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Friday, March 1, 2013

Wild & Wooly Willy T’s

Approaching The Willy T's floating bar / restaurant, at
The Bight, Norman Island BVI.

Regarding etiquette, BVI Newbie notes “people here… frown upon beach attire at any place other than the beach.  And even then, it’s best to cover up if walking into a bar or restaurant.  The Willy T is the only bar/restaurant where the opposite holds true – tops are discouraged for all patrons.”

For Wayne’s sake, Willy T’s provided enough inspiration to enthusiastically include Norman island in our British Virgin Island (BVI) meanderings. 

We sailed into The Bight of Norman Island, a bustling bay with the family-friendly feel of a summer camp, chock full of charter boaters.  We managed to find free anchorage amidst the mooring ball studded bay, between notorious Willy T, and Pirate’s Bight Beach Bar & Grill.

Willy T’s full name is The William Thornton, after the BVI-born doctor, architect, inventor and fervent abolotionist. Thornton’s design was used for the United States Capitol Building, from plans first submitted in 1792.

Peeking into Willy T’s.  The action happens on the rear upper deck.
Willy T is a not just a restaurant/bar, it’s aloat, a converted schooner, wickedly inviting in a seeding-looking way.  As dusk falls, overloaded dinghies and cabin cruisers swarm Willy T’s floating dock. Families flock to the lower restaurant portion of the schooner, lunching and supping on burgers and fries and other typical pub food.  Step up, and enter Willy T’s adult alter ego, the bar, where Painkillers and other alcoholic libations fuel the raucous, anything-goes crowd.

We dinghied up early enough to tie off without of a problem.  We ordered our first-ever Painkillers, an “adult shake.”  We’d gotten “You gotta try ‘em!” rave reviews about Painkillers,  from friends who formerly chartered in the BVI.  More about Painkillers in a future post.

We watched a couple groups of five line up together in a synchronized swoop and snap, to slug down shots simultaneously from “the sled,” a small waterski slotted to hold five shot glasses.  Willy T’s is also known for “body shots” and whipped cream escapades, which we did not see “live” that night, but did via the revolving slide show of prior patron’s snapshots (iCloud photos at Willy T’s website).  The Rum Connection did a great Willy T’s write-up with photos that are easier to access (click here to see).  If you still can’t get enough, click here for Coastal Tanlines YouTube video nude diving off Willy T’s.

Saw this sign at Da Loose Mongoose at Tortola’s
Trellis Bay, but it would be more apt for Willy Ts.
Or so we hear.
We did see several big-haired blond gals wearing one and two-piece bikinis were gaily bopping to the beat, as were a number of scantily clad teen to twenty-somethings.  There was one guy who joined the melee with his lady friend, looking to dot his i’s and cross his t’s to ensure the completion of his intimate dance afterward.

Thanks to a little liquid courage (not too much, Mom!  honest!), Wayne and I joined in… and suddenly found ourselves dancing alone!  No it wasn’t our stellar dancing or even what we took off.  A cabin cruiser’s departure swept away the other dancers, who must’ve had places to go and people to see.  The night was, after all, still young.

Many of the dancers also wore spaghetti-strapped white t-shirts with a teeny, tiny Willy T’s logo.  We heard a rumor Willy T’s gave them to patrons for free for dancing naked or diving off the boat naked.  I confess; I did bring a change of clothes and a towel, just in case.  But the bartenders were too busy to ask, and it was too cool and dark a night with too many drunk dinghiers abounding. I wimped without further exploration.  At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

For a pair of $5 Painkillers, some amusing entertainment and our own dirty dancing, we considered Willy T’s a date worth doing -- our small step on the wild side of Norman Island.