One of Hurricane Dorian’s many structural casualties was Cherokee Sound’s 79-year-old Long Dock, the longest wooden dock in the Bahamas.

The Long Dock, prior to Hurricane Dorian.
The Long Dock, after Hurricane Dorian. (Photo courtesy of Rhonda Pearce, of Rhonda’s Photography.)

Situated on the east coast of the Abaco Mainland, roughly halfway between Marsh Harbour and Sandy Point, Cherokee Sound was originally settled by American Loyalists, attracted by the region’s fertile soil, fresh water supply and shallow seas. The latter enabled wreckers, fishermen and boat builders to more easily beach, clean, maintain and launch the many vessels on which the local economy relied.

However, it made an extended pier a necessity. In fact, until 1986, when a road to Cherokee Sound was finally opened, the Long Dock was the only way to get mail, freight and passengers to and from the community.

These days, you can drive from Marsh Harbour to Cherokee in less than an hour. Mail boats no longer stop here. But the Long Dock remains a popular local landmark.

Until its destruction in 2019, Cherokee’s Long Dock remained a favourite destination for fishermen, boaters, swimmers and beachcombers.

Though the Bahamian government once contributed toward the maintenance of the Long Dock, today its upkeep falls completely upon the Cherokee community. In January 2021, Cherokee Sound residents gathered to begin plans for rebuilding the pier, which had been damaged beyond repair by Hurricane Dorian. Their aim was to build back even stronger, in hopes that the Long Dock might better withstand future storms.

As of late February, the first 50 feet of dock have now been rebuilt. Construction materials have been secured for the next 50 feet, and funds have been raised for the 100 beyond that. But that still leaves more than 500 feet to build, at an estimated cost of around $30,000.

The first 50-foot section of the Long Dock has now been rebuilt. Photo courtesy of Rhonda Pearce, Rhonda’s Photography.

As is the case throughout much of post-Dorian Abaco, funds, materials and labour are all in short supply. The Cherokee Long Dock committee is therefore appealing for help in rebuilding their community’s iconic pier.

Here’s how you can lend a hand:

  • In Abaco, you can contribute to the Cherokee Long Dock account at Maxwell’s hardware/lumberyard. Cash donations are also being accepted by Danny Pinder in Cherokee.
  • If you’re in Abaco or planning a visit, consider volunteering some time to help with rebuilding the dock. (This might make a fun project for a church or volunteer group…)

For other ways to help or the latest updates, follow the Cherokee Long Dock Facebook page. Or, as always, feel free to get in touch with me and I’ll gladly connect you with the right folks.

Long Dock, circa 2015

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