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Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Travel discussion for St. John

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Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Postby nikkiki » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:06 pm

After a looooooong hiatus, it's time to come back to my happy place. I know I'm heading back to a changed landscape...please forgive me if my questions have been answered elsewhere.
1. We're hoping to travel to Virgin Gorda on our own (ferry) to go rock climbing and see the Baths - but it looks like customs is closed? Hopefully that will be changed by November. What's the best time to avoid crowds at the Baths?
2. Is there an updated listing of which restaurants/shops/grocery stores are open on STJ somewhere?
3. Can we expect the hiking trails to be clear/passable?
4. Is water quality at the beaches a concern?
5. Has the snorkeling been much impacted by the hurricanes?

Thank you all in advance!
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Re: Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Postby Ed S » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:08 pm

We have not been back post irmaria, sadly it's been 2 1/2 years, since we are home-bound caring for our 17 year old dog. Anyway, the ferry to VG is not yet running again, but you can keep an eye on the ferry schedule below to see when it resumes (maybe in the next 1-2 months). Otherwise, you would need to take an excursion (i.e. Stormy Petrel, Bad Kitty, etc.). Also, see Jenn's restaurant closing schedule below. Separately, I believe many hiking trails are clear, and water quality reports are generally fine (of course pending any future storms/runoff etc.). I've read many snorkeling reports on TA - some areas seem fine, others are a bit battered and recovering, i.e. I have heard Francis right side towards Mary Point (our favorite) was impacted, along with Waterlemon Cay, but have heard other areas like Salt Pond (rocks out in the middle), Haulover South, Little Lameshur, etc. are generally fine. So happy for you that you are returning in November. We can't wait to return as soon as that time comes. Enjoy!
http://www.vinow.com/travel/virgin-isla ... s/#panel7v
http://newsofstjohn.com/2018/07/16/2018 ... ings-list/
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Re: Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Postby GidgetPicklebrain » Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:40 am

The ferry schedule page Ed S linked to said ferries were on hold until Customs got up and running in Cruz bay/Red Hook area. Customs opened in Red Hook last weekend, so hopefully ferry service to VG will soon be resumed. https://www.stjohntradewinds.com/u-s-cu ... -red-hook/
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Confucius

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Re: Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Postby Ed S » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:00 am

Gidget, yes, fingers crossed! Especially since it seems that the temporary customs that recently re-opened in Cruz Bay is solely for charters and pleasure craft...
http://newsofstjohn.com/2018/06/08/cust ... -cruz-bay/
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Re: Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Postby dreamshark » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:34 am

As of the first 2 weeks in July:

Most of the restaurants and shops are open in Cruz Bay. There is electricity and water everywhere. There is still some road repair going on, but the main roads are all open from one end of the island to the other.

The beaches are clean and lovely, and the north side beaches even have basic facilities operational (bathrooms and changing rooms at Trunk, full concessions at Honeymoon, porta-potties at Francis). The coral has taken some damage everywhere that we saw, but the snorkeling is still very good at Honeymoon and Trunk. The angel fish seem to have all disappeared, but the turtles and rays are thriving. Where there is still living coral there are still plenty of parrot fish and other reef fish. A lot of the foliage along the beaches has been destroyed, but people have made shade structures out of the resulting driftwood. Beaches are much less crowded than usual, and we were always able to find shade. In November it should be even emptier. The water quality was fine, except for the beaches suffering from sargassum weed. I hope that's gone by November.

Others can tell you about the Coral Bay side - we stuck to the north side beaches and only ventured a little way into Coral Bay.
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Re: Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Postby kklay » Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:15 pm

Not sure what time in November you are coming but if the week of Thanksgiving, that has become a very popular week. If earlier I am sure it will be more quiet with less visitors.
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Re: Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Postby nikkiki » Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:57 am

Thank you all for the updates and links! We are indeed planning to arrive Thanksgiving, and will hold out hope that we can get to VG without having to book an excursion. This climber gal wants to make her own schedule. :lol: I've gone with Bad Kitty several times in the past, and enjoyed my day, but we're looking for a slightly different itinerary this time around, with more time on VG to climb in Spring Bay. We'll focus our snorkeling on STJ, so thanks for the beach recommendations too!
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Re: Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Postby JohnFromPuyallup » Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:45 pm

I'll be arriving November 8th and leaving on my birthday, November 17th. I'm so excited.

I had to cancel my trip last October because the Villa had no roof and the island was a mess.

I felt I owed it to St. John to get back ASAP, so when I cancelled last year's reservations, I made reservations for this year.
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Re: Back to the Rock in November....and I have Questions :)

Postby nikkiki » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:35 pm

Can anyone give us an idea of what's open on Thanksgiving? We've been able to work out a car pickup on the holiday but have no idea if the grocery stores or restaurants will be open.
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