From Drug Trade to Disney, this island runway has a story.
In the 1700's Gorda Cay was used by Pirates. Perhaps beneath the sands or tree groves of this 1,000 acre island, secrets remain from their time.
Then, in the 1960's businessman Alvin Tucker saw investment potential for this little island. He bought approximately 150 acres and set about clearing a portion for a runway. This runway.
A deserted island, just miles from Nassau, with a runway became a handy stop for drug runners moving their product into Florida. Tucker was unable to curtail their activities and the land was essentially sold off.
Fastforward to 1997, Disney purchased a 99 year lease from the Bahamian government for the entire island and spent nearly $25 million outiffting it as a Cruise stop for their Caribbean cruises. Rebranded as Castaway Cay, today an abandoned plane still sits on this runway as a reminder of its seedy past. Instead of planeloads of cocaine, the runway ferries tramloads of adults to a 18 or older beach area known as Serenity Bay on this part of the island.
Riding on the back of that tram I looked down to see the runway markings and caught several images of the area. At the time, I thought it was your typical clever Disney construction. "Oh,it looks like an old runway - how clever." Turns out after some research, it was legit. A real runway used for all of the purposes that you could imagine for a runway on a deserted island in the Bahamas..