The largest island within Elizabeth Harbour is Crab Cay. The appeal of Crab Cay is partly its location. It is protected by a string of offshore islands so hurricane surge is not a problem. The many small soft powder sand beaches that dot the shores of the 200 plus acre island shores invite you to take advantage of the wonderful, warm climate of The Bahamas.
Back in the late 1700s the Walker family needed to leave their home in Eastern North America because they had supported the British, the losers in the American war of independence. The family, along with their slaves, sailed to set up home on the land provided to them by the King of England, on The Exumas, a group of islands in the central Bahamas. The Walkers set up home on the island of Crab Cay inside Elizabeth Harbour. Their properties were built using local stone. As was the custom, the kitchen was a separate building from the living quarters. This was the practice due to the risk of kitchens burning down due to the presence of open fires, plus the need to keep the heat of cooking away from the living area. They tried to develop their land by growing cotton but after some years they gave up and moved on.
The ruins of their home still exist to this day.
After the end of World War II, the story goes that a group of very wealthy individuals decided that they wanted to invest their funds in land. Not just any land, but in tropical islands. So they chose a trusted member of the group and he spent some years traveling the globe and buying tropical hotspots. After their targets were met the purchaser was rewarded by the group by allowing him to choose two islands as a reward for his diligence. He chose Crab Cay and Elizabeth Cay, both island being at Elizabeth Harbour In Exuma.
Fast forward 40+ years and the tourism industry is booming. Wealthy investors led by Michael Jordan descend on Exuma with a view to buying and developing Crab Cay. Word reaches the press that the asking price is ten million. The investors decided to walk away, but the government heard the rumors and informed the island’s owner that according to their records he had not paid the property tax which had accumulated, a figure reaching millions of dollars. The Crab Cay owners was therefore forced to put the property on the market for sale.
Eventually the island sold to the Murphy family. One of, if not the largest pig farming enterprises in the US. The Murphys put together a consortium with CN Luxury and drew up plans for Crab Cay. By 2007 they intended to build a world class development, with a hotel, and Italian style hub with luxury restaurants, spa sports facilities and high end shops. then high end multi-million dollar homes spread along the shoreline. Then, of course there was to be a major marina, capable of taking the world’s mega yachts. The whole project was planned to be “the pre-eminent island destination in The Caribbean”. The plans were eventually passed and work began on the dredging for the marina. Work progressed for some time then came to a halt and the project stopped.
All that remains is a beautiful bridge, built in the Italian style, which joins Crab Cay to the mainland of Great Exuma. Known locally as “the bridge to nowhere”.
And that, unfortunately, is where we are today ! Waiting for the next chapter to be written on this beautiful island with great potential, Crab Cay.
If you want to visit the ruin of the Walker family, or cruise round Crab Cay we would welcome you at Harbour View for a vacation, just visit our website for details and loads of other stories about our vacation paradise .