Off the southeast coast of Eleuthera is the 70 mile long Cat Island. Approximately 325 miles from Miami it is a quiet, sleepy family island. Cat Island is full of hills and boasts the highest elevation of the Bahamas. The highest point is 200 feet above sea level and it is brimmed with cliffs as well as tropical forests. This island has much deeper soil than most of the other islands of The Bahamas, which is actually tops of sand dunes from ancient plains. Plants and animals are typical of the West Indies and mainly migrated from the same. The total population according to the 2000 census is 1,678 residents.
It is believed that Cat Island was discovered by Columbus and was initially named San Salvador. Thereafter the name was changed by Parliament to Cat Island, after Arthur Catt a buccaneer who buried treasure there.
This island is unspoiled by modernization on a whole and is covered with churches offering interesting architecture. Monsignor John Hawes designed four himself, two of which are said to be his finest works, one being at the highest point on the Island. Sightseers must not miss Mount Alvernia on top of Corner Hill and should also make a point of seeing Devaux House plantation and outbuildings.
Sidney Poitier, a Bahamian, is from Cat Island. He was born in Miami as his parents had visited there at the time of his birth. He had very little formal education and moved to Miami at the age of 15 to live with his brother. His poor treatment as a black man in the racial United States was a shock after coming from a majority black country and led him to strive to find and make opportunites for other blacks.
There are breathtaking beaches, caves, ruins, ancient camp sites, coral reefs and much more which remains unspoiled by modernization. This is a haven to explore. The seas around Cat Island abound with fish, crawfish (Bahamian Lobster), sea turtles, reefs and offer so much for the visitor to experience. Definitely the right island of choice for the traveler who wants a peaceful, quiet get-a-way.
The island is assessable from Nassau and Florida and offers a number of accommodations, one of which is clothing optional.
Map of Cat Island.