Hurricane Recovery Updates

Hiking the Johnny Horn Trail on a recent Sunday morning.

Mother Nature has been kind to St. John in the past few months. The weather is beautiful, the island is green, and the water is blue. All National Park beaches and hiking trails are open.

While the island is still in recovery mode–and will be for some time–we are making progress every day. Many restaurants and businesses are open and many villas are ready for guests.

Read more about what’s happening on St. John six months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria HERE.

If you’re thinking about a vacation on St. John, please consider RENTING LOCAL. Our business, stjohhhouserentals.com, is based on St. John and puts you directly in touch with our island homeowners and local property managers. Browse through our listings HERE and if you see something you like, you’ll also find contact information to email the homeowner or property manager directly. He or she will be the best person to tell you the state of the house and the surrounding area.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us in the last six months. We feel the love and can’t wait to see all of you back here.

St. John Strong!

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The 17th Annual Thankspigging in Coral Bay

Thankspigging Chef Benji prepares the pig for roasting.

Chef Benji prepares the Thankspigging pig for roasting.

This just in: Photos from Thankspigging!

With power and phone service finally coming back after THREE MONTHS, we’re starting to get more news from Coral Bay.

Thankspigging organizer Ken Yolman strings T-shirts underneath the new roof at Skinny Legs.

Thankspigging organizer Ken Yolman strings T-shirts underneath the new roof at Skinny Legs.

Thankspigging organizer Ken Yolman said there was no way Hurricane Irma was going to stop him from hosting his annual potluck Thanksgiving dinner, where everyone is invited to share a free, communal meal with their neighbors.

“Of course we were going to have it!” Ken said. “It’s more needed this year, for sure, with so many people without kitchens, or roofs…” Or homes.

The only question was where, as Skinny Legs—the traditional venue—was also ravaged by Irma, but as Thanksgiving approached, Skinny’s was starting to resemble her old self again. Ken decorated by hanging 17 commemorative T-shirts—one from every year since 2001—beneath Skinny’s new roof. This year’s theme: Irma La Douche.

Thankspigging in Coral Bay

Captain Pete of Angel’s Rest helps carve the roast pig.

“I lost everything so it’s nice to be here with people that probably lost everything too,” said Pete Hoschl, whose floating bar, Angel’s Rest, was wrecked in the storms. “Today’s a day that everybody gets together and forgets about the bad times.”

Chef Benji, who roasted the pig (it was mouthwatering), said he was thankful to be “helping out the community and just sharing a helping hand.”

The pig was a fraction of the size that Ken wanted, but this is a community that knows how to make do. Jeff McCrave from Drunk Bay Brewing fried three large and luscious turkeys, those who could brought homemade side dishes and desserts, and before long the (newly varnished) Skinny’s bar was full of delicious food.

Thankspigging in Coral Bay, St. John 2017

Coral Bay resident Megan Elliott organizes the desserts.

Megan Elliott, who was arranging platters on the buffet, said life’s been difficult in Coral Bay without telephone, television, or internet.

“You hear stories that the military can go into the middle of the deep dark jungle and set a system up in 24 hours and here we are, almost 3 months later.”

Thankspigging is a break from that.

“We need some normalcy and a sense of camaraderie,” Elliott said. “It’s been hard.”

Thankspigging Coral Bay 2017 St. John USVI

Drunk Bay Brewer Jeff McCrave deep-fried three mouthwatering turkeys.

McCrave is a regular at Thankspigging. He recalled meeting a tourist a few years back who wandered in with his wife and pretty much summed up the appeal of the event.

“He looked around and said, ‘This is what Thanksgiving is supposed to be.’ He said, ‘I’m bringing my whole family down here next year for Thankspigging.’ And he did!”

There were no tourists this year, but by 5 pm the band was ready to play and hungry locals were lined up out into the parking lot.

Thankspigging 2017 in Coral Bay

A Thankspigging feast!

Ken welcomed all who gathered, gave a shout out to everyone who worked on Thanksgiving—including the linemen from BBC Electric who would join the party when their power-restoring work was done for the day—and ended with a Coral Bay “toast” of sorts that drew cheers from the crowd:

“We’re not even Coral Bay Strong. We’re Coral Bay (expletive) Tough!”

Hurricane Irma Update

It’s been a week since the eye of Hurricane Irma passed directly over St. John, devastating the island. The Love City spirit is strong. Official organizations and volunteer groups on island and off have been working tirelessly to attend to the needs and safety of St. John’s residents. There have been no reports of loss of life on St. John. Most of our friends and neighbors have reported in safe. A widespread networking effort is underway to locate those who have not.

Communication is still extremely difficult, and non-existent in some places. Many of our homes and businesses have been destroyed, but many have been spared. It will take a while for the big picture to become clear, but the outpouring of support from those of you who love St. John has been tremendous. Thank you for being on our side as we figure out how to go forward.

For those who want to help, donations can be made to:

The St. John Community Foundation

St. John Rescue

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the following sites:

WhatToDo-VI.com

St. John Links

St. John Community Foundation

Stateside St. Johnians Alliance for Hurricane Irma

To check on the safety of island residents, please go to the Irma Safety Check site.

 

Hurricane Irma

Category 5 Hurricane Irma passed directly over St. John Wednesday afternoon.

Category 5 Hurricane Irma passed directly over St. John Wednesday afternoon.

Hurricane Irma passed directly over St. John as a category 5 storm on Wednesday afternoon. With power out and communications down, residents are still trying to determine the safety of family, friends, and neighbors, let alone assess the damage.

Many people are working very hard to compile and disseminate news as it becomes available. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the following Facebook pages:

St. John Links

St. John Community Foundation

Stateside St. Johnians Alliance for Hurricane Irma

To check on the safety of island residents or report someone unaccounted for, please go to the Irma Safety Check site.

If you’d like to help, find out more through these organizations:

The St. John Community Foundation

St. John Rescue

Thank you to everyone who has expressed concern for our beautiful island.