Letter to Army Corps of Engineers.

This is in response to the proposed a Coral World expansion. Caged dolphins none the less. This is a timely issue so if anyone wants to react (see the bottom) react as quickly as possible.

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BEGIN LETTER
Permit application number #SAJ-1976-89037
Regarding the permit for the proposed 2 acre dolphin enclosure INSIDE of Water Bay.

I am a  St Thomas resident.

And it appears that by granting this permit you are going to be messing with the eco system. An eco System that I depend on for my business. Reading about this project it does not appear that adequate research has been done in regards to this specific type of dolphin in this particular environment. That may or may not be. But you can always put this thing in later after real research is done instead of the cut and paste research that was attached to this. Water Bay isn’t going anywhere. Why rush this when you would have to be blind to see that the people behind this aren’t concerned about the environment?

You can’t unring a bell and this bell would make a doozy of a clang if you let it happen.

However, I am not writing about the research attached to this project.  I am writing about the coral. Montastrea annularis (now renamed Orbicella ) and Dendrogyra cylindrus,

Boulder Star Coral

Boulder Star Coral

Living on St Thomas I see a lot of natural, unintentional and intentional destruction of coral. Our Coral is dying faster and faster each year, as our tourist industry increases. Now you want to grant permission to “Relocate” some coral. Seriously? DPNR down here protects the mangroves like they are sacred. They are trees, you can’t cut them, you can’t kill them and you can’t “Relocate” them. They are also an endangered species. But we have far more of them than healthy coral. If that goes for the mangroves then the same should apply to taking a hunk of endangered coral out of its natural location and moving it somewhere else. And for the sole reason of constructing a dolphin pen.

I don’t know if a bunch of emails sent to you will make a difference on this issue. Probably just get deleted or make you irate. It’s my experience that decision for projects like these have probably already been made a long time ago. Deals were struck. Hands were shook and promises were made. But on the outside chance that someone with influence is reading this and there is still a chance to halt the project, think about not what the permit will allow but think about negative impact this will have on St Thomas. You can stop this or at the least postpone this pending thorough research, but you will never be able to take it back once it is completed.

How many people on St Thomas have actually shown positive interest in this? I can’t imagine many if any. Please deny this permit. The real St Thomas (not the greedy one) doesn’t want this.

Oh and if the permit for putting in a water slide from Paradise Point all the way down to the ship docks crosses your desk. I not in favor of that one either.

Best Regards,
Capt Wilson

END LETTER

OK. I feel all tingly for speaking my mind.

If anyone wants to tell the A.C.E. to deny this permit, <click here.> And it will automatically set up an email for you with an address and subject and body. You’ll just need to send it.

Porcupinefish, Smile!

Smile! The porcupinefish is one of very few underwater critters that can pull this off. (The barracuda is not one of them.) This little guy is normally very shy hiding under ledges. He can expand to double his size when he feels threatened and his spines will stick out. But the biggest reason to smile is that when swallowed whole by a shark, the porcupinefish with its knife like teeth have been known to gnaw their way out to freedom.

Smile! The porcupinefish (sometimes called a blowfish, sometimes a balloonfish and sometimes a globefish) is one of very few underwater critters that can pull this off. (The barracuda is not one of them.)

This little guy is normally hiding under ledges and coral heads during the day and only ventures out to hunt at night.

To deter anything from eating him, the porcupinefish has a very elastic stomach that allows him to expand to nearly double his size by ingesting huge amounts of water (and sometimes air) turning himself into a large unappetizing spiky ball. And if that wasn’t enough to discourage you from trying to eat one, some species have tetrodotoxin in their organs making them poisonous and foul tasting. Tetrodotoxin is a deadly toxin produced from the different types of bacteria they ingest from their normal diet. It is 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide and there is no known antidote. An adult fish could contain enough tetrodotoxin to kill 30 adult humans.

It goes without saying that these cuties have only a couple of natural enemies. Sharks and killer whales are among them. So the biggest reason to smile might be that even if they do get swallowed whole by a shark, the porcupinefish with its knife like teeth have been known to gnaw their way out to freedom.

But not to worry. I know they sound like stinky underwater basketballs with spikes sticking out of them, ready to take down a platoon of snorkelers, but they’re not. We see them quite often snorkeling the Virgin Islands. They are very cute and usually quite shy.

Porcupinefish

Porcupinefish shyly smiling for the camera.

Porcupinefish

Porcupinefish hiding under a coral head.

A few will even swim to greet you, but just don’t try to cuddle them.

-Capt Wilson

French Angelfish.

 

Juvenile French Angelfish

Juvenile French Angelfish

This beautiful little guy is a juvenile french angel that we saw while snorkeling St John. His stripes haven”t started to fade yet, but you can already see some yellow highlights on the outer edges of his scales. When he grows up, he will find a mate and keep her for the rest of his life. When you see an adult french angelfish while snorkeling, look around. Its mate shouldn’t be far away.

-Capt Wilson

Pillar Coral

Pillar Coral

Pillar Coral

A common coral seen in the Virgin Islands, and one of the most beautiful, is pillar coral.

  • It is one of the corals which the polyps of its colony can be seen extended during the day. All of the tiny polyps make it appear to shimmer when the water around it moves.
  • Colonies can grow as high as 6 ft
  • Each colony of pillar coral is either male or female. No co-ed colonies.

In this video you can see an adult yellowtail damselfish, a gray damsel fish, some juvenile bluehead wrasse (they are yellow), a blue tang and a juvenile stripped parrotfish. This pillar coral is surrounded by staghorn coral.

Capt Wilson

-More great [videos]
-Photos of sea turtles, common fish seen snorkeling and other reef stuff.

Tarpon can tell time.

It’s almost 5 o’clock. The tarpon are here. They know what time it is. The Rock has a ritual called the Five O’clock Feeding and  by 4:45 you can see about 20 of them circling the dock. Smart fish.

  • Adult tarpon can grow 4–8 ft long and weigh 60–280 lbs.
  • Tarpon are the largest species of herring.

Most of these are about 4 ft:

-Capt Wilson