The Willy T is Back!!

Image credit: Alternative Concrete Solutions

Image credit: Alternative Concrete Solutions

Hello everyone and happy Friday! We have GREAT news to share with all of you. The Willy T is back! And it looks amazing!

As many of you may know, the Willy T did not fare well in last fall’s storms. The popular ship, which was converted into a fun little bar/restaurant, ended up on the rocks over at Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands. Well the good news is that the new Willy T – this version is in fact the third Willy T to be anchored off of Norman – arrived in the BVI yesterday. And she looks pretty darn good! Check her out:

Image credit: Alternative Concrete Solutions

Image credit: Alternative Concrete Solutions

Image credit: Alternative Concrete Solutions

Image credit: Alternative Concrete Solutions

Image credit: Alternative Concrete Solutions

Image credit: Alternative Concrete Solutions

So far, there’s no word as to when the latest Willy T will serve up its first drink, but you know we will let you all know as soon as we find out! In the meantime, have an amazing Friday everyone!

On the Market: Beautiful Waterfront Home Near Town

chocolate bliss deck view

Hello everyone and happy Thursday! Who would like to do a little villa shopping today?? Well we have a beauty for you! It’s a five bedroom, five bath home that is just minutes from Cruz Bay. Check it out…

Enjoy panoramic views of Pillsbury Sound, St Thomas, French Cap, St Croix and beyond from this impeccably well maintained villa. Chocolate Bliss is located on the water and has a small, pocket beach. This home has a private location, yet is still close to Cruz Bay and the Chocolate Hole-deeded water access landing.

chocolate bliss chocolate bliss from street

Enjoy endless sunsets, bananaquits, rainbows, shooting stars and whales (during February and March) from your covered porch, sun decks or infinity edge pool.

chocolate bliss entrance chocolate bliss dining chocolate bliss outdoor stools

chocolate bliss grill chocolate bliss pool

chocolate bliss sunset drinks

Many new upgrades makes this property a must see! Here is a list of improvements done, as well as materials and work ordered prior to September 2017:

  • Hurricane windows & doors by PGT, Anderson & Nana wall
  • Insulated McElroy roof
  • 30 KW Kubota auto start diesel generator with 200 gallon tank in dedicated shed.
  • Ipe garage, utility doors and storm shutters
  • New ceiling fans by Restoration Hardware
  • Sunbrella window treatments
  • 5 new air conditioning units installed
  • Paved stone pathways & wired for landscape lighting
  • New Simmons mattresses and Tommy Bahama beds
  • Granite outdoor bar and serving windows
  • Wolf Grill
  • 36″ Thermador cooktop
  • New irrigation system

Sounds and looks pretty amazing, right?

Chocolate Bliss being offered for $3,100,000 by Tammy Donnelly of 340 Real Estate Co. For more information, please contact Tammy at at 340RealEstateCo@gmail.com

Wharfside Village Slowly Reopening

cruz bayWell folks, we have great news to share with you all today … several stores over at Wharfside Village have reopened!

As you know, Wharfside Village sustained a lot of damage in last fall’s storms. Nearly the entire complex has been closed since, and it hasn’t provided the prettiest greeting for guests coming in on the ferry. Well today, we’re happy to tell you that three additional stores have reopened in the complex bringing the number of businesses operating in Wharfside up to four.

Bamboo Studio, Now & Zen, and Cruz Bay Clothing all reopened within the past few weeks. Island Cork, Wharfside’s wine shop and bar, sustained no damage and has been open since last fall. Bamboo’s studio, where they make their jewelry, has also been open for several months. Check out a few pics:

Bamboo Studio is open.

Bamboo Studio is open.

Now & Zen is open.

Now & Zen is open.

Cruz Bay Clothing is open.

Cruz Bay Clothing is open.

Island Cork is open.

Island Cork is open.

Bamboo Studio is busy making jewelry in its shop.

Bamboo Studio is busy making jewelry in its shop.

Now on to the negatives… The Beach Bar, Joe’s Rum Hut, Waterfront Bistro, The Parrot Club and the parking garage remain closed. At this point, we’re not expecting any of those businesses to reopen until next season. (Again, just my opinion.) Only time will tell. We will let you know more when we know more.

Joe's Rum Hut, May 2018

Joe’s Rum Hut, May 2018

The Beach Bar, May 2018

The Beach Bar, May 2018

How David Silverman Continued to Save Coral Bay Despite the Storms

aqua bistro viewMany of you have asked me over the past several months what the status of the marina over in Coral Bay is. It must be off the table considering the destruction that occurred over there, many of you commented. Well, back in the fall when the island’s residents were dealing with the hurricanes’ aftermath, the Summer’s End Group was busy trying to get their proposed mega marina approved. Unbelievable, right?

Well thanks to a very tenacious David Silverman, the man who launched the Save Coral Bay campaign back in 2014, their efforts have hit a roadblock. Here is exactly what happened in David’s own words as written on the Save Coral Bay Facebook page:

While we were all fully occupied recovering from Hurricane Irma, the Summer’s End Group was hard at work trying to convince the Army Corps to grant their permit for a mega yacht marina in Coral Bay. Hard to believe but true – and here are the details.

On August 24, 2017, just two weeks before Irma hit, SEG submitted over 400 pages of documents to the Corps, supposedly in response to the extensive list of major deficiencies that the Corps had identified in October 2015. Apparently at some point in 2017 SEG managed to squeeze money out of another unsuspecting “investor” and then hired a new law firm and a new marina design firm, hired several new consultants, and produced a load of new documents for the Corps hoping to expedite their federal permit.

Then Irma hit. And changed everything, or so you would think. Who in their right mind could possibly consider a marina in Coral Bay Harbor considering the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, and then two weeks later of Hurricane Maria?

Well the Summers End Group apparently is not in their right mind because they thought with everyone fully preoccupied with recovery they could move fast and get something through while nobody was watching. But they were, once again, very wrong. Save Coral Bay was watching.

Once I was able to get cell phone service, in early November, I phoned the Corps and found out about the August document submission, and learned that the Corps had responded in October and required more information from SEG. Additional information was sent by SEG to the Army Corps in December 2017, and through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) we were able to obtain all of the submissions – the 29 documents and 416 pages from August and an additional 7 documents and 131 pages from December. With virtually no mail delivery, no internet and no phone service this wasn’t an easy task.

David and Susan Silverman (Image taken from David's Facebook page)

David and Susan Silverman (Image taken from David’s Facebook page)

But that wasn’t the end. In January the Corps requested, for a third time, additional information from SEG. And a final batch of documents were submitted by SEG in February and March of 2018 – another 16 documents totaling 490 pages – which we obtained through FOIA in April.

So, needless to say, we have been very busy. Reading over a thousand pages of marina justification and finding countless errors, omissions, inconsistencies and totally unsubstantiated claims has taken many hours of work. We then needed to write our comments to the Corps and point out the critical errors and omissions in this extensive set of documents. All of this has taken some time, but we are now done.

This past Friday, May 4, we sent the Army Corps our comments on the new submissions from the Summers End Group. We identified serious flaws in their alternatives analysis, in their estimates of habitat impact, in their economic analysis, in their compensatory mitigation proposals, and in their rebuttals of federal agency comments. Our federal lawyers assisted in providing commentary on the grounds for permit denial, or, if not outright denial, the requirement for a complete Environmental Impact Statement. We pointed out the total folly in constructing a large marina in Coral Bay, given the recent experience of two category five hurricanes that decimated Coral Bay and Hurricane Hole. We pointed out the fragile state of recovery in our ecosystems, the lack of public infrastructure, and all of the other pertinent lessons learned from Irma. We made a very strong case that the project proposed by SEG is not in the public interest, a conclusion that we believe the Army Corps may be leaning towards themselves.

If you are interested in any of these materials they are all on the Save Coral Bay website. The 2017 and 2018 submissions from SEG, and the Army Corps responses to these, may be found here –
http://savecoralbay.com/seg-2017-2018/

Our comments on these submissions may be found here – http://SaveCoralBay.com/USACE-Apr2018-Comments/

So now you know what the Summers End Group has been up to while we were all recovering from Irma. And now you know that Save Coral Bay has been on top of all of this and not missed a thing. I didn’t want to burden the Coral Bay community with letter writing and concerns over a marina threat while everyone had urgent personal matters to deal with post-hurricane, so with the assistance of a few of our experts and our attorneys we’ve handled all of this and gotten the message to the Corps. Coral Bay is no place for a mega yacht marina!

SAVE CORAL BAY for future generations.

Wow, Just wow.

I would like to publicly thank David Silverman and everyone who has helped with the Save Coral Bay efforts. At this point, I can’t imagine that the Army Corps would approve Summer’s End’s proposal, but only time will tell. We will update you on this as soon as we learn more.

St. John: Eight Months After the Storms

Hello everyone and happy Monday. I apologize for being scarce the past few days. I’ve been working on a little video for you all, and I didn’t want to post it until I thought it was perfect.

As you probably know, yesterday marked the eighth month since Hurricane Irma hit the island. This video shows our progress. It also includes several pictures from many of you. So thank you to all of you who sent your vacation photos to me over the past few days. You are all a part of St. John just as much as those of us who live here are.

This video is better with sound, but feel free to check it out with the mute button while you’re at work. Enjoy.

New Food Truck Coming to St. John

food truck hansen water view

The new food truck at Hansen Bay

Hello everyone and happy Thursday! We have some delicious news to share with all of you today! A new food truck is coming to St. John! And it gets better… It will be parked at Hansen Bay, so you can have great food with a beautiful view! Sounds pretty good to me!

The food truck is called Captain Awesome Yummy Eats on the Beach, and it is being launched by Hali and Rick Millson. It’s a family affair, Hali said, with her stepson Bryce – also known as Chef Red – acting as the truck’s main chef. Bryce worked as a chef at one of the top barbecue restaurants in Dallas prior to coming to St. John, and he plans to serve Texas-style tacos at the truck, so you know that’s going to be delicious! Hali and Rick’s son Smith, 13, served as the inspiration for the truck’s name, as he often goes by Captain Awesome in the Millson household.

One thing that I find to be pretty amazing about the Millson family is that they moved to St. John just two weeks prior to Hurricane Irma … and they’re still here. So a big kudos to them for that. Hali said the family has been vacationing here for the past 10 years, and it is the only place where their son Smith, who has autism, ever seemed truly happy. So they decided last year to sell the family business; Hali quit her job as third grade teacher; they sold the house; and the family moved to St. John.

Hali said they never thought twice about leaving island following the storm, and said that the storms actually brought their family closer together.

“We aren’t going anywhere,” Hali told me Wednesday night.

You’ve gotta love that spirit. :)

Captain Awesome Yummy Eats on the Beach opens officially this Saturday, May 5th. It will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The food truck is located on St. John’s East End at Hansen Bay beach, which is just a few miles east of Coral Bay.

hansen food truck

Lots of seating is available at the food truck.

hansen bay water

Hansen Bay Wednesday afternoon