It seemed an impossible task, building a tropical getaway on a small, remote island in the Bahamas. For a group of adventurers from the Midwest, lead by Wig and Cy MacKinnon of Louisville, Ky., it was a dream come true.

The MacKinnons had been regular visitors to Harbour Island since 1952. When the southern end of the island was put on the market in 1968, the MacKinnons and others who feared commercial investment, looked for ways to purchase the property.

The Plan: To form a not-for-profit Club, bringing together a group of friends to gradually purchase the 117 acres, Manor House, Dock House and two small gardener's cottages. Everyone was to contact their friends about the proposed venture, emphasizing the rare character of the island, its friendly natives, its tropical beauty. The uniqueness of the plan was a living-and-owning-together partnership that could only succeed with a group like ours who have known and respected one another and our families for many years.

South Bar Club was formed in 1978. Potential members knew it was a challenge. They asked themselves, "Can we build and operate a tropical getaway based on the sea, books, birds, sails and the crazy swing of moon, stars and tide without the help of commercial developers?" It might work, we felt, if all the members are like-minded in their commitment to the preservation of one of the few wild tracts left on islands anywhere and a desire for a simple and relaxed lifestyle. Eleven couples took the plunge and made the commitment, and together we have crafted and operated a successful facility for ourselves and guests.

We have expanded to 30 membership families, who still own everything in common, have meetings and a Board of Directors. Our manager, Winslo Barry, and a great staff that make South Bar possible. Members have built cottages to live in and sometimes rent. The Manor House and Dock House have rooms available to rent to friends of the members.