Hurricane Irma. She started just south of Cabo Verde and I started in Denver. We met at 17.7246° N, 64.8348° W.
Fortunately St. Croix avoided the damage St. John and St. Thomas saw. Those islands lost roads, electricity, water, beaches, sea and airports, houses and people. St. Croix was forty miles south of the eye. That’s 1° south of Irma’s eye. Silver lining in that.
St. Croix did lose roofs and electricity. A week after the power went out there are some places that won’t have it for another week. Two weeks in the tropics – during the hottest months – without fans is tough. The RealFeel temperature down here averages 100°+ during September and October. That’s also when the tradewinds take some time off, which contributes to September and October being prime hurricane season.
But the island I came to is a Caribbean ex-pat melting pot for a reason: tiny number of cruise ships, few hotels, ex-pat paradise, few people (50,000 before the hurricane), and lots of snorkeling and diving. But in surviving Irma she will become what she’s not. St. Thomas and St. John have a combined population of 55,000 people. USVI residents will be moving to St. Croix so they can be on an island with a hospital, roads, electricity, water, food and schools. It’s believed St. Croix’s population will be around 75,000 by the end of September.
In practical terms that sucks for the residents of St. Croix but is a godsend for those evacuating St. Thomas and St. John. What does it mean for a recent transplant? No housing. The three rentals I looked at and was ready to take were given to evacuees (good) or turned into an Airbnb to handle the new tourists coming to St. Croix because the other two USVIs can’t really host humans now.
Just before Irma hit another mainland guest was at my Airbnb. She also came down to move here. She’s already returned stateside.
So it’s back to Colorado. With a look over my shoulder and a glare at Irma I booked my return flight last night. See you stateside.