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            [post_title] => 7 Billionaires and the Amazing Private Islands They Call Home
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The Caribbean, and British Virgin Islands in particular, are often know as the ‘billionaires playground’ given the concentration of billionaires and high profile celebrities that own real estate in the crystal blue waters of the BVI.  Instead of simply building the most amazing house or purchasing the largest luxury yacht, these industry titans have taken it a step further – they just bought a private island all for themselves!

So if you’re dreaming of how you would spend your lottery winnings, or just need to be transported away from reality for a few moments, take a look these the amazing islands below.  But be warned: some of these many insight a major case of envy and wanderlust! ???

1.   Sir Richard Branson – Necker Island

Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, has called the British Virgin Islands, and Necker Island specifically, his home for decades.  Necker Island is home to the ‘Great House’ in addition to multiple other villas that are often rented by celebrities and high profile world leaders (including former President Obama) when they want to relax in the low key, laid back atmosphere of the BVI. 

photo source: nbcnews


2.  Sir Richard Branson (again!) – Mosquito Island

When one British Virgin Island isn’t enough, you buy a second!   Sir Richard Branson bought neighboring Mosquito Island and has just completed development of a stunning eco-lodge.  Guests can rent individual villas or the entire island to experience a few days in the life of a billionaire.

photo source: forbes


3. Larry Page – Eustasia Island 

Former Google founder Larry Page is Sir Richard Branson’s next door (or do you say next island???) neighbor after purchasing Eustatia Island in the British Virgin Islands. Eustasia is completely solar powered and offers luxury villa rentals for guests looking to experience the very best of the BVI.

photo source: caribjournal


4. Larry Ellison – Lanai, Hawaii

Oracle founder and billionaire Larry Ellison is hoping to challenge the British Virgin Island’s status as the billionaire playground, with his purchase in Hawaii.  Ellison has purchase 98% of the Hawaiian island, Lanai, and is transforming it into ‘A billionaire’s vision of paradise’.

photo source: townandcountrymag


5.  John Mallone – Sampson Cay, Exuma Bahamas

John Malone is the largest private land owner in the US – owning over 2.2 million acres of land through the United States.  31 of the acres he owns are Sampson Cay, an island in the Exuma chain the Bahamas.  Sampson Cay is complete with a resort and a yacht marina. 

photo source: cnbc


6.  Dr. Henry Jareki – Guana Island

Dr. Henry Jarecki has called the British Virgin Islands home for nearly 4 decades since purchasing the 850 acre Guana Island in 1978.  Guana Island is home to a luxury eco-resort that is self sustaining and gourmet meals are prepared with fresh produce from the extensive gardens and orchards on site. 

photo source: cntraveller


7.  Leonardo DiCaprio – Blackadore Caye Island 

Although not technically a billionaire, Leonardo DeCaprio has owned his own island off the coast of Belize for the last 10 years.  He is now transforming the island into Blackadore Caye Resort with 36 villas which will run completely off solar power and rain water catchment systems.  Half of the island is also be designated as a wildlife preserve to help reintroduce native flora and fauna.

photo source: educateinspirechange


Which private island is your favorite?? Share this list with a friend and maybe they would be willing to split their lottery winnings and go halves with you on a private island of your own! ???

 

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A good judge of how well you provision is the amount of food you are trying to give away at the fuel dock at the end of your charter.  This might make you chuckle but most who have chartered before can honestly say...been there done that, more than once! Not that it’s a bad thing for some of the guys at the fuel dock, but here are a few tips that might be of help.

Don't Over Provision! We can’t stress this one enough.

For Breakfast...think about how your group will prefer to eat.  Will you just want to make a pot of coffee for breakfast with each person grabbing a little granola, yogurt and fresh fruit as they wake up one-by-one?  Or is there someone on your charter who is the type to be up at 6:00 a.m. cooking bacon and sausage, ready to make those custom omelettes for everyone else as they rise? And don’t forget, every dish used has to be washed...there are no dishwashers on most bareboat charter yachts!

For Lunch...How often will you will be grabbing a burger at the Burger Shack at the Baths or enjoying a pizza poolside while relaxing at Leverick Bay, or do you plan on staying in secluded areas of deserted islands mid-day most days?

And there’s Dinner...Standing on your yacht in Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke late afternoon, exhausted from a day of snorkeling or paddle boarding with the choice of cooking for 8 versus jumping in the dinghy and heading into Foxy’s for some delicious Caribbean cuisine and island reggie….just sayin’

There is a huge tendency to over-provision when planning a charter. Realistically, there are sooo many good beach bars and restaurants ashore, even those with good intentions get island lazy.  And rightly so. You are on vacation!

Rest assured, if you miss the mark, there are several locations to re-provision at some very lovely little supermarkets throughout the islands.  Check out our map for updated information about these locations.

You Can Never Have Too Much Drinking Water

Although the water on the boat is potable, you really wouldn’t want to drink or cook with it if you don’t have to. We highly recommend that you include plenty of drinking water when ordering provisions for your charter. The general rule is to provide for one gallon of drinking water per person per day. I know, I know that seems like a lot but trust me, you will go through drinking water, especially if you are cooking and making coffee with it.

It is probably wise to start with at least half the recommended amount. Otherwise you might find that you are constantly making island stops to purchase more drinking water.

Green Idea: Purchase the gallon jugs and always keep one or two cold in a cooler. Use water bottles for each charter guest to refill and save the planet from all those individual plastic water bottles.

Check Your Provisions Before Leaving the Dock

We strongly suggest that you go through your order once you arrive at your charter.  The provisioning companies do the best they can to fill your order as placed but don’t be surprised if there are things missing from your list or substitutions made.  You’ll probably find that you will have to hit the Riteway at Nanny Cay for at least a handful of things that weren’t quite the way you hoped for when you placed the order.  

Some of our charter guests prefer to provision the heavy items like canned goods, water, ice and beverages so they are there when they arrive at the boat.  The rest...well they plan a trip to Road Town once on the island to do the balance of their provisioning themselves! That way they are assured that the produce is the freshest available and if substitutions need to be made, that You will be the one making those decisions.

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Whether new to chartering in the BVI or a seasoned veteran, guests are always interested in unique ways to spice up an itinerary to get the most out of their charter vacation. Of course, scoping out the most popular snorkel or dive sites are the first thing that come to mind...nothing wrong with that, but why not take it one step further and add some toys to the mix! Toys aren’t just for kids anymore and can add endless hours of watersport fun to any yacht.

Let start with the simple ones that will enhance all those snorkel trips and maybe even make life a little easier. For weaker swimmers or for those physically challenged why not rent them a snorkel vest or belt for the week to keep them in the water a whole lot longer, and a Dinghy LADDER to get them out a whole lot quicker! Island Surf and Sail in Soper’s Hole Marina on Tortola have just what you need. Not only can you rent high quality toys for the entire length of your charter, but they will also deliver them right to your boat so they are there when you arrive! How sweet is that?!

Stand-Up Paddleboards

For exercise enthusiasts we suggest provisioning your charter with paddleboards. Instead of jumping in that dinghy to explore that deserted little island, hop on a paddleboard and explore by Stand-Up Paddleboard. What a great way to experience the water and get in a workout at the same time. We suggest Marina Cay as one of our top locations for the perfect paddleboarding excursion.

Kayaks

Or perhaps a one or two-person Kayak is more your style. What a peaceful and relaxing way to scavenge the coastline of some of those wonderful coves and bays in the BVI. When you get tired of paddling, take them ashore and hunt for sea glass on some of the sandy white beaches. This would also make a great alternative transportation option if some of your guests are off with the dinghy, allowing for those left behind to come and go as they please.

'Pull Toys'

Then there are what I call, the 'pull toys'. All the things that you can tow behind a RIB (ex: tubes and wakeboards) that are typically a hit amongst the “kids” onboard. You will probably have to save these for the calmer anchorages as they do require a flatter surface without any waves or chop as well as a 25-40HP engine to pull them. Something to keep in mind when you're thinking about upgrading your RIB.

Upgrading Your Rib

While we are on that subject, Island Time in Nanny Cay is a great resource for upgrading your dinghy to a RIB, something we highly recommend not only for pulling toys but to add flexibility to any charter itinerary. It certainly comes in handy during peak charter season when moorings at the popular destinations are hard to come by. With a RIB you can safely travel much further distances once moored, giving guests opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have, if limited to the area around the anchorage.

Floats (and not the root beer sort)

And no charter would be complete without water floats, the perfect way to chill around the boat with Painkiller in hand! The Lazy Buns, noodles and the huge floating mats will move the party to the water for sure. Careful though, you may never get them out!

For the adrenaline junkies in your group I know just the thing. These toys might need to stay in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, but it doesn’t mean you can’t rent them for the day! Experience Flyboarding for the first time and create some unforgettable memories from your bareboat experience. You can also get your hands on some Jet Skis or a Hobie Wave there as well. Blue Rush Watersports at Leverick Bay would be happy to arrange these experiences for you.

And if you have always wanted to try scuba diving but never quite had the time or opportunity, BVI Snuba in Leverick Bay can make those dreams come true without any certifications! Snuba is an amazing underwater adventure that’s fun for the whole family...a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving. They would be happy to meet you at your boat in and around Leverick Bay, the Dogs or Scrub Island, just check out their site for more details. BVI Snuba does ask that you have a basic comfort level in the water and require medical and booking forms be completed and received 48 hours in advance of any reservations.

Now you are catching on. Think of all the ways that Toys for Yachts will enhance any charter vacation!

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When you think of planning any charter itinerary in the British Virgin Islands, there aren’t many that will forego a visit to the infamous William Thornton Floating Bar and Restaurant aka the “Willy T” aka biggest party spot in the BVI!  A must do for any charter guests who love a good time, the Willy T has entertained locals and tourists for decades.

For anyone not familiar with this pirate ship, it had been located in the Bight at Norman Island since 1989...that is until Irma came along.  Needless to say, the hurricane not only destroyed the ship but ripped her from her anchor and ran her aground at the shoreline.

The owners, Ewan and Heather Anderson, knowing that the BVI would be devastated without this icon, decided to replace her for the 2nd time in her history.  The first being when she sprung a leak back in the mid 1990’s and sunk at her previous location. After several month of refurbishing an old 110 foot supply ship at great expense back in the U.S., she was on her way home to the BVI in late April of 2018. What the Anderson’s didn’t realize is that the new and improved Willy T would not be welcomed back to Norman Island when she arrived.  Thankfully they did find her a new home and in fact, we are excited to share with you an amazing video of her arriving at her new location in Great Harbor on Peter Island on May10th of 2018. No worries, it’s just 15 minutes east of her previous resting place.

The Willy T’s New Surroundings?

The new location in Great Harbour is expansive and equally as deep, but there may not be enough moorings to accommodate a busy afternoon in peak charter season.  Our advice is to arrive early if you plan on spending the night in Great Harbour for the best chance at claiming a mooring for the night. If you are left with no choice but to anchor, best bet is the far southeastern corner of the harbor where you’ll find the water to be about 20’ deep.  

Arrrr but What About Her New Digs?

Bigger is better so they say.  Laid out similar to her previous ship, but with a wider beam and 2 heads instead of 1!.....not that they will always be working but hey, it’s the thought that counts. There is no dinghy dock as yet so you might have to swim in if forced to raft-up from a distance.  

The new Willy T is still open for lunch and dinner with upgraded menu and as always. a fully stocked bar that is bigger than ever.  And let’s not forget to mention the traditions for anyone who will be stepping aboard this pirate ship for the first time this charter season.  Every good pirate will want their turn at the Shotski and don’t forget your “Willy T” temporary tattoo...you pick the spot! And you’ll probably not get away without walking the plank and taking the plunge from the top deck.  

Rest assured, there’s almost always a party brewing on the Willy T.  Chances are you’ll meet people from all over the world, the question is, will they remember you the next morning!  

We’ll leave you with this video of her re-opening day party on June 3rd, 2018 which started within minutes of securing her new mooring!  Needless to say she was immediately mobbed by waiting partiers.

Yo Ho Ho….see you onboard!


Update as of November 11, 2018: The Willy T has been given three months to vacate Peter Island. We will keep you updated on this saga as more information becomes available. For now, go here to learn more on the latest ruling.

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Chartering a yacht in the British Virgin Islands is an amazing adventure that you will not soon forget.  Known for their line of sight navigation, the BVI has become one of the most sought after charter destinations in the world.  A first time charter can still be a little intimidating though, for anyone new to the area. Often times we hear our charter guests say that they would probably do things a little differently the next time back. Granted, there’s no right or wrong way to navigate in the BVI, but certainly we can give you tips that might make your charter vacation go a little smoother.  

Tip #1:  Plan to Arrive at your Destination Early

This is especially important in peak Charter Season.  The moorings at popular islands fill up quickly. Why not arrive at your destination early and plan your day around the new location.  That way you won’t be stressed if you pull into an anchorage as the sun is setting and find that all the moorings have long since been taken.  There’s nothing worse than trying to anchor in the dark.

Tip #2:  Put Your Tender to Work

Don’t think of your charter in terms of ‘just your yacht’...instead plan your itinerary as a ‘yacht with a tender’, especially if you follow tip #1.  You’ll get so much more out of an itinerary stop if you plan to use your tender for more than just going ashore to a dinghy dock. I am sure there will be times when not everyone wants to do the same activity.  Why not drop the beach lovers on that sandy white beach for the day and use that tender to scope out a new dive or snorkel side at a nearby deserted island. That way everyone is happy!

Tip #3: Consider Upgrading to a RIB

Or better yet, consider adding a RIB in addition to the dinghy.  With a good size RIB your guests can safely and comfortably travel further from that protected anchorage providing many more opportunities to experience far more activities than sticking around the yacht.  A RIB is also a must if you want to add any of those pull toys to your charter fun. Island Time at Nanny Cay has just the RIB to enhance your charter itinerary and they can even arrange to have it at your yacht when you arrive.  

Tip #4: Be Flexible When Planning your Itinerary

Especially if this is your first time chartering in the British Virgin Islands, there are going to be stops along the way where you wish you had another day at that location.  Weather can also be a deterring factor for certain activities on some of the islands. Stay flexible! If you don’t quite get it all done this trip, there’s always the next time!!  There will always be far too many things to see and do than there are days in a charter.

Tip #5: Follow the Islands

Plan your itinerary counter clockwise in order of the islands.  If you check out our sample itinerary you’ll find that we did just that.  Most of the islands in the BVI are fairly close to one another which limit any long runs if you plan your stops from one island to the next.  You’ll save time and gas this way allowing you to pack far more into your itinerary.

Tip #6: Consider Your Sea State

Any good captain takes into account the weather before making a run for the day, but don’t forget to consider the sea state and the comfort of your charter guests as well.  Sometimes it’s better to make changes in an itinerary than take chances, especially if you have uneasy guests aboard.

Tip #7: Light up your Boat at Night

You’ll thank me for this one! Take some kind of distinguishing light for your yacht and turn it on before you go ashore.  Don’t count on being able to find your charter boat in the dark when you are returning late at night. It’s far easier to spot that string of lights from a distance rather than going boat by boat with a flashlight... if you even remembered to take it with you. Some of those anchorages have over 30 moorings and trust me, in the dark all the boats look alike!

If any of these suggestions make sense... great!  In the end, it’s all about what works for your group. Be sure and check out our Charter Planning Guides for more valuable information about the British Virgin Islands.

 

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Many people dream of chartering a yacht in the beautiful British Virgin Islands (BVI) — and why wouldn’t they? The BVI are a seemingly untouched piece of earthly paradise that films like The Blue Lagoon are based on. True wonders of the world. But being that they’re so remote and somewhat mysterious, how does one even begin to plan a charter vacation? It’s easy, let us walk you through it.

Picture this.. Instead of staying in a hotel for a week you stay on board a yacht, sailboat or powercat; moving each day to a new, beautiful island location. Looking out the windows of your charter yacht, you realize that you are surrounded by stunning turquoise blue waters, powdery white sand beaches and 82 degree temperatures all year round. Sounds perfect, right!?! But once you actually arrive on Tortola and pick up your charter boat, what next?? Where do you go? How do you know what to see? What do you actually *do* each day? Is there a specific ‘route’ you *need* to follow?

Before each charter, we will give you an individual chart briefing so that you have the opportunity to discuss where you would like to go, and then we will customize our chart briefing to suit your requirements. Mooring buoys are available in many locations but remember to arrive by 5 pm so you are on a ball before dark. Each boat is provided with a cell phone so you can call us at any time if you would like suggestions on where to go and what to see. If you would like to do some advance planning, we highly recommend the latest edition of the Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands! This invaluable book shows aerial photos of all the anchorages, tells you about the restaurant and shore-side facilities, and has many other useful tips and information. It also contains a fold-out chart so that you can log your trip and keep it as a souvenir. A copy of the Cruising Guide will be on board for you when you arrive for your use during your trip.

As they say in the islands, ‘no worries!’ Just relax, and go with the flow — and let us provide a few helpful tips to put your mind at ease.

One of the most important Steps to planning a great itinerary is to familiarize yourself with a British Virgin Island Map and Chart.  The British Virgin Islands are a collection of 60 individual islands, with varying degrees of habitation and development.

TIP #1: DON'T SHOW UP COLD

Captaining a yacht charter is a big responsibility and you should know the basics of navigating these islands prior to arrival! It’s a good idea to order and/or review a British Virgin Islands map, navigational and hazard charts. Download the most popular hazard charts used by bareboat yacht charter and powercat charter companies in the BVI, here.

You don’t need to spend hours studying Virgin Island maps, but at the very least we recommend having an idea of the major islands and where they are in relation to each other: Tortola, Norman, Peter, Cooper, Virgin Gorda, Scrub Island, Guana Islands, Jost Van Dyke. Just go to our Map Resourse for a quick and easy guide to marina's and amenities on each island. You can also order a copy of the Cruising Guide which is a great book that provides lots of information on anchorages, harbors and the many restaurants, sites and amenities you will find ashore.

TIP #2: PICK YOUR MUST SEE BVI POINTS-OF-INTEREST (POI)

Once you have a general idea of the major islands, you can start to plan your yacht charter itinerary around the British Virgin Islands. Most guests book a yacht rental for a week, with a start and end on Tortola. Depending on your flights and travel schedule, this means you have 6–7 days to explore the BVI on your sail, powercat or yacht charter.

Ideally, you should plan for one island location per day. This would allow you and your guests an entire 24-hours to enjoy a shore excursion, a visit to the beach bar, and an evening restaurant on that island before heading toward the next. Once you have your most important island stops identified and mapped, you will have a rough idea of the best route you should take to see all your top BVI POI's.

Lastly, don’t be opposed to spontaneity! Feel free to adjust your route to stay in a location longer if you are really enjoying the sites, or the cocktails are especially great. Planning for two or three island stops each day can be done, but it means you are not able to stay and enjoy a spot as long or experience some potentially ‘unplanned’ adventures — just something to keep in mind.

TIP #3: BE ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE FLOW

Most guests arrive on Tortola, pick up their bareboat charter yacht and then plan their stops in a counter-clockwise direction around Tortola for the week. This is a good plan as it allows you to charter around the islands of the BVI in an organized sequence, maximizing time during your trip. Most charters travel at a comfortable cruising speed each day, and within 30 to 90 minutes, arrive at a new island.

"Pro tip: leave your mooring ball or dock in the morning after breakfast and travel to where you want to be for the next evening and spend the day there. This allows you to pick up a mooring ball for your yacht early, before many charter guests are cruising to the same spot."

Most charters wait until the afternoon to move islands and find a ball at a new location for the evening. However, if you get to an anchorage with your powercat and there are no mooring balls available it may be too late to find another spot. By leaving mid-morning, and cruising to where you want to be for the day and evening, you move against the crowds and can secure a mooring ball with less stress.  You'll be sipping cocktails while the others are fighting for that last mooring ball!

TIP #4: STAY FLEXIBLE

The most important thing to remember when planning any itinerary for a bareboat yacht charter in the BVI’s is that plans will change! The weather may not cooperate one day or a member of your yacht crew may have had one too many rum drinks the night before, and wake up later than normal. Regardless of the cause, be flexible and willing to adjust your plans as needed. No matter what happens, you are still on a yacht, you are still in the BVI and miles away from the stress and pressures of ‘real life.’ So sit back, relax and enjoy the journey; no matter where it does or doesn’t take you!

A yacht charter in the British Virgin Islands is an amazing and fun adventure. With line of sight navigation, the BVI’s are one of the leading yachting destinations in the world. Planning your first charter to the British Virgin Islands does not have to be an overwhelming experience; let’s recap:

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