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.