MARCH 5, 2018 UPDATE
It’s been over 6 months since hurricane Irma and hurricane Maria swept across the Caribbean and crossed St John, St Thomas and St Croix, US Virgin Islands. For several months, your evening news brought you some incredible footage of the destructive power of a CAT5 storm. And many islands including Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the BVIs suffered some unbelievable damage. So, what can you expect when deciding to plan your next visit to St John?
The Good …
Over 99.99% of the island has power restored. Visitors will see lots of new power lines, poles and wires. A big thanks to the local WAPA lineman and a heartfelt thank you to the BBC Electric crews from Joplin, Missouri. Without their hard work the Island would not have recovered so quickly!
The Virgin Islands National Park beaches have reopened. Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Hawksnest Beach, Maho Beach, Waterlemon Cay … are open and welcoming beach goers with fewer coconut palms; but wider and flatter white sand beaches! Please note that Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Hawksnest Beach and Maho Bay all have damage to the Park infrastructure. At the time of this article, the Park had not announced a schedule for the infrastructure to be repaired. But, basic services are in place. And Trunk’s snorkeling gear and chair rentals have resumed.
Many Cruz Bay + Coral Businesses have reopened. The basics … gas, groceries, Jeep rentals, bars and restaurants have, for the most part, reopened; and are eager for guests/patrons. The shops at Mongoose Junction are bustling with visitors going in and out of shops. The St John Brewers Tap Room is open, albeit much smaller, while they continue to work on their expanded bar. A fan favorite, Morgan’s Mango just reopened after months of repairs!
Hiking trails inside the VI National Park are cleared and passable. And the “clipped” vegetation affords some new vistas!
Moorings at the Park bays are repaired and accepting boats.
The Sad …
Visitors first glimpse of Cruz Bay will be the mostly closed shops, bars and restaurants of Wharfside Village. The infrastructure/buildings at Trunk, Cinnamon and Maho are, for the most part, in pretty poor shape.
Coral Bay is still in very rough shape. Mountains of debris are being sorted and trucked out. The dumpster area by Love City Market is still getting wood, metal, appliances dropped off. There’s still plenty of repair work that needs to happen. But, you’ll also find busy hands … businesses reopening, things being fixed and lots and lots of fresh, bright paint ; )