"Escape the pandemic to paradise," Fijian government tells billionaires.
Google co-founder and surf enthusiast Larry Page, net worth $117 billion, is reported to be hunkered down in Fiji’s Mamanuca archipelago, switching between Tavarua and Namoutu islands, both of which he is rumoured to now own.
You’ll know Namotu from the Cloudbreak contests.
It’s smaller than Tavarua but cuter and with better joints to sleep in. It was also home, prior to the Page sale, to the twelve-shot cocktail, the Skulldragger, and hence very popular with Australians, Americans preferring the tennis courts and light beers of Tavarua.
Namotu’s former owner, Scotty O’Connor, a pro windsurfer from Sydney’s northern beaches picked up the island for $224,000 in 1994; the sale price, one suspects, was considerably more.
In a blog post last August, Italian sailor Lorenzo Cipriani wrote,
The government are promoting a campaign welcoming those who have a lot of money to spend and are awaiting the arrival of hundreds of luxury yachts, who according to the slogan wish to, ‘escape the pandemic to paradise’.
To give an example, Larry Page, the founder of Google, bought the island of Namotu (just a few miles in front of us), and arrived there by private jet to spend three months on vacation with 30 of his staff. Whilst they are here, some local suppliers and tourism service agencies will work almost exclusively for them – escapees from the pandemic who have landed in paradise.
Sources report that Page and his wife, the scientist Lucinda Southworth, have been seen surfing on “traditional and electronic surfboards” near the country’s islands, and that “he’s good at it, too.”