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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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