I was evacuated by the Coast Guard today. They could not have been more kind. I plan to take some time to myself, but I will be back. I am ok. I am tired and sad, but I am ok. My boyfriend and I (and our three dogs) are taking a few weeks to ourselves in the states and then we will return. I love St. John more than anything, and I promise to be instrumental in bringing it back to the island we all know and love.

To the haters: Your nasty words only give me strength.

To my father: Thank you for being the best unpaid employee who never asked for a job. You rock.

To my mom: Thank you for just being you.

And to those of you who love St. John: You all are simply amazing. Your voices were heard. Keep it up.

And lastly to our island family who happened to be stateside: I don’t think the words “thank you” are even adequate. What you all have accomplished is simply extraordinary. We all felt your love from a million miles away. I love each and every one of you, and I can’t wait to squeeze you all!!

Hurricane Irma changed our world. There’s no doubt about that. But St. John is strong, stronger than any hurricane. And we will be back. I promise you that. Love to you all.

47 thoughts on “Tuesday.”

    • Devastated. Aqua Bistro and Skinnys looked ok, rebuildable. I heard Shipwreck is gone, although I did not drive that far. Pickles was heavily damaged too.

      • I’m wondering if there is any news of the cottages at Zootenvaal and of the wonderful property manager there, Robin Clair? We are longtime visitors and are worried for Robin’s safety. Also: Any news of Josephine and Hugo Roller and their beautiful organic farm? We are praying for all of you on island and will do all we can to help rebuild. We are so very sorry for the devastation and loss.

        • My father-in law is buried on Estate Zuttenval native style. My in laws owned Zootenval (looked much different then) and my husband has had a love of the island ever since1965. We married in 72 and in 74 my husband took me to St. John for our delayed honeymoon. We try to get there as often as we can. We too hope and pray Robin is safe. David and I are do onthe island (if all goes well) Oct. 9 and plan to spend 7 months helping where we can. Though we live in Maine, our hearts are in St John and with all her beautiful people. God Bless you all. David and Normie

        • I must say, your blog has helped me so much as well. i have worried so for my beloved St John. For the people, for the homes of the people, the animals. Everyone. I’ve cried for days and your blog has helped me to feel like there is just a tiny link to the people there. I know Robin Clair is safe. I’ve checked through two sources. However, I have no news of Zoot and would love some whenever possible. A sacred place for me as well. Delia
          Blessings. Stay safe.

      • I have an ER doctor and assistant willing and wanting to come help. I spent many many weeks on St John. Love the people and the island. Can you please tell me how we can do this.

  1. Hi Jenn,
    Your blog has kept us sane. When we became aware of what had happened to our paradise we truly went into a deep funk. Once we found your site we felt we had a direct link to our favorite place on earth. We are so happy that you have been able to get away for awhile but we wonder where we can turn to keep informed about what is happening. Can you give us a link?

    We have reservations to return to STJ in early March. As long as we can find a place to stay we intend to come. We won’t be much use for heavy work (we are both in our 70’s) but we have expertise in hands-on home restoration/remodeling and think we could be helpful for smaller projects (running wiring, plumbing, dry wall work, etc.) It won’t be quite the same as snorkeling and sitting in the sun, but it might be far more rewarding. We will actively stay in the information loop. So far we have not been able to contact our rental villa manager in Coral Bay but we will keep trying.

    Again, Jenn, thank you so much for the lifeline to STJ info. Have a productive R+R and we look forward to your return to the island.

    • Nice of you to offer, Burt. I might take you up on it. Skyridge lost her roof and essentially her top floor. I have a long way to go to figure out how to fix her, then get her fixed. I’m 75 but never been afraid of hard work, like you folks.

      • Thank you, DJ, A good link. And thank you, Jenn. We first visited St John on our honeymoon almost 40 years ago, and have returned multiple times since. We have followed your blog in the good times and appreciate your updates. Enjoy your break, and let us know how we can help.

  2. Thank you, Jenn, and Godspeed on your way. Those of us stateside will continue to pray, and help in every way possible. I remember STJ before and after Hugo, and thought that was bad — but this is unfathomable. And yet, once again, STJ will come back, stronger and even more beautiful. Look forward to hearing from you upon your return — your posts will be more important than ever through the long rebuild.

  3. Why do the aerial videos taken from the helicopter make it appear 90% of the houses and businesses on island have no major damage? Is most of the damage on the ground from trees fallen and power lines down? From the aerial videos this looks like it will only be a few months of recovery. It seems like any house that was built to code is still standing. All of the wood frame houses appear be gone and they wouldn’t of course be to code.

  4. Thanks Jenn. Your posts were very helpful. They’ve been quoted in articles and were some of the only information we had about our favorite place. We all love St John. I wouldn’t worry about the nasty words. Some folks feel compelled to go that way.

  5. Jenn, Hope you have safe travels and a restful recouperation. I admire your strength. Your honest words help spur actions that were so necessary. We know you will be back and look forward to meeting you when we return! Best wishes to you and yours…and thanks Papa! Much love.

  6. Dearest Jenn, I gam so glad you are ok. As one who went through a hurricane – Hugo 28 years ago in Charleston, SC….I can relate to what you went through. Although, Hugo was not nearly as large as Irma. But, with day’s first light the next morning came a sense of sadness like I have never felt. The landscape of my beloved Low Country had changed drastically and I barely recognized my own home. I was alone, my husband being in the Navy and had to stay on the boat all night. I was afraid. But, like your beloved island, Charleston is strong….and we pulled together to rebuild. Today, you can barely tell Hugo hit….although there are a few places that still have signs.
    I write this to you after having scrolled across the Webcams page….knowing those freeze-frames are a reminder of the beauty of the St. John of just a week ago….and the reminder that it will one day be as beautiful again.
    My husband and I honeymooned at Maho just 5 years ago. We fell in love with St. John and I promise you we will return.
    Get some rest my friend….and thank you for your devotion! Hugs!

  7. Jenn, sounds like a smart and practical decision. Hopefully you will keep the blog going stateside. I suspect with the entire economy on it’s ear that even blogging revenue will dry up. We are still in a state of anxiety about our friends from Nazereth above Red Hook. Following from Cape May.

  8. The very best to you, Jenn, and thank you for your commentary. You let your humanity show in a way that conveyed to me a devastating sense of loss. I learned from you in ways I learned nowhere else.

    Been going to St John since 1981, first staying at the home of Aase Pedersen. The island will heal. The leaves will come back. And I hope you find inspiration and opportunity in your stay on the mainland.

  9. Wishing a great rest at your mainland home with your family. Thank you so much for your efforts this past week. Stay safe and well. I hope that when you are ready, you will continue your efforts while stateside. I, and so many others, are impressed with your tenacity and spirit. Big Hugs to you!!!

  10. Jenn, Thank you for so bravely and passionately reporting from St. John in the wake of Irma. Your voice was an important one to those of us who were not there to see the devastation unfolding, on which the news media were not reporting. I am happy to hear you are safely off the island, and I wish you and your boyfriend some peace in the coming weeks. I look forward to continuing to regularly read the News of St. John upon your return to my favorite place on Earth.

  11. Glad you are safe Jen!! Thank you so much for the updates on our beloved St. John…my heart is breaking for all there….But, as you have said, St. John will come back…That is why it is Love City!!! Peace and Healing to you…

  12. Glad you are safe Jenn and thank you again for your efforts. May you be able to rest and regroup. If you find yourself struggling remember that you are strong, resilient and have already made it through the worst day of tour life. Love really is stronger then fear and I believe that the people who make St. John such a special place will be back to rebuild it.

  13. Will everyone be evacuated? Where are they taking you. I believe our grandson is still on the island. We know the roof blew off his apartment and he is staying with a friend, but other than that, we haven’t heard anything more. He had planned on coming home for ten days and has a round trip ticket but not sure if flights will be going out of St. Thomas or if he can even get there. Appreciated all the updates.

  14. Jenn, I wish you all the best and pray for the recovery of this beautiful island and its people. My husband and I were married on St. John in 2002. I hope that we can return soon and contribute in some small way to the recovery effort.

      • That’s not only an obnoxious comment, it’s irresponsible. Why do you think it’s OK to be ugly when it’s just not warranted?

        Some people were simply short-timers, e.g., tourists, renters, etc. Stands to reason that they should be evacuated, since a) they don’t add anything to the overall social benefit of the island and b) they are simply creating an additional burden with respect to the recovery effort. Every additional mouth to feed, and building to power up, is a net negative to the community as a whole at this time. If the opportunity exists to reduce the number of non-essential people on the island presents itself, it should be taken. There should be no effort to shame those who decide to leave. There are plenty of us willing to step in and lend a hand if asked.

        I’m getting tired of the people who are most definitely NOT on the islands (after all – there’s no power, so where the heck are they posting from anyway?) or are just taking cheap shots for sick grins and giggles. I’m sorry, but to try to start flame wars in a situation like this makes you a TROLL no matter what – I don’t care if you ARE a 4th generation SJI resident, that doesn’t give you cover to be rude. Get a grip and grow up. You can piss and moan all you want about the “outsiders” when times are good, but now isn’t that time.

        As the old saying goes “if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem”. Stu, “Silvio”, etc, please – dial it back.

  15. hi jenn, hope you recover well, thank you for news from my beloved VI. keep us posted, let us know how we can help and who are the most helpful honest charities. local if poss. praying the rebuild will bring peace and justice to all.

    • Hi Jeannette,

      I found the “Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands” when I was looking for an organization for my donation (www.cfvi.net). Apparently they have been in the business for 25 years and they state they will charge no administrative fees for Irma donations, pledging 100% of our donations will go directly to recovery efforts. I thought that was cool and I doubt many other orgs can say the same thing.

      • Dax..just because someone disagrees with someones OPINION does not make them a “hater” that is what makes this country so great.. Remember your views are not everyone’s so suck it up and listen and accept others views as well
        Jenn left because??? it was her choice but also others don’t have a choice St. John is their home and don’t have outside places to go to !!
        Not sure of her reason but if she was a true islander she would have stayed and helped not flee that is one or many peoples opinion not mine but please understand everyone has to make choices that are in their best interest

  16. our dec trip just got officially cancelled..:-( not surprised of course…we were to stay in grande bay…are there any volunteer efforts being started up? like to clear streets/trails/trash etc? a buddy of mine was thinking about headed down to help out ( and i am too ) but don’t know if we’d be in the way etc…especialy if people are being evacuated…does anyone know?

  17. Nope. Case not closed. Those of us that spent decades in the “systems” that are the beautiful Virgin Islands, with the GREAT people of the V.I., know the underbelly and the “upperbelly” quite well. It is very easy to believe “rumors,” albeit somewhat irresponsible. The entitlement attitude from the top political offices all the way down to the 12 year old with a .357 magnum. We know the unsolved murders, the uncharged Government employees, the quality of law enforcement overall. I guarantee there was no looting, burglaries or other offenses in the Hull Bay area. And I know why. But elsewhere? Only time and facts will tell. All I hear here is a useless denier targeting a blogger.

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