After the 4 day charter ended on March 25, we had a one day charter with 10 people in Georgetown. They were celebrating a 40th birthday, and were determined to party as much as they could. Anya made appetizers and then Fish Tacos for lunch. After we unloaded them at 5:30 pm, we headed over to anchor close to the Monument, to get a nice starting position for the 45 mile sail to Cat Island the next day.
That evening, Cath and Dave from the S/V Ketch 22 came over to the Destiny III for dinner. We had met them in Great Harbour in April of 2020 when we all got stuck in the marina there because Covid was starting. We were “neighbors” for 6 weeks in Great Harbour Cay, and we had not seen them since! It was a wonderful evening of catching up over dinner and a few drinks, and we both enjoyed sitting and eating and having fun in the “guest seats” rather than being the servers!
On March 27, we lifted anchor at 8 and headed for Cat Cay. Because of the angle of the wind, we had to motorsail, but it was a pleasant 7.5 hours.
After a day of rest and petting cats, we wanted to do some exploring of Cat Island, so we headed up to the “Hermitage” in New Bight. This is the highest point in the entire Bahamas, at an elevation of 206 feet!
Mount Alvernia, also known locally as Como Hill, is the highest point in The Islands of The Bahamas at 206 feet (63 meters).
It was named Mount Alvernia by Monsignor John Hawes, a Roman Catholic priest. It is said to be reminiscent of La Verna, the hill in Tuscany that was given to St. Francis of Assisi as a place where he could peacefully contemplate and is reportedly where Assisi received the Wounds of the Cross.
Monsignor John Hawes, known to Cat Islanders as Father Jerome, was a skilled architect and sculptor, a self-described contemplative and admirer of St. Francis of Assisi.
Using local stone, he built The Hermitage on the peak of Mt. Alvernia in 1939, a small medieval monastery where he could get away from the world. The way up the hill to the monastery is via a stone staircase on a steep rocky incline.
You can see Father Jerome’s beautiful and detailed hand-carved stone reliefs of the Stations of the Cross along the way, and the 360-degree view around the lush island from the top is awe-inspiring.
Father Jerome is also known for building cathedrals and convents throughout The Bahamas, including on Long Island and New Providence. He died in 1956 and is said to be buried somewhere on the site of The Hermitage.