Our post about Hurricane Irma has taken a while to write because I wanted to take the time and write with hope and positivity for Love City and it’s so important to get the message out there about the damage without inciting fear and hurting the future of St. John.
Caneel Bay 1 Day After the Storm
Cruz Bay The Next Morning
Our Biggest Blessing
Military Relief coming into Cruz Bay
See you soon St. John!
130 lb dog, Yeti, enjoying his ride to Puerto Rico
CatZilla safely in Fajardo ready for repairs
Tuesday was one of the most trying and rewarding days we’ve had since this storm began. After the storm we found out that CatZilla had some damage from another boat in the yard hitting us. Because of the wonderful community of St. John and help of multiple people we were able to get her a temporary patch allowing us to get her splashed. In order to do this, we had to get our 44′ trailer with CatZilla on top trucked down Centerline Road, after our plans almost were thwarted because of a trash truck that got caught in the lines and downed a pole on Centerline. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, especially Bell’s Towing, who took the time to do this, we were able to splash CatZilla and get a full boat of adults, children, and three dogs off St. John and to Puerto Rico where we can get CatZilla professionally patched and ready to go. Joe and I are safe and so incredibly blessed that we were able to help out in this small way and can’t wait to get back to Saint John and help in the recovery.
We rode out this storm in Cruz Bay with friends and haven’t had real cell phone service or wifi and this is the first chance we’ve had to read the news and I am a bit disappointed. First, lets be clear, this storm was BAD, homes have been lost and there is a LOT of damage but what the news isn’t reporting is the amount of work that has already been done and the people who are working tirelessly to get supplies and fuel here. The community of St. John has been helping each other out, lending a hand (or chain saw) when needed and there has been heavy machinery trying to clear roads since day 1. This storm was BAD, and we need help, but St. John is NOT GONE! There is a lot of destruction and there was some crime and looting (we don’t know how much and some of it has been exaggerated) but we watched a few nights ago as 10-15 huge military vehicles drove into Cruz Bay and set up right in the ballfield. We currently have Army National Guard, Navy, FBI, and more agencies ON the ground in St. John and the progress is INCREDIBLE. The main roads were mostly cleared in 24 hours, and there are people working tirelessly to get the island restored. Starfish, Dolphin Market, St. John Market and Pine Peace were all open within 48 hours, and there are more supplies being delivered every day including fuel which people use to run generators (game changing.) There is no power yet on St. John but parts of St. Thomas ALREADY have power back. Work is being done round the clock and what we are seeing is so overwhelmingly heart warming, we couldn’t be prouder to be called Love City Excursions.
We have had so many people asking us what they can do to help, and here is the best of the information, from our friend, Rebecca Ruhsam Reinbold:
How to Help:
St John Rescue, Inc
Donate to the St. John Rescue Go Fund Me campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/gyp4sw-hurricane-irma-relief-fund
Donate to St. John Rescue through their website:
St. John Community Foundation
The STCF needs help feeding and sheltering people in the immediate aftermath and will undoubtedly be part of the rebuilding process in the months and years to come. They are already working with the Red Cross and FEMA in these efforts.
You can donate to the St. John Community Foundation: http://thestjohnfoundation.org/donate
You can donate to the evacuation boat efforts of Nils Erickson and River Island Middle East: https://www.gofundme.com/virgin-islands-relief-from-irma. So far this has been funded out of pocket and has been able to evacuate over 500 people over the last few days, with hundreds more to follow in the coming days. This is how Hunter and I got to PR.
Restaurants like The Longboard and Cruz Bay Landing are working hard to provide hot meals to first responders and residents and need to raise funds to keep this amazing service going. You can donate here:
You can also donate to Love City Strong, and a group of on-the-ground St. Johnians like Siobhan Soleil Mulvey, Stephen Joseph Libbey, Tenesha Keyes, Meaghan Enright and many others working together to coordinate evacuations, unloading and distribution of funds and community links to government organizations. https://www.gofundme.com/SiobhansIrmaFund/
*Edit* Another really good organization is Virgin Islands Relief, which is being run by friends of ours. Donate here: https://virginislandsrelief.org
Beyond all of the donations and aide which are necessary right now, the BEST thing you can do to help is travel to St. John in 2018; our future depends on you.
Things might not be exactly the same this year, but with the progress we are seeing so soon after this storm, the light at the end of the tunnel is bright for the future of this beautiful island we are so blessed to call home.