Ena K. photographed at the dock in Nassau, 1937. This is the only known photo of this hardworking ship, though she plied between the capital and the US for some 20 years, 1927 to c.1947
Photo source: http://www.oldbahamas.com/id53.html, Bob Davies of the www.rumelier.com
MAILBOAT NAME: M/V Ena K.
PAST NAMES: none – she appears under the same name from 1927 to at least 1968
By 1930 her owner was listed as “Mrs. Maggie A. Kelly of Nassau, N.P.”
Author Kevin Griffin provided the following invaluable background information (comment below):
“Of Nassau’s freight services, the Ena Steamship Line provided a basic year-round passenger and summer mail service to and from Miami. Although the Windsors did not use it, the Duchess wrote a letter to her aunt in July noting that there were “shortages due to too few ships.” By September, she was writing that “the two little boats are gasping for breath – leaping back and forth between Miami and here – and things are difficult to have.”
Of “the two little boats,” the 116-ton Ena K, built in 1927, could carry a dozen passengers and that January carried 15-year old Sidney Poitier to Miami to live with his older brother. A round trip in the Ena K cost $17.50, compared to $24.50 in the New Northland before the war. In the spring of 1942 the Ena K celebrated her 1,000th crossing to Miami. The other was the 164-ton Betty K, built in 1938. The “motor boats,” as the Duchess called them, offered sailings every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in each direction between Nassau and Miami. Before the war, they had sailed from Miami at Noon and from Nassau at 2 pm but now they moved back and forth as cargo offered.
The vessels were named after the two daughters of Trevor Kelly, owner of the Kelly Lumber Company, who had started the service in 1920. The Miami agents were Saunders & Mader, who had also represented the Queen of Nassau and a number of other small ships in this service, and Nassau agents were Albury & Company. More than eighty years later, Betty K Agencies Ltd of Nassau would introduce the sixth and seventh ships of that name, the 1,457-ton Betty K VI in 2004 and 2,028-ton Betty K VII in 2006.”
During World War II she carried the officers and crew of O. A. KNUDSEN, CYGNET, KOLLSKEGG, ATHELQUEEN and DAYTONIAN to Miami from Nassau (the POTLATCH men flew). Probably she took the survivors of the ANGLO SAXON in 1940 too.
Ena K. certainly carried mail, as evidenced from the fact that today you can still buy stamps with the following lettering: “Seapost Mail British mv ‘Ena K’ Nassau, Bahamas”.
Ena K. was skippered in 1935 by Capt. Charles A. Pettee and agents were Saunders & Maden of Miami. She carried passengers, mails and freight from the P&O Docks in Miami to Nassau on a regular bases (over 1,000 round trips).
On August 28th 1938 the Bahama Brass Band from the Church of God of Prophecy voyaged from Miami to Nassau aboard the Ena K.
See The Making of A Band: A History of the World Famous Bahama Brass Band, By G. Sean Gibson, pp.26-27
In 1941 several American cyclists took the Ena K. from Miami to Nassau, as reported in “Our National Prexy Went Down South, When Polly Meets Polly”, by John S. Allen, League of American Wheelmen, Vol. III, Issue 4, April 1941.
See http://www.fold3.com/image/270947826/ but there may be a pay wall.
In the early 1950s Ena K. evidently made calls at Tarpum Bay, Eleuthera, along with other vessels. According to this 2008 obituary for Ms. Olevia Allen of Tarpum Bay:
“In the early fifties she was the agent for the M/V:
On October 8, 1964 the Ena K. was reported down-island in Dominica, offloading 10 tons of frozen fish and general cargo. See the Dominica Herald, Harbour Log:
In a “fictional” book the length of the “rustbucket” Bahamian freighter Ena K. is given as 200′ and her holds were 60′ X 20′ – seems large compared with the above photographs. It is after all fiction;
Adventures of a Pirate from Savannah: Memoirs, Exaggerations and Downright Lies, By J. Paulsen Helmken, see http://books.google.com/books?id=lAIAQZjMrbIC&pg=PA146&lpg=PA146&dq=freighter+ena+k+bahamas&source=bl&ots=PGcAH7Pr2a&sig=15OyFH0MGShoE6okValCgMYBn3I&hl=en&sa=X&ei=RJfTUfudNuXN0wGE-YCoAQ&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=freighter%20ena%20k%20bahamas&f=false