Of the more than 700 islands that make up the Bahamas archipelago, only fourteen of the Out Islands are occupied. Cat Island is the one that caught my attention. The beaches are beautiful, this much I knew. That is why I came. But I did not realize just how glorious. They rank right up there with any in the world. It is not just the pinkish sand but the turquoise water. And the puffy white clouds that hang suspended overhead.
Completely unexpected though, are the ruins, the abandoned buildings, scattered across the island. Cat Island is some fifty miles long but has a population of only 1500. People are lured to the promise of good paying jobs at the resorts and casinos on the touristy islands.
Old, abandoned slave quarters seem to be everywhere. These small, stone, usually roofless buildings are reminders of a bygone era. Slavery was abolished in the Bahamas in 1831. But these sturdy little stone ruins serve as a ominous reminder.
Also of architectural interest are several churches lying in ruins or boarded up and unused. Father Jerome, an architect and priest, who came to Cat Island in 1938, designed and built four churches including his Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.
Abandoned, contemporary homes also dot the main road.They have fallen into disrepair and are boarded up, some with personal belongings inside. As if the owners just walked out the door and never looked back. Probably the result of recent hurricanes.
The wind kicks in stronger, branches clatter. Or maybe skeletons. Bones of abandonment. Ghosts that will never be.” -― Ellen Hopkins
Cat Island’s only service station.