Thursday, May 19, 2011

Norman Island and the Willy Thornton Floating Bar

Great snorkeling but no treasure, except the amazing coral 

The undulating coast line of Norman Island comprises a number of bays and offshore reefs providing excellent snorkeling and diving. On our first night, we always anchor in beautiful Benures Bay, home to two enormous tortoises! A quiet secluded anchorage, it's the perfect bay to start our two week journey through the islands. As the sun sets, a blanket of stars start to appear overhead boasting the best star viewing I've ever encountered. It's breathtaking.

Beautiful and tranquil Benures Bay

Norman Island's Beautiful Benures Bay & The Bight

The busiest and most popular anchorage on the island is called The Bight. The Willy T floating bar and restaurant can likely take credit for at least some of the popularity of this truly excellent anchorage. 

The Famous 'Willy T' Floating Bar & Restaurant

Established in 1985 by Mick and Annie Gardner, this one-of-a-kind, "bistro on the briny" has remained in the family and is now operated by Mick and Annie's son-in-law, Ewan Anderson, with Zeus captaining the bar and serving his notorious 'Zeus Juice'! Known for his intoxicating rum cocktails, the culinary fare on the Willy T is pretty good too, serving local favourites such as conch fritters, grilled lobster or their delicious flying fish sandwich — caught fresh from the Bight!

Zeus - King of the 'Willy T'

Flying Fish Sandwich
Serves 4

8 flying fish, approximately 1 pound total
4 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsp paprika
fresh lemon or lime juice
vegetable oil for frying
4 buns or baguette
onion, sliced thinly
sliced tomatoes
sliced cucumber
Season both sides of the flying fish with salt, pepper, cayenne and paprika. Saut√© the filets in a little oil in a skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side; sqeeze lemon juice over the fish while its cooking. Serve on a toasted bun or baguette and garnish with with homemade Willy T tartar sauce, tomato, onion, and cucumber. Enjoy!

Willy T Tartar Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp chopped dill pickles and a splash of pickle juice
1 tbsp minced onion 
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and chill for at least an hour before serving with the Flying Fish sandwiches and an ice-cold beer!

One of the hidden treasure caves of Norman Island

Legend plays a large part in the history of Norman Island with tales of pirates and treasure caves, although the role of the island as the model for the epic 'Treasure Island' by Robert Louis Stevenson is perhaps the most famous legend of all. While the island is now uninhabited, farmers have in the past reared cattle there and today the Caves are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the islands.