St. John Strong

It’s time to come back!

1/22/18 – 9:00 am – It looks like Jet Blue will be adding a 2nd daily flight from San Juan in to St Thomas beginning on February 15th.  This is good news!  The airlines currently flying in to St Thomas are:  Delta – 1 flight daily, American – 2 flights daily, Spirit – they have Wednesday and Saturday schedules now- starting February 16th they will add Monday and Friday schedules, United is only offering flights to San Juan and then you can take Cape Air or Seabourne from San Juan to St Thomas.

And for those wondering about the National Park because of the government shutdown – our beaches are OPEN!

Are you tired of the snow and cold?  If you are – call 800 338-0987 or email us – info@caribbeanvilla.com to make your reservation now!  Come enjoy the beauty of St John and be part of our amazing community and island!!

1/17/18 – 3:00 pm –  Some good news to share!  For all of those that love Longboard Restaurant, they have officially reopened!  I have not been lucky enough to eat there yet but I heard the food is fabulous!  Plus everything they did in helping feed the community right after the hurricane was amazing!  When I think about how so many people and businesses gave of themselves to help others,  it truly brings tears to my eyes.  Thank you!

There is a new store open at Mongoose Junction – Lulee – they are located by the Sun Dog Cafe!  You can do some shopping before or after lunch or drinks!!  LuLee was located at the Marketplace Complex but recently moved to Mongoose!  They have beautiful clothing and accessories!  Stop in today and treat yourself to something new!

For Internet, Cable TV and Land Lines – we have been trying to keep up to date with Viya, the company that provides these services on the island.  They are bringing in additional crews and trucks to help with the restoration.  On each of the islands they are breaking up the work in to 4 phases.  On St John,  it looks like Cruz Bay and heading out the Centerline Road to Pastory they are in phase 3.  From Contant point out to Boatman’s Point and up part of the Gift Hill area they are in phase 2.  From Rendezvous Bay/Klein Bay, North Shore and further out on the Centerline Road they are in phase 1.  Pretty much – it is all work in progress with the Cruz Bay region being the furthest along to being up and running!

We know it is frustrating to think you will not have these services when vacationing, but look at this as an opportunity to unplug and just enjoy the sights and sounds of our beautiful island.  You can pretend you are back in the time before there were cell phones and internet.  I know some will never of had this experience but instead of looking at your phone or watching TV – look up and out to the beautiful turquoise waters.  Try something new like kayaking or paddle boarding.  Go out on a boat excursion – there is nothing like being out on the water in the Caribbean!  Go for a hike – there are plenty of trails open!  Let this be a new experience for all!!

1/11/18 – 9:00 am – For all those who know about Josephine’s Greens, Starfish Market received their first delivery from her on Monday so you can now buy her salad greens at the store!  Supplies are limited as they are still rebuilding!   For those of you who have not heard of her, Josephine and her husband are local residents on the island.  The began farming on the island 27 years ago and the majority of restaurants on the island used her greens for their salads.  Hurricane Irma and Maria destroyed their retail center and fencing around their gardens.  After the hurricane they had volunteers who helped with the cleanup at the farm but they could not start replanting until power was restored.  On Christmas Eve, power was restored and on Christmas Day, they started replanting.  Their retail center and gardens are still work in progress but they are staying positive and are determined about moving forward!  Josephine and her husband are the perfect example of the resilience of all the island residents.    When you are vacationing on St John, look for her salad greens in the grocery stores and if you are out to dinner, check the menus to see if there is a salad using her greens.  Everyone from Caribbean Villas of St John has enjoyed many salads that used her salad greens and they were delicious!!

1/8/18 – 9:00 am – We have some updates on additional power in the Coral Bay region.  The linemen were out at far as Haulover which is great news.  They are that much closer to the East End being powered up!!

In Coral Bay we heard Aqua Bistro Restaurant will be opening in the next few weeks!  I have enjoyed several lunches and dinners at this restaurant and am very excited it will be reopening!  In Cruz Bay – Wharfside Village had quite a bit of damage.  They are in the process of making repairs.  We have heard the Beach Bar and Joe’s Rum Hut are making repairs and hope to open by March 1st.  From what we hear High Tide is also working towards reopening but there isn’t an estimate on when this will happen.   Long Boards will be reopening this coming Friday, Jan. 12th. They will have a new menu!  If you are on island be sure to go enjoy a delicious meal!!

We would love you to share your favorite restaurants, beaches, snorkeling spots on our Facebook page!  A guests first hand experience is always welcomed and appreciated!!

1/5/18 – 9:00 am – For everyone on the Eastern Seaboard we hope you have successfully ‘dugout’ from all the snow.  Our sales staff in Maine are back in the office today and bracing for the frigid cold to return.  All are wishing they were on St John right now!   If you feel the same way and are tired of the snow and cold, it’s time to make your reservation and come to St John.  It is a balmy 81+ degrees on island – the sun, sand, restaurants, shops, grocery stores, gas stations, boat charter companies are all awaiting your return!!

A great way to explore the island is by taking an island tour.  We recommend contacting, Jenn from “News of St John“, she knows the island well and offers a fantastic tour.  The tour is about 5 hours long and she works with you on what you want to see and do!  You decide the starting time and she will pick you up and you will be on your way!  Reserve your tour with her now!  You may email her – jenn@newsofstjohn.com or call/text her – 203 376-3786.

1/2/18 – 10:00 am – Happy New Year Everyone!  We hope 2018 is a great year for everyone!   We have a lot of guests asking about which homes are available for rental.  Our online calendars are up to date.  If you have any questions on our homes, please call or email us – 800 338-0987 or email us – info@caribbeanvilla.com

12/26/17 – 3:00 pm – Another restaurant in Cruz Bay has opened – The Terrace!  I have enjoyed several wonderful meals at this restaurant.  The food is fabulous!  You can sit outside on the ‘terrace’ or if you prefer air-conditioning they have tables inside.  Both are great spots to enjoy a delicious dinner out!!

We want to give a huge “Thank you” to Wapa and all the linemen from MO who have worked tirelessly to get power back up and running on St John.  A few months back they said 90% of the islands power would be restored by the Christmas holiday and they met their goal!  They are still working to restore power in some areas but this is such a major accomplishment!!

12/22/17 – 11:00 am – We want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday!  What is going to be your favorite present this year?  Mine is knowing our beautiful island of St. John is coming back to life and being able to witness first hand the outpouring love and support from so many.

12/21/17 – 10:00 am – Another restaurant has opened in Cruz Bay – Ocean 362!  This restaurant is located at Gallows Point.  It is such a beautiful setting!  There is nothing like enjoying a delicious meal, staring out at the views and being lulled by the warm tropical breezes.

Today is the  first official day of winter — for those of you in cold weather….sit back, relax, close your eyes and envision yourself being there or better yet, maybe it is time to think about making your vacation plans to come to St John.  If you don’t like the hustle and bustle of In Season travel, this coming winter will be quieter on the island, so it could be the perfect time to get away!

Internet, phone and cable is pretty much non-existent on the island right now.  Viya is working to get these amenities back up and running.  Originally in October, Viya had reported these services would be about a week behind power but when they started the repairs they found more damage than was originally expected.  Currently, the Market Place Complex in Cruz Bay has phones, internet and cable.  Viya will be working on the Mongoose Junction and Lind Point area next, with other areas on the island to follow.   (For internet there are hot spots in Cruz Bay.)

12/13/17 – 10:00 am – Maho Beach is officially OPEN!  Are there some changes at this beach, yes,  the structures that were damaged  have been removed.  They are building a platform/barrier around the restrooms now.  The parking lot across the street from Maho has been cleared.  The NPS had divers in the water to check and remove debris.  They have inspected the buoys used for the moorings.  Some have been flagged for additional work to be done on them.   It sounds like the NPS will be working on Francis Bay beach next!  The NPS is doing an amazing job cleaning up our beautiful park!

12/11/17 – 3:00 pm – We have guests asking about hiring a chef when they are on island.  If you have never had a chef come to your vacation villa, it is truly an amazing experience!  The food, the presentation, the service is outstanding!  I have had St John Catering prepare a scrumptious dinner one time.  The filet mignon they prepared melted in your mouth!  It’s making my mouth water now just thinking about it!  They are back up and running so if you are interested in hiring a chef, definitely reach out to them.  The best way to contact them is by email.  office@stjohncatering.com 

Another fabulous chef is Julie from East West Catering.  We just heard from her and she is back up and running.  I do not have first hand experience with her, but our guests have hired her and she is wonderful!  Her email address is zenchefs@eastwestcatering.com

12/11/17 – 11:00 am –  We recently had a guest who traveled to St John, they arrived on November 29th and departed on December 7th.  The original home they were to stay in did sustain damage and we moved them, with their approval to Bombalassy.  Right up until the last minute we were updating them about the power situation, with a back up plan in place, just in case.  However, the linemen worked their magic and power was restored at Bombalassy, just in time.  We have been in contact with the guest and they gave us permission to share their experience on the island.

“Hello Kris,
Let me start-off by thanking you, Diane, Curtis & Myrtle Penn for going the extra mile to provide me with a first-class experience on St. John, 11/29/17-12/7/17. I have always been impressed with the properties, level of service and ease of planning/booking with Caribbean Villas, you have never disappointed me. My latest trip was no exception.
Despite being pummeled by hurricane Irma only 3 months earlier, the villa I rented (Bombalassy) was in tip-top shape, as if nothing ever happened. I am amazed by this. I had mixed feelings about taking my “pleasure” trip to St. John so soon after she experienced such devastation and hardship. But Curtis and Myrtle assured me the time was right to begin bringing the tourists back. They were correct. Local folks were warm and welcoming. Everything I needed was available in the Cruz Bay area: drinking water, food markets, electricity, gasoline, cell service… even satellite TV. Restaurants and shops were reopening. The beaches and weather were exquisite, as usual! Island recovery was at the point where I feel my presence didn’t take away from those still suffering. I had a wonderful trip!
My favorite place in the world has taken a beating and is bruised, but she and her people are as beautiful and inviting as ever. Thank you for making this happen for me, I will be back again as soon as possible. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year!”

We wanted to share this guest’s experience with you, to let you know, the island is ready for you to come back. Our guest could not have said it any better – “My favorite place in the world has taken a beating and is bruised, but she and her people are as beautiful and inviting as ever”

We have had guests asking about doctors and the clinic on St John. The Clinic has moved in to Cruz Bay and it is now located by the dock. The Doctor’s rotate their schedule and their names are – Dr. Elizabeth Barat and Dr Joseph DeJames. There is also a Doctor’s office at the Market Place Complex – Heath Care Connections.

Skinny Leg’s and Pizzabar in Paradise, both located in Coral Bay have POWER!

12/8/17 – 6:00 pm – Indigo Restaurant in Coral Bay has POWER!! We are ecstatic!   This is such a positive step forward!  When you are on island next be sure to go to Indigo and have their appetizer “tater tots”! They are so good!  My favorite were the garlic and parmesan cheese tater tots.  I went back 2 nights in a row just for them!

Salomon Bay beach is recovering nicely!  Right after the hurricanes, this beach was all pebble.  As predicted, the pebbles are disappearing with each passing tide and rain storm.  The beach is returning to the beautiful sand beach it was before.

12/8/17 – 11:00 am – Have you missed checking the webcam from St John Spice?  We certainly have!!  We are so excited to be able to tell you their webcam is back up and running!  If you have been dreaming about returning to St John, shopping at St John Spice and just seeing the beautiful Caribbean blue waters and sunshine…check on the webcam now!!  You can also do some online Christmas shopping from their store!!

When you look at the webcam you can also see the boats that had washed up by the ferry terminal have been removed!  This is just another step forward for our beautiful island of St John!

12/7/17 – 12 noon – A lot of our guests may already read this online blog but for those who do not, I thought I would share the link.  News of St. John is a blog about what is taking place on St John.  Prior to the hurricanes, it was a great place to find out what was ‘happening’ on the island.  Since the hurricanes, she has shared her opinion on the islands recovery.  Today, she posted “it is time for visitors to come back to the island”.  She shared some great information about the beaches, restaurants, airlines, ferry schedules etc. Some of this information we, Caribbean Villas have mentioned in our updates but I thought reading this information from another source could be helpful and informative.

  • Morning ‘hikers’ along the
    north shore. Oreo, the
    baby donkey is the
    newest resident on the
    island! Isn’t he adorable!
    Makes me want to go
    to the island just to see
    him!

  • Francis Bay Beach. Don’t you wish you were here, walking along the shoreline! The National Park Service will be working at this beach shortly to clear the debris which can be seen on the far left in the photo! The debris still does not detract from the absolute beauty of this beach!

  • Such a welcome ‘sign’! Pink Papaya and Lime Inn Restaurant are open!

  • There is still a pot of gold
    at the end of this rainbow!

  • Even after all that has
    happened on the island,
    the sunsets are still
    breathtaking!

  • Looking down at Trunk Bay from the overlook. The beach is still beautiful and inviting! Each day the vegetation becomes more green. It’s time to put your toes in the sand, go swimming and snorkeling and just relax!

  • Have you been wondering what Coral Bay looks like? This photo was taken on November 30th from One Particular Harbour – one of our beautiful rental villas!

12/4/17 – 11:00 am – More positive news coming in from the island.  Cinnamon Bay beach has been officially opened.  There are parts of the campground and archaeology site roped off due to damage.   The campground is closed and they currently do not know when they will reopen but the beach is there waiting for visitors to return.  Maho beach water has been tested and has been cleared for swimming.  The repairs to the vegetation along the beach will take some more time.  They have not removed a lot of the debris as it helps protect the road from storm surge.  There is talk about moving the road by Maho more inland which would help protect this road from future storm surges.

Wapa update:  Crews are continuing to work on the island.  Power has been restored to Chocolate Hole, Fish Bay, Gift Hill, Pocket Money Hill,  some in Rendezvous Bay and Reef Bay.  There are some homes in these neighborhoods not yet powered up but it is expected to happen very soon.  The crews are continuing work in Coral Bay and Bordeaux Mountain.  The Governor is committed to getting power back to all the territories in the USVI.  There are an additional 100 linemen arriving this week to assist.

Most of the hiking trails are also open.  They include Honeymoon Trails, Reef Bay Trail, John Horn Trail, Leinster Bay Trail, Tamarin Trail, Caneel Margaret Hill Trails, Ram Head Trail, Drunk Bay Trail, Yawzi Point Trail, Tekite and Cabritte Horn Trails.

12/1/17 – 11:00 am – WAPA update – Additional manpower and shipments of material and supplies are on island now to facilitate the restoration of power in both districts.  On St John, additional power was restored in Contant, Cruz Bay and Enighed areas.  Crews are working to re-energize customers in Bordeaux Mountain, Ajax Peak and Upper Carolina.

Cruise ships are arriving in St Thomas and yesterday tourists from the cruise ships were seen coming across on the ferry to St John!  Tourism is starting to return to the island!  Shops, restaurants and the beaches are just waiting for tourists to return!!

And – yesterday, November 30th was the last day of hurricane season for the year 2017!  It is a welcome goodbye!  The twins sisters, Irma and Maria did an incredible amount of damage, but they did not wipe away the spirit of the island.  It is still there, moving forward every day….ready and waiting for you to return!

11/27/17 – 11:00 am – Can anyone believe December 1st is this coming Friday?  For me, it  doesn’t seem possible!  Christmas is now right around the corner! If you are looking for that unique gift,  do some online shopping with some of the local businesses on island! Big Planet, Caravan Gallery, Coconut Coast Studios, St John Spice, Skinny Legs, Jolly Dog, R & I Patton Goldsmithing

More positive updates on the island! – the ferry between Red Hook, St Thomas and Cruz Bay St John have expanded their hours of operation.  Leaving from Red Hook – the ferry leaves at every morning at 6:30, & 7:30 am and then every hour on the hour until 8 pm.  Leaving from Cruz Bay – The ferry leaves every hour on the hour starting at 6 am to 6 pm, with the last trip from Cruz Bay at 7 pm.

WAPA and the linemen from MO are making progress on the island.  They are in the Fish Bay and Reef Bay regions.  They are working in Chocolate Hole and Hart Bay.  They are continuing work in Coral Bay.

11/22/17 – 11:00 am – We want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.   We, at Caribbean Villas of St John are very thankful for all of our employees and outside contractors.   We thank our villa owners, as you allow us the opportunity to work with and for you to rent your beautiful homes. We thank our loyal and supportive guests, who have checked in to find out how our beautiful island is recovering.  Without all of you, we would not be here.  Our beautiful St John is recovering and we give our thanks.

11/21/17 – 11:00 am – Do you feel like an ice cream?  St John Scoops has officially reopened at Mongoose Junction!

WAPA update:  Crews continued restoration work on Feeder 9E near Boatman’s Point while other crews planted poles from the point where Feeders 7E & 9E intersect toward the fire station.  There is also ongoing work from Great Cruz Bay to Fish Bay.

11/18/17 – 4:00 pm – We have more good news coming from the island.  Our Office on St John has power!  We are located at Palm Plaza now, ground level!   The complex had some roof damage and we are doing the repairs so we can open our office!  We moved to this new location 6 days before Hurricane Irma.  We are very excited to be in this location as there is more room and much better parking!

Our first home got power yesterday!  Tennis Villa is now available for rentals!  We are very excited!

The National Park Service said Trunk Bay is officially open!  Hawksnest and Honeymoon beaches are also open. The concession at Honeymoon Beach is open.  Next to open will be Cinnamon Bay. The National Park service is cleaning debris on and around the beach as well as debris that could be in the water.

Ocean Grill Restaurant– located in Mongoose Junction is opening this coming Monday!  I have enjoyed many meals at this restaurant!  Be sure to add this restaurant to your list when you come back to St John!

11/14/17 – 10:00 am –  Each day brings something new to the island.  Our first guest arrived on November 10th!  Their photo is included in the rotating photo’s below!  We want to say ‘thank you’ to them for coming back to our beautiful island!  They mentioned everyone on the island has been welcoming and very happy they are there!!  They have been to Francis and Jumbie Bay beaches and have loved it!  They are doing some hiking and just relaxing and enjoying the island.  They knew the island would not be 100% yet, but they wanted to come to offer their support to the residents and businesses on St John.

Also included in the rotating photo’s below are additional pictures taken by Dolores while she is on St John.  There are photo’s of Hawksnest Beach, Mongoose Junction, a ‘yummy’ breakfast at Cruz Bay Landing….we want to show you what the island looks like now.

WAPA update:  On St John, crews are continuing to restore service to customers while reconstruction work is being done  on primary circuits  from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay.  Customers restored on Monday were: St John Concrete, Sirenusa, and George Simmonds Terrace.  Other crews planted poles for single phase electrical service in various residential areas and prepared circuits to be re-energized in Estate Bethany.

Another restaurant just opened – Cafe Roma!   Nothing better than a good Italian meal with a glass of wine!

  • Our first guests arrived
    on November 10th!
    They are having a great
    time!!

  • You could be having this delicious breakfast from Cruz Bay Landing! Make sure you dine here on your next trip to St John! Their coffee is FABULOUS!

  • One of your first looks
    at Hawksnest Beach!

  • It’s time to book your trip to St John – put your toes in the sand – and go for a swim in the warm Caribbean waters!

  • The greenery is starting to come back at the beaches – this is Hawksnest Beach!

  • Looking down at Caneel
    Bay from the overlook
    above. We heard Caneel
    Bay is talking about
    reopening in 2019.

  • Mongoose Junction is beginning to return to a busy shopping center now that more stores are opening!

  • The tropical flowers are
    coming back – aren’t
    they beautiful!!

11/13/17 – 9:00 am – The last ferry between Red Hook, St Thomas and Cruz Bay, St John is at 5:30 pm right now.  The Dolphin Shuttle is back up and operating.  If you need to get to St John after the 5:30 pm ferry, you can contact them.  Reservations are required.  You may call or text them – 340 774-2628.

11/10/17 – 1:00 pm – Diane, owner of Caribbean Villas of St John and Dolores, villa consultant for the company arrived on St John on November 6, 2017.  Below are some photo’s they have taken while on island.  The weather has been cloudy during their stay but we wanted to included these in our updates so you can see how the island is coming along.  These photo’s have been taken between the time period of November 6-10, 2017.   As we receive additional photo’s we will add them to the website.

  • The St Thomas Airport, taken on November 6, 2017

  • Outside the St Thomas Airport.
    You can see the palm
    trees are starting to come
    back.

  • Cruz Bay Beach looking down towards the ferry terminal. The Beach Bar in the foreground, minus their canopy roof.

  • The linemen from Missouri
    working along the North
    Shore between Maho Beach
    and Centerline Road

  • Another crew working on
    the North Shore

  • Linemen working on the
    South Shore- Gift Hill Road

  • Another crew on the
    South Shore Road

  • The linemen are working
    non-stop, 7 days a
    week to restore power
    on St John.

  • The interior of Cruz Bay
    Landing Restaurant

  • Locals are enjoying a drink
    at the outside deck of
    Cruz Bay Landing

  • A delicious meal awaits
    you at the Lime Inn

  • A view of Chocolate Hole
    Harbor

  • The view of Chocolate
    Hole Harbor from Ciellodonna.
    The flowers are blooming
    and are beautiful!

  • The view of Devers Bay
    – Sunset Beach and Dream
    Come True.

  • From the driveway of Virgin
    Seabreeze – looking out at
    the view.

  • Another view of Reef Bay
    taken from Virgin Seabreeze

  • A palm tree at Virgin
    Seabreeze

  • The view of Hart Bay from
    Le Lapin

  • Looking back across at St
    Thomas and Chocolate Hole.
    Photo taken from Le Lapin

  • Another view of Hart Bay
    the green hillsides are back!

  • Starfish Market –
    the dairy section

  • Starfish Market –
    the meat section

  • Satrfish Market –
    the produce section

  • Startish Market –
    the deli section

  • Starfish Market –
    Rotisserie Chicken
    they look delicious!

Follow our updates for local news of “Love City” 

11/10/17 – 10:00 am – WAPA update:  Power at Bellevue housing was restored yesterday!  Crews are working to prepare the Sirenusa Development for power.  Other crews planted composite poles in the area where both Feeders 7E and 9E come together on the road to Coral Bay.  Great News!

Boat Charters on St John are coming back! Next time you are on St John, take a day sail or power boat trip.  Some of these boat owners lost their homes, but their boats survived!  Please help support them by giving them your business and enjoy being out on the warm, Caribbean waters – if you haven’t done this before, there is nothing like it!!   Flyaway Charters 

11/9/17:  11:00 am – WAPA update:  Utility poles have landed in Coral Bay!  WAPA and the BBC contractors from the states are working to install telescoping fiberglass utility poles in this area.  They are beginning work in Calabash Boom and working back to the center of Coral Bay.  The crew from the North Shore Road will connect to the Centerline Road and then proceed down to Coral Bay where they will meet up.  The new fiberglass poles are supposed to be able withstand Cat 5 hurricane force winds!  This is all great news for the residents of Coral Bay!

Ronnie’s Pizza in Cruz Bay has power – next time you are on island – be sure to stop in for your fresh cooked pizza!!

Richard, owner of Caribbean Villas of St John just returned from the island this past Monday.  His comments are one of hope as he is seeing an island and community be reborn.  The sense of community, of neighbor helping neighbor is truly heartwarming.  Residents who did not know each other before have united, become friends and before the hurricanes, they could have passed each other in the street, concentrating on other things and never spoke.  Now when they see each other, there is a sense of warmth, a nod of the head, a smile and a hello.  A question asking – ‘how are you doing today?’, as they all know every day brings something new.  They know there are still challenges ahead but they know they will overcome them.  They will continue to rebuild until St John is once again, a beautiful ‘gem’ that shines in the sunlight, with its pristine, white sand beaches and lush green hillsides.

When I first started blogging right after Hurricane Irma, I had mentioned the damage depended on the location on the island.  This statement is also true in regards to the island recovery.  In speaking with Richard, there are some neighborhoods where you would not know a hurricane hit the island as the vegetation is green, the water is crystal clear blue and the flowers are in full bloom.  One example is Klein Bay on the south side of the island.  If you stood on the deck of Orchid Villa and looked around, you would think nothing had happened.  However, as you drive around the island you will fine a different experience depending on the area and the turn in the road.  Mermaid Falls, for example, this home is located in upper Peter Bay on the north side of the island.  At this moment, if you stand on its deck, and look down at lower Peter Bay, you will see elegant homes that came through the hurricane and are just waiting for guests to check-in.  However, the lush landscape that once was, is still brown.  The trees and vegetation are just starting to think about budding.  This area of the island does not get all day sun, which in turn slows down the regrowth of the vegetation.  Will this side of the island become green again, most certainly but it is just taking a little longer.

With all of this being said, the island is well on its way to recovery.  Does it still have a ways to go?  Definitely.  But do not discount the determination of the residents, do not discount the electrical crews from St John and the states who are working non-stop to restore power, do not discount Mother Nature.  She packed a wallop with Irma and Maria, but with her warmth, her tears and her smiles, the tropical weather, the rain and the sunshine will work quickly to bring the island back…so please be patient… the island, the residents and all the businesses are working tirelessly to welcome you once again.

11/8/17 – 10:00 am –  WAPA update – a portion of the primary circuit from Peter Bay to Cinnamon Bay was energized yesterday!  Crews are continuing work of Feeder 7E.  Crews are continuing work to build primary circuits from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay and another crew is working from Coral Bay to Cruz Bay!  All great signs that progress is being made!

Update on Barge Schedule – Capt. Vic has updated their schedule.  As of November 13th, the Capt. Vic’s first departure will be at 6:15 am and its last will be at 5:00 pm.

11/7/17 – 1:00 pm – We are receiving more good news about power!  There are now 105 linemen working to get power back up and running on the island.  The 1st crew is working along the North Shore.  They had closed parts of the road so crews could work uninterrupted.  The linemen said they are hoping to “heat up Cinnamon Bay today”!  Power had already been restored out to Caneel Bay and the Peter Bay area this past weekend.  There are also crews along the corner by Maho beach heading up to the Centerline Road.  Getting power up and going on the North Shore is vital to being able to power up the Coral Bay and East End of the island!  Another crew is working from Cruz Bay along Route 104 on the south shore road and also along the Gift Hill Road out to Fish Bay.  Power is only as far as the Westin Resort on the south side but they are working to restore other areas along the south shore as this is where much of the population resides.  A 3rd crew is getting ready to start work in Coral Bay.  The Julius E. Sprauve School has power, the Gift Hill School lower campus had power restored on Monday and the St John School of the Arts has power.  Everything is moving forward!

Additional businesses are now open –  Extra Virgin Bistro,  The Tap Room – St John Brewery, Bamboola and North Shore Deli at Mongoose Junction are all open.  In Coral Bay – Dolphin Market is getting ready to open.  They are stocking their shelves and hope to be open by next week.  This will be the 3rd grocery store open in Coral Bay – Calabash Market, Love City Mini Mart and Dolphin Market!!  Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis is open and serving meals – reasonable prices and their food is GOOD!  I got my meal to go and brought it back to the villa but if you are with family or friends or both – you can dine there!  Definitely worth adding this restaurant as a place to go on your next trip to St John!

We have had guests ask about Salomon Beach recently.  The beach is still there but the storm surge from the hurricanes washed up pebbles, larger rocks and coral on to the shoreline.  There are still areas that are sandy and the beautiful sand is still underneath the pebbles, rocks and coral but when you see the beach, it is heartbreaking.  In speaking with the NPS, they said mother nature will take care of this, and with each passing tide that ebbs and flows, this beach will be return to its original beauty.  We have seen this happen before at one of our homes, the Beach Cottage that is located in Lime Tree Cove.  The beach for the most part is sandy but after one tropical storm it turned in to a completely pebble beach.   This took place in late September 2015 and by January 2016, nature had returned the beach to the same silky, white sand and crystal clear waters as it was before.

11/3/17 – 9:00 am – Good Morning Everyone!  We have heard some comments about our website saying “St John is Open for Business”.  We are saying this because we are looking ahead, letting guests know we are still here!  We have guests starting to inquire about rentals for next year and we have even taken new reservations! We want everyone to know we are ready and waiting for guests to arrive once again in to our beautiful vacation rentals.  We know the island is still working towards recovery and we are seeing the progress every day.  On St John there are businesses open and more are opening every day.  Every time a shop or restaurant opens is cause for celebration!  WAPA is working extremely hard! As you drive around the island you see linemen and utility trucks! We just heard that power has been restored out to the Westin Resort and power has also been restored to the Estate Pastory and Grunwald regions on the Centerline Road.  This is all great news!

11/2/17 – 3:00 pm – The Pink Papaya shop is open and having a “hurricane sale” – with these types of discounts things will ‘fly’ off their shelves!  If you don’t already know – the Pink Papaya is located in the Pink building next to the Lime Inn Restaurant in Cruz Bay.  The sale is from now until December 31st! 50% off Jewelry, 50% off ceramics & housewares, 50% off ornaments!  With a minimum purchase you will receive a free beach bag!  After you shop, have dinner and drinks at the Lime Inn!!  Two of our favorite places on St John are open!!

New update on the beaches – the majority of beaches are still safe to swim but additional tests were done at  Maho, Cruz Bay and Great Cruz Bay – they are recommending you do not swim at these beaches.  They are continuing to monitor them and we will post updates as more information comes in.

11/2/17 – 11:00 am – More restaurants continue to open in Cruz Bay!  We love hearing this news!!  La Tapa is opening – if you have not enjoyed one of their fabulous meals, next time you travel to St John, you will have to go!!  Here is a current list of restaurants now open – Cruz Bay Landing, Island Cork, Banana Deck, Extra Virgin Bistro, Rhumb Lines, Lime Inn, Dog House Pub, Uncle Joe’s BBQ, Hercules and Sun Dog Cafe.  Sam and Jack’s Deli is open!  The Quiet Mon is open!   The first cruise ship is scheduled to arrive in St Thomas as of November 10th – Royal Caribbean. The first tentative cruise ship to arrive in St John – a small 110 passenger ship arrives on November 22!  Such positive signs!!  WAPA updates – Power was restored to Caneel Bay Resort and more work is being done to restore additional primary circuits to both Feeders 7E and 9E.  Crews are working on the roadway leading to the Westin Resort.

10/31/17 – 2:00 pm – Curfew has been lifted!  The trail from town to Solomon and Honeymoon beaches is clear!  WAPA update – On St John, crews reconstructed primary circuits on Feeders 7E and 9E and customers in the Pine Peace area had electrical service restored.  Crews are also working to re-energize the Caneel Bay and Westin resorts by mid-week.  The bulk of restoration to residents and businesses will take place in the second phase of restoration.

10/30/17 – Cruz Bay has power!  As of Friday night the lights in town were on.  There are 150 linemen from the states with boom trucks on island plus the crews from WAPA!  They are working their way out of town now!  Thank you!  The National Park service is working on removing debris from the beaches and trails.  Reef Bay trail is cleared!  These are all positive signs!  We will keep posting updates as we get more information!!

10/25/17 – 12:30 pm – We have been getting calls from guests who were supposed to be flying in to the island with United Airlines.  United Airlines have canceled their flights in to St Thomas until April 8th.  United Airlines so far is flying in to San Juan and then a guest would connect with Cape Air in to St Thomas.  Depending on where you are flying from this could be a single or double connection.  There are other airlines flying in to St Thomas – American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Jet Blue, Spirit Air, Cape Air

10/24/17 – 12 noon – There is a new St John webcam – www.lovecitystj.com    Check it out!  The curfew is now 11:00 pm to 5:00 am.  And Skinny Leg’s in Coral Bay is getting a new roof, thanks in part to Kenny Chesney’s Love for Love City Foundation!  They are working hard to rebuild and reopen!  I for one cannot wait to taste one of their yummy burgers and of course have a margarita!  St John is coming back and is calling your name!

10/23/17 – 10:30 am  Additional updates  – The North Shore Road is fully open to Annaberg.  The Centerline Road is open past Coral Bay to the East End.  Route 107 to Salt Pond and beyond has been cleared.  As reported on Friday, the water has been tested and deemed safe for swimming.  The Ferries to St Thomas are back to their regular hourly schedule from 6:00 am until curfew.  Two barges are operational on a “fill up and go” basis beginning at 6:15 am.  WAPA is continuing progress and locals are seeing new utility poles being planted and cables being strung.  Viya (phone company) is following about a week behind WAPA linemen to get phone cables back up.  Debris removal is proceeding at a very fast pace.

10/20/17 – 8:00 am – Reports came in last night –
The water test from the beaches have confirmed it is safe to swim in the majority of beaches! 

WAPA also confirmed the initial wave of power will be restored in Cruz Bay, public schools and some other areas of St John.  They did not specify what the “other areas” were but with the additional 100 linemen and trucks that arrived yesterday, the restoration of power will continue to move forward.

Oct. 19, 2017 – 1 pm – Diane, owner of Caribbean Villas of St John returned from the island yesterday.  She was on St John for 10 days.  While on island she went to our management homes to check on their condition.  Some homes only needed cleanup and will quickly be ready for visitors. For the homes that had damage, supplies are ordered for the repairs to be made. In a few instances demo has begun or will take place soon.  Owners, contractors and employees are already on island working diligently to have the homes ready for season.

While on island she attended the FEMA meetings which are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 am.  Updates below:

  1. Beaches are open though the National Park is recommending waiting to go swimming until after the water tests come back. (Rev. 10/23/2017 Beaches are safe for swimming.)
  2. 100 linemen and utility trucks were arriving today. These are in addition to the 35 linemen that are already on island.
  3. Food Distribution is stopping because grocery stores are open and supplies are arriving.
  4. More restaurants are opening.
  5. Priority is getting the internet up and working for all businesses.
  6. The shuttle is up and running.
  7. The curfew has been expanded to 8 pm.
  8. The National Park Service has brought in additional workers to help clean up the beaches
  9. Now that roads are open, extra workers have been brought in to help with debris removal. Debris will be picked up that is within 10 feet from the roads edge.
  10. The road by Maho Bay is now open.
  11. New Jersey police came in to replace the New York Police. They are on island until the 21st.
  12. Public Schools are schedule to open.
  13. The Red Cross has left the island

Businesses open:  Restaurants – Cruz Bay Landing, Lime Inn, Rhumb Lines, the Dugout to 420 Center, Sun Dog Café & Bar, Sam & Jack’s Deli, Chester’s, Dog House Pub, Hercules, Pizzabar in Paradise, Quiet Mon, Uncle Joe’s BBQ, Wok on the Beach.  Grocery Stores – St John Market, Starfish Market, Pine Peace Market, Dolphin Market, Calabash Market.  Both Gas Stations are open, Chelsea Drug, the Banks are open, the ATM by Starfish Market is operational, Post Office is open, Connections is open.

Cruz Bay Landing

Having breakfast at Cruz Bay Landing, Oct. 17, 2017

The entrance to Starfish Market, taken on Oct. 13, 2017

Even the deli at Starfish Market is stocked!

Plan to open – opening dates TBD – The Terrace, Morgan’s Mango, Skinny Legs, Miss Lucy’s, Margarita Phil’s, The Tap Room, The Bowery, St John Scoops, Longboard’s will reopen after taking a break, Low Key Watersports,  The Thirsty Donkey, The Banana Deck, Ronnie’s Pizza, Ocean Grill, Ocean 362, North Shore Deli, Extra Virgin Bistro, Joe’s Rum Hut, Indigo, La Tapa, Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis.  Some of these restaurants and bars are waiting for power and others are doing repairs but plan to open when completed.

During the 10 days Diane was on island she saw steady improvements being made.  The island is working towards recovery.  The beaches are still beautiful, the water is still a clear turquoise blue and just as inviting as ever.  Because of the hurricanes, several of the beaches are wider now because some of the vegetation was lost.  When you drive along the North Shore Road, you still have the scenic overlooks waiting to be photographed but as you drive along you can now see the blue water through some of the vegetation.  The canopy of ‘green’ that enveloped the drive has changed and though this change is rather bittersweet, it does not make this picturesque drive any less beautiful.  The sunsets are still breathtaking and the warmth of the island figuratively and literally are still there, just waiting for you to visit.

10/11/17 – 3:00 pm – We have more news coming in from St John. The ferry has added additional runs between Red Hook, St Thomas and Cruz Bay, St John. Currently the new ferry times from Red Hook to Cruz Bay are: 7:30a, 8:30a, 9:30a, 11:30a, 1:30p, 4:00p and 5:30p. The ferry times from Cruz Bay to Red Hook are: 7:00a, 8:00a, 9:00a, 10:00a, 12:00n, 3:00p and 5:00p.

If you follow Facebook, Steve Simonsen, a professional photographer has been posting pictures of the island. He has also done some swimming and snorkeling in the BVI’s and the waters were clear and the sea life is returning. His photos are beautiful! Once the water is tested in the National Park, I am sure we will see more underwater pictures.  Follow us on Facebook for more island updates as well!

We have more and more guests wanting to know how to help but there is some confusion on what sites can be trusted.  Here is a link to a central source to find out information and make contributions for St John recovery.   https://www.whattodo-vi.com/hurricane-irma-relief-in-the-virgin-islands-how-you-can-help/

10/10/17 – 3:00 pm – We have more good news coming in from St John

Low Key Watersports is opening as of December 1st this year. Morgan’s Mango had damage from the hurricane but they are rebuilding and hope to be open for this coming season. Miss Lucy’s in Coral Bay had damage but the concrete building is still there. They are doing cleanup and hope to be open for season. Skinny Leg’s in Coral Bay is rebuilding. Woody’s, in Cruz Bay and Sam & Jack’s Deli is open.

When you drive around the locals are seeing the donkeys and pigs out and about. If you have driven around St John, you know this is a common site as you go exploring.

Wapa is predicting there will be power in Cruz Bay within the next two weeks. They are working on the poles and lines now. Wapa has also notified all villa owners to have an electrician check the meter boxes to their villa. An electrician will have to sign off on the box and if the box is damage, the home owner needs to have it repaired/replaced by an electrician. They are having this done so when power is restored area by area, the villa will be ready.  Diane, owner of Caribbean Villas of St John is on island now and will be going around to our villas this weekend with an electrician.

The National Park Service is asking everyone to stay out of the park so their crews can continue to work on clearing and doing cleanup and repairs. They do not want to have a lot of foot traffic around while they do this. They are requesting people do not go swimming yet as the water has not been tested and there could still be run off from the hillsides.

The hillsides are beginning to turn more green every day and the flowers are continuing to bloom. As with everything in life, changes are inevitable and each day can bring something new. One learns to adapt and overcome. You can see this happening every day on St John. Some people will leave and others will return. Others will look for an island adventure and move to this wonderful community, as they will want to experience first hand the life of living in the Caribbean. The restaurants and shops might change but the one thing I know will never change, is the feeling you get when you step off the ferry for the first, second or fiftieth time……it is a feeling of coming home, a feeling of being welcomed no matter who you are. Not every island has this atmosphere – St John is a place that will always be there, waiting for you to return, with its arms wide open, welcoming you in to its embrace.