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St. John, USVI & BVI Report


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I returned last night from St. John and thought I'd give a report on the current state of the island and the recovery efforts. 

You don't have to look hard to see the devastation from Irma. It's still pretty much everywhere. From the sea there are still many boats washed up on shore and the islands look more like the California hillsides (brown) than that lush green tropical vegetation we're used to down there. Palm trees are few and far between. 

The recovery efforts are understandably still focused on rebuilding the infrastructure. There are some problems with that. For instance, Wharfside which is the main bar and shopping area when you enter Cruz Bay is only partly operational. Because of a legal dispute which not only are they not party to but that they also have no influence over Beach Bar and Joe's Rum Hut currently have no expected time to reopen. There is no work going on in either location. The Westin is rebuilding but it's a slow process and they won't reopen for at least another year. 

Caneel Bay is currently a topic in Congress. They're nearing the end of their lease and the cost to rebuild currently outweighs any gain to be made by rebuilding and reopening for the remaining term of the lease. 

On a brighter note, the people of St. John are very positive and welcome any of you that want to return. Many iconic spots are open and Trunk Bay is as beautiful as it ever was. At least the beach and water are and right now it's free to all visitors. 

The Willie T opened for business on Saturday in its' new location at Great Harbor on Peter Island. It's still one of the rowdiest and raunchiest bars you can visit. 

I'll be sailing the BVI for 10 days at the end of June then staying on Jost van Dyke for a couple of days so I'll add more BVI detail when I return from that trip. 

Now some pictures. 

Trunk Bay 

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Trunk Bay from above.  The damage to the foliage is apparent.

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It's always a good day when Captain Steve from Rockhoppin' is your captain for the day. 

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More damage

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The B Line Bar on Little Jost van Dyke is open for business

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As is Corsairs in Great Harbor on Jost van Dyke

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Last, but not least the new and larger Willie T which reopened on my birthday.

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Oh, I ran into this guy on the Willie T and couldn't pass up the photo opportunity.

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Again, if you love St. John and the BVI come back soon. The people welcome you and can once again use your tourism to help recover

 

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  • 1 year later...
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  • 2 months later...

Just booked the USVIs. The first week will be spent on a bareboat charter catamaran out of St Thomas with friends who are very experienced sailors and have done the charter cat a half dozen times. He’s a certified sailing instructor so I’m gonna get some free instruction to get certified. The second week I rented an awesome villa on St John. Too bad my wife and kids are coming.

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ZoZo's and Extra Virgin have both reopened.  Two must eat at restaurants on St. John.  Morgan's Mango is very good but two levels below the first two I mentioned.  Ocean 362 is also good but the sunset sitting at the bar and eating is incredible.

Are you sailing in the BVI?

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1 hour ago, VABuckeye said:

ZoZo's and Extra Virgin have both reopened.  Two must eat at restaurants on St. John.  Morgan's Mango is very good but two levels below the first two I mentioned.  Ocean 362 is also good but the sunset sitting at the bar and eating is incredible.

Are you sailing in the BVI?

Our friends alternate charters between BVI and USVI. It's the USVI this time around.  I don't think the plan is to also do the BVI but then again they asked us to go last night and I didn't get much details other than the charter cost and dates.  After 25 minutes of research this morning, I booked flights and a villa for the 2nd week. Going pretty much blind with no expectations and I kind of like it.  Just still have to find a Jeep rental. Struck out at the first two I tried and waiting on word from a third.

   

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Posted (edited)

If you're sailing USVI I'd be sure to try to hit Lime Out for lunch.  Swim up taco place that's a blast.  There's also Pizza Pi Vi which is a floating pizza joint.  Both are St. John.

I just checked with a friend who goes to St. John a lot.  She said car rental places there are months out on reservations.  Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance in that regard.

Edited by VABuckeye
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My daughter just got back from St John's. She said they tried to rent a Jeep but they are booked up for weeks. They ended up getting a driver to chauffeur them around the island.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, need Surly help. Looking to book an anniversary trip for end of April / first of May. We want to go someplace tropical. Caribbean has our interest. Is St John the best place to go? We have been to Hawaii, Florida, CA, and Tx beaches but not Caribbean. All advice welcome. Looking for a beautiful romantic place to hang out on the beach and take it easy.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Longhorn94 said:

Ok, need Surly help. Looking to book an anniversary trip for end of April / first of May. We want to go someplace tropical. Caribbean has our interest. Is St John the best place to go? We have been to Hawaii, Florida, CA, and Tx beaches but not Caribbean. All advice welcome. Looking for a beautiful romantic place to hang out on the beach and take it easy.

 

 

USVI and BVI are great.  Mostly boutique type places on all the islands.  Plenty of rec's on this tread already, I'm sure others will chime in.  I would stay away from any large resort type places if you prefer romantic.  Stay away from Mexico/Cancun/Playa, Jamaica, Dominican and Costa Rica.  Peter Island in the BVI's would be perfect, but they are still rebuilding from the hurricane.  Also, look at Bahama outer islands like Eleuthera and Exuma if you really want to go somewhere secluded.  BVI and USVI will have more upscale options to stay and more options to dine.  Eleuthera and Exuma are more remote, but water and beaches are stunning and you might be the only one on the beach for hours. Just depends on what you and your wife want/expect.  

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3 hours ago, Longhorn94 said:

Thx PG. So with St John, where is best place to stay?

We've been to St. John 4 of the last 5 years.  Obviously we are fond.   However,  I'm hearing it's rather crowded right now.   Accommodations and jeeps to rent are in short supply. 

https://stjohn-villarentals.com/ is good site to book. 

We've stayed at https://www.mulleysstjohnvillas.com/ (Bordo Mare) twice and https://www.calichi-stj.com/ twice. 

I wouldn't recommend caliche for first time visitors.  It's up on Bordeaux mountain and the driving is.... fun!   

You're booking on extremely short notice.   There's also a private Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/258379884874658/

It's private but you can ask to join.   Once on you can tell the group what you're looking for,  dates,  e.t.c.   and they'll help you.   But be wary of PM's.   They should post in the group.   Only owners and managers are allowed to respond who have availability. 

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On 3/1/2021 at 2:04 PM, CooterBrown said:

Our friends alternate charters between BVI and USVI. It's the USVI this time around.  I don't think the plan is to also do the BVI but then again they asked us to go last night and I didn't get much details other than the charter cost and dates.  After 25 minutes of research this morning, I booked flights and a villa for the 2nd week. Going pretty much blind with no expectations and I kind of like it.  Just still have to find a Jeep rental. Struck out at the first two I tried and waiting on word from a third.

   

Hell yeah! That’ll be fun! I’d be super stoked in your shoes.  I’m working on my certifications and should be all clear by year end, thinking Bahamas for thanksgiving then  BVI another time. Oddly our top friends are “meh, I get sea sick, but I’ll go to {insert land destination} with y’all.” Ugh. 

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St John is a favorite of ours. We’ve rented several villas including this one with my sisters and my parents. https://www.dejaviewvilla.com/ We are chartering a cat out of STT for 10 days late July. We had planned to sail both US and BVI waters but after reading the current state of affairs getting into the BVIs we likely will stay in US waters. Happy to answer any questions you may have.
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Hell yeah! That’ll be fun! I’d be super stoked in your shoes.  I’m working on my certifications and should be all clear by year end, thinking Bahamas for thanksgiving then  BVI another time. Oddly our top friends are “meh, I get sea sick, but I’ll go to {insert land destination} with y’all.” Ugh. 

I noticed in the boat fanatics thread you are working through you certifications. I did the same thing, starting with 101, then 103, 104, 105 and 106 over the course of a year all working to charter my own boat in the BVIs. I did the 106 in the BVIs with an instructor that gave me the confidence to do our trip a couple months later. I rented a 46’ monohull and sailed 10 days with my wife and 2 kids age 10 and 12. It was an amazing trip. A month later Irma destroyed the BVIs. We are sailing a catamaran in July.
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51 minutes ago, dlatin said:


I noticed in the boat fanatics thread you are working through you certifications. I did the same thing, starting with 101, then 103, 104, 105 and 106 over the course of a year all working to charter my own boat in the BVIs. I did the 106 in the BVIs with an instructor that gave me the confidence to do our trip a couple months later. I rented a 46’ monohull and sailed 10 days with my wife and 2 kids age 10 and 12. It was an amazing trip. A month later Irma destroyed the BVIs. We are sailing a catamaran in July.

That’s awesome ! Except for the storm. Yeah this is a long haul plan, need something to work toward, the career thing only satisfies so much. I’d love you to join the thread over there and share your sailing stories! 

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