Organizers hope a change in vocal format will once again fill the Eagle Ray Cove tiki bar with karaoke aficionados this Friday night. (photo courtesy of groothelm)
Blacktip Island’s Eagle Ray Cove resort will change its Karaoke Fridays to an all-Tuvan throat singing format tonight in an effort to revive dwindling attendance.
“Karaoke night’s always tied the island together, but with tourists still banned, it gets old, the same people singing the same songs,” resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “The last few Fridays we had three, maybe four people show up. That kills the vibe. And our alcohol sales.
“We tried doing a sing-in-the-language-of-your-choice version, but that was a train wreck,” Skerritt said. “Dermott Bottoms just got up there and babbled gibberish. Loudly. And off key. This way there’s no words. You just have to get the tune sort-of right.”
The karaoke DJ Alison Diesel said the idea is popular.
“We axed karaoke for two weeks to give everybody a chance to learn throat singing, and the response’s been bonkers,” she said. “We came up with the idea from a random online video. You can pick any song from the library, you just have to throat-sing it.
“It’s been a bonding experience, everybody learning a new skill at the same time,” Diesel said. “Folks are really looking forward to showing off on Friday night. And Gage Hoase’ll just sing in his normal voice.”
Island residents echoed Diesel’s sentiments.
“I’ve been practicing for weeks,” Christa Goby said. “It hurts to swallow right now, but my voice is spot on. People’re gonna hear ‘Strawberry Wine’ like they’ve never heard it.”
Some remained skeptical.
“I’ve always said there’s no way to make karaoke worse,” Reg Gurnard said. “Well, now Ali’s gone and done it. I’ll be down at the Ballyhoo, as far away from that nonsense as I can get.”
Diesel was unphased by the criticism.
“It’ll be cool to have a full tiki bar again,” she said. “Our sense of community’s been eroding lately. I’m way looking forward to the duets. I heard Marina and Cal practicing ‘Summer Nights’ yesterday and it sounded off-the-hook awesome.”
Sunday, November 15, 2020
Precipitation – none
Three Blacktip Island residents claim they saw a mermaid swimming off the end of the Eagle Ray Cove Resort dock Tuesday night. (photo courtesy of W. Carter)
Three Blacktip Island locals Tuesday reported sighting a mermaid swimming in Eagle Ray Cove, setting the small Caribbean island’s population buzzing this week.
“She was down at the end of The Cove’s dock, splashing around in them underwater lights,” longtime resident Dermott Bottoms said. “Long green tail and no top, just like all the books show.
“James Conlee and Lee Helm, they saw her, too. Just ask ‘em,” Bottoms said. “Soon as she saw us, though, she swam off right quick. Couldn’t get any photos. Always thought there was mermaids here. Now we have proof. And three eyewitnesses.”
The others supported Bottoms’ claim.
“We’d wandered down from the bar for a bit of fresh air,” Helm said. “We were standing there talking. James had just lit a smoke when we heard the splashing and looked over the edge. There she was, long, scaley tail and all.”
Some on the island questioned the story.
“Dermott and James wandered down from the bar and saw a mermaid?” Herring Frye said. “These are the same yahoos who claimed they saw a platypus behind the Sand Spit a while back. The common element here is heavy drinking. If it’s those two, you know alcohol was involved.
“They probably just some drunk tourist swimming in a long dress,” Frye said. “And as for her swimming away when she saw them, well Lee Helm has that effect on most women. Even when he’s not three-sheets-to-the-wind drunk.”
Others said the claim had merit.
“All kinds of old sailors’ tales about mermaids around Blacktip, y’know,” resident Antonio Fletcher said. “Got to be based on something. And no manatees or dugongs around there. Herring’s got no call to call Dermott and James wahoos.
“Not saying whether it was or wasn’t, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt,” Fletcher said. “No solid proof there’s a mermaid out there, but there’s no proof there’s not, either. And there’s three eye witnesses.”
The men vowed to produce evidence.
“We gonna take turns watching at the end of the dock, phone cameras ready,” James Conlee said. “Got some trail cams on order, too, so we can stake out all the docks in the cove.”
Eagle Ray Cove Resort, meanwhile, has launched nightly mermaid-lookout events on the dock. “We set up chairs and loungers right out at the end, where the underwater lights are,” ERC owner Rich Skerritt said. “The bar staff runs drinks and snacks down to anyone out there. And we have ‘I Saw the Mermaid’ t-shirts for sale in the lobby.”
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Precipitation – not today
Sunday, October 25, 2020
Precipitation – soon come
Halloween enthusiasts will descend on Blacktip Island’s Wahoo Reef Saturday night for the small Caribbean island’s first-ever underwater haunted reef display. (photo courtesy of Gustavo Gerdel)
Blacktip Island Halloween aficionados Saturday will stage an interactive haunted reef display, where scuba divers can swim through an underwater landscape filled with scary effects, to raise money for the Caribbean island’s school.
“We wanted to do something different,” divemaster Gage Hoase said. “Everybody does underwater pumpkin carvings. It’s cliché. Haunted houses are old hat, too. So we decided to turn Wahoo Reef into a haunted dive site, an aquatic twist that’ll be something new. Sort of.
“It’s dive oriented, with most of the frights coming from fish and whatnot,” Hoase said. “Divers’ll follow a polypropylene line around coral heads and through swim-throughs. There’ll be strobe lights and colored lights, and scary stuff I can’t mention’ll jump out at the divers.”
Organizers stressed the display will not harm the underwater environment.
“We played with it last week, and it was no big deal,” Alison Diesel said. “Sure, it scared the crap out of the fish, but they recovered after a few days. Some of them actually seemed to like the lights and dry ice bubbles.
“The divers we have dressed as ghosts and zombies’re cool about not banging into coral, too,” Diesel said. “And it’s outside the marine park, so we’re all good from that angle.”
Others noted the underwater scares will come from more non-ghoulish sources.
“We made a list of everything a diver could be scared of, and stocked the route with as many of those as we could,” Payne Hanover said. “We’ll have in-character divers doing every real-life scary scuba thing there is— blown hoses, empty tanks, inflator hose jams, idiots with knives, you name it. People won’t have a clue who’s a haunted reef actor and who’s a fellow visitor.”
Some in the community questioned the safety of the production.
“This is a recipe for multiple people to get hurt. Badly,” island nurse Marissa Graysby said. “All it takes is one person panicking down there, and they’ll have multiple divers bolting for the surface. Or stabbing each other with dive knives. They really should have just had a pumpkin-carving contest. At the Sand Spit.”
Diesel said those fears were unwarranted.
“We’re not gonna have ghost divers snatching masks or regs or anything,” she said. “They’ll just act like they’re in trouble. Sure, someone may get their fin grabbed here and there, but that’s as far as it’ll go. I mean, there’s risks involved—that’s what makes it fun—but everybody signs a mondo-waiver, and a lawyer at the bar said we should be fine. And there’s no booze allowed until after you exit the water.”
Hoase stressed proceeds from the haunted reef will go to the island’s one-room school.
“There’s no kids on the island now, but there might be soon, the way folks carry on,” he said. “We’ll hold the money in a trust until there are some. Minus the expenses for the afterparty at the Sand Spit.”