It’s Winds-DAY, but heavy winds are exactly what we won’t be getting as Hurricane Same continues on her Northbound Track! But, there are still a few other systems out there and some other pertinent to travel and tourism information that you might want to check in on in this little St. John update.
Last week, I told you that Hurricane (at the time, Tropical Storm) Sam would be one to watch if you were planning on traveling to St. John this week. It had seemed like we could be getting some serious weather starting late tonight and early tomorrow.
Well, as Sam built up to hurricane strength over the weekend, she (he?) also took a turn to the north. Hurricane Sam is currently moving northwestward at about nine miles per hour as a category four hurricane just about 400 miles away from us according to NOAA’s 11AM report today. Expected weather on St. John looks a little windy with scattered and isolated showers over the next 24 hours but it appears we are in the clear on this one. Phew!
However, there are two additional Tropical Disturbances in the Eastern Tropical Atlantic that are definitely worth keeping an eye on. However, according to Crown Weather Service, neither of them appears to be a huge threat at present. BUT, as we know, Mother Nature can change her tune abruptly so, if you are traveling over the next month or so, please be advised that is IS still hurricane season and regular weather checks should be a part of your to do list as you ready yourselves for a trip to Love City.
So, the airport and sea ports should be operating as usual over the next few days, however, I did see some information pass through about the car barge this week that could result in a pretty good clog up during peak hours and days of the week (rent your car on St. John!). For the next week, Virgin Islands Port Authority will be operating with two barges instead of three while the Big Red Barge is on dry dock. With the BRB offline, only the Captain Vic and the Grand Vic will be running service between St. John and St. Thomas. If all goes well. the BRB should be back in service by the end of next week.
So, rent your car on St. John! Especially if you are arriving over this weekend.
The Virgin Islands National Park has some good news in store. Seventeen new signs for the Trunk Bay underwater snorkel trail arrived on St. John today! One of the most photographed beaches in the world is home to this notable St. John underwater attraction.
The informative and entertaining underwater trail is suitable for snorkelers of all levels and is visited by millions of visitors every year. The previous signs, hosting information about marine life, are damaged from years of living under the sea. The new signs will “tell a much more complete story and update the park’s snorkel interpretation.” The new signs will be installed this week by park staff and I’ll be looking forward to checking them out!
I do want to take this opportunity to gently remind you all of a little bit of snorkeling etiquette. The coral in the seas surrounding our island continues to struggle, despite 2020 legislation outlawing the use of non-reef safe sunscreen in the territory. If you have snorkeled in the USVI over the past few years, you have seen firsthand the effects that humans, toxic chemicals and climate change can have on an underwater marine environment.
- Reef Safe Sunscreen ONLY- I have done several posts in regards to Reef Safe Sunscreen information over the past year since the 2020 legislation was passed, outlawing non safe sunscreen in the territory. The best thing you can do is your research! Find a brand that’s right for you and make sure it doesn’t have in it the chemicals that kill the coral. If you need some assistance, check out this Reef Safe Sunscreen guide that lists some popular brands as well as what NOT to buy!
- Look, Don’t Touch- I KNOW that reaching out to touch that turtle is super appealing. They are so gentle and friendly and the occasional photo opp with your hand on its shell couldn’t hurt, right? Nope, WRONG. We have natural oils on our hands that disrupt the balance of sea life. The turtles have a protective layer of film on their shells that protect them from the elements and disease. When you touch a turtle, you might be endangering his or her life! So, look, but don’t touch and leave only bubbles in your trail 🙂
- Don’t Stand on the Coral or Sea Grass Beds– Not only could a misstep on a piece of coral put you in extreme discomfort for multiple days, but your could be killing hundreds of microorganisms with your one step! If you are uncomfortable with swimming close to the coral, stay back a few extra feet. IF you feel like you need a rest, don’t stand up! Just take a deep breath through your snorkel and leisurely float about until you get your sea legs back. Keep yourself in your comfort zone and, kindly, your feet off of the coral and grass.
- Mind Your Products Before Heading to the Beach- It’s not JUST sunscreen that we wear into the water every day. Bug spray, shampoo, hair spray, makeup and moisturizers ALL likely have chemicals in them that are not so great for the coral and other marine life. Take a quick shower with Dr. Bronners or some other type of environmentally safe soap before you hit the beach. Use coconut oil as a moisturizer or hair treatment. Find a bug spray for your beach bag that is all natural oils that won’t adversely affect the corals (No DEET on the beach!)
The care for our underwater environment is gonna have to come from all of us working together to right the wrongs of the past several decades of damage that has been done. Little changes from all of us together will go a long way over time to preserve and protect the sea life!
This time of year is absolutely great for our under, and above, the sea friends! It’s quiet with low traffic from both visitors and marine vessels. The slower months of the year are a great time for the marine life, the on the shore furry friends AND our island staffers to get a reprieve from the bustling traffic of the winter, spring and early summer. It’s a time to reset and figure out what’s next. One of the things I have always loved about living on St. John is getting away during this time of year, only to return in massive appreciation for her beauty and the community. To come back renewed and ready to start fresh with new horizons. I’ve always compared the first few days back on island to summer camp. Ha! Running around town to get affairs in order almost always results in reconnecting with old friends and, more often than not, happy hour. It’s glorious.
And, this time of year, many of our favorite restaurants are re-opening! However, this year has been a bit different. Typically, when we put out the restaurant closure report in late July, most places have a firm game plan in place. This year, though, with an insanely busy season that seemed like it would never end, there were a lot of changes and modifications to the list over time. The full list is here, but I want to bring your attention to a few recent changes:https://newsofstjohn.com/the-restaurant-report-fall-2021-seasonal-closures/
- Dave & Jerry’s Steakhouse – Now opening mid-October. Changed from October 8.
- Lime Inn- Now opening October 18. Changed from October 4. Lime Out is opening as scheduled on Taco Tuesday, October 5!
- North Shore Deli- Previously had not reported a closing schedule. Currently they are closed until Friday, October 1.
- Morgan’s Mango- Currently Closed and will re-open on Thursday, October 7.
- Colombo’s Smoothies- Now re-opened, hours have changed however. Tuesday-Saturday 8AM-3PM – 4Pm was closing time previously.
- The Terrace- Re-opening date not previously set. They are currently open as of September 15.
Again, if you don’t see your favorites on this short list, check the full list for the updated schedule of re-openings.
Well, that’s all I have for today! I hope this message finds you happy and healthy with a trip back to Love City on the horizon!
1 thought on “Island Update: Weather, Ports, Restaurant Closures and National Park Updates”
Thank you for your ongoing dedication to preserving the beautiful marine life!