Random Ramblings by Jenn…

A new power pole! What a beautiful sight!

A new power pole! What a beautiful sight!

Hello everyone and happy Friday! I’ve been getting a ton of emails and Facebook messages from you all, so I figured I would do my best to answer as many questions as I could in one post. So here it goes!

For starters, the island is GREEN! It’s amazing what leaves and flowers can do to boost morale. The island is green and somewhat lush in many places, and it looks simply beautiful. I’ve even seen a few flamboyant trees in full bloom around the island … gorgeous! Green leaves do not mean that everything is fine, but it’s a sign that we’re moving in the right direction. :)

Power … we have power in Cruz Bay! Guinea Grove and the Westin were lit up on the south shore Thursday and Pastory and Grunwald received power on Centerline Road. WAPA and the BBC linemen from Joplin, Missouri are all working so hard, and they deserve much praise. They’re doing amazing work, as are the crews that are clearing the roads around the island. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Speaking of roads, they’re mostly clear. There were some issues with the road that goes between the smoothie stand and the Maho/Francis/Annaberg area, but that was cleared as of yesterday. Basically when we get good rains, landslides are occurring which then block the roads. But again, people are working very hard to fix this when it happens.

We actually took a GoPro of that road the other day and will share it with all of you as soon as we can. (We took the video before the landslide occurred.) We also took videos of Oppenheimer, Peace Hill, the Trunk Bay overlook, Cruz Bay to Fish Bay, Fish Bay to way out in Fish Bay, Maho to Cruz Bay, and out at Annaberg. (I’m actually writing this from a plane because I’m heading north to pick up my dog and bring him back home … yay! So I should be able to upload all of these within the next few days.)

Ok, so on to flights. Currently American and Delta have only one flight coming and going each day – via Miami and Atlanta. Spirit has a few flights a week. United has cancelled all flights through April 8, 2018. We contacted them and here’s what they said:

“United has made these adjustments due to the lengthy hurricane recovery efforts anticipated in some of the airports we serve in the Caribbean.” 

:(

We’re not sure when the other airlines will add additional flights as of yet. We will let you know when we find out. In the meantime, you can fly into Puerto Rico or St. Croix and take either Cape Air or Seaborne to St. Thomas too.

Communications. Communication is still tough. It’s definitely better in Cruz Bay than the rest of the island. In Coral Bay, you may pick up a BVI signal or you may have zero signal. You never really know, although you are more likely to have no signal out there unfortunately. On the Cruz Bay side, we have access to more reliable wifi that works better some days than others, although I am simply thankful to have it at all. AT&T works decently in the Cruz Bay area as well. Neither signal is strong enough to upload large files, photos or videos, so that is a struggle for many. For example, I uploaded a nine-minute video to YouTube last week. It would have taken me about ten minutes pre-Irma. It took 12 hours last week – seriously.

For those of you trying to contact people on the island and are having trouble, please know that we can have signal one minute and no service the next. If it’s super cloudy or raining, you’re likely going to have no service. People on island are working diligently to fix this, and we thank them for that. So if you have contacted someone on island and have yet to hear back, chances are that they are having communications issues still.

Tourism. When can you all return? Honestly, I do not have a date. I have asked several people and everyone’s answers vary. So at this time, I am simply going to say not yet, but hopefully soon. Because my goodness, I want you all back! I’d personally love to greet each and every one of you at the dock with a big hug if I can!!

Volunteering. I get a lot of questions on this too. And again, I do not have an answer other than people are working on it. So when they have the answers, I will relay that information to all of you.

Oh, the beaches! (Sorry, I warned you in the headline that I would be rambling – haha.) Well thanks to Love City Strong, they have been able to test the island’s beaches and 9 of 14 they tested were deemed safe. Here are some of the details that they posted on their Facebook page…

Love City Strong has partnered with Surfrider Foundation to independently test beach water quality on St. John. Over a seven-day period, 14 of the island’s beaches were tested and the results are in.

Our tests found unsafe levels of E. Coli at a number of St. John beaches. High risk and potentially dangerous levels of E. Coli were present at Maho Bay Beach (at the pavilion side), Cruz Bay and Great Cruz Bay. Jumbie Beach and Maho Bay Beach (at the parking lot side) presented a medium risk level.

It’s important to note that although results at a certain date may be “low risk,” water quality is dynamic and can fluctuate, especially after rains. There are also other hazards at St. John beaches, including debris from boats, buildings and trees.

As visitors look to return to island, they must be aware that the state of St. John beaches is still in flux. This is but one of the numerous challenges the island faces on the path to recovery following hurricanes Irma and Maria.

PLEASE NOTE: These are not official determinations on whether water is safe or if beaches are open. The National Park Service and DPNR will make official statements regarding water safety.

Ok, so we covered beaches, roads, trees, flowers, airlines, videos, volunteering, communications, tourism … am I missing anything? If I am, please let me know in the comments section or send me an email at jenn@newsofstjohn.com

Lastly, if you have emailed me or sent me a message via Facebook, thank you! If I have yet to respond, I apologize. I have received many and am doing my best to get back to each and every one of you.

As always, thank you all for loving St. John and for standing by us! xoxo

45 comments for “Random Ramblings by Jenn…

  1. Sally
    November 2, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Jenn, thank you so much for giving us an idea of how our favorite place in the world is doing…..!

  2. Tami Irons
    November 3, 2017 at 5:57 am

    Hi Jenn, thanks for the information! Can you comment on the car rental agencies? I still need to contact Cool Breeze to cancel our reservation. Thanks!

  3. Debbi Meslar-Little
    November 3, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Thanks Jen for your news and updates. So very helpful!

  4. Cindy
    November 3, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Hi Jenn! I love your posts and I love STJ. We will be back! Wondering if anyone has been able to make it back to the petroglyph or Waterlemon??? I’ve not heard anything about either or those locations.

    Thanks for all you do!

    • Radha Speer
      November 4, 2017 at 4:54 am

      I just saw a few photos of the waterfall by the petroglyphs… I would never have recognized it with ALL THAT WATER! It was gushing over the falls. Spectacular!
      And great job, Jenn. I was curious about several things you covered, although I’ve lived in Cruz Bay for many years. As you say, communication is still tough. And one other challenge can be the emotional disconnect between recovery life and regular life. Family in the States may not be sensitive to just how stressed their island person is. Sometimes, when we don’t know what to say or how to say the truly awful thing we faced today, we just don’t call or write. Please try to understand, and realize that however much we’d love to “move on” it’s going to be a long time! Life is funny and fun, too! And so multi-layered it’s just difficult to explain! Thanks for “listening”. Soapbox dismounted!

  5. Nancy Silva
    November 3, 2017 at 7:26 am

    What a great update! Can’t tell you how much this is appreciated.
    Take care and enjoy your reunion with your dog. I bet he/she is going to be exstatic to be home!

  6. Cindy
    November 3, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Thank you, Jenn! Being so far away, it’s einderful to hear how the recovery is progressing. I can’t wait to return!

  7. Donna Broderick
    November 3, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Thank you for the ongoing updates Jenn. Enjoy your four footed friend!!!

  8. Jason
    November 3, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Jenn,

    Thank you for your efforts to keep us all up to date! We are keeping a close eye on things and can not wait to get back down there! Keep up the great work!!!

  9. Trina Minner
    November 3, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Thank you for all this valuable information. We have Jeep reservations with Courtesy for Thanksgiving week and New Years week. I have sent several emails. We are now within the 30 day cancellation period with the first trip.
    Thanks again for all you do.

  10. Diane
    November 3, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Thank you my daughter and I were up here on vacation starting life over with a backpack missing you guys a lot

    • Radha
      November 4, 2017 at 5:07 am

      Do you mean to say you were on vacation (with just a backpack) when your home on St John was destroyed? That would be so very sad and difficult! I hope that’s not what you mean! But I’ve become very sensitive to veiled reports of painful losses. Wishing you the best in any case. Be strong.
      (I watched hundreds of residents of all races waiting patiently for hours to be evacuated by boat to Puerto Rico. Each had one suitcase, and often a cherished pet. All they could take with them. And to this day there is no way to ship personal belongings off island (but maybe there is? If the Post Office has power, and they should, perhaps they will now take boxes! That would be a huge help to all those moving away now. Without many jobs, what choice to people have if they need an income?)

  11. Telaryn May
    November 3, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Since Caneel is closed until 2019, can you ask them if they will allow folks to walk to Turtle beach during reconstruction. I hate having to go by boat and it’s one of the best snorkel spots.

    • News of St. John
      News of St. John
      November 3, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Right now Caneel is closed to the public. There is a guard at the front gate. My guess is that they will not allow anyone on property who is not working there or staying there (FEMA and other relief workers are currently staying there in the undamaged units).

      • Chris
        November 3, 2017 at 1:47 pm

        Any word on Zozo’s?
        i know they were hit hard and with Caneel closed it seems all that more difficult.

      • Sue Chapelle
        November 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm

        Any idea how many people are actually staying at Caneel? Is Caneel feeding them/ Has Caneel begun any repairs yet? Thanks!

    • Radha
      November 4, 2017 at 4:58 am

      Not on your life! No admission, period. And arrivials by boat will be met by security guard and refused admission as well. Happened to me last September.

  12. Margy Taylor
    November 3, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Thank you Jenn! You have no idea how much us Saint John lovers, appreciate your updates! So happy you are getting your dog back!!!!

  13. Tracey
    November 3, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Thanks Jenn!

  14. Keith
    November 3, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Good Morning from a fellow Nutmeg Stater;

    Not quite, “Random Ramblings”, from my angle. You are a fountain of knowledge
    for us stateside itching to get back to STJ. We want to plan our trip for 2018, but
    have been overly cautious. We haven’t missed a year in the last 14, and don’t plan
    on starting now.

    Keep up the good work Jenn

  15. James Rogers
    November 3, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Jenn,
    Thanks again for your tireless efforts in keeping us STJ lovers informed about the progress of the island.
    You are wonderful.
    I am hoping for trip #19 next year, and already trying to get my head and heart ready for the changes due to the destruction of the storms.
    Very grateful for all the hard work everyone is doing on our beloved rock.
    Smiles-
    MJ

  16. Phyllis
    November 3, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Hi Jenn, thanks so much for keeping us updated on the island we love so much! I pray for all on the island and the island itself. I’m sure your fur baby will be so happy to see you and to be coming home with you! Safe travels

  17. Cheryl & Joanne
    November 3, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Thanks so much for the updates Jenn. We look forward to hearing how the Island is recovering. Plan on visiting in March. Have a great day!

  18. Mark westray
    November 3, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Jenn, your updates are so much appreciated by those of us that love STJ. Would be pleased to volunteer my time to come help in any way that is beneficial. Hope that opportunity will become available!

  19. Connie & Bill
    November 3, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Jennifer , thanks for all your great Info.
    We return in mid – January till mid-March. So anxious to get back . What do you think the chances are our Beaches will be open ?
    We are keeping our fingers and anything else we can possibly cross.
    Thoughts & Prayers coming your way!!!!
    ❤️ Connie & Bill (Avalon, NJ)

    • News of St. John
      News of St. John
      November 3, 2017 at 10:17 am

      I think that several of the beaches should be fine by then. Whether the National Park will “reopen” the park by then is anyone’s guess. But they are working very hard.

      Hawksnest looks good now. Trunk still needs some clearing. Maho likely will not be ok but then, but you never know. The beach at Cinnamon is ok right now, but Cinnamon itself is a mess. Francis is also ok now, but it’s a long drive to get out there. The path to Salt Pond is clear too, although I have not gone down there yet.

  20. Beth MARTIN
    November 3, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for all the updates. Is it possible to put out a list of all the businesses where we can do online shopping. I know some have facilities stateside,so you are able to receive products right away that support their STJ business and relief efforts,like Java mon and St.John organics but others like St.John Spice,you can order but have to wait a bit because they are on island and are dealing with postal issues. Holiday shopping season is nearing and giving support to those businesses would be great

    • News of St. John
      News of St. John
      November 3, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Yes, that is a great idea. St. Johnopoly is available at http://www.stjohnopoly.com

      • Ellen
        November 3, 2017 at 3:03 pm

        I ordered one for our 2017 Family Game.

    • gina
      November 3, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      I just received notification of a shipment coming from St. John Spice. I placed the order a couple weeks after Irma with the understanding they would ship when they could. I just wanted to help by supporting a local business.

      So Yay St. John Spice is up and running at least somewhat!! :) :) :)

  21. Vicki
    November 3, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Thank you so very much Jenn for keeping us all up-to-date about “heaven on earth”. Looking so forward to when I can return.

  22. Michelle
    November 3, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Thank you so much for your updates! Your posts and videos are such a blessing for us stateside who are thinking of all of you in St John daily. Hoping you guys are ready for visitors again in time for our annual august trip. Please keep sending. Would love to see more Maho pictures and to know if the turtles are still around. See you soon! Enjoy your reunion with your fur baby

  23. Shelly
    November 3, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Thank you for your updates Jenn! I can’t even tell you how excited I am to see your latest videos once they’re available! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

  24. Chris
    November 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Jenn,
    Thanks so much for all the great info Have you heard anything about Jost and How they’re doing over there?

    Thanks again and welcome home to your little poopster.

  25. Pat Pope
    November 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    What kind of supplies can the schools use? Would like to send somethings, just not sure what they can use/need?
    Thank you for all the updates, so good to hear positive progress! Can’ Wait to get back to St. John’s!

  26. Lynn Schaefer
    November 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Thank you Jenn. I appreciate and love your updates, look forward to them! The GoPro through town was wonderful (yet sad). But we got to see the streets we love. Take good care and thank you.

  27. Ellen Hagen
    November 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks so much for the updates. Really interested in the beaches and when we can come back. Next school break is in March so hoping we can come then. Really hated to have to cancel our October trip.

  28. Michael Ford
    November 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    The Jumbie’s have again protected and helped Easter Rock to stand tall in the most trying of times. Outstanding Job !!! Go Jumbies !!! Tell the Jumbies we will be back again 02/26/2018 late afternoon.
    Jenn you and everyone on St John are doing a great job bringing St John back. No whining here, just standing up dust your self off and doing it.

  29. Mike
    November 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Jenn,
    Thanks so much for all the valuable information you provide. A group of us, who are booked in for our annual visit in late February, check your blog every day and then email each other about it. Even in northern New England there is so much interest and concern about how St. John and their wonderful people are doing. As an example, there is a fundraiser for St. John in a speakeasy, called Latchkey in Portsmouth New Hampshire this Sunday night. We all plan to attend and hope it will be mobbed.
    Great job with the blog.

  30. Maryanne
    November 3, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you! Looking forward to the video of Oppenheimer.

  31. Deb
    November 3, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Jenn,
    Truly appreciate your updates! We attended a fundraiser in Kennebunkport Maine last month and were amazed at the big turnout and hopefully $$$$ raised.
    We will return to the most beautiful island in the world as soon as is possible…and to the beautiful residents that make it special.
    Thank you again!
    Deb

  32. Laura
    November 4, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Thanks again Jen for the great updates- always appreciated! I plan to be there in late February and cannot WAIT. I know it will be different, but I plan for this trip to be a helping trip- in any way I can and I will love seeing the island, however she looks. Definitely shopping online for Christmas too. Thanks for keeping us updated!

  33. Denise Walker
    November 5, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Which beaches were deemed safe? Thanks, Denise

  34. Judy Woodside Busse
    November 7, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Our parents, John R. and Dib Woodside opened Cinnamon Bay Campground and ran it for many years. Later, they managed Estate Zootenvaal. They lived at Maho.They loved St. John so very much and John R. died there. My sister, Marti, and I are so impressed and proud of the way islanders have rebounded with so much bravery and determination throughout this terrible time. We send our love and hopes for a better tomorrow for all of you. Fondly, Judy and Marti.

  35. Carlene
    November 9, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks Jenn! Would you be able to get more info about Cinnamon Bay’s current state of rebuilding and what their intentions are re: the cottages? They were scheduled to take them down and upgrade them at the end of this peak season, so wondering if they are not going to rebuild those for the current tourist season. I’ve requested cancellation and refund, but haven’t heard anything. Breaks my heart what I’ve seen about Cinnamon so far :( Peace and Prayers to all of you on-island!! See you in Feb 2018!!

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