Six Months Later

jumbie

It’s hard to believe that today marks six months since Hurricane Irma ripped through our island and changed our world forever. A lot has happened here over the past six months; A lot of good has happened here over the past six months. Karen Granitz, the owner of Oasis in Coral Bay, said something to me last October that really struck me. “Even on our darkest days,” she said, “we are still the most beautiful place in the world.” And you know what, those words could not be truer, both in the beauty of this island, the beauty of its people, and the beauty of all of those who came to our aid.

Over the past few days, I’ve spoken with a lot of people who’ve been reflecting on the past six months. All have admitted that we’ve had some trying times, but many have also stated that the past six months have been filled with hope, happiness and a renewed faith in humanity. A lot of that is a credit to all of you. We felt your love from near and far. Thank you for that.

If you said back on September 7th that this island would be buzzing six months later, I’m not sure everyone would have believed you. I never doubted that the island would come back, that the people would come back, but I’m not sure anyone expected it to happen as quickly and in the manner in which is has. The progress that has happened over the past six months is remarkable. That is a credit to the people who live here, to those of you who supported us from afar, to the amazing organizations and nonprofits here on island, and to those in the States who came to our aid. Again, thank you.

The island is as stunning today as it was on September 5th in my opinion. Our beaches are busy once again. Our restaurants are full. Our charters boats are packed. Our villas and condos are hopping. Sure we’re not where we were one year ago, but progress is being made each and every day. It’s really amazing to see. Here are a few pics we’ve recently taken that show the sheer beauty and resilience of this island:

Cruz Bay
Cruz Bay
Virgin Islands National Park
Virgin Islands National Park
North Shore Road
North Shore Road
Peace Hill
Peace Hill
Caneel Bay and beyond
Caneel Bay and beyond
Trunk Bay
Trunk Bay
Coral Bay
Coral Bay
Lameshur
Lameshur
East End
East End

Gorgeous, right?

Sure we have work to do, and no, we are not perfect. But we’re getting there day by day.

So as you can see, big things have been happening here on island over the past six months. Oh and we have one more big thing to tell you all. News of St. John is expanding this summer…

baby news

That’s right, we’re having a hurricane baby! How exciting is that??!! So again, a lot of good has happened over the past six months.

Again, I wanted to say thank you to all of you who love St. John, to all of you who have supported us over the past six months, to all of you who have visited us and to all of you with trips planned. We would not be here today without all of you and for that I am forever grateful.

Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone. 🙂

67 thoughts on “Six Months Later”

    • Not Irma!! Noooooooo! Seriously Jenn, we’re so very happy for you. Enjoy every second- they grow up so fast! Hugs!

  1. Congratulations!!! We are planning on celebrating our 10th anniversary there in August! I can’t wait to share the beautiful island with my husband. I’ve been there twice but it’s been a very long time ago and I’ve always wanted to come back and this is the perfect time! Lots of people have had negative things to say to me about planning a trip to the island after the hurricane, but look at the progress that has been made! I can’t wait to see it all in person. My husband has never been, and I can’t wait for him to see the beauty as well.

    • Barbara, it’s been 13 years since my husband and I got married on Hawksnest, and while I’ve dreamed of going back every year since, the pull on my soul this year, post-hurricane, has been the strongest. I actually feel guilty that it cannot be sooner than this Fall, and I too have been getting negative comments on planning a trip there, but I can’t think of any reason not to go. The progress Jenn talks about, and the resilient spirit of everyone on-island–I can’t put it into words but it’s awe-inspiring. It makes me want to share my love for the island with everyone I know, so I understand how you feel!

      I hope you have an amazing time in August and that your husband can see why we all love it there so much! Happy anniversary!

  2. Congratulations Jenn! That is wonderful news! Thank you for all you do and all of the updates. Can’t wait to get back there!

  3. Wow, congratulations….I’ve got the Circle of Life song from Lion King stuck in my head now for some reason…maybe after the baby is born, you can take him or her up to Peace Hill and present him or her to the Caribbean 🙂

  4. From both of us, Hearty Congratulations!! We will be arriving this Saturday and are looking forward to our tour with you one week from today.
    Sue & Burt

  5. Congratulations to you Jen. The Islands baby coming this summer. I can think of 2 names you might like lol. Hope to be back very soon. See you at the Beach Bar.

  6. Congratulations, Jenn, on the best news possible from St. John. New life! I’ve seen it everywhere in your posts…from the regreening of the island…to new baby donkeys and fawns…to the pieces of former homes collected from the sides of hills…to the community of stout hearts and loving souls. But nothing can compare to the hope embodied in the birth of a new baby. I don’t know how, in your condition, you managed to take on the role of “broker of fact” these many months for those of us who have followed the recovery of St. John through your remarkable reporting. God bless you for the role you have played, God bless you as your pregnancy progresses, and God bless the new St. Johnian you are about to bring into your beautiful world. Lucky baby! ❤️

  7. Congratulations to you! That is great news. We will be back on island mid April for 10 days.. Can’t wait to return

  8. Congrats Jenn!!!! Fabulous news and thanks for all you do to keep us poor landlocked suckers in the loop with the latest happenings on island! xx

  9. Congrats!!! So many exciting things happening this year in St. John. Thanks for all of your hard work and keeping everyone in the states updated, its much appreciated. I cant wait for my trip back in August!

  10. Such wonderful news, Jenn! So happy for you! I wanted to say that we just returned home from 8 fabulous, best ever days on St. John! We have come each year for the past 20 years and we truly feel that this was the best trip yet! It felt good to support the local businesses even renting our jeep on St. John (St. John Car Rental) instead of STT and barging over. Thank you for letting us know that this was the best way to rent our Jeep. We have made our reservation for next year!

  11. Great news Jenn. We wish you well. Congratulations on your upcoming “expansion”
    Oh, and the island looks beautiful—we’ll be back for two weeks in December.
    Love,
    Larry and Kate

  12. Congrats!

    Our driver from Red Hook to STT talked about “hurricane babies” which prompted questions from my 12 yo on why there would be more babies after the storms.

    After a brief and age-appropriate explanation, he told me to stop talking.

  13. Congrats on the wonderful news! Only 8 more days until my family returns to our favorite place on the planet!!! Can’t wait

  14. Congratulations from Rhet & Mary Beckley!
    We read your blog every day and because of you, we just booked our St.John Vacation for June again this year!

  15. Wow incredible Thanks for everything Jenn. Was married on st john in 1974! Coming down for summer solstice. Good luck

  16. Congrats Jen!

    Your posts lately have inspired us to get down there soon so we just booked tickets for next month. Can’t wait to be back on the island!

  17. Congratulations to you! I love reading your posts and seeing the progress on St. John. Our entire family first visited in 1987 and stayed in Cinnamon Bay Campsites. Visited many times since. Can’t wait for a return visit.

  18. Congratulations Jenn and husband on your news!

    Six months ago, you were the eyes and ears for so many of us who could not contact loved ones. Forever grateful to you for that!

    May you have a wonderful island baby!!

  19. I am here on island and can attest that things are hopping and there are so many signs of progress. I am in Coral Bay for the month of March. Yes, there are big piles of debris around, but there is music nightly, restaurants open, beaches with calm waters (north shore was kicking up big time this week). And friendly smiles all around. The spirit here is uplifting. A wonderful place to bring baby News of St. John into this world.

  20. This is wonderful news! Stay happy, stay healthy, stay strong. Can’t wait to welcome your little one to the St. John family, including those who live on island and those of us who are there in Spirit every day. ♡

    • CONGRAULATIONS!!! You won’t have to get winter clothes for the baby, that’s a plus! So excited for you. I read your blog every day. You have done such an amazing job for all of us who love the island. Can’t wait to get back there as soon as possible! Keep us updated about the little one also. Love to you!

  21. The news from St. John just keeps getting better! Congratulations, Jenn! Now where can I get one of those NOSJ onesies? My daughter is expecting our first grandchild late April, and, being a devoted lover of St. John, she’d love to see her boy sporting your logo! Thanks for all you’re doing to keep us visitors “jonesing” for the islands!

  22. Congratulations!!

    Stormy could be a cute middle name!

    CATherine Fern (Fern is 5 in Danish and Swedish) Cat 5 🙂

    Just what you wanted thousands of readers helping you with names!

  23. Jenn, you have provided a great outlet for information about St John, especially since Irma. Here on the sixth anniversary, I am hoping that you will provide a more balanced look at the island. Your verbiage is spot on IMHO, but stateside visitors who are considering visits might appreciate a gallery of videos and photos that show both the beauty and the lingering mess and destruction. What I see is mostly picture-perfect Chamber of Commerce images. I know it’s your blog and you have complete content control. I am just hoping to see a bit more reality. Things will get better in time, I would really like a visual sense of that progress.

    • Thank you for your comments Jim. I think people have already seen those images. The Lumberyard, for example, looks the same today as it did the day after the storm. So why continue to post those pics? I’ve made it a point from day one not to show pics of destroyed personal property bc those are people’s lives and I don’t want to exploit that. I’d rather be positive and show the improvements rather than focus on the few places that are still a mess because, again, we’ve already seen those pics.

      • Agree with the sentiment, but…”the few places?” That’s an incredibly ignorant statement. There are people living in tents in Coral Bay. There are homes in Pastory and the Valley covered in mold. There are residents with nowhere else to go still living in total squalor. I understand that this blog’s intent is to promote tourism and generate revenue for the island (which we desperately need), but don’t wade into certain waters if it doesn’t fit the narrative.

        • I have no idea what you are referring to. This post is about how resilient the island and its residents are, and how much progress has happened over the past six months. I clearly stated that things are not perfect. Nowhere in the post does it say “the few places” which you quoted, so again, I am not sure what you are referring to.

          I drive the island daily. There are not multiple tents in Coral Bay. And yes, mold is an issue for all of us. That’s an island-wide problem. It was also an issue pre-storms.

          And yes, we need tourism. I see it daily here on island. Not sure what you see daily up there in Gainesville where you are writing from.

          • Jenn, I was quoting and making reference to your response to the gentleman above my comment (Jim). You replied to his comment that you didn’t want to focus on “the few places that were still messed up.” I find that particular statement to be utterly callow. It is far from “a few” places that are in bad shape. Yes, there are multiple tents, they just aren’t off the main roads or near popular attractions where one might see them on a day trip to Coral Bay, but they are there, and that is the reality for those people. Among the other “few messed up” places; there is a woman in Bethany housing 6 of her neighbors because their home, directly across from hers, is still in shambles. There is an elderly couple in Hard Labor living in a literal wooden shed in the shadow of their wrecked home. There are large scale debris piles throughout the East End and Coral Bay. I could go on—It is not just “a few places.” The community has made tremendous strides, but it’s not fair to minimize the very real amount of damage still present by casually hand-waving it as “a few.” I take no issue with the post; it was your perfunctory response to the other gentleman’s comment that bothered me. Incidentally, I live on the island. Not that it matters. But you brought it up in an effort to discredit my comments, which was rather rude and presumptive.

  24. Congrats and all the best, Jen. And thank you for keeping us all informed. St.John has always been a special place, for me, starting way back in 1981 on my first visit….37 years ago (yikes!). Stayed for a week in the downstairs apartment in the home of Aase Pedersen over in Chocolate Hole. Rented my first home a couple years later from Mary-Phyllis Nogueira. That home was called “Goodbye Columbus” located over in the Fish Bay area. Great memories. Unfortunately, it slid off its foundation and down the mountain in a hurricane a few years later. All a part of island life.

  25. Congratulations Jenn! What a blessing. Always a silver lining in every catastrophe. Thank you again for being our line of communication from St. John. Cannot wait to get back there. Lots of Love!

  26. Jenn,

    What an honor to read about the exciting news of St. John. Congratulations to you !!

    I can’t wait to return to the most beautiful place on this earth.

  27. Thanks Jenn for all you do for our beloved St. John AND for your
    wonderful St. John TOUR!! Our 5 hour off the beaten path drive
    with you enlightened, enriched and educated us about our already “special island”. It is a ‘DON’T MISS’ experience. A land/water
    tour is also available.

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