I arrived in Cat Island 12 hours ago. It is now 10:50pm and I just got back in from participating in one of the local pastime activities.
Coming to Cat Island brings memories of my grandfather back. He was born and raised here. However, after the age of 18 he left for work opportunities and I guess to explore. All of his children were raised in the island in which I am from which is the island of Grand Bahama.
When I got in today, lots of other visitors came in as well. Apparently this is one of the busier seasons for this little gem. The other popular time to visit is the Cat Island Regatta. This is the weekend of the Rake n Scrape Festival. I am so happy that I am finally here in Cat Island. My grandfather did not talk to me much about his hometown but I saw Cat Island in everything that he did.
He loved the outdoors. He enjoyed cooking peas soup, stew fish, boiled fish and crab and dough. He used words like “Chill Out,” ah boy and had an interesting Bahamian dialect. He was one of the only persons I had ever hear speak that way. He would occasionally use words that were not normally used in Grand Bahama.
Most importantly, my grandfather loved farming and always encouraged us to do more outdoors. He was the one who first taught me how to eat a sugar cane, plant pigeon peas, and how to play “souse.”
Being here right now makes me feel all warm inside. I can finally see why he was always so friendly, happy and pleasant. It is obviously cultural here. I have not been to a single place and not seen a warm smile or hear a cheerful “hello.” People here were trying to greet me from across the street and all.
I am from an island but the one I am from is a little more developed. There are fast food chains, banks, and most parts us “city folks” need. The only difference from the island I am from and this one is that Grand Bahama offers a taste of both worlds. You can really have your way. You can unplug if you wish or you can have a tropical vacation with world class hotels. If you live for the fast food chains I would say that Grand Bahama is a great choice for getting a feel of the island life without completely giving up your city traditions.
Cat Island is perfect for writers. There are lots of paths for hiking. Settlements are far apart – far enough…let just say about an hour distance between north and south Cat Island.
This is a great place for bone fishing. I saw a guy on the plane came to the island in scuba gear. So, I am guessing that there are great diving sites around the island as well.
I have eaten two meals at my motel so far. The first meal I had was Cracked Conch – one of my favorites
And the second one was fried fish, salad and baked potato.
This peaceful island was tranquil enough for me to quickly forget all about my morning madness. I woke up about an hour before my flight was scheduled to leave, because I was too anxious to sleep the night before.
Around 6pm I took a stroll through a path near my motel. It was a quick one because the only thing I did not bother to pack for this trip was a pair of tennis shoes. The only reason I cut my hike short was because the sun was setting relatively quickly.
After 9pm I was invited to join some residents on their crabbing journey. That’s right, I was invited to go with some good people to learn how to catch crabs and actually catch a few! Our journey started and ended quickly but I was able to learn something I always wanted to learn – how to catch a land crab. Crabbing is a pastime for some Bahamians. Where I am from sea graping is our thing. We go around to different trees looking for ripe sea grapes (Coccoloba uvifera).
When our crabbing was done we headed back to my motel (Lakeview Motel) and met two guys walking back along the way. They were crabbing too, equipped with flashlights and crab proof bags. Me and the guys had a brief chat about my crabbing adventure. I was told that not many women are interested in catching crabs because they were too afraid of getting clawed.
Sorry I don’t have any photos of these moments. The first crab I caught was a blood rushing experience. I have not felt anything like that before. We were dancing around. The crab was trying to make his escape but I put my foot down – literally!
Yup so that’s how my 1st in Cat Island went. I will be visiting again in the future for sure!