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Trapped in the Bahamas

Old 07-12-2017, 08:50 PM
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Gotta hear how this thing ends
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Old 07-12-2017, 10:12 PM
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Old 07-13-2017, 05:07 AM
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Old 07-13-2017, 05:53 AM
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so y'all know we buzzed into Old Bahama Bay (West End - Grand Bahama) Friday evening. We decided it was a little later than we wanted to depart for West Palm Beach, so tied up to the dock for the night. Bright & early Saturday morning, we got ready to leave & our port engine wouldn't start. Crap!

We went to the harbor master and told him of the situation & requested a mechanic. After some delays & confusion, they said they called the mechanic & he'd be there. After waiting a while, we went to double check, nobody was sure who had done what, so... another call & one of the harbor workers handed me his cell phone. As it turned out, I was speaking to "Higgins", who said he'd be there in 5 minutes.

Three hours later, Higgins arrived. He checked the starter & sure enough, the starter sprocket had all its teeth ground off. Long story short, he and his helper handed me back my tools, drank a couple of our beers then left for a couple of hours with my starter + $100 & returned with my starter complete with a new sprocket. Installed it & quickly ground the teeth off that sprocket. After a bit, he told me he was just going to get us started, so we could get home & get the repairs done there. He started my starboard engine, removed the starter & put it on the port engine. Guess what happened... yes, metal shavings went flying. The sprocket wasn't TOTAL loss, but it was badly damaged, so he removed it, put it back on the other engine & told me he needed to get parts. By then, it was mid-day Saturday.

At this point, you guys have confirmed my suspicion that I may be dealing with a hack. That, and another nice couple at the marina have proposed we look into another mechanic. So, we begin working with the harbor staff again to try to line up another mechanic, which they flatly reject. They insist that, if there's a part on the island, Higgins will find it & repair that engine; he's the best hope on the island. Anyone else is risking being overcharged, etc. So we wait.

Well while I needed Higgins to do something for me, from mid-day Saturday until we finally left, Higgins was just a fart in the wind; only hints that he had been around. A rumor that he had been by looking for us. No message, no note, nothing.

Finally, after going back and forth with you guys getting suggestions & feed back, I finally contact Jamie @ OBS. (OBS, by the way was one of the places I was specifically cautioned against calling by both Higgins AND the harbor staff.) First thing Tuesday morning, their office manager tells me they have parts, and that their engine tech already had one stop before me, but would be at my boat between 12:15 and 1:00p that day.

With a couple hours to kill, the wife & I did a little hiking and exploring. We headed back to the boat to wait on the OBS men at about a quarter till noon. When we get there, the mechanic and his assistant, both dressed in the blue OBS uniform shirts were already on our boat, turning wrenches. Within 15 minutes, we had both engines started & ready to return home! I thanked them for both their professionalism and promptness, paid them & saw them off.

When we got to the fuel dock to top off & check out, the harbor master asked if we were heading home. I told him we were & he asked if Higgins got us fixed. I told him I hadn't seen him since mid-day Saturday, so I called OBS. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and walked away. Before we were done fueling, he was huddled up with the girl that rung up sales & surprise, surprise - she had a hard time getting us to ring up. Took several minutes, but we got done. (She was very obviously stalling for time.)

So, about the time we're untying, Higgins comes racing in, honking his horn in his truck. He jumps out and starts yelling at me for trying to skip out without paying him. I told him I was fresh out of cash, having had JUST paid another mechanic to fix our engine. I told him if he wanted anything further, to send me a bill. Not good enough for him. He insisted I pay the harbor master with my credit card and let them pay him. Being trapped, I said, whatever you say, I just want to leave.

While my wife was inside settling up with the harbor master, Higgins was steadily crowing about the situation, getting louder and louder, looking for attention. I finally said, "Higgins, you're getting your money, chill out." He wouldn't shut up and kept lodging accusations against me, insulting me, etc. I was really trying to exercise some restraint, but I failed. I finally said, "Higgins, you're getting paid. You don't get to get paid AND bitch about not getting paid." We went back and forth, but any of the bystanders he was trying to get attention from, I let know that it was funny how he's mad about not getting paid to have me stranded for three extra days at great expense, to go through 3 starter sprockets & to cause me to have to pay another outfit to come in and complete the work.

Anyway, the staff at Old Bahama Bay were very obviously in cahoots with "Higgins." I don't know if it was just plain incompetence, or an opportunistic conspiracy to keep me stuck there for an additional extended stay, but either way it cost me quite a bit of money between staying there, missed wages, added repair costs, etc.

One thing I can assure you; Going forward, I'll take others' advice from here & skip West End. I'll plan to check in at Walkers Cay or Spanish Cay.
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:04 AM
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Crazy, but glad it all worked out.

What was the end issue - just starter troubles?
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by TipDS View Post
so y'all know we buzzed into Old Bahama Bay (West End - Grand Bahama) Friday evening. We decided it was a little later than we wanted to depart for West Palm Beach, so tied up to the dock for the night. Bright & early Saturday morning, we got ready to leave & our port engine wouldn't start. Crap!

We went to the harbor master and told him of the situation & requested a mechanic. After some delays & confusion, they said they called the mechanic & he'd be there. After waiting a while, we went to double check, nobody was sure who had done what, so... another call & one of the harbor workers handed me his cell phone. As it turned out, I was speaking to "Higgins", who said he'd be there in 5 minutes.

Three hours later, Higgins arrived. He checked the starter & sure enough, the starter sprocket had all its teeth ground off. Long story short, he and his helper handed me back my tools, drank a couple of our beers then left for a couple of hours with my starter + $100 & returned with my starter complete with a new sprocket. Installed it & quickly ground the teeth off that sprocket. After a bit, he told me he was just going to get us started, so we could get home & get the repairs done there. He started my starboard engine, removed the starter & put it on the port engine. Guess what happened... yes, metal shavings went flying. The sprocket wasn't TOTAL loss, but it was badly damaged, so he removed it, put it back on the other engine & told me he needed to get parts. By then, it was mid-day Saturday.

At this point, you guys have confirmed my suspicion that I may be dealing with a hack. That, and another nice couple at the marina have proposed we look into another mechanic. So, we begin working with the harbor staff again to try to line up another mechanic, which they flatly reject. They insist that, if there's a part on the island, Higgins will find it & repair that engine; he's the best hope on the island. Anyone else is risking being overcharged, etc. So we wait.

Well while I needed Higgins to do something for me, from mid-day Saturday until we finally left, Higgins was just a fart in the wind; only hints that he had been around. A rumor that he had been by looking for us. No message, no note, nothing.

Finally, after going back and forth with you guys getting suggestions & feed back, I finally contact Jamie @ OBS. (OBS, by the way was one of the places I was specifically cautioned against calling by both Higgins AND the harbor staff.) First thing Tuesday morning, their office manager tells me they have parts, and that their engine tech already had one stop before me, but would be at my boat between 12:15 and 1:00p that day.

With a couple hours to kill, the wife & I did a little hiking and exploring. We headed back to the boat to wait on the OBS men at about a quarter till noon. When we get there, the mechanic and his assistant, both dressed in the blue OBS uniform shirts were already on our boat, turning wrenches. Within 15 minutes, we had both engines started & ready to return home! I thanked them for both their professionalism and promptness, paid them & saw them off.

When we got to the fuel dock to top off & check out, the harbor master asked if we were heading home. I told him we were & he asked if Higgins got us fixed. I told him I hadn't seen him since mid-day Saturday, so I called OBS. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and walked away. Before we were done fueling, he was huddled up with the girl that rung up sales & surprise, surprise - she had a hard time getting us to ring up. Took several minutes, but we got done. (She was very obviously stalling for time.)

So, about the time we're untying, Higgins comes racing in, honking his horn in his truck. He jumps out and starts yelling at me for trying to skip out without paying him. I told him I was fresh out of cash, having had JUST paid another mechanic to fix our engine. I told him if he wanted anything further, to send me a bill. Not good enough for him. He insisted I pay the harbor master with my credit card and let them pay him. Being trapped, I said, whatever you say, I just want to leave.

While my wife was inside settling up with the harbor master, Higgins was steadily crowing about the situation, getting louder and louder, looking for attention. I finally said, "Higgins, you're getting your money, chill out." He wouldn't shut up and kept lodging accusations against me, insulting me, etc. I was really trying to exercise some restraint, but I failed. I finally said, "Higgins, you're getting paid. You don't get to get paid AND bitch about not getting paid." We went back and forth, but any of the bystanders he was trying to get attention from, I let know that it was funny how he's mad about not getting paid to have me stranded for three extra days at great expense, to go through 3 starter sprockets & to cause me to have to pay another outfit to come in and complete the work.

Anyway, the staff at Old Bahama Bay were very obviously in cahoots with "Higgins." I don't know if it was just plain incompetence, or an opportunistic conspiracy to keep me stuck there for an additional extended stay, but either way it cost me quite a bit of money between staying there, missed wages, added repair costs, etc.

One thing I can assure you; Going forward, I'll take others' advice from here & skip West End. I'll plan to check in at Walkers Cay or Spanish Cay.
That sucks! Thanks for the update. We had a lift pump go out on a buddies boat over there in the middle of June. Spent a FULL day at the dock but mechanic got us going at 7:30 on a Saturday evening. We were down at Bootle and thankfully didn't run into the same issues with service you did. Don't let it detour you from other trips to the Bahamas.

Note to self- If you here the name Higgins, run!
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by TipDS View Post
so y'all know we buzzed into Old Bahama Bay (West End - Grand Bahama) Friday evening. We decided it was a little later than we wanted to depart for West Palm Beach, so tied up to the dock for the night. Bright & early Saturday morning, we got ready to leave & our port engine wouldn't start. Crap!

We went to the harbor master and told him of the situation & requested a mechanic. After some delays & confusion, they said they called the mechanic & he'd be there. After waiting a while, we went to double check, nobody was sure who had done what, so... another call & one of the harbor workers handed me his cell phone. As it turned out, I was speaking to "Higgins", who said he'd be there in 5 minutes.

Three hours later, Higgins arrived. He checked the starter & sure enough, the starter sprocket had all its teeth ground off. Long story short, he and his helper handed me back my tools, drank a couple of our beers then left for a couple of hours with my starter + $100 & returned with my starter complete with a new sprocket. Installed it & quickly ground the teeth off that sprocket. After a bit, he told me he was just going to get us started, so we could get home & get the repairs done there. He started my starboard engine, removed the starter & put it on the port engine. Guess what happened... yes, metal shavings went flying. The sprocket wasn't TOTAL loss, but it was badly damaged, so he removed it, put it back on the other engine & told me he needed to get parts. By then, it was mid-day Saturday.

At this point, you guys have confirmed my suspicion that I may be dealing with a hack. That, and another nice couple at the marina have proposed we look into another mechanic. So, we begin working with the harbor staff again to try to line up another mechanic, which they flatly reject. They insist that, if there's a part on the island, Higgins will find it & repair that engine; he's the best hope on the island. Anyone else is risking being overcharged, etc. So we wait.

Well while I needed Higgins to do something for me, from mid-day Saturday until we finally left, Higgins was just a fart in the wind; only hints that he had been around. A rumor that he had been by looking for us. No message, no note, nothing.

Finally, after going back and forth with you guys getting suggestions & feed back, I finally contact Jamie @ OBS. (OBS, by the way was one of the places I was specifically cautioned against calling by both Higgins AND the harbor staff.) First thing Tuesday morning, their office manager tells me they have parts, and that their engine tech already had one stop before me, but would be at my boat between 12:15 and 1:00p that day.

With a couple hours to kill, the wife & I did a little hiking and exploring. We headed back to the boat to wait on the OBS men at about a quarter till noon. When we get there, the mechanic and his assistant, both dressed in the blue OBS uniform shirts were already on our boat, turning wrenches. Within 15 minutes, we had both engines started & ready to return home! I thanked them for both their professionalism and promptness, paid them & saw them off.

When we got to the fuel dock to top off & check out, the harbor master asked if we were heading home. I told him we were & he asked if Higgins got us fixed. I told him I hadn't seen him since mid-day Saturday, so I called OBS. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and walked away. Before we were done fueling, he was huddled up with the girl that rung up sales & surprise, surprise - she had a hard time getting us to ring up. Took several minutes, but we got done. (She was very obviously stalling for time.)

So, about the time we're untying, Higgins comes racing in, honking his horn in his truck. He jumps out and starts yelling at me for trying to skip out without paying him. I told him I was fresh out of cash, having had JUST paid another mechanic to fix our engine. I told him if he wanted anything further, to send me a bill. Not good enough for him. He insisted I pay the harbor master with my credit card and let them pay him. Being trapped, I said, whatever you say, I just want to leave.

While my wife was inside settling up with the harbor master, Higgins was steadily crowing about the situation, getting louder and louder, looking for attention. I finally said, "Higgins, you're getting your money, chill out." He wouldn't shut up and kept lodging accusations against me, insulting me, etc. I was really trying to exercise some restraint, but I failed. I finally said, "Higgins, you're getting paid. You don't get to get paid AND bitch about not getting paid." We went back and forth, but any of the bystanders he was trying to get attention from, I let know that it was funny how he's mad about not getting paid to have me stranded for three extra days at great expense, to go through 3 starter sprockets & to cause me to have to pay another outfit to come in and complete the work.

Anyway, the staff at Old Bahama Bay were very obviously in cahoots with "Higgins." I don't know if it was just plain incompetence, or an opportunistic conspiracy to keep me stuck there for an additional extended stay, but either way it cost me quite a bit of money between staying there, missed wages, added repair costs, etc.

One thing I can assure you; Going forward, I'll take others' advice from here & skip West End. I'll plan to check in at Walkers Cay or Spanish Cay.
Thank you for the update. If you already paid for the fuel what kept you from finishing the un-tie and flooring it out of there? If you were really kept from leaving, can you charge back the charge and say you were held against your will?

How much $$ did he extort you for?

Also, can you post Higgins full name, company name, and phone # if you have it so it comes up in searches?
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
Thank you for the update. If you already paid for the fuel what kept you from finishing the un-tie and flooring it out of there? If you were really kept from leaving, can you charge back the charge and say you were held against your will?

How much $$ did he extort you for?

Also, can you post Higgins full name, company name, and phone # if you have it so it comes up in searches?
Great idea. Scary to think that that kind of BS still goes on. Harbor master in cahoots with a mechanic. Kick backs?
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jvoisel View Post
Crazy, but glad it all worked out.

What was the end issue - just starter troubles?
Well, OBS changed out the flywheel and starter sprocket, which got us going. I'm going to have it further looked into locally. As others have mentioned, there may be an underlying issue that caused the two to wear, apparently prematurely.

Originally Posted by mystery View Post
Thank you for the update. If you already paid for the fuel what kept you from finishing the un-tie and flooring it out of there? If you were really kept from leaving, can you charge back the charge and say you were held against your will?

How much $$ did he extort you for?

Also, can you post Higgins full name, company name, and phone # if you have it so it comes up in searches?
Grand total for Higgins himself was only about $350, but that doesn't count the additional damage he caused, time and money wasted extending the stay, lost wages, etc.

As for his full name and company name... I never got his full name, and I don't know that he's part of an actual company. The phone number he GAVE me was (242)441-7111, but I can't say I ever had positive contact with him at that number. I tried both texting and calling him, but never had any real success. One time I got an answer, but the person just kept saying "Hello?" like they couldn't hear me. Next call went unanswered.

Thanks for all y'all's well wishing & support. It's all very much appreciated.
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:48 AM
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Wow!!!
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:48 AM
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Glad Jamie took care of you. He was a class act from what I remember. I'd dispute the charge with OBB and then with credit card.....surprised u paid Higgins at all. Tell OBB it will cost them a lot more money in bad publicity. Post their number.
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:52 AM
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Never been to OBB, but I wonder if upper management would like to hear something like this going on...
Probably, will not be very happy to find out about the dockmaster and the mechanic dealings in their property....
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:02 AM
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Thanks for the update. Do you know what the actual problem was (i.e. why the sprocket teeth were getting stripped?)
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by emudryj View Post
Never been to OBB, but I wonder if upper management would like to hear something like this going on...
Probably, will not be very happy to find out about the dockmaster and the mechanic dealings in their property....
yea if the owners/management are not in cahoots they will not be too happy
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:13 AM
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I would have called/threatened to call the local authorities I think. Seen how they wanted to play then. And I was thinking the same as was mentioned, what would be stopping you from shoving off and rolling out? Were you still waiting on fuel bill total to settle up on that?
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Jcbenson01 View Post
I would have called/threatened to call the local authorities I think. Seen how they wanted to play then. And I was thinking the same as was mentioned, what would be stopping you from shoving off and rolling out? Were you still waiting on fuel bill total to settle up on that?
Depends on how the authorities operate there. Always risky when you are in a foreign place. Corruption, etc. It could escalate the situation.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:37 AM
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Wow! Hell of a saga.

The lesson that I take away in this situation is to be vague went answering questions to strangers. "Yep all runs good now."
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jtcwhaler View Post
Thanks for the update. Do you know what the actual problem was (i.e. why the sprocket teeth were getting stripped?)

++++++1000, that's what I was waiting for...
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post
Depends on how the authorities operate there. Always risky when you are in a foreign place. Corruption, etc. It could escalate the situation.

That's very true. But hinting toward it and gauging their demeanor might tell you something. If they're anything like Mexican authorities, they are just looking for a quick, easy buck. But I think Bahamians can be a bit more agressive and mean. I've run into some corrupt Mexicans before and once you start pushing back they usually back down. I had some police threatening to take me to jail and hold me (they just wanted a couple hundred pesos) and once I stood up to them they backed off. But it's always a gamble. And not always worth it if the situation turns worse.

It's hard to say what any of us would have done. But I'm sure the OP's first concern was the safety of his wife. And, he probably just wanted to get her out of there safely. Money can be replaced. It's just unfortunate that there is so much corruption in the world. Glad everything worked out eventually. Sorry to hear about the extortion.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:06 AM
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Those guys at Steele Creek will give you an honest answer and estimate as to what it should have cost. My son lives 2 streets behind them on Timberland and uses them exclusively on all his boats. They seem to be good people.
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