The people of the Virgin Islands (both US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands) are seriously working their butts off to get up and running asap. All I keep hearing is how they plan to open their stores next month, ships are coming next month, some hotels are open now, and some are opening soon. Airports are open. Everyone is struggling to get ready FAST. January, February, March are the real HIGH SEASON months in the islands, December & April are busy too. They need you guys to still visit the islands, book hotels, go on sailing charters, eat at the restaurants, sip cocktails in the beach bars. They want to get their lives back to normal.
Your fellow countrymen in the Virgin Islands sure could use a bit of tourism $$ this winter.
A few months back wrote a blog post about the USVI and I said the USVI comprised of 3 islands. St.Thomas, St.John and St.Croix..... well one of our wonderful island friends regularly frequents the 4th US Virgin Island which I had never heard of. Water Island ! A population of 200 and no cars, just golf carts. HELLO heaven.
SO much positive news coming out of our islands right now and I am proud that I finally came up with an idea of how we could help. So far we have donated over $600 to island donations, and I plan to keep trying. Every little bit helps.... PLUS its a win-win as most of our customers are enjoying getting FREE sarongs with their orders.
The island of St.Croix, completely missed out on the destruction of Hurricane Irma, can you even begin to imagine how relieved they must have felt? I saw ladies from Antigua at Surf Expo who were EXTREMELY relieved they were unscathed, even though their sister island Barbuda only 38 miles away was FLATTENED. How extremely compact and dangerous that hurricane was. Within 2 weeks however, Hurricane Maria was bearing down on St.Croix with Category 5 intensity. Incredible. Horrific. St.Croix took a direct hit and was extensively damaged. This week I heard from our boutique in St.Croix called Molly' Tropical Boutique. They also have St.Croix Scuba. She reported that their Scuba boats are fine and back in position. Their Christiansted store is ok, with just some water damage. Their home is fine, and although they still have no power, they have a generator to make life ok. Their cherished garden is a mess, but that will bounce back. Their West Store near the cruise pier survived the storm just fine, but was then looted the following day and broken into twice since. Nothing much is left, but they have just signed a lease on a bigger store closer to the pier. Once power is restored they will be cleaned up fast and ready to receive guests at the beginning of November. You go girl !
Now over in British Virgin Islands we have a store called Latitude 18. Now the owners of this store had been on their summer vacation in Mexico when the hurricane was coming. Then then came to Surf Expo on their way home from their vacation - that was the day after the storm. They were bewildered at the show. They were wondering around, picking up catalogs from their favorite vendors, not even knowing yet if they still had a store. They had had no contact from their island, and thus received no news for days. 6 days later I received an email with these before and after photos.
a pile of devasting rubble. Now a month after the hurricane, they have emailed with an update and an opportunity for us to help. "I am one of the owners of Latitude 18 and I have lived in the BVI for over 35 years Latitude 18 has been in business for 20 years in the BVI and if you have ever visited Tortola I'm sure you have at least stepped into one of our stores and been greeted by one our wonderful staff members. Latitude 18 was able to suceed because of the hard work and dedication of our employees but the consequences of the storms has been been devastating to our staff. Our 10 employees, who are all women, have not only lost their only source of income, working at Latitude 18, but have also lost their houses, roofs, electricity, running water, appliances, clothing, cars, the list goes on and on. Because such a large percentage of businesses were destroyed the chances of our staff finding new employment are slim to none. These are the people that desperately need assistance with rebuilding their own and their children's and families' lives."
So let's do this guys. Here is the link to their gofundme in case you want to donate directly. Otherwise if you are a member of our mailing list you will have received an email to shop 2 of our styles to receive a FREE beach bag, and 20% of proceeds go to the ladies who work for Latitude 18. Here I am in my Tranquil Cardi today.... love to wear a pop of my favorite color with my staple navy and white stripes.
One Love to the Virgin Islands.