Island residents, Jason & Jill, of Island Roots Charters ring in the New Year with some exciting announcements… a new boat, a new baby and new house (soon come)!

For those not familiar, Island Roots is family owned and operated private charter company with nearly three decades of on-island experience. Jill first came to St. John after college for a volunteer summer job at Maho Bay Campground, ultimately making STJ home for the last 18 years. Most of her time on island has been spent working with St. John’s youth at Gifft Hill School.

Captain Jason, you might recognize from a number of previous stories (Swimming with Whales, Island Roots Sails Again and A Day Charter for Less) was born on island and spent his early childhood living out near Salt Pond before moving stateside with his family. Immediately after college (and his 30 day stint on the hit TV reality show, Survivor), Jason returned to island as a teacher for the same school Jill worked at!

Long story short… they fell in love, bought some property, camped out while building a small “island cottage,” grew their charter boat business, got married, planned to start a family… AND then came IRMA.

As the storm did to so many, their world was turned upside down in a matter of hours. Losing their entire cottage to one of Irma’s strongest wind gusts, it was ripped from from the ground in a single moment, flew about 200ft and landed in the neighboring property. Nearly all of their belongings lay in a piled heap of debris, broken glass and wet clothes. Thankfully, their charter boat was relatively untouched parked on its trailer in Coral Bay. With no viable tourism industry expected for many months, they focused on clean up, recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Forging ahead, they moved back into a makeshift campsite on their property, started the arduous process of rebuilding (this time in CONCRETE!) and discovered they were to be expecting a baby boy at the end of 2018. As the year drew to a close, baby “Finn Wilder” was born, concrete form work complete and by chance, happened upon a great hurricane related deal and purchased a new 32ft World Cat Power-catamaran just in time for “season.” It’s hard to say which was most exciting for Capt. Jason… the new boat, the new baby or the new house 🙂 Just Kidding!!!