Pink house in Cherokee Sound, Abaco, Bahamas.
The wooden dock at Cherokee Sound, Abaco, Bahamas.
Cherokee Sound, Abaco, Bahamas.
The beach at Cherokee Sound, Abaco, Bahamas.
The longest wooden dock in the Bahamas, at Cherokee Sound, Abaco, Bahamas.
There’s a line in a Crosby, Stills and Nash song that says, “And you, of tender years, can’t know the fears that your elders grew by.” I heard that song as I was writing this blog post, and I realized how true it is. We can listen to or read the accounts, but I’m not sure we can really, truly appreciate the suffering or fears faced by so many of our ancestors.
Perhaps my best-known ancestor is Wyannie Malone, my 8x great-grandmother. She and her husband, a cooper (barrel maker) possibly named Benjamin, lived near Charleston, South Carolina.
With family roots in the UK, they sided with the British Loyalists during the American Revolution. Their son, Ephraim (and possibly two others, Walter and Benjamin Jr.) fought in the local Loyalist militia.
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.
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 Gallery is a rustic, off-the-grid, on-the-sand restaurant that serves up local seafood and stunning ocean views, while the Abaco 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.
Below are a few of the photos I shot that afternoon. And if you’d like to know more about Cherokee Sound and its history, here’s a great article by Abaco Life editor, Jim Kerr.
The dock in Cherokee Sound, on the Abaco mainland.
If you plan to bring your dog to the Bahamas in the near future, you may want to bypass Nassau altogether.
If you must bring your pet to Nassau, or if you’re currently there, be sure your dog is properly vaccinated, and adhere to the following guidelines:
- Do not transport dogs of any age from Nassau to other Bahamian islands, as it appears that the latter remain distemper-free.
- Keep dogs on your property or vessel. Limit walks and avoid contact with other dogs for at least the next three weeks.
- Use a mix of 30 parts water to 1 part bleach to disinfect surfaces, shoes, feet, etc.
The good news is that, in warm climates and sunlight, the distemper virus is killed off within a few hours. During that time, however, it’s highly contagious.
More than half of all distemper cases are fatal and there is no known cure. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), distemper is passed from dog to dog through direct contact with fresh urine, blood or saliva. Dogs can also contract distemper by sharing food and water bowls, or by being nearby coughing and sneezing dogs. Early signs of distemper include sneezing, coughing, running eyes or nose, fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting and diarrhea, depression and/or loss of appetite.
The Veterinary Medical Association of the Bahamas says the disease is NOT a risk to humans or cats.
For more information, or if you suspect your dog may be infected, contact a local vet or the Bahamas Humane Society. Authorities ask that, to avoid infecting other animals, you do not bring the animal into veterinary waiting rooms without advance arrangements.