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The William Thornton
Floating Bar & Restaurant
Norman Island, BVI

One of the more popular anchorages in the British Virgin Islands is The Bight at Norman Island. The Willy T floating bar and restaurant can likely take credit for at least some of the popularity of this truly excellent anchorage.

Established in June, 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.

The original (wooden) Willy T was a 1935, Baltic Trader. After a little more than 10 years of restaurant service, she sprang a leak in the middle of the night one evening. The bilge pumps weren't able to keep up with the volume of water and the William Thornton sank on June 11, 1995 on her mooring at Norman Island.

William Thornton Floating Bar and Restaurant - Norman Island
The Willy T - Norman Island

She was subsequently raised, hauled out to sea and sunk again in the hopes of making a new BVI dive site. Unfortunately, sea and weather conditions quickly tore her apart and sadly, there is nothing left of the old William Thornton today.

The Restaurant

You can never keep a good man down, so Mick and Ewan jumped on a plane for Florida to find a replacement. The new (steel hulled) Willy T was soon swinging on her mooring and open for business by January 6th, 1996! She is as popular today as her predecessor was 20 years ago!

There is always a big lunch crowd at the William Thornton and things really start "jumping" in the afternoon!

The Bar
The Bar

Once upon a time (and prior to an accident at the restaurant in early 2006 which put an end to the practice), folks of all ages would enjoy jumping off the poop deck atop the bar area. Some of the young ladies took up the offer of a free, William Thornton T-shirt if they jumped naked, which would always draw a crowd of enthusiastic supporters! However, its still a jumping place and fun for all ages.

jumping off the Willy T
Willy T's poop deck used to serve as a dive platform for the young at heart!

Ski shots and body shots heat up the bar area a little later in the day. It can get pretty rowdy at times but fun is had by all. If you'd prefer something a little more tame than the Willy T, visit Pirate's Bar & Restaurant located in the south east corner of The Bight.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

The Caves | The Bight | Map of Norman Island
Pictures of the BVI | British Virgin Islands Information

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Launched: January 10, 2006 - Last Updated: January 27, 2014