Out and About in Cruz Bay

Well folks, it took more than 12 hours to upload, but here it is … A GoPro video taken around Cruz Bay – from Mongoose Junction to the E&C gas station in Pine Peace!! This video was take on October 27th, 51 days after Hurricane Irma struck St. John.

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An Update on Our Favorite BVI Spots

flyaway charters

Yesterday was an amazing day because I was able to get out on the water for the first time since Irma hit. A HUGE thanks to my friends at Flyaway Charters for dragging me out! We cruised around St. John a bit, checked out Hurricane Hole and then went over to Francis Bay. (Sadly my friends who own Flyaway lost their boat, which was their home, during Hurricane Irma. So if you’re looking to get out on the water and support a couple who needs some love, please give them a call.)

As we were driving down the Sir Francis Drake channel, I looked over toward Tortola, Jost van Dyke and the other islands and thought that you’d all probably be interested in a BVI update. So today we’d like to update you all on some of our favorite spots that we’ve written about over the years.

Jost van Dyke

This beautiful stretch of white sand beach took a major hit during Hurricane Irma. All of the restaurants and bars along White Bay were mostly destroyed except Hendo’s Hideout. According to their Facebook page, Hendo’s will reopen “when the time is right.” Let’s hope that’s sooner than later because everyone is craving a bit of normalcy these days.

The Soggy Dollar Bar was hit pretty hard by the hurricanes. The hotel was destroyed as was a fair amount of the bar/restaurant. The bar, however, survived! The owners of Soggy are rebuilding, and we cannot wait to go back and enjoy one of their famous Painkillers! Here is what they wrote in an email sent to guests:

Let us start by saying Thank You for all the love and support sent our way over the last few weeks – we are so grateful to report that the entire Soggy Dollar family is alive and safe after the devastating Hurricane Irma that hit us on September 6th, followed by Hurricane Maria two weeks later. Jost Van Dyke, along with all of the neighboring British and U.S Virgin Islands, was extremely damaged. Residents are being forced to evacuate for unknown periods of time as their homes, businesses, and places of work are no longer standing. White Bay was hit hard by the eye of the storm with winds up to 215 mph and a huge storm surge leaving Soggy Dollar in ruins. Our hotel, boutique, and beautiful palm trees are no longer, but we are happy to say our infamous bar, which has seen many painkillers in its day, is still standing!

Our General Managers Jamie Gladman & Stacy Bachali worked tirelessly to prepare SDB and our island for the storms, and they continue to face the Irma & Maria aftermath head on with strength and courage to make sure our employees and surrounding neighbors on Jost Van Dyke are safe with food, water, & love.

Jost Van Dyke has a long road ahead with the rebuilding of power, water, and communication, but we know the love and strength that this island has will help us recover quickly. Once we have a chance to take a deep breath (and maybe a few painkillers) we will work towards the re-birth of the Soggy Dollar Bar. 47 years young, SDB has so much more to give!

Foxy’s was able to reopen in a limited capacity last week! Yay!

Seddy’s One Love is currently rebuilding. Reopening date TBD.

B-Line was completely destroyed unfortunately. This is what they wrote on their Facebook page:

Here’s an update as promised of B-Line post hurricane Irma. It left nothing behind but we intend to pick up the pieces and continue serving our customers. We thank each and everyone who reached out to us via messenger, email and other means. We love you all dearly. #strongertogether #bvistrong #jvdstrong #blinestrong

Norman Island 

The Willy T sadly ended up on the shore of Normal Island. They too plan on rebuilding. They wrote the following on their Facebook page:

We will be rebuilding the Willy T and will be back, better than ever! No hurricane can keep the William Thornton down for long!

We look forward to welcoming back soon to the Bight at Norman Island all of our friends! The William Thornton lives on! Stay connected on this William Thornton website, Facebook and Instagram for updates on the progress of the rebuild. THE LEGEND LIVES ON!!

Cooper Island

The Cooper Island Beach Club is currently rebuilding and expects to accept guests beginning on April 1, 2018. Here is what they wrote on their Facebook page:

Thank you to all the friends of Cooper Island who have sent messages of support as we work towards rebuilding our little bit of paradise. Progress over the last month has been slower than we had hoped and following a full assessment of the damage, we must unfortunately remain closed until Easter.

Cooper Island Beach Club will open to hotel guests on Sunday 1st April 2018. If our restaurant & retail services can open prior to that date, we shall announce it via our website and Facebook page.

Our office on-island was destroyed, so our US agent in Florida will be contacting all guests due to stay with us prior to 31st March 2018. You may also call 1 800 542 4624 or +1 727 323 8727 for assistance.

Peter Island 

Peter Island Resort is also closed temporarily. Here is what they wrote on their Facebook page;

Everyone on the Peter Island team is deeply touched and grateful for our friends’ compassion and generosity during this difficult time following hurricanes Irma and Maria. Thankfully, all of our 217 Peter Island team members who weathered the storms are safe and sound. We are now going through the process of assessing the damages to the resort from the storms, and will be providing updates about the resort’s recovery and re-opening when there are more details to share.

We will update you on some other BVI spots soon. Have a great Monday everyone!

Information on Boat Removal in National Park

vi park sign oct 7

Hello and happy Sunday! We received the following information from the National Park Service. They asked that we share it with all of you.

The National Park Service is working in coordination with U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency to address damaged vessels that have been displaced due to recent hurricane activity.

National Park Service crews are working to obtain a count and locate owners of displaced vessels within the boundaries of the Caribbean National Parks. Crews are also searching for and marking underwater debris that may create a navigation hazard. At this time, approximately 180 vessels have been identified, with an unknown amount that may be submerged. Most displaced vessels are located at St. John, Virgin Islands.

The displaced vessels resulting from recent hurricanes pose a threat to the environment and to the public. Any vessel that may be polluting the water or beach by leaking gasoline or fuel is a priority to safely remove, as well as vessels that may be hazards to navigation.

Prior to removal of any displaced vessel within park boundaries, vessel owners must contact the National Park Service via email at e-mail us, or provide written information to the park directly at the incident command post located at the visitor center at St. John. The following information is needed:

  • Vessel registration number,
  • Vessel name,
  • Current owner name, email address, mailing address, and phone,
  • Vessel location or moored location,
  • Date of removal or plan for removal, and
  • Description of markings.

Power Update!!

Well folks, today is day 51 post-Irma and guess what … we have some power in Cruz Bay!! How exciting is that??!! 

Do we wish the whole island had power? Absolutely. But we are super happy with the progress that’s happening. So a HUGE thank you to the crew from BBC Electrical of Joplin, Missouri and WAPA!! 

We chatted with a few of the guys from BBC tonight, and they told us that power extended up Centerline Road and all the way up to the clinic. Very exciting stuff! They did say, however, that it will take some time to power up the whole island as they have restrictions with regard to work in the National Park. Some of the new holes for the power polls will have to be dug by hand and that will take some time. They also said that they’ll have to use helicopters to string some lines in certain areas due to the dense forest. 

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more. Thanks for reading everyone!

You Are So Beautiful By Steve Simonsen

I was able to spend some time with Steve Simonsen last night, and we were chatting about some of the projects he’s been working on. And he mentioned this video he just made. It’s set to Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” and this video is just that – beautiful.

Please watch it with sound if you can. And you may want to grab a tissue.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Steve Simonsen is a hero in my eyes. Thank you for capturing the beauty of St. John over the years.

A GoPro Video from Coral Bay to Salt Pond

Hello everyone and happy Thursday. We filmed the following video on October 8, 2017, just over one month after Hurricane Irma struck St. John. I apologize that we were not able to upload it sooner.

(Two disclaimers: 1. I sped the video up a tad for time/length purposes. 2. The poles that look bent in some places are due to the GoPro lens.)