Recover, Rebuild, Rejoice, Relax

Hurricane Irma massively affected the vegetation on St John.  She stripped all of the leaves and bark from the trees that she left standing leaving an otherworldly look that was stunningly beautiful in a awe inspiring way. 

It was 9/6/17.  My Wife’s Birthday.  St John was about to get hit by the eye of a category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 200 mph.  Hurricane Irma blew over us leaving disaster and destruction behind.  Later that day, St Johnians went outside to see what was left of their beautiful island paradise. Sadly, not much. But amazingly people survived, we are ALL ok. A few deep breaths, tears of despair and loss, and utter shock at the mass of devastation. Then just 14 days later Whoosh! Another category 5 hurricane brought more rain, more destruction to the barren island and more exhaustion to our community. Wow, what did we do that made Mother Nature so angry? Whatever we did or didn’t do does not matter; she showed up and blew us down. However, we are strong and she cannot knock us out. The rebuild is real, it is happening and we began just moments after the first storm.

This Haystack was once a lush jungle.  This photo is from 5 days after Hurricane Irma.  Now, this hillside is green again, just 6 weeks later!!!

The people of St John are of unique character and everlasting resilience. We are a close knit community that knows how to come together and rise above the problem. We are dedicated, kind, capable, smart independent folk that pull together as a team when the going gets rough. And with huge amounts of people that care deeply about St John that live off island, the love is flowing right back to the beating pulse of LOVE CITY. This community both on island and off is going to save this place and St John will be rebuilt in more beautiful ways than before. The warm turquoise waters that we all live there for will still be as clear and breathtaking as they were. The flowers and trees are growing fast and it will be paradise once again soon.

One of our operations captains Keith, Sets plywood to cover a blown out door.  Our company motto "PROBLEM SOLVED" proudly displayed! 

Rebuild - think about that word. Anytime you build something again it usually gets built better, smarter, stronger. The things that were weak before will now be built with greater ingenuity and materials to hopefully make it through the next storm. Things that owners didn’t like about their homes get to be redesigned to fresh updated modern styles. Furnishings will all be new and budding interior designers will have their chance to be inspired again and give homes a new look. Clean energy and renewable resources will hopefully become the norm and solar powered systems will make our island greener. We must look toward the light in this disaster and get excited about what it really means to rebuild. A second chance, a reinvention. If I were a tourist I’d be excited to see some of the rebuilds of your favorite villas and resorts. Just think, if you are the first guests to stay in some of these places it will be completely brand new!

Our crew has some friendly competition (more like cooperation) with other groups here on island.  Great momentum has already begun with teams put together by Kenny Chesney and the Bloomberg group. They have cleaned up a great deal of Cruz Bay and the North Shore and have helped lots of small business owners begin to get up and running. The National Park has crews in place clearing the hiking trails and cleaning the beaches. St John is alive and well and working feverishly to make it back and hopefully have a tourist season by winter.

Here at Unique Island Assets we have an amazing crew on the ground and are committed to rebuilding stronger and better. Our team's tiresome love for St John and the community keeps them going and pushes them to work harder even under the worst conditions. Our company is also eager to grow with this challenge and is seeking new properties to manage and help overcome this road ahead with dedication, knowledge and spirit. We believe in the power of St John and in all of us and we are going to rebuild toward the light. See you on St John soon.

Me in my temporary office on 10/23/17.  The island is already green and the water is clear and blue.  Time to start thinking about a trip to St John in February or March!!