This large private island in the Bahamas is on sale for $20 million -- and it was once home to parties for royals and celebs hosted by its cross-dressing oil heiress owner

7th Heaven PropertiesWhale Cay, The Bahamas.
  • A 711-acre private island in the Bahamas has gone on sale for $US20 million (£14.4 million)
  • The island, which has 12 miles of shoreline and features 13 white sandy beaches, was previously owned by Marion Barbara Carstairs.
  • Carstairs, an eccentric heiress turned speedboat racing champion, once entertained royalty and Hollywood A-listers at Whale Cay.

Whale Cay, a large private island in the Berry Islands, Bahamas, has come on the market for $US20 million (£14.4 million) – and it has a rather interesting past.

The island was bought by Marion Barbara “Joe” Carstairs, the daughter of an American heiress to the Standard Oil fortune and a British army captain, in 1934.

Carstairs, seen below, became a famous speed boat champion racer nicknamed the “fastest woman on water.”

Joe CairstairsGetty/Fox PhotosMarion Barbara ‘Joe’ Carstairs.

Robert Cooper, director of 7th Heaven Properties, told Business Insider that Carstairs “led a colourful life cross-dressing as a man and having affairs with high-profile women,” including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and the niece of Oscar Wilde.

According to the 7th Heaven Properties website, she then “retired to the island where she hosted guests including British royalty (the Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited several times) and stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age.”

Carstairs sold Whale Cay for $US1 million in 1975, according to Homes & Property.

The island is now accessible by boat, seaplane, or via a 4,000-foot paved airstrip.

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It has 12 miles of shoreline, and features 13 white sandy beaches stretching seven miles in total.

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The nearby island of Chub Cay is the main port of entry with customs, immigration, and a marina, as well as food, fuel, and supplies.

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The island is being marketed as a “rare” development opportunity, and has been divided into multiple residential lots with a two-phase plan for redevelopment.

In phase 1, the sale will include 75 of 155 lots in a subdivision on the southern section of the island, as a former owner sold on or retains ownership of the remaining 80. In phase 2, the sale will include all 60 lots in the northern section of the island.

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The offering also includes several historical buildings which were built by Carstairs between the 1930s and 1970s and have since fallen into disrepair.

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These include the “Great House,” guest cottage, music room, staff dormitory, storage buildings, a museum, laundry room, maintenance buildings, sea plane hangar, and a lighthouse.

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Located on the northern side of Whale Cay is a 2.5 mile natural waterway which, if dredged, could become a marina for boats.

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The listing on 7th Heaven Properties is courtesy of Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty.

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