Explore folklore at this off-road blue hole in South Cat Island
Aug 21, 2017
Take a short hike into the coppice forest of Bain Town to find it
Mermaid Hole is a special inland blue hole in the southern part of Cat Island. It is accessible on foot after a leisurely 20-minute hike. Inside this natural swimming pool filled with brackish water, you can swim and play and spook yourself out over the local folklore.
Blue holes are special geological features of the many Out Islands. These natural sinkholes, with their underwater caves, exist majestically in the forests of the Out Islands. Mermaid Hole, as the name suggests, is rumored to be home to a Cat Island colony of mermaids. Young children would fearfully stay away from the water’s edge as not to be captured by mermaids. It is believed that the folklore around blue holes was created to protect children from drowning. Blue holes are often located in remote areas of the forests where children might venture when exploring or farming. For persons traveling alone or unable to swim it would be devastating to have an accident in a blue hole.
Mermaid Hole is unique because inside the blue hole, perhaps 20-feet down, there are stone shelves that blanket much of the blue hole. These shelves are, however, perforated with giant holes that reveal the dark blue depths. There are no large sea creatures reported to live in blue holes, except for the mythical ones. There are little fish.
Whether your wish is to swim or to simply explore, Mermaid Hole is a beautiful reward for a short hike through the Coppice Forest of Bain Town. Blue holes are completely unmanned natural attractions; they are off the beaten path and worth experiencing first-hand.
If you search Bain Town in the Bahamas you will likely find lots of links for Bain Town in Nassau, the historical African township in the capital city. It’s located over-the-hill from the city center of Downtown Nassau. The Bain Town you’re looking for to find Mermaid Hole is not this cherished community. It is another special town in the southern part of Cat Island.
You should give yourself about two and half hours to enjoy this blue hole. Wear hiking shoes to get there and bring a noodle or some form of beach inflatable, as it is more relaxing – given the brackish water – to be able to float around in the blue hole. In the rocks and bushes around the blue hole, you will hear many birds singing, and you might encounter the occasional land crab.
Reverend Harrison King, a local community leader and owner of Lakeview Motel, is the man who probably knows the most about Mermaid Hole. It sits on land once used by his parents to farm and by him to rear goats. The hike to Mermaid Hole takes you past a salt pond that was once a site for informal horse racing. A large sandbar emerges in the shallows of the salt pond, and locals in the past would race horses there for sport, according to Rev King.
Photos by The Domestic Tourist