Cherokee Long Dock has a significant claim to prominence on an Island that has, with its Cays, a good few docks to admire. The impressive 770 foot wooden dock is the longest wooden dock in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, as its plaque proudly proclaims. The waters of Cherokee Sound are very shallow in places, and as the tides retreat, so sandbanks appear and the rest is barely covered by the sea. Hence the need arose for a very long dock to serve the very small community of Cherokee.
Before the roads were built – in relatively recent memory – Cherokee was an isolated settlement. There was a shortcut connection by boat to a now-abandoned dock at the nearest community, Casuarina, across the Sound. However, non-tide-dependent access from the open sea was vital for supply boats and mail boats. Access to the sea was needed by the fishermen.
The plaque documents the history of the dock, the damage inflicted by hurricanes, and the ‘countless hours of labour’ by local people- ‘men, women and children’ – to preserve the dock.
Royal terns and other seabirds use the dock to rest; and as a safe place from which to fish
Photo credits: David Rees and his wonderful drone (header); Larry Towning (2, 3); Amanda Diedrick (4, 5, 6, 7, 9); Karen Eldon, Velma Knowles (8); last image from a FB friend with thanks and many apologies – I’ve lost my note of who took it… to be added if possible; short vid from Youtube.
ABACO’S OWN ‘AERO-DRONE’: GREAT AERIAL SHOTS BY ‘MR REES’
David Rees is well known for his excellent photography, not least because of his early adoption of a drone – a serious bit of kit, not a toy ‘copter + camera – for capturing some wonderful aerial views of Abaco. Photos from the air can give so much more information about the setting of a particular location, and a drone can achieve a proximity and reveal details that an aeroplane shot cannot. I have seen some of David’s photographs in an exhibition at BPS, where they had been enlarged to make stunningly effective prints. David was kind enough to agree to my request to showcase a few of his photos, so I’ll let them do the talking…
HOPE TOWN / ELBOW CAY
The Long Dock, Cherokee – the longest wooden dock in the entire Bahamas
Voted one of the 10 loveliest beaches in the Caribbean by the National Geographic, no less
GREEN TURTLE CAY
All photos by David Rees, assisted by his amazing drone, with many thanks for use permission
“Several years back, on a family road trip to the south end of the Abaco mainland, we took a quick swing through the settlement of Cherokee Sound. Though our stop was brief, I was enchanted by the beauty of the tiny town and its breathtaking beach.
Earlier this year, I finally got the chance to get back to Cherokee. I spent an afternoon wandering through this small fishing village that, by comparison, makes sedate Green Turtle Cay seem like a lively metropolis.
Similar to Green Turtle, Cherokee was originally settled by Loyalist descendants who supported their families by fishing or building boats. Today, fewer than 200 residents — most of whom commute to other parts of Abaco for work — call Cherokee Sound home.
Though Cherokee’s streets were virtually deserted on the hot June afternoon I visited, I did spot a group of primary school students enjoying recess, and I met a few locals while photographing their quaint, colourful homes.
And then there’s that beach. That stunning, unspoiled beach. And jutting 700 feet out into the clear water, a beautiful old dock which, according to the sign posted nearby, is the longest wooden pier in the Bahamas.
Until a few decades ago, the only way into Cherokee Sound was by sea. And given the shallow waters surrounding the settlement, an extended pier was a necessity. These days, with a paved road connecting Cherokee to the rest of the Abaco mainland, the dock functions primarily as a tourist attraction.
The Old Jetty at Casuarina, Abaco – the pre-road shortcut to Cherokee (RH)
To get to Cherokee Sound from Marsh Harbour, head south on the main highway and turn left when you reach the sign below:
Follow the winding road until it ends at Cherokee Sound. The drive from Marsh Harbour takes 30-45 minutes or so.
Between the highway and Cherokee, there are two key points of interest and they could not be more different.Pete’s Pub and Galleryis a rustic, off-the-grid, on-the-sand restaurant that serves up local seafood and stunning ocean views, while theAbaco Club at Winding Bay is a manicured beachfront resort with a spa and fitness center, full-size golf course and pro shop.
If it’s meal time or you’re in need of refreshments, I’d suggest stopping at Pete’s or the Abaco Club, as there are no restaurants in Cherokee Sound. Nor are there any hotels, though a quick online search reveals nearly a dozen vacation homes for rent in or near the village.
CREDITS Post and images courtesy of Amanda Diedrick of Green Turtle Cay and her wonderful blog LITTLE HOUSE BY THE FERRYEspecially interesting are the accounts of the careful restoration of her family home with her husband Tom – a labour of love. There are other articles about GTC history, and plenty of lovely photos to enjoy. Jetty photo and map RH
A TRIP TO CHEROKEE & LITTLE HARBOUR(revised Oct 2012)
YOU WILL NEED camera; binoculars; possibly swimming kit; a car with (if you are going to get seriously stuck in at Pete’s Pub) a non-drinking driver; good appetite; and if you get weather like we did, something waterproof to wear…
ROUTE Turn right at the end of the drive, head north past Bahama Palm Shores until you get to the right-hand turn to Cherokee / Little Harbour / Winding Bay. Take the made-up road to the end, following the right-hand bend that will bring you to Cherokee. You will pass the Abaco Club, Winding Bay, a Ritz-Carlton enterprise. It doesn’t need any meagre publicity from this quarter – just ask Sandy what you have to do to play golf there, eat there, use the spa, buy a cabana and so forth.
ABACO CLUB, WINDING BAY
Photo Credit: Simon Rodehn
Continue to CHEROKEE, park and have a wander round this charming settlement. It poured when we went and we were barely able to leave the car… so any description I could give is obscured by extreme wet, low cloud and yes, a touch of gloom. Not even any birds to report. Explore for yourself, why not. Thanks to Simon Rodehn for his fine aerial views of the Abaco Club Cherokee (and see his aerial view of LITTLE HARBOUR at the end of this post).
CHEROKEEPhoto Credit: Simon Rodehn
After you have had a look round Cherokee, drive back the way you came, past the Abaco Club, until you get to a right-hand junction with a sign to Pete’s Pub and Little Harbour. This is described on the map as ‘dirt road’, which doesn’t do justice to some of the impressive rocks en route. However, with care it is easily negotiable by car. Carry on until you get to Pete’s, which is a good place to leave the car and explore from.
LITTLE HARBOUR is a good place to wander round. Nice boats for a start; the renowned Johnston’s Foundry, with examples of its work scattered round; the Gallery, which is well worth investigating; a shell-strewn beach on the back-side (as it were). And Pete’s Pub for excellent sustenance at the end of it all… fresh fish of many kinds, and a lot more besides. Here are some pictures – I haven’t attempted to photoshop them to disguise the fact that the weather that day was… inclement. Bleak, even. On a sunny day, when you go, it will surely look better…
MAIN STREET, LITTLE HARBOUR
PETE’S PUB – BRING YOU OWN TEE
THE GALLERY, LITTLE HARBOUR
THE BEACHShells, but no idea about the swimming: thwarted by drizzle!
PETE’S PUB & GALLERY Here is the direct link to Pete’s, where you will find all the info you could wish for about the Pub, the Foundry, the Johnston family, cottage rental, fishing and the locality generally. There are also plenty of excellent pictures, so check it out for a far sunnier view than I have provided here.
You must be logged in to post a comment.