Johnny Coconut turned Palm Island into paradise

Palm Island 1

Palm Island is a small island one mile from Union Island and within its 135 acres it has five beaches. You can only get here by boat and you are welcome even if you are not staying on the island, but you are restricted to the beach, restaurant, and bar area. Of course most people are more than happy to spend an entire day in this paradise even with these restrictions.

Originally known as Prune Island, Palm Island got its current name when the former owners, John Caldwell (“Johnny Coconut” as in Johnny Appleseed) and his wife Mary, planted hundreds of coconut palms, transforming the deserted, swampy, and mosquito infested island into a palm covered one. Its grass airstrip was sacrificed to the planting of more palms following the construction of an airstrip on Union Island. The circular air traffic control building remains although it is now used as a nursery for young palms.

Palm Island is the home of Palm Island Resort and Spa, with 40 rooms and suites and several private villas. There are two restaurants (the Royal Palm Restaurant and the Sunset Grill) and two bars, a spa, swimming pool, gym, library, tennis court, table tennis room and TV/Internet Room plus other facilities for guests.

The island itself is now a haven for wildlife and during 2015, 125 land turtles were introduced to replace the small population that was washed away by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Although not indigenous, the vegetation is akin to Union Island where the turtles are from and they are released as soon as they grow past the size where they would be prey to the native land iguanas.

Other wildlife seen on Palm Island are geckos, lizards, hermit crabs, and land crabs. sea turtles are reputed to come ashore to lay eggs but rare tracks are usually the only indication that they have visited. The island also provides habitation for pigeons and doves, common blackbird, tropical mockingbird, sandpipers, bananaquit, blue and crowned herons, and hummingbirds. The skies above are populated by osprey, gulls, and frigate birds.

Palm Island 2

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