Texas-born owner Carl Allen knows how to squeeze every last drop out of his fleet. He is the proud owner of the Westport 164 Gigi (named after his wife, pictured with him) and the Damen support vessel Axis. The souped-up Axis carries a Triton 3300 submarine, a foldable-wing amphibious plane, two flats boats, a dive shop, a 39-foot tender, and much more. Allen pursues many of his passions through his fleet, including fishing, salvage diving, and exploring in one of the world’s most picture-perfect settings: The Bahamas.
Uniquely among owners, however, Allen has taken his deep love for this part of the world one step further. Currently, he is restoring the northernmost Bahamian island Walker’s Cay. It remains closed since 2005, following two consecutive devastating hurricanes. Here, Allen explains his plans for transforming Walker’s Cay into a superyacht hotspot and his aims for expanding his fleet.
MegayachtNews.com: How has life been for you and your fleet over the past year?
Carl Allen: It’s been a blessing in disguise. We were able to get my family to safety when things got really bad and focus on our work rebuilding the island. The problem in The Bahamas was not the pandemic itself, as the Prime Minister has done an incredible job at controlling the virus. But, it has absolutely chilled the economy here because 80 percent of the GNP is tourism, and that disappeared overnight,
Walker’s Cay will be important for the economy because I am going to need workers from all corners—from fishermen, to managers, to chefs and musicians. I anticipate six to seven businesses starting up. The gateway has been dormant for 20 years, and it’s reopening. I’ve been told by many people that it is the brightest spot in The Bahamas right now.
MegayachtNews.com: What is the timetable for reopening Walker’s Cay?
Carl Allen: Because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and the pandemic, the works are about two years behind. Our first event will be a big marlin fishing tournament later this month on Memorial Day. We have over 200 boats on the waiting list! The good news is that the marina will be completed in about two weeks, and we will have about 90 slips. I will have space for about 50 center console boats, but we should also be able to accommodate up to eight superyachts as big as 200 feet. We are hoping to be able to open some guest rooms sometime next spring. We’ve got a master plan for 26 little villas, as well as a bigger lodge and lots more.
MegayachtNews.com: How important is it for you that Walker’s Cay is a sustainable project?
Carl Allen: My background is the trash business, so I know all about ‘reduce, reuse and recycle.’ We aim to have zero waste coming off the island and will be using liquefied natural gas instead of diesel, which reduces emissions by around 80 percent. A lot of thought has gone into our environmental impact, asking ourselves, ‘How do we rebuild this island that has been sitting here in its natural condition for 20 years?’ The reef around us is one of the most robust, healthy reefs, not only in The Bahamas, but in the world, and we intend to keep it that way.
MegayachtNews.com: Have you made any historically significant discoveries through your salvage diving?
Carl Allen: Over the years, we have found remains from ships dating between the 1500s and 1800s. We believe we may even have stumbled upon a slave ship, which is obviously very important historically to The Bahamas. We found a belt buckle with the name Constable Mauritius on it, which dates it to the mid-1800s as a British ship, and we found half of a shackle along with it.
MegayachtNews.com: What are your future plans for your fleet?
Carl Allen: Once we’ve got Walker’s Cay open, my wife and I have a dream of going around the world, but I’m going to need to redo my fleet first. I am very interested in the new Westport 172. I’d like to combine the qualities of Gigi and Axis into one of these new super boats: something that could reach both poles and circumnavigate the world as a true expedition yacht.
Walker’s Cay walkerscay.com
Carl and Gigi are such very special people. They care about the environment as well as all people on the planet…We are lucky to have them in our world.
My folks when I was 10 we went to walkers 3-4 times a year. We fished hard and then dad had a couple of planes and then we would fly over and keep the boat at the marina. Pop was in the trash business here in Atlanta. Very excited for Mr Allen. I would love to work for the man.
john Terrell johnson
I like to see the progress in the rebuild. I’ve only been to walkers twwice in the early 90,s IT WAS GREAT TIME
Will there be any fly fishing opportunities on Walkers like there was back in 2001
John W. Jolley
The historic and venerable West Palm Beach Fishing Club and its 1400 members are excited about Carl Allen’s redevelopment of Walkers Cay, and we wish all the best in bringing it back. We will be looking forward to returning and supporting this wonderful and historic site when it is finished.
John W. Jolley
This was one of the world’s greatest recreational fishing venues!
William E Blankenship
I have been in construction for 35 years. I would absolutely love the opportunity to go there and help build the most beautiful resort and stay to help maintain it as my semi retirement plan and invest into it from my earnings.
Richard Crose Sr.
Mr. Allen would love to work for you Walker’s Cay. I live just north of Palm Beach was a carpenter heavy equipment operator and love fishing and boating. I’m older now but still love the outdoors specially saltwater fish. If someone in your business could use a helping hand please give me a call 772 324 1330
Hello is there any opportunities for chef like me to open a restaurant on Walkers cay. Mommy Bahamian chef and international chef. [email protected].
Hi Carl I just want to take a moment I take you for reviving Walkers Cay. My wife and I traveled to Walkers in 90’s and fished with Billy Black on the old Duchess, with his mate Craig. I live in Baltimore on the Chesapeake Bay. I just want to thank you again for doing what your doing. We will visit Walkers in the near future.
We have a house on Hopetown. would love to visit walker’s cay and see the amazing job you and your wife have done to the island.
My wife and I stayed and fished at Walkers Cay many years ago. As a former charter capt and offshore canyon fisherman I just want wish you success in bringing it back to its past reputation as a great fishing location. [email protected].
I was commissioned by Walkers in the mid 1980’s. as computer technician. I maintained the Hotel’s computers. From NYC. I loved it.
Dear Carl ,
My name is Tom Halik and I’m a chef and entrepreneur interested in the project at Walkers . Please call me at your earliest occasion to discuss the culinary opportunity on the island , as I am positioned to relocate and take on one last venture . My children are grown and my marriage has grown tired , I loved the island from premiera vista, as jimmy would say . My dog and I would cherish the opportunity ! Besides, I love to fish, and have very few needs .
Very best ,
hey carl jock from picayune ms
spent a week in walkers cay love to fishI’m 87 best week ever caught a blue marlin and released it