St John — Post Irma status report (Sept 18)

Thanks for all your messages and good wishes!  There have been numerous press reports of the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma to St. John, unfortunately flamed by an effort to draw attention to the Virgin Islands so that the Federal government did not forget us in the midst of the wider spread damage in Texas and Florida (the Governor of the Virgin Islands told everyone last week that President Trump called him and said he would visit, but that has yet to happen). To the best of our knowledge, the damage is no worse than the last major storm to strike the Virgin Islands, Hurricane Hugo, in 1989. As has just occurred, the islands back then looked bare and awful, the result of the high winds denuding all the green, leaving just brown trees and bare earth. Wooden houses were badly damaged with FEMA blue tarps served for months as roofs. Being the tropics, the landscaping grew back within weeks. New building codes prohibited building any new structures out of wood. We bought our property in 1990, one year after Hurricane Hugo. Will St. John recover as quickly this time? We do not know for sure, but we fully expect it to!

Our Webmaster and friend extraordinaire, Steve Butcher, arrived on St. John on Saturday (he had to fly from Vermont to San Juan via JFK, then take a supply boat from Puerto Rico to Cruz Bay). He has confirmed what we have seen from FEMA aerial photos and the initial report a week ago from Kristen Cox, our property manager, that Great Expectations survived Hurricane Irma incredibly well. Our thanks to our architect, John Sloan and our contractor, Bill Osborn and his construction crew, who designed and built the Villa to withstand hurricane-force winds with 8 inch thick reinforced concrete walls, no overhanging roofs and hurricane clamps to hold the roofs on, and hurricane shutters over all the glass sliders! We expect to be open for business within 2 weeks after power is restored to the island, however, we still do not know when that will be and there is yet another hurricane, Maria, bearing down on the Virgin Islands!

To help rebuild St John, please make a contribution to St John Rescue and keep St John on your ‘bucket’ list for the beauty of our island is amazing!

Many thanks!

Kristin and Chuck

Our hurricane shutters secured pre-Irma:

hurricane shutters

Our Webmaster and friend extraordinaire, Steve Butcher, enroute the airport last Friday:

butcher on way to Burlington airport

Saturday night, after inspecting the Villa, Steve got to watch the sun set:

butcher pool post irma

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