We are here on island , arrived Nov 11 and staying for a month.
Full disclosure, we are owners and have been visiting St John for 23 years, so we re not first timers.
The sight of Cruz Bay usually puts me in a good move. This time as the ferry pulled in and I looked at the boats upturned on the beach and the damage to the little park and surrounding buildings, you knew it was different.
We drove the North shore road yesterday. Climbed Peace Hill and looked about.
Drove on to all the Northe shore beaches , just looking.
Parked at Cinnamon, Walked the beach which was stunning. Not a soul in sight,
Enjoyed a perfect swim in a perfect sea.
No sugar coating here. The damage to the vegetation and tree line is staggering.
The land directly behind Gibney has been terribly damaged.
Crews are working hard at Trunk but it’s still a mess.
The walk down to the beach at Cinnamon was simply mind blowing. The trees have been mangled.
The area behind Maho has been badly damaged, probably the worst of them all.
Hawsnest was lovely, even saw a guy blowing leaves in the parking lot!
Centre line road is passable and pretty safe to drive. Assuming you re watching the road and not being awestruck by the devastation about you.
Now the good news.
The beaches themselves are gorgeous and now wider with most of the vegetation pushed back or down.
The water is perfect and the lack of boats just makes gazing out across the water so much more beautiful.
And there is widespread greenery emerging. Nature is in a race to restore itself and that is happening.
Ground flowers are everywhere , and plant life is thriving.
Restaurants are open ( had a great meal in busy Extra Virgin last night). Grocery stores are well stocked.
You can see the effort underway to clean up. Reinvestment is occurring, and whereas some people are either unable or not inclined to clean up, for the vast majority there is a positive can do effort.
There are debris piles, and some places look like the contents of the house have been spilled out and left.
Is it a sad sight? Yes. Is it dispiriting? Emphatically no.
There are some good people on St John and they re working hard to restore this little gem.
If you plan on coming, do so with the right attitude. It’s not perfect, but there are still a lot of positives.
And for those of us who come often you feel like it is important to see the island through these testing times. It’s hurting, but it’s part of our lives and we just need to do our bit.