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2020 update

When was your last visit to St. John? Wondering what’s up? Here is the latest

After a relatively uneventful hurricane season 2019 – except for a surprise visit of Hurricane Dorian – St. John is pretty much back to it’s beautiful pre-Irmaria self. Dorian was supposed to be a tropical storm passing well over 100 miles away and ended up being a category 1 hurricane that went right over us. The forecast advisory only changed at 8am in the morning at by noon all hell was breaking loose. Thankfully Captain Steve had secured our 32FS Regulator really well “just in case” and everything stayed in place. We are very grateful for that since he had just given our boat a major makeover buffing out and repairing all the scratches and dents that remained from Irma.

DOWNTOWN CRUZ BAY

The key places that were still closed since Irmaria, Beach Bar and Joe’s Rum Hut (now named Rum Hut with a slightly more upscale menu and look) have just re-opened so Cruz Bay town is pretty much like it was. Beautiful large Coconut Palm Trees have been planted along Cruz Bay beach and it looks great. Planting them was a major undertaking, check out the video here.

The wine shop Island Cork that carries more than 200 different wines now added a Bistro with great snacks it is a great place to unwind and have a terrific glass of wine with some fantastic treats.

The Parrot Club expects to reopen there within the next few weeks, and upscale dining venue  Waterfront Bistro has plans to reopen later this year.

Sushi Bar Umami is gone there now is a Tap & Still which some of you might now from Red Hook, St. Thomas.

The gravel parking lot by barge exit that had been closed for maintenance since October has also just re-opened and parking is currently free there (YAY!). There also is a new paid parking in the place where Lumberyard used to be that is the best / closest parking if you go on a charter for us unless you can snatch up one of the few free spaces by National Park Dock. If you are in that area, also check out the Eco Station St. John which offers recycling and refills for cleaners, shampoo etc a great approach to tackle the trash problem on our little island.

BEACHES AND RESORTS

The Westin is up and running and everything is looking great.

Caneel Bay Resort and Cinnamon Campground remain closed with no opening/rebuilding date. You can park at the former Caneel entrance and pay for a golf cart transfer to Honeymoon Beach or you can rent a paddleboard from us and paddle to the caneel beaches by paddleboard.

Concordia Eco Resort near Salt Pond has new owners and they are rebuilding.

A new bar has opened across the road from Maho (“Maho Crossroads”). Some love it others hate it, overall Maho is busier than before and parking can be a challenge. In return Cinnamon is very peaceful and quiet with ample parking now that there is no campground.

Yes, we are missing a lot of the beautiful Palmtrees at some beaches and sadly the National Park does not consider them “native species” so they are not replanting them. However a lot of the shrubs are gone so many beaches like hawksnest that were narrow before are now much wider.

2020 boating destinations

BVI

Everything for our main destinations in the BVIs is pretty much back to normal,  Corsairs at Great Harbour, Jost van Dyke (pictured below) has been completely rebuilt since the hurricanes and is looking great!

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Foxy’s Taboo (Diamond Cay, pictured below) has also been rebuilt and Pirate’s on Norman Island is back open, Willy T. have moved back to Norman Island so aside from the ever increasing BVI customs fees (at the moment about 75-95$ per person) everything is like before or even better.

We can only imagine how bad the hurricanes and storm surge must have been on one of our favorite places, Anegada, as it is very low with almost zero elevation but you will not be able to tell, everything has been rebuilt and looks amazing and a lot of the big palm trees at Cow Wreck beach (pictured below) survived the storms.

 

USVI

Lime Out

The new Limeout floating taco bar that was located in the East End near Hanson Bay is closed due to permitting problems / deny of mooring permit at the location. It remains closed until further notice while they search for a better location. Abi’s at Green Cay /STT is also closed and it does not look like they will be reopening.

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So for now Pizza Pi the pizza boat remains the only “bar stop” on the USVI trips. So the full day trip can be a pretty long day on the water as you are not leaving the boat except for snorkeling, so we have added a new USVI trip that is the 3/4 day St. John which is 6 hours and enough to bring you to the key sights on St. John in the North and South without going all around the island.

More to come…

New USVI destinations are however in the works among others a new resort/restaurant on Lovango Cay as well as a floating lounge in Pillsbury Sound.

Lovango Resort and Beach Club

New destination on Lovango is opening this week (Feb 2, 2020)

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Phase 1

ZoZo’s H2O Restaurant (opening Feb 2020)

Casual dining at the water’s edge, this is the perfect lunch, full-day or dinner excursion. Lunch and early dinner served daily from 11am-6pm

This is a possible stop on our 3/4 day or full day St. John trip.

Phase 2

The Lovango Beach Club (opening December 2020)

The first of its type in the USVI! The Beach Club will provide restaurant services, an exotic beach destination with services:

Beach facilities, water sports, beach games, large oceanfront swimming pool, cabanas, changing facilities with locker rooms and showers for boaters

Daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal memberships

Phase 3

The Lovango Resort & Beach Club (opening December 2021)

An island resort community with discretely-located accommodations. Your home away from home is designed to maximize your privacy with spectacular views. The resort will include attention to wellness and picturesque wedding venues. Hotel guests may enjoy all the benefits of the Beach Club.

This stunning resort will be fully self-sustainable providing its own solar and wind power for electricity and a reverse osmosis plant for all of its fresh water needs.

STAY TUNED FOR MORE

Follow us on facebook.com/rockhoppin or instagram.com/rockhoppin_charters for updates.

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Pizza Pi re-opening for 2019/2020 season

Mark your calendars, the iconic Pizza Pi boat that serves fresh pizza made on the boat is re-opening for the second season under new ownership.

They have done a complete interior overhaul. These changes will allow them to increase capacity and dramatically reduce wait times. The changes include:

    • Installation of new 20kw generator to support additional capacity.

    • Installation of an additional oven that will increase pizza producing capacity by ~65%.

    • Complete redesign of galley and forecastle for increased refrigeration, storage and overall greater efficiency.

    • Improved space for displaying and storing merchandise.

    • Installation of new sound system with Wakeboard and JL speakers.

Where is the Pizza Boat?

The Pizza Boat is at Christmas Cove off Little St. James. There is great snorkeling nearby or when go there for dinner on a sunset cruise.

How to book a Trip to Pizza Pi

We can visit Pizza Pi within the following trips

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new T-Shirts

Looking for a little St. John Fix at home? We have new T-Shirts in lots of sizes and styles.

We are all for using local businesses and had our first shirts locally screen printed. For a small business like us it however turned out impossible to manage the stock and have the right colors and sizes and shapes available for our guests, when we keep them on the boat they get moist when we keep them at the house the hurricane messes them up and the shipping to the States for orders is expensive and time-consuming (as we have to fill out customs forms).

So we are now printing the shirts states side on demand and they will be shipped directly from there to you. That gives you a much wider choice of styles and colors and super easy online ordering, pay via card or paypal

There are 3 different designs (click on items in list to see all variants):

I am the Captain T-Shirt  (unisex tee, slim fit women’s tee, long sleeve, baseball tee, hoodie and women’s tank)

Rockhoppin Shirts in lighter colors (with dark print) – unisex tee, slim fit women’s tee, long sleeve, baseball tee, unisex triblend tee and women’s tank)

Rockhoppin Shirts in darker colors (with light color print) – unisex tee, unisex triblend tee, long sleeve, hoodie, youth tee and women’s tank)

Hurry this campaign is running for 2 weeks if we print 5 of each of the 3 designs, it will continue for longer

 

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We are open for business and St. John is ready for visitors

It has been a rough ride being hit by 2 category 5 hurricanes within 2 weeks in September 2017 and we are finally back online with high speed internet via a satellite dish we mounted on our roof terrace. The fiber optic cables for DSL and TV are still down in January 2018, 4 month past hurricane.

The maximum gust measured on St. John (before meter blew away) was 277mp/h (!) and the highest sustained windspeed was 207 mp/h, the highest sustained windspeed ever recorded anywhere in the world! These are numbers from local meters that were blown away in the storm so they are not part of the official recordings or statistics. In the official statistics, Hurricane Irma and Maria rank 2nd and 8th in the list of the strongest ever recorded Atlantic Hurricanes.

Our house, boat and paddleboards faired pretty well and sustained only minor damages considering the incredible wind speeds. We towed our 32 FS Regulator Powerboat out of the water and had it on a trailer in the boat yard, Captain Steve secured the trailer with sandscrews, straps, chains etc. to the ground and trees and yes, it stayed in place (some trailers were tipped over or went down the hill backwards).

The boat was hit by flying debris like pieces of roofing and rain that was pushed through any cracks with 200mp/h damaged some of the electronics like sonar depth/fish finder but it’s otherwise fine. A total of 450 boats were destroyed on St. John alone so we were very lucky. We have had only about 5 charters since the storm and are  currently performing some maintenance resuming charters February 1st.

Apologies if you emailed us and did not hear back we did not have internet for months and some messages might have been lost due to mailbox full or accidently deleted when going through 65.000 unread emails with a lot of them being spam. Please re-send your message and we will get back to you asap.

Is St. John ready for visitors past Hurricane?

We would say definitely yes, if you can live without cable tv and don’t mind little inconveniences like missing some missing street signs. Over 90% of the houses have power now. The Westin and Caneel Bay will remain closed until 2019 but there are lots of villas and apartments that survived the storm and are available for rent. All grocery stores are open, there is plenty of food and produce.

A lot of restaurants were destroyed but there are enough bars and restaurants open for a fun night out. All hiking trails and beaches are open and the water is clear and has been declared safe to swim. Some of the beaches are actually nicer than before (wider due to sand deposited by storm and downed shrubs) and there are actually some new beaches that have appeared since the storm  (due to sand deposits or places previously unaccessible due to vegetation). Everything is quiet and relaxed there is no struggle to find a parking space at beach and everybody is happy for any visitor showing up. The only place a little more crowded than before is the Starfish market parking its always full, lots of locals go there to conduct there business on the public wifi.

Repeat visitors will enjoy re-discovering their island, finding new beaches, driftwood sculptures on the beach and having different views from the hiking trails. I know a lot of you have helped with donations etc. but the best thing you can do for St. John is to come back and spend lots of money at the local businesses

As for our friends in the BVI they were hit pretty bad by the storm as well, but a few places have reopened so no matter if you want to go to Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island or Jost each place will have at least one bar or restaurant open. If you prefer to stay local, Pizza Pi and Abi are open as well.

 

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Pizza Pi is closing for season July 29th

PiZZA Pi the Pizza boat off xmas cove will be serving their last pizzas of the season on July 29.  They will celebrate with a “Christmas in July” party.  Please join them with your best Caribbean Santa costumes & music.  They will be open regular hours of 11a-6pm and will do our best to eat & drink the boat dry so come early if you want dibs on a full menu.  They plan to reopen December 2, 2017

Ready to snatch up the last Pizza?

Just check out the happy faces in these photos: https://www.facebook.com/rockhoppin/photos/?tab=album&album_id=424506084421760 and https://www.facebook.com/rockhoppin/photos/?tab=album&album_id=400231126849256

Book your sunset cruise to Pizza Pi here or stop there during a day trip:

How does it work? Select your date and pay a 150$ deposit. The rest is due on day of charter (after trip, cash, card or cheque). All prices include captain and fuel. Not included: BVI customs/mooring fees and gratuity

 

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Fishing Charters on St. John

Want to go fishing while on St. John? Our core business are day trips to the BVIs but both our captains love to fish and happily share their passion with you and after all our boat’s name is “Wahoo Wa”. The most popular fish to catch on a St. John fishing charter are Mahi and blackfin or yellowfin Tuna but you can also find Wahoo, Marlin, Kingfish and Snappers.

Our 32 FS Regulator is fully equipped for fishing. Across the back of the leaning post is a faucet, prep well, and stored Plano tackle boxes, 130-quart bait box to port and a 40-gallon livewell. We have some nice rods and lures on board, Penn 30’s/50’s and 80’s, all on roller guided rods. From the small snappers to the mighy blue Marlin we have the gear and experience to put you on some fish and We can take you out for a full day or half day fishing or you can mix it up with sight seeing and do the half day fishing half day snorkeling trip. All prices include captain, fuel, rods and bait and the captain will clean fish for you so that you can have a nice dinner.

Below are our favorite photos from Fishing on St. John.

For all the details or to book your fishing charter, visit this page


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Amazing videos of full day snorkeling Trip with Rockhoppin’ Charters

Want to see some amazing underwater creatures? Captain Steve is the man who will take you to the best spots for snorkeling! Check out those amazing videos of Barracuda, Reef Squid and an Octobus by Photosnorkeler who recently booked a full day snorkeling trip with us!

Barracuda filmed while snorkeling at Booby Rock

Booby Rock is  a great snorkeling spot on the South Shore of St. John that is part of our full day snorkeling trip and can also be a stop on the day trip to Norman Island if you skip Jost and take the South Shore back

Octopus off Little St. James

Little St. James is North of St. John and if you go there you can also stop at Pizza Pi the Pizza boat which is re-opening December 3rd

Reef squid filmed while snorkeling at Tektike

Tektike is  a great snorkeling spot on the South Shore of St. John that is part of our full day snorkeling trip and can also be a stop on the day trip to Norman Island if you skip Jost and take the South Shore back

Carribean Reef Squid #stjohnusvi #stjohn #squid #tektite #newsofstjohn #stjohndaily

A video posted by Photo Snorkeler (@photo_snorkeler) on

 

 

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Day Trip: See the best of St. John in one day private charter

Looking to spend a great day on the water with no passport hassles? Our boat has a permit for the National Park, so we can take you to the most beautiful places on St. John on our “Best of St. John in one day” day trip. This is also a great trip for people visiting St. John for the first time, you will get a great overview of what is where, the captain can show you all the hot spots from the water and give you the best tips of where to go for your following days on the island.
Read More

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New Bar on Jost van Dyke, BVI: Hendo’s Hideout

There is a new bar on Jost van Dyke, right next to Soggy Dollar bar and it is quickly becoming a favorite. It is a beautiful wooden structure. The majority of the timber used during construction is reclaimed, as they strive to be as eco-friendly as possible. The wood, known as Cumaru, was sourced from a lake in Nicaragua, where it was lifted up by scuba divers. They have a beautiful bar and large, comfortable dining area.

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While Soggy Dollar is the place to drink at party, Hendo’s Hideout is a great place to have a meal in a comfortable, relaxing setting so it is a great addition to the dining options on Jost that were a bit limited or more on the “fast food” side. Their head chef Paul used to work at the Westin St. John so you can see how that adds some sophistication to the menu.

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Hendo’s Hideout is run and owned by Aaron Henderson (nick-named “Hendo”)  and his wife Liz. Hendo is a USVI native and former hedge fund manager in New York whose parents own and operate Top of the Baths restaurant on Virgin Gorda.

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It has so far received very good reviews on tripadvisor:

“Impressed!”  *****

“Great addition to White Bay. Beautiful bar and dining area. Can’t wait to visit again. The owners are truly wonderful people. See you soon”

“Fantastic lunch and drinks!” *****

“We just had a wonderful lunch at Hendo’s about 20 minutes ago. The staff was great, as well as the food and drinks. The place is immaculate. What a fabulous addition to white bay!”

“A REAL Restaurant/Bar on White Bay!” *****

“What a place! Great food, service, and location. It’s new and unknown for now, but won’t be for long. We walked right up and ordered drinks, unlike Soggy where it’s packed & crazy (which is ok). My wife had the chicken, I had the burger – awesome! The bar area, facilities, and little gift shop are all new & perfect. I wish this happy couple (owners) lots of good fortune & success. I see no reason why it won’t be “The place to be” on this beach.”

Eat, Drink, and Relax here – you can’t go wrong.

Check out more Hendo’s Hideout reviews on Tripadvisor

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More information on Hendo’s Hideout, Jost van Dyke

is on their facebook page

Ready to go?

Book your unforgettable Day Trip to Jost van Dyke here

You can use the calendar below to directly make a booking (select date and hit book now). Not sure yet? Then you can also send us a Booking Enquiry with this form or email rockhoppinusvi(at)gmail.com or text 340-514-5527


Online Booking

Or the form below to to make a booking. Select your date and pay a 150$ deposit. The rest is due on day of charter (after trip, cash, card or cheque). All prices include captain and fuel. Not included: BVI customs/mooring fees and gratuity

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Day Trip to the Baths on Virgin Gorda from St. John – Photogallery

Are you considering going on a day trip to the Baths on Virgin Gorda from St. John or St. Thomas but wondering if it is worth the ride over? Check out our photogallery below.

Day trip to the Baths on Virgin Gorda

Those pictures are taken at the Baths, which is Virgin Gorda’s key attraction. Encompassing the beaches and rocky shoreline at the southwestern tip of Virgin Gorda, The Baths are a collection of massive granite boulders as large as 40 feet in diameter, with white sand beaches and secret rock pools – a truly amazing experience. Of course when you book a day trip to the Baths with us, we can do multiple other stops on the way back, all included in the price (e.g. Snorkeling, Norman Island, Jost van Dyke). More on Information on the Virgin Gorda Day Trip is here.

Exploring the Baths on Virgin Gorda

There are multiple ways to explore the Baths on Virgin Gorda.

  1. We can moor the boat at Spanish Town, then you can take a 5 minute taxi ride right to the top of the baths, exploring them without getting your hair wet. This is a favorite for seniors or families with smaller children or groups that are less comfortable swimming.
  2. If you are sporty, we can also drop you off close to the shore, for you to swim in. You can then do the hike/climb around the Boulders and the Captain will wait at then end to pick you up. This will also make for a nice photo opportunity to see the boulders from the water. If you do this option, make sure you bring a dry bag or waterproof camera.
  3. The third way is is to explore the boulders of the Baths via paddleboard like Lucy does on some of the photos. This is for people who have paddled before or taken a lesson, if you are a novice paddler you should start at one of the calm St. John beaches first. We are happy to bring a paddleboard for you along but the captain is busy keeping the boat safe and cannot do a double act as a SUP Instructor. If you need instruction you can of course book Lucy from SUP-Stjohn.com to come along on the trip

The Baths on Virgin Gorda Photogallery