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Credit: Flickr user dornfeld
British Virgin Islands

Wild Times Await Aboard The Willy-T in the BVI’s

Wild Times Await Aboard The Willy-T in the BVI’s

With as many uncommon bars as I’ve happened upon and written about over my many travels throughout the Caribbean, you might find it hard to believe that to date I’ve somehow missed the floating den of iniquity that is The Willy-T.

Ski and/or body shots, super-strong rum cocktails, and nude leaps into the sea from the top deck are all apparently on order here in the calm, clear waters just off Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands seven days-a-week, 365 days-a-year (see some of the fun here). It’s your typical wild Caribbean bar scene set in a scene that’s anything but.

With all the craziness that goes down here, you might also find the bar’s namesake hard to believe. Before we delve into that story, though, a bit of history

The current Willy-T is actually the second such fun ship to call the BVI’s home. The original was an all-wooden Baltic Trader built in 1935 that was converted into a floating restaurant in the mid-1980’s. The party aboard that Willy-T ended in 1995 when it sank due a leak in the wooden hull.

A year later, a larger schooner with a steel hull replaced the first Willy-T, keeping the good times afloat to this day.

As for the name, the floating bar is meant to honor one of the BVI’s favorite sons, William Thornton.

Born on Jost Van Dyke in 1759, Thornton was a Jack of many useful trades – physician, painter, inventor. Most famously, though, he was a self-taught architect.

His greatest achievement: designing the U.S. Capitol Building.

The association between one of the Caribbean’s wildest watering holes and the seat of the legislative branch of the Federal Government may be a bit incongruous (or not), but either way this is a one bar we’ve just got to check out soon.

If you’ve ever partied at The Willy-T and have some tips or stories to tell, let us know…


*Lead photo credit: Flickr user dornfeld.

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  • sggill

    Aaaaa, leave your girlfriend at home..

  • Stephen A. Cenatiempo

    The Rum Punch is definitely the drink of choice on there! The “Family Album” sitting on the bar has some very interesting photos in it hahaha

  • Travel2theCaribbean

    My last visit 2 couples pulled up in a small boat, immediately took off their clothes and hit the water. I’ve heard lots of stories about Willy-T – and I love the no diving signs 🙂 Great stop for rum punch

  • Jeff Stewart

    Ahhh.. The Willy T.. I was aboard the original one in the early 90’s. Good times were had by all! I see from the comments the tradition continues on… I’m smiling.

  • Hey Steve. I own Dolphin Water Taxi in St Thomas. Let me know the next time you are in the islands, and we will fill up the 30-passenger boat and get you a free lift over to The Willy T so you can personally enjoy it.!!