Cat Island

We spent the full day Monday on Cat Island. First, we hiked up the hill to the Hermitage, a wonderful, 3/4 scale monastery built by Father Jerome in the first half of the 1900s.  It sits atop Mt. Alvernia, the highest point of land in the Bahamas (at 206′).   It was a pleasant walk. So pleasant and different from the hikes we drug our children on across the Caribbean that later in the afternoon Anna didn’t even recall that we hiked up anything at all, not even a hill.  The site and the buildings together really could provide for everything someone might need.

Hermitage, Cat Island

Hermitage, Cat Island

We have been reading The Natural Navigator, so seeing a sundial in action was pretty cool.

Sundial, Hermitage, Cat Island

Sundial, Hermitage, Cat Island

The buildings aren’t really ruins.  They are preserved in quite good shape.  Elsewhere in and around New Bight, the ruins probably outnumber the occupied buildings. Often they sit quietly and humbly like this pair in a field next to occupied homes.

Ruins, Cat Island

Ruins, Cat Island

While most of the ruins are one or two room buildings, directly in New Bight sits the ruins of the great house of Henry Hawkins Armbrister’s Plantation.  It was built circa 1760 even before the loyalists arrived from the newly-formed United States.   The great house was reportedly burned down in a slave rebellion in the first part of the 19th century.

Henry Hawkins Armbrister Plantation Great House

Henry Hawkins Armbrister Plantation Great House

The occupied houses are often quite beautiful.

Typical House in New Bight, Cat Island

Typical House in New Bight, Cat Island

After the exhausting hike, we had a Bahamian lunch and a couple of Kaliks at the Bluebird on the waterfront.

Bluebird Restaurant, Cat Island

Bluebird Restaurant, Cat Island

Tomorrow, we are headed west to Black Point Settlement in the Exumas.

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