Cat Island has a rich history. There you will find the country's highest point, several old slave plantations, and the only railroad track in The Bahamas.
When I was in school, I spent summers exploring the island. Every year my parents would plan activities. Among my favorites were storytelling, hiking, and crabbing (although I still have yet to catch a crab). Legend has it that at the center of the island there's a boiling hole where a sea monster roams. The water bubbles constantly, the result of the monster breathing below the surface, or so the locals claim. I've dreamed of that sea monster many nights.
On my first hiking trip, my family and I trekked through dense forest before we got to a dirt road that leads to the entrance of Mount Alvernia, or as Cat Islanders refer to it, Como Hill.
I later learned we could have driven to the dirt road, but leave it to my father to take the difficult route. He loved adventure. For those who are less adventurous, the journey to the top begins next to the commissioner's office at a dirt path that leads to the foot of Mount Alvernia.
Even the most unskillful hiker can probably make their way to the top. I was seven when I first climbed Como Hill. Crudely built concrete steps guided me to the top.
Though Mount Alvernia is a mere 203 feet above sea level, I felt as if I were standing on top of the world. The hill is capped by the Hermitage, a religious retreat, built by Father Jerome. There are several rooms in the monastery, no bigger that walk-in closets, and a bell tower.
There's also a book inside for visitors to sign. However, the best part is the panoramic view from the top. It's breathtaking. I've been visiting Cat Island yearly for the past 25 years and I haven't grown weary of that view.