8 March, 2013, Normans Cay, Exumas, The Bahamas
Norman's Cay once served as the headquarters for Carlos Lehder's drug smuggling operations from 1978 to 1982. Lehder was part of the Medellin Cartel, allegedly associated with Fidel Castro, Manuel Noriego and Robert Vasco. He constructed a 3,300 ft long runway on Norman's Cay for his fleet of aircraft to transport loads of cocaine to Florida and South Georgia, USA. The DC 3 plane in the above picture was carrying a load of turf to bring to the island and was practicing a 'touch and go' manoeuvre to simulate taking off with a load of cocaine but due to misjudgement, he crashed at the southern end of the cay in the shallow waters. There was so much money passing through their operations back then that Lehder apparently just shrugged his shoulders and ordered another plane. The island became a haven for partying and debauchery and an associate of Lehder's remembers being met by Land Rovers driven by naked women. The Bahamian Government turned a blind eye for a number of years so Lehder and his mates made their own rules; drugs, sex and no police.
Years ago we watched a movie called Blow starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz about these activities so we must see if we can watch it again as we had no idea we'd ever see Norman's Cay in person. Maynard is over there right now trying to find any Land Rovers. Lehder was finally apprehended during a raid and was convicted and sentenced to life without parole plus 135 years. He sure had a good eye for a beautiful place to run his business.