This is just an interim update and hope you like it. Below is the life blood of St. John. We are approximately 50% powered up on the island and promised 90% by Christmas. The other 10% not powered is due to structural issues and must be inspected by a licensed electrician before they receive power.
After exactly 90 days Bordo Mare and Sopra Mare received real power from St. John. You can live without electric but you darn well cannot live without water! For part of this period I endured cold bucket showers and flushed the toilets with pool water. Now that’s over – Thank God!
Interesting when I came back on October 24th on the evening boat there was not one light to be seen on the island. But when I came back December 4th it was like Christmas with all the lights working on the dock and much of the town.
We are rapidly making recovery at both villas. Ocean doors will be in today, other repairs are being made. However, typical of Home Depot, they delayed part of a large order – yep, you're right. I got the stuff I DIDN’T need right now, now the lumber, electrical and other critical materials.
After spending a total of six hours on the phone to Home Depot over the last three days I finally got them to ship on the 14th. Unfortunately, it will take 4 days to arrive on St. Thomas and another day or two to clear. My Florida renovation guys need to return to Florida on the 22nd. But not to worry, I’m looking around the island for others to complete what’s left to do.
Well after announcing a reduced rate for volunteers for weeks in January, I had every single eight weeks of the month booked in just four hours! Lot’s of others volunteered. Thank you, volunteers and I will update you all in about a week with information for work to be done.
You really didn’t think I wouldn’t squeeze this little marketing in this newsletter – did you? Below is an excerpt from Jenn over at News of St. John. She recommends coming in January. I’m not quite as optimistic, I think February is better. In any case, Jenn has done an honest and thorough job of continually reporting the current island conditions – so trust her. And, it just so happens I have open weeks at both villas at a “great” reduced rate for both months!
News of St. John (excerpts from December 6th)
For the past three months, people have been asking whether or not it’s time to return to St. John. Well today I’d like to officially say that it’s time for you all to come back!
Like many others, I was nervous about having tourists back on island. We wanted to make sure our island was ready for all of you – our guests, our friends. And now I can say, wholeheartedly, that I believe we are ready for you. Here are my thoughts why…
For starters, St. John is beautiful. Even on our darkest days, we were still the most beautiful place in the world. And I don’t mean simply aesthetically. Our people are beautiful. Our community is beautiful. And yes, our beaches are obviously beautiful.
Speaking of beaches, in just three short months, the National Park Service was able to reopen four. That’s pretty amazing. As of today, Honeymoon, Hawks nest, Trunk Bay and Cinnamon are all open for your use. And you know what? They’re empty. How does having one of the world’s most beautiful beaches all to yourself sound to you?
You can visit our other beaches too, but please know that the National Park Service has not yet deemed them open. And that may be because they haven’t been able to make certain all of the moorings are in place, or perhaps there is a structure that needs to be removed. But regardless, you can still enjoy their beauty.
Our restaurants are open! Looking to relax with a good breakfast while doing some people watching in the park? Well then walk on over to Cruz Bay Landing. They’re currently open for breakfast and lunch. Looking for some delicious appetizers and an amazing glass of wine? Then stop by La Tapa for dinner and see what Chef Alex has on the menu that night. We have more than 20 restaurants that are open both in Cruz Bay.
Our shops are open! Mongoose Junction is open and in full swing! Maybe you want a little homemade ice cream? Well Scoops is open too! There are more than a dozen shops open here in Cruz Bay.
(Please know that there are many more shops and restaurants open than the ones we mentioned… We’re simply trying to give you a sampling of what’s open here on island.)
All of our markets on island are open. The Jeep rental companies are open. We have charter boats in the water, and they’re waiting to take you out.
I know that some people are nervous about the impact you may have on our infrastructure. That is a very valid concern. Here’s my take on that… We lost a fair amount of accommodations. The Westin is closed through June 2018. Caneel is closed for the foreseeable future. Numerous vacation villas were damaged and are being repaired.
For flights, for those of you who plan to come visit us sooner than later, here are the current flights coming into St. Thomas:
- American Airlines (from Miami) Flights 943 & 1391
- Delta (from Atlanta) Flight 571
- Spirit only Wed. & Sat. (from Ft. Lauderdale) Flight 201
- JetBlue (from San Juan) Flight 1036
- Cape Air (from San Juan)
And here are the current flights out of St. Thomas:
- American Airlines (to Miami) Flight 943 & 1391
- Delta (to Atlanta) Flight 307
- Spirit only Wed. & Sat. (to Ft. Lauderdale) Flight 212
- JetBlue (to San Juan)
- Cape Air (to San Juan)
The ferry schedule has been extended too. Ferries leave from Cruz Bay every hour on the hour from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ferries leave from Red Hook to Cruz Bay at 5:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and then every hour on the hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is not a 7 p.m. ferry, but there is an 8 p.m. ferry.
The car barges are running too, although I strongly encourage you to rent your vehicle on St. John to avoid taking the car barge.
One thing that everyone says regarding tourism is that all of our guests should be well informed prior to visiting the island. Here are a few other things to take into consideration:
- Potholes: We have some and they’re no fun. Just drive slowly and you will be fine.
- Power: 50 percent now, as several neighborhoods have been reenergized over the past several days. Likely 90 percent of the US Virgin Islands will have power by Christmas.
- If you need constant access to internet and cable TV, you may want to wait a little longer to visit. If you don’t mind unplugging and enjoying the beauty that this island offers, then please book now!
I have heard from a handful of villa owners that they are getting cancellations for March, April, May and beyond. That is just silly in my opinion. I understand that vacations are costly and people want them to be perfect, but I can also tell you that there is no need to cancel a spring or summer vacation here on St. John. Honestly, I don’t even think you need to cancel January or February, but again, that’s my opinion.
So again, we’re ready for you and we are eager to have you back. For those of you who are lucky enough to take last minute vacations, come see us for the holidays! And if you need a bit more time to plan, come visit us next year. I can’t wait to have you all back!
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Well, hope you enjoyed this abbreviated newsletter. Personally, we will have about 90% of repairs done when the first volunteer people arrive January 6th. Most things remaining will be minor such as plaster, minor interior repairs and of course, I’ve replaced all living area furniture at Sopra Mare. I look forward to hearing from you and of course seeing you real soon!