Catastrophic event, disaster, Armageddon, the End of Times, destruction; all these superlatives have been used to describe the effects of hurricanes IRMA and MARIA in this nastiest of nasty weather years.
Truly a terrible blow to tourism, cruise ships, and yacht charters – the lifeblood of the islands – and most importantly, for this nice friendly people, their homes, their families and their jobs.
Many clients are asking us whether they should cancel, postpone, or defer their winter getaway to the islands or whether they should go ahead and adapt to the conditions. AND exactly what these conditions will likely be.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BVI
Over the next few months and into the winter season, the BVI will not be the same as it was before the hurricanes. However, the calm waters and beautiful beaches will still be there. The shore-side facilities are what we are watching closely.
Yes, commercial airline flights into St Thomas and the Inter island Ferry System will be fully functional but with fewer sailings and fewer flights in the beginning. Puerto Rico and Tortola airports are already functional. STT is well on the way.
However, hotels and resorts will be a big problem everywhere and there have been cancellations galore. Some facilities have closed completely, some will be rebuilt over time, others will not. Some don’t even know what they will do yet.
Individual crewed charter boats and bareboat charter companies have been affected in varying degrees. Many survived, others are in the process of repairing damage. Some are out of business. To verify if any specific vessel is or will be available, do not rely on website search engines and databases. Check with your charter broker well in advance to get the latest updates.
Restaurants and bars are being rebuilt as we speak. All suffered damage in varying degrees and the rebuilding process will depend on the individual spot. This just in from our knowledgeable colleague, Ms. Sharon Bahmer:
“The BVI Government announced today that there is not a food, water or gas shortage. Marinas are starting to restore power and water. Some ATMs have reopened and local stores are starting to take credit cards again.”
There is a hugely successful ongoing grass roots effort to get necessities, generators, building supplies, etc. to those who need them as soon as possible – some containers are already on the way. The outpouring of donations is amazing with great support from the British Government and celebrities like Kenny Chesney and Sir Richard Branson.
A ferry is now running between St. Thomas and Tortola. Tortola commercial flights started Monday and St. Thomas will be starting soon.
Everyone’s favorite watering holes like Foxy’s, Ivan’s, the Soggy Dollar Bar and similar have all pledged to rebuild and look forward to welcoming our clients back. Locations in Anegada, Pirate’s Bight, Peter Island and Cooper Island are also rumored to be able to rebuild enough to open for business for this charter season.
Right now, we don’t have a timeline on the restoration of Myetts in Cane Garden Bay, but most of their buildings and the main bar are still standing. Val and Kareem have generously distributed inventory to people in need and will update in the coming weeks when they’ll be serving rum punches!”
If you are looking for details about a last minute trip please ask us and we can help you get the latest information about your destination.
The Caribbean Island people are incredibly resilient. The BVI will be back in business sooner rather than later. However, your charter vacation experience will not be the same. At least for a while. Yes, you’ll get the same superb and personalized food and incomparable service from the crewed yachts that are operating. Your shore side excursions will be different since many of the traditional watering holes in the BVI have been damaged and are being rebuilt or repaired. Security may or may not be an issue depending on where you are. Hey, the incomparable beaches and waters are still there. Talk to your charter broker and “every ting will be Irie, Mon”
Take a look at what you can see right now in the BVI Caribbean.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE LEEWARD ISLANDS
Over the next few months to a year St. Martin, St Barth and Anguilla will be difficult places for a yachting or any other type of vacation. The devastation here is only surpassed by the island of Dominica itself.
Check in with us periodically, we’ll try to keep abreast of the comings and goings.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WINDWARD ISLANDS
St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines and Grenada itself were not greatly affected by either Hurricane. Business as Usual. Please remember however, that these waters are not as friendly for novice sailors. The distances between the islands are greater, and the passages can get a bit choppy between islands.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE RECONSTRUCTION.
The American Yacht Charter Association suggests the following funds:
RED CROSS /HURRICANE IRMA LINK
YACHT AID GLOBAL
OFFICIAL SITE FOR USVI RECOVERY
VIRGIN UNITE – RICHARD BRANSON
JUST GIVING – BVI RELIEF – Britain