Full steam ahead for Lady Musgrave jet boat plans
JOHN Clayton is pressing ahead with plans to launch a luxury jet boat service from Bundy to Lady Musgrave Island.
Mr Clayton is the long-time operator of Lady Musgrave Cruises, which was devastated in May 2016 when the Spirit of 1770 caught fire and sank near the island.
Despite still being embroiled in a battle with QBE over an insurance payout for the fire, he is ramping up plans for the Bundy service.
A $2.2 million pontoon is ready to be towed to the island, and Mr Clayton also plans to build a state-of-the-art 350-seat jet-powered boat to take passengers in comfort to the only coral island on the Great Barrier Reef with a navigable lagoon.
He said there was nowhere like Lady Musgrave not only in Australia but also the world, and that he had rights to the top diving spot in the lagoon.
Mr Clayton has long had plans for the service but his ambitions have been frustrated along the way.
But there's no stopping him now.
"I'm here for the long haul,” Mr Clayton said.
He said he also had the necessary approvals and permits in place.
Once the Bundy cruises are up and running, he said he would either run the operation in the long term or sell it.
Mr Clayton said the 35m boat he plans to build, due to its design and powerful engines, would take tourists to the island in total comfort.
The NewsMail last month reported on Mr Clayton's plans to launch a multi-million-dollar lawsuit for losses caused to his business and the towns of Seventeen Seventy and Agnes Water following the fire.
He's seeking $7 million in damages.
In February, Lady Musgrave Cruises began services from Seventeen Seventy to Lady Musgrave for the first time since the fire, albeit with a much smaller capacity.
Mr Clayton's daughter, Carolyn, who is running the Seventeen Seventy operations, said residents' response to the return of the cruises had been "overwhelming”.
Mr Clayton has another project on the go - he's building a jetty upstream of the marina at Seventeen Seventy to service the cruises.