One of the signs that the Virgin Islands is still in restoration is that transportation between St. Thomas and St. John is still limited. The passenger ferry service just announced that they are returning to their regular schedule with the last ferry from St. Thomas at midnight and the last ferry from St. John at 11PM. The car ferry service is still facing challenges though.
While we were there for 4 weeks, only 1 car ferry ran and that meant scheduled departures only every 2 hours and very long lines consisting of necessary service, supplies and garbage trucks as well as individual vehicles. Forget catching a ferry if you weren’t in line at least 1 and ½ hours ahead of time! After we left in late September, another ferry came on line, but the latest news is that we are back down to just one car ferry.
Before the storms, car ferries ran every ½ hour. So this limited service meant careful planning and limiting of trips to St. Thomas for supplies – getting down to the ferry dock in St. John by 5:30 am and getting back to Red Hook by at latest 4:30 or 5 pm to catch the last boat at 7 pm. We were woefully unprepared with our small car ,that had served us so well in the past when we could make multiple trips. Here’s a picture of our last trip into St. Thomas, packed to the gills with supplies!
When we got to the car ferry, the staff teased us that they should charge us the truck rate! We were so worried about getting back to the boat on time, that even though we were hungry and knew that we had a 2 and a half hour wait, we decided to get the car on line and then I would go hunting for some take-out that we could picnic with while on line. We both had a taste for fried chicken wings, and after walking all over Red Hook, I couldn’t find any. (ps: I justified the unhealthy dinner with the enormous amount of steps we got in that day!) So having a jones we couldn’t satisfy with anything else, I decided to catch a taxi over to Smith Bay, home of Chesters Fried Chicken, while Rich waited in line, with our laden “mule” car.
I also had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Calvin Hamm, taxi driver extraordinaire!
Taxi fare in his luxurious cab, round-trip to Smith Bay, $10. What a bargain! Peace of mind knowing we wouldn’t lose our place in line, and getting to know Mr. Hamm, priceless! Mr. Hamm is also a preacher and conducts religious services on a local radio station. The words he lives by (keeping his good name) are displayed with pride on his dashboard.
Mr. Hamm is available for individual cab rides as well as larger groups, and you can reach him to pre-arrange a ride 340-473-6986 or through the RedHook Taxi Association.