Awesomer, yes we are.

So, I’m browsing through my latest issue of Cruise Corner. When I see this article titled: Three Great Excursions to Remember in the U.S. Virgin Islands. And OMG ! Island Wilson is one of them! (Yes, I did use OMG (again). I will not be pigeon-holed)

It was, like, totally awesome to see our name in print! And even awesomer that they were saying nice things. (Yes, awesomer is a word meaning more awesome.)

So I am going to share the article with you since not everyone’s Cruise Corner has arrived for this month and it is possible that some of you don’t subscribe. I’m not including the whole article. It drones on and on about two other excursions. Blah Blah Blah boring. So I skip straight to the meat and potatoes part for you. Here it is:

Capt Wilson  (scenic photos will resume shortly)

Cruise Corner – Island Wilson Excursions on St. Thomas
Island Wilson Excursions tailors every tour to fit what you want to do, but Capt. Wilson perfects it. The Virgin Islands have a natural beauty that stands alone, but there is a depth to them that is even more enjoyable with the right guide. Capt. Wilson is the man for that role. You can tell he really loves the Virgin Islands and wants to share with you the history of the region, the geology, the nature, the lore of the pirates from the past, and even the tales of the rich and famous who visit today.
How do you imagine your day on the water? Swimming with sea turtles in a Caribbean-blue bay? Stretched out and sunning on a sandy deserted island? Snorkeling colorful reefs surrounded by tropical fish? Exploring pirate caves that once held a king’s ransom in treasure, and possibly still do? Bird watching? Boating around the beauty of islands created by volcanoes and techtonic plate shifts and seeing magnificant rock formations?
Or, maybe simply relaxing on a postcard-perfect beach, feet in the surf, and the next round of drinks just a few steps away?
Whatever your idea of a perfect day is, Wilson will make it happen. He takes the time to find out exactly what you want to do with your time on his beautiful boat Deja Blue. He then maps out a day that pairs those desires with the conditions of weather and currents to create the perfect itinerary. He even matches your knowledge and skills for snorkeling to ensure an optimal experience. The Deja Blue is a double-hulled powerboat that is ideal for making the cruise smooth and fun.
You want to be sure to book this excursion before scheduling your plane tickets. It’s that special. Learn more about fees and inclusions by visiting islandwilson.com.

Deja Blue - Ready to Snorkel

Deja Blue – Ready to Snorkel

Island Wilson knew exactly where the best snorkeling would be for the conditions that day and set us up with ideal gear.

Binky the Barracuda – Get Well Soon.

If you need an introduction to Binky, <click here> But basically, Binky is the resident barracuda at Great St James who loves to swim with snorkelers. He is a familiar sight to a majority of the people who have visited Christmas Cove.

Back at Christmas Cove the other day. Just returning from a nice snorkel around the cove, and who should we find waiting under the boat when we got back but Binky. Wait. It’s not all good. On closer inspection we saw that Binky must have been having a rough time off it recently. About 5 feet of fishing line hung from his mouth and the edge of a hook could be seen in the left corner. Obviously Binky had a tale to tell. But he wasn’t talking.

Binky the Barracuda, hooked

Binky the Barracuda with line hanging from his mouth.

Barracudas are very territorial fish. And for as long as I can remember, Binky has been a resident of Christmas Cove. You may not see him every time, but he’s there. There, again being Christmas Cove.  Yeo, that’s right. The same Christmas Cove which is a marine reserve. The same one that has two floating signs at either entrance declaring it a marine reserve. And yep, those signs do clearly state that there is no fishing anywhere inside the marine reserve. And yep again, those same signs have maps on them so bone-heads can see where exactly the no fishing area is:

Sign at entrance to Christmas Cove

Sign at entrance to Christmas Cove

Looking at the map, Christmas Cove is the on left side of Great St James and between the  up and down Cs. Clearly there shouldn’t be any head scratching as to whether or not this bay is in a no fishing zone.

On the fishing forums, there seem to be two schools of thought about the hook. Some think it will disintegrate over time. Others disagree and say that hooks sold today will last quite a while underwater. I will be monitoring his progress and hopefully get a chance to shorten the trailing fishing line a bit.

So, to sum up:
We have a territorial fish which never strays from the bay in which it calls home. We have a bay, well within a marine reserve with signs at each entrance clearly declaring that the bay is inside a marine reserve and that fishing is not allowed. And we have that same territorial fish with a hook in its mouth.

It’s a bloody mystery, it is.

Get well soon, Binky.

-Capt Wilson

A Season in Review

Capt Wilson's Hat

Capt Wilson’s Hat

It’s time to break out a brand new hat. Tomorrow’s trip is officially the first of the 2014-2015 season. The beginning of a new chapter for IWE. And the closing of another.

Capt Wilson Reflecting

Capt Wilson Reflecting

I shall now take a few moments to reflect on whatever pops into my captain’s head regarding 13/14. If we could have a moment of silence while I concentrate. Thank you.

-13/14 Island Wilson Excursion’s second season was by far a success. Deja Blue has done another outstanding job of running smoothly and taking us to and from our destinations in comfort and style with only a few bumps in the road so to speak. As I head out into the Virgin Islands with guests and see the other boats doing day charters, I have yet to see a more perfect boat for doing what we are doing, none of the others even come close and I can not imagine driving anything else. Blue is fast, roomy, comfortable, stable, smooth, dry and great to snorkel from. Blue is the other half of IWE. (Someone pointed out once that I use a lot of ‘WE’s in my emails ‘We are glad you called,’ ‘We have availability,’ etc. Capt Wilson, if it’s just you doing the bookings, emails and captaining the trips, why all the ‘WE’s? Well, now you know.) (of course this usually leads into But Capt Wilson, you do realize your boat is an inanimate object. Nothing could be further from the truth.) 

-13/14 has set the record for Whale Encounters for IWE. A total of 20 sightings this season. By far better than any of the other years either IWE or BBE saw, where we never crossed out of single digits.

-13/14 has been a season of back to snorkeling. I am not really sure how this swing took place but we have seen far more snorkeling enthusiasts this year than ever before. It has been the greatest experience showing some of you the undersea world for the very first time. It is such a magical place and wonderful to see so many beginner and advanced snorkelers on board.

Capt Wilson & Deja Blue

Capt Wilson & Deja Blue

-Maybe we saw so many domestic snorkelers this year because of the BVIs fee hike. 13/14 witnessed the BVI departure tax rise by $15 and the US Port Authority rise by $5. Making it now $20 more expensive per person to visit the BVIs. As of this writing, customs and immigration fees for our trips into the British Virgin Islands are at $45 per person. Ouch!

-13/14 we sort of skidded into the habit of posting photos and just photos. That is the fault of our new Instagram account @islandwilsonexcursions. Seriously. They make it so easy to just toss up a photo and so hard to type on those tiny little keyboards. Especially in the bright sun. However we will attempt to toss up something with a little more substance now and then. But Blue doesn’t type, so . . .

-13/14 Brought some changes to the number of passengers we take out. It is very involved and a hot topic down here and I am going to gloss over a large portion of the details but here are the basics. Those of you who know us from way back (BBE) know that we started by taking out only 6 at a time. In 2013 the USCG said all charters could carry more than 6.  Right around the beginning of 2014 they started pulling boats carrying more than 6. We don’t want to get pulled during our trips so are back to 6 as our limit.

-13/14 We added the Secret Spot to some of your itineraries. Hope you enjoyed that. You are still sworn to secrecy. And some of you that have been with us a number of times actually went to the corners of the map this time as we showed you places a little bit harder to get to.

-And of course in 13/14 we saw you. Our guests. The most important thing of all because let’s face it, without you we are not Island Wilson Excursions. We are just Island Wilson Waiting at the Dock Sitting on Our Thumbs. So Thanks. 13/14 brought us a bunch of great people. We were reunited with past guests whom we’d lost touch with and met some new heroes. I know some of you couldn’t make it down this year and your absence was noticed. But we also had a good number of ‘Repeat Offenders’ which is really nice to see. Thanks for finding us. Thanks for choosing us. Thanks for staying with us. Thanks for being great. Just Thanks.

I'm working here

“I’m working here.”

So here is the recap for 2013-2014 season. In a nut shell: Awesome trips, awesome guests. Just an awesome season.

-Capt Wilson

P.S. Don’t forget, next Saturday – Wax Party at Blue. Bring your “Wax on Wax off” attitude.