Both the US and British Virgin Islands were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September of 2017. After the storms had passed, a considerable amount of work was needed to infrastructure such as the docks and roads BEFORE the monumental task of restoring power and rebuilding the island could begin.
Here’s what we saw while we were down there:
Progress is happening much faster on the larger islands. It appears that the supply path is Puerto Rico > St. Thomas > Tortola > outlying islands such as Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, Peter, Cooper, Norman….. As a result supplies are slowly making way down the chain if at all. I met a man on Jost Van Dyke that gave up on waiting and made his own doors in order to reopen the first of his bed and breakfast rooms. Many people are still living in tents, and storm damage is still evident EVERYWHERE.
Having said that, rebuilding IS occurring, the cruise ship dock is back in service in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and the Road Town, Tortola cruise ship dock is expected to welcome their first ship in November or December of 2018.
On Tortola, the yacht charter business was booming, with boats being brought back into service as we watched. Masts were being stepped, rigging and lifelines were being replaced, vessels were being either restored or scrapped for parts in a push to get things back in gear.
Many of the major resorts are 1-2-5 years out from reopening (if at all.) This impacts everyone on the islands as so much of the work is related to the service industry.
The people that we met were as friendly as we could have expected, everyone was happy to see us on the Islands knowing how vital the tourist dollars are to the economy.
What it boils down to is that spirits are up and the people of the Virgin Islands are working hard to rebuild. If you have ever thought about visiting the Virgins, book your trip NOW. Things are looking better every day, and more than ever before, they could REALLY use your business!
I’m already plotting my next visit to the BVI’s!