toys to keep kids busy and safe in the shallow cove. The dining area was a large tiki hut with a real thatched roof. It had an honor system bar that was also a tiki hut.
A local Bahamian woman sat plating baskets, explaining to guests how she made them, displaying her work for sale. There were game tables for playing cards and a library with comfy chairs. Offered was free high-speed internet and Passe Port III brought their laptop in hopes of finding a place to connect. They had a program called “skype” that you could make a phone call anywhere in the world for 2.5 cents a minute. All it needed was high-speed. After they checked their mail and called family, I called our daughter in law, Connie. Hers was the only number that I could remember off the top of my head! The connection was as if I was standing next to her….amazing!!!
Driving north, we saw the “Kaboom car wash” which had a large OPEN sign. It had very dilapidated buildings and nowhere could we see any sign of car wash machinery. However, there was a large satellite on the roof. Important, I guess!
Arthur Town is the capital and known for their police station, an 8’x8’ building built on the main road. There was a newer Anglican Church and a few other buildings, but not much else! It is also the birthplace of Sidney Poitier.
The north end of the island stops with a dirt road leading to Orange Creek Inn but we did not venture there because we wanted to see the south end of the island and it was almost 5 pm.
Pigeon Cay Inn was another private, quaint inn on a beautiful cove. Also built with island rocks, it had much of the same design as Fernandez Bay but appeared to be older. The wide, white sandy beach stretched for a few miles and because of the cove, clear, calm green water lapped gently at our feet. A young couple with two small boys owned it for 13 years.
The drive south appeared on the map as though it would take over an hour. The road meandered inland and then out, to the leeward side of the island toward a very deserted area that led to the marina- Hawks Nest. It had an inn, restaurant, and private airstrip. A 100 ft. yacht had been there for over a month. At $2.50 a foot a day, that is quite a bill! It was almost sun set and we were ready for a pleasant, relaxing dinner.
A young woman with a southern accent, asking if we had reservations, greeted us. Looking around, we could see we were the only ones there, so it seemed to be a silly question. Reservations made by 2 pm; however, they could accommodate; she let us know.
She thought for a moment, probably realizing that there were no other choices for us at that time of the evening on Cat Island. Holding up a finger, as if to say, “Hang on one sec.” She went into the kitchen and returned saying,” I can do hamburgers and fries.”
We walked around the built in pool, out to the tiki huts by the water to catch the sunset. The breeze off the water was chilling so we decided to sit inside to eat. I had visions of a moonlit dinner by the water but the dining room, brightly painted with interesting artwork, surrounded the entire room; we took it all in while waiting for our dinner. The bar area had a 62” wide screen TV that took away the wonderful tropical atmosphere.
Everyone agreed the hamburgers were juicy and done to perfection, hitting the spot. We, once again, were full and content. The guys went to pay the bill and came back with wide eyes. I know that look in John’s eyes….panic of “OH MY GOSH”…. The wonderful hamburgers were $20 each and drinks were $6 and $10……for 6 the total meal was $170…… plus tip……YIKES!!!
On the long, dark drive back to the boats I heard- “Those were some dry burgers” “We had to wait way too long” “My GOSH, lunch was only a total of $48 plus 12 beers, for only $36, with leftovers on our plates”.
Oh, it was an interesting ride!
Getting into the dingy, someone mentioned we left so early that morning we forgot to put on anchor lights nor did we have any flashlights. It was pitch-black out; the cloud covered the half moon. Waves splashed into the dingy. No foul weather jackets or coats and we were getting soaked. I thought it was cool at the restaurant. NOW, I was cold AND wet! It was very scary to know we could be out for a long time looking for boats. You literally could not see much farther than your hand in front of your face. Distortions on the water in darkness cause everything to appear different. .It was a relief to get into our berth that night. We slept like babies!
Tuesday – after getting the car back and a few more provisions, we headed out in the dingy with Passe Port III to the furthest point of the beach we could see. It was about 2 miles up on the beach but across the choppy waters, it seemed a lot further. Winds were 20-25 kts. The sun was starting to peak thru morning clouds. It was a pretty beach with lots of “turkey wing shells”- brown and white with bent ridges. Not too pretty but we do not see them on Long Island so I picked up the big ones. We walked around 2 points and were able to get out of the wind. I found a 6” yellow or gold conch, soft looking, and a clean one. John snorkeled and said it was great so we moved the dingy and snorkeled for a while. There were small coral heads in only 4-5 ft. of water, and with the bright sun, it was very clear. We saw many blue heads, big black and white angelfish, huge yellow tail damsel, and lots of squirrelfish and snapper. In addition, 3 large jolt fish, just wondering around. We were still looking for conch but found none, so Eileen and Joann floated behind the dungy with a rope and kept looking. All they saw were 100’s and 100’s of sand dollars so John jumped back in the water and dove for some. He has gotten a lot of practice on his diving and doing very well. He also brought up a huge red starfish for us to see but we did not keep him!
It was after 3 when we headed to the boats. We were into the winds all the way back and it was choppier than that morning! The spray was coming in the dingy so bad I had to pump since I was the one in the back! Water was dripping down our hair and faces. Our beach towels were soaked and all we could do was laugh! We were so cold when we got back; Ed made Bahamian soup- with beans, ham, veggies and pumpkin…mmmm….
Joann and Danielle came over for sunset and dinner. They brought a bottle of champagne to celebrate new friends and a wonderful time together. It was a sad farewell with many promises to keep in touch. Tomorrow they would be heading northwest to Little San Salvador Island. Eileen says it is an island the cruise ships go to- all touristy!!! YUCK….we were heading out to Conception Island- a protected island with NOONE on it!!!!