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Island Broker Blog

THE place to stay while island shopping!

June 18th, 2011

The last year and a half has been beyond hectic. So hectic I haven’t kept up on my contacts and blog as I should but I’m proud to announce that Hatchet Caye Resort is completed and open for business! The island has been my second home for the last couple years. We’ve always felt that Hatchet Caye was in a unique location that gave it a tremendous advantage as a vacation destination. Located right next to the cut in the Belize Barrier Reef, called Gladden Spit, Hatchet is perfect for fishermen and divers. The world’s best dive locations are only a couple minutes away, shore diving from Hatchet is incredible, and it is simply the best fishing I’ve ever experienced in my life. It’s not uncommon for us to catch upwards of a hundred fish while bottom fishing and the big game fishing always has lots of action. Fishing tournaments are held right on Hatchet’s doorstep so it’s a perfect location for the participants to stay.

We’ve built the resort to accommodate large vessels with enough room for several yachts to tie up at the same time. Plus we have 4 heavy duty mooring balls just off shore that will safely hold the largest of vessels.

Hatchet Caye is right on top of the route that The Moorings, TMM, and Tradewinds use for their sailing charters. We are getting more and more day and evening visitors every week just from these folks alone!

Hatchet is designed to be the ultimate private island experience for those who want total relaxation while also experiencing some of the most exhilarating action sports offered anywhere! This is the one location in the Caribbean where you could wake up early and fly fish right from your own beach, then jump in a boat and do a scuba dive in the worlds most spectacular location, then come back for lunch and after relaxing a bit, head back out to do a second dive and when that’s done, go trawling for big game fish! Then head back to the island and jump in an ultralight and fly with our pilot over the reefs and islands seeing the most breathtaking views anyone has ever seen. There is only one place on earth where you can actually do this and it is at Hatchet Caye Resort in Belize.

Nothing says you must be active. Lounging at the water’s edge is perfect at Hatchet Caye Resort. Watch the dizzying array of bird and sea life right from the deck of your own cabana. Take a leisurely pedal boat ride from Hatchet to the Silk Cayes in the most comfortable pedal boats I’ve ever piloted. In the evenings, stroll out to the south pier. Turn on the actinic lights and watch thousands of fish come visit. The fish are attracted by the light and it’s a show not to be missed. Night snorkeling anyone? Sure!

Ever been in a Hovercraft? Hatchet has one ready to take you on one of the smoothest boat rides of your life. Our hovercraft holds up to 9 people and can reach speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour!

Have you ever sailed 1.6 times the wind speed? We have. Hatchet Caye has two Windrider Raves that raise up on hydrofoils to get the little trimarans up to speeds that are truly exhilarating. Hobie Cats? We have those too! Oh and Sea Kayaks? Yep, got those too. One of the craziest experiences a fisherman can have is to try to land a 20 pound snapper from a sea kayak! It kinda evens the odds for the fish!

The island is a model of green technology. Running totally on solar with generators used only as back up; it’s the most advanced resort in Belize. Not only do we make fresh water through desalination but we also have a rain water catchment system that is state of the art. It’s the best tasting water in the Country.

All waste is treated by methods well beyond the purest septic systems found in the States. The effluent is then used to water the flowers.

The resort has a maximum capacity of 22 guests living in air conditioned comfort. Each cabana has custom built furniture and even Wii gaming consoles!

Our Caribbean Island Broker clients will be given special access to Hatchet Caye Resort . It’s the perfect way to get a taste of what it would be like to have your own private island and Hatchet Caye’s location makes it a perfect base for island shopping in Southern Belize.

It’s so great to see an island dream come true. Come experience it for yourself.

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Categories: General, Island related businesses, island development

Your Island Vision

March 12th, 2009

Soaring palm trees, perfect white sand beaches surrounded by clear blue water loaded with coral and an abundance of wildlife. This vision, however, is sometimes outside the budget. But don’t let that stop you; we can help!

Our first contact with island shoppers is always exciting. Within a few conversations we usually find ourselves fully immersed in the client’s vision of their ideal island environment. It’s so cool!

The plans range from a personal estate to a mega resort system involving several islands. Oh, and we can’t forget the people wanting to start their own countries! Brilliant ideas like “Stonerland” or “Make-love-not-war-topia”. Uh, yeah… give it up. The point is, everyone’s idea is so personal that it’s impossible to make blanket statements about which island is best. It’s just not that simple.

It’s during this stage that we get some important information. The initial questions we ask are easy: Why do you want to buy an island? Where are you looking? What do you intend to do with it? What’s your budget?

The answers to these initial questions will narrow down the search considerably. From there we can get down to the real details. How far from the mainland? How often will you be there? What features of an island are most important to you? Snorkeling? Easy access to the mainland? Close to the cruise ships? Total isolation? Etc…

There are no wrong answers to these questions and most people have some very specific features they feel are most important. While one client might think an island must be isolated to be truly exclusive and private, the next will feel comfort in having neighbors nearby for those times when they need to borrow a cup of sugar!

We’ve found that very few people end up buying the island they originally focused on when their search began. The reason is simple, yet difficult to grasp until you are there on site; the most beautiful island today may not be the right island for the project. Once all aspects of development are carefully considered, it may be better to start with an island you had previously eliminated.

Some aspects of an island you simply can’t change; like its proximity to a particular reef or mainland town or the quality of snorkeling just off shore. But the land itself can always be improved. The degree of change is just a question of budget and time frame.

Often times an island in need of filling and landscaping can be a much better long-term investment, than just buying the prettiest island today. So we’ll always try to help you focus on the vision of the project and then match the island to this vision.

Our next installment will cover the suitability of the island and over the next several weeks, all the topics below.

  • Suitability of the island. Can it support the project?
  • Timing and budget and return on investment.
  • Obtaining permits
  • Filling methods; what is sand?
  • Dredging
  • Drag Line
  • Small scale dredge and trash pumps
  • Hand filling
  • Excavating the island’s own material
  • Barging in sand
  • Rocks, tubes, and other natural sand gatherers
  • Landscaping
  • Sea walls

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Categories: island development

Raising the elevation of islands

March 8th, 2009

Nearly every island we have listed needs at least a small amount of filling. As a result, filling an island with sand to raise its elevation is one of our most frequent topics of conversation with our clients.  Even the higher elevation islands can benefit from filling to aid in proper drainage and discourage the ponding of rainwater.

To cover all the details, I’ll need to do this in several postings. I’ll insert a link in each post so if the subject interests you, you will easily find the other postings on the subject.

Filling an island can be completed in various ways.  Each technique has its pro and cons so the ideal method will vary depending on the island, the budget, timeframe, and the long term goals of the project.

If an island is located in an environmentally sensitive area such as a marine reserve, then this must also be taken into account. On some occasions, this means the sea floor must not be disturbed at all.

We’ve met lots of island owners and potential island owners. I have yet to meet one that doesn’t love the environment surrounding a tropical island. Each and every one of them wants to accomplish their goals with the lightest footprint possible on the surrounding environment both above and below the water. With some planning, an effective approach to filling will be found for each situation.

With this in mind, I’ll discuss several critical stages of the filling process and the different approaches available to the island owner.

The topics will be:

  • Your island vision.
  • Suitability of the island. Can it support the project?
  • Timing and budget and return on investment.
  • Obtaining permits
  • Filling methods; what is sand?
  • Dredging
  • Drag Line
  • Small scale dredge and trash pumps
  • Hand filling
  • Excavating the island’s own material
  • Barging in sand
  • Rocks, tubes, and other natural sand gatherers
  • Landscaping
  • Sea walls

As you can see there is far too much detail to put this into one post. I’ll cover each topic as time permits so please check back often or subscribe to the RSS feed to receive the next post as it’s uploaded!

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Categories: island development

Incredibly quick progress on Little Pete!

August 28th, 2008

The other day we visited Little Peter Caye to check on the new owner’s progress in development. I knew the new owners were contractors and they told me from the beginning that they wouldn’t waste time on their project. They were eager to get going.

It’s not that I didn’t believe them, because I did. But I was still shocked! These guys kicked butt!

During the escrow process the buyers hired Carlton Young, Owner of Young’s Engineering Consultancy in Belize City to give an opinion of the island’s feasibility for building. After a few tests, the island was given a clean bill of health and the sale closed.Probe Test

Carlton is a terrific civil and structural engineer that knows his stuff on island property. We highly recommend him for your due diligence period investigations of soil and building feasibility.

Once the sale closed, the new owners of Little Peter didn’t waste any time getting to work. Permits were immediately applied for and then the project hit the ground running!

It’s important to note that this is a personal estate project among a group of close friends. It will be completed at their leisure with no real timeframe attached. So work may progress quickly, then stop for a few months, then start back up again.

Even though I knew they were serious about getting started, I was still blown away by the progress made in just a shade over 2 weeks. The quality was top notch, easily some of the best I’ve ever seen on any island.Little Pete\'s pier

The initial project was to get a caretaker house and pier built. Since this was a new undertaking by seasoned contractors, they knew what they wanted to achieve but still had to learn the secrets of where to get the best pricing on quality components and then getting them out to the island. This was no small task.

Ultimately, supplies were purchased in Belmopan and loaded onto an 18 wheeler for transportation to Sittee River where they were then loaded onto several small skiffs for the 8 mile journey to the island. This of course took many trips back and forth to get it all out there.Little Peter Pier

The crew camped out on the island while building and worked continuously until the pier and house were near completion. The long term plans call for a big palapa on the end of the pier which will add quite a few feet to the length of the structure. But for now the goal was to get the majority of the pier built and the caretaker’s house dried in.Caretakers house at the end of the pier

Keep in mind we were there during a “work-in-progress” so there were still small details needing completion. A couple weeks after these pictures were taken the owners came back down and installed the plumbing, electrical, and septic system in the house so it’s fully habitable and environmentally sound. I’ll get those pictures during my next trip!Backside of the caretakers house on Little Peter

Getting this much accomplished would be a truly remarkable achievement in the US with plenty of Home Depots to supply whatever you need. But imagine doing it on an island in a small foreign country, 8 miles off shore, without a barge, in 15 days!! It’s just amazing.

I expect Little Peter will be a frequent stop for us to show our clients how it can be done and that it really isn’t as hard as it seems.

The good news is these owners are interested in helping their new neighbors accomplish the same thing. So preparations are underway to offer construction services for our clients. Since we’re all neighbors here, we might as well work together to get the highest quality work for the best price we can.

Being from Texas, they understand the high expectations of foreign buyers because they have the same concerns. So if you would like a referral to some great people with amazing construction management abilities, let me know and I’ll gladly make the introduction.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress. We might even get some videos of this one. The owners said they’re video documenting everything along the way.

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Categories: General, island development