North Shore Deli Menu, St John, USVI

Why doesn’t the North Shore Deli (Deli Grotto’s successor) get off their ciabatta and put a printable menu on the net? Probably because they are too busy making delicious sandwiches for you and me to lunch on.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who shed a tear when we heard that Deli Grotto was throwing in the towel. And shortly after wondering what we were going to do for lunch now.

No worries. While the North Shore Deli has come up with their own original menu, it is just as tasty, if not better, as what Deli Grotto was making. And the staff working there are all amazing. They just don’t seem to have time take their menu off the chalk board and put it on-line. But I do.

Here is my interpretation of the North Shore Deli’s chalkboard menu. I am reading from a photo taken with a smart phone so it might be a little off. Also, prices and menu may get updated without that being reflected here. Just don’t change #4 !

-Capt Wilson

Telephone for North Shore Deli


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

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.


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


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.

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.