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What It’s Really Like to Live on St. John…

My morning coffee mug

Hello everyone, and happy Monday! I read a post on one of the tourist-focused Facebook pages recently that asked what it’s really like to live on St. John. After the second sleepless night due to another WAPA outage, I thought today would be the perfect day to let you in on a few island-living secrets.

Let’s start with WAPA. This is our power company, which stands for the Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority. It is unbelievably unreliable, yet we pay some of the highest electricity costs in the world. How fun is that? Our power plant is located by the airport in St. Thomas. The power crosses the island and then goes under the water from Red Hook to Frank Bay, which is in Cruz Bay. The power plant in St. Thomas is antiquated and goes offline more than I wish it would. We had a stretch last season when we didn’t lose power for months, which was amazing. Well, that amazingness has ended.

Something’s happening over at the power plant on St. Thomas, which is prompting “scheduled” blackouts. But does anything really stick to a schedule in the islands? Nope. So neither are these outages.

We first lost power on Saturday night around 8 p.m. There are two feeders in St. John. I lost my power at 8 p.m. and it came back on at 10 p.m. The second feeder lost power at 10 p.m. and it came on at midnight, I think. We lost power a second time that evening sometime around 2-4 a.m.

The power went out again yesterday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and again from 11 p.m. until about 2 a.m. It went off again while I was sleeping and then just came back on at 7:15 a.m. as I am writing this. I think Nate Fletcher said it best a few minutes ago…

For those of you who are vacationing on St. John today, give everyone you run into some slack. We’re all very tired.

You’re probably thinking, well get a generator. We do have a generator, but the extension cord that we use with it is over at our construction site in Fish Bay. Island life! 🙂

Here are a few other island life moments from over the years…

I woke up one morning to a frog launching off of my head and onto a nearby window. I’m still not sure how he even got into our bedroom.

About a year or so back, Dalton asked me to come outside to check out the beautiful flower he found in the front yard. It was a very large and fuzzy tarantula, not a flower at all. We put a bucket over it, and daddy relocated it when he got home from work.

You know the bug that killed the Baobob tree here on St. John? It’s called a mango borer beetle. Well, one walked by my front door one day, and it was the size of a small kitten!

I was chatting with friends who purchased a home here a few years ago. When I started complaining about the state of the shower in our new house, they informed me that their house didn’t even have a working bathroom when they moved in, which meant they had to number two in a bucket outside for the first few months of living there. But we’re living in paradise, right?!

Oh and then there was the time that a family of bats moved into my house when I was in the States giving birth to Dalton. They made a home in the wall right behind my bed, so I would hear them squeaking every time I fed Dalton in the middle of the night. We finally were able to get them out of the wall (safely and without hurting any of them), but one of them didn’t get the memo. I was washing my hands in the bathroom that was attached to our room a few mornings later when the water splashed back into my face. I looked down and there was a little baby bat in the sink. He, too, was removed from our house safely. 🙂

Random fact: The bat is the only mammal that is native to St. John. 

All of this being said, I still love it here. But life on St. John isn’t always easy. You’re going to sweat at night, have frogs on your head, bats in your wall, and who knows what else, but it’s worth it for many of us, because this place really is paradise. Not to mention it’s fun to commiserate with your friends and other residents on social media at all hours of the night when we’re having sleepless nights due to WAPA. We’re in this together, folks!

And for those of you who are planning a vacation here, there is no reason to second guess visiting us. Most vacation rentals have generators, so you’re good. And I’m fairly certain that they do not have frogs in the bedrooms or bats in the walls.

That’s it for today, folks! I am going to charge everything under the sun in this house now, because I’m losing power again at 11 a.m. Yay WAPA!


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  1. George Zimmer

    Hi Jenn. Thanks for sharing what it is really like to live on St. John. We have been visiting St. John twice a year for more than 20 years and have experienced only a fraction of what you described. We agree, it is still paradise, and will be back in a few months. Very informative post!!!

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