Monthly Archives: January 2015

Condo Wall To Counter Global Warming

Existing oceanfront condominiums will be incorporated into Blacktip Island’s protective condominium wall.

Existing oceanfront condominiums will be incorporated into Blacktip Island’s protective condominium wall.

Blacktip business owners are spearheading plans to ring Blacktip Island’s coast in an unbroken wall of high-rise condominiums to safeguard against rising sea levels menacing the Caribbean island.

“Global warming’s on us, and we’re not prepared,” said Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt, the plan’s chief backer. “This is the new face of life in the tropics: dual-purpose developments that’ll protect their islands while providing upscale coastal housing.

“Hell, 1,800 year ago the Chinese all laughed at Emperor Qin Shi and his wall. Now look at them.”

“It’s for the common good,” said Tiperon Islands Public Safety chief Ferris Skerritt, Rich Skerritt’s brother. “We’re all at risk from rising sea levels. Tourists are noticing and going to islands with higher elevation. We have to act now to protect our lives and our economy.”

Local scientists are skeptical of the plan.

“Blacktip’s only 10 feet above mean sea level, sure, and a minor rise in global sea levels would have us swimming,” Tiperon University-Blacktip’s Ernesto Mojarra said. “But I don’t know that ringing the coastline with multi-family dwellings will address that issue. The island’s a porous limestone. Rising water will just seep up through the ground.”

Environmentalists question the developers’ motives.

“Rich is using global warming as a Trojan horse so he can overdevelop the island,” Blacktip Haven resort owner Elena Havens said. “His condo wall will trap stagnant water inside and create a giant bowl of fetid goop. It’s bad enough we already have the booby pond.”

Other locals are concerned the project will negatively impact their quality of life.

“They can’t just block ocean access like that, no matter how high the water gets,” resident Ginger Bass said. “If we don’t own a fancy condo, how do we get to our boat? If we can’t get to the sea we can’t fish to feed our families.”

Rich Skerritt allayed those concerns.

“We’ll have drainage conduits to take the stinky water out,” Skerritt said. “And access tunnels so non-owners can get to the water to fish and whatnot. There’ll be a per-passage fee, of course, but that’s simply to defray the cost of the tunnels, not a fee for ocean access.”

Prospective condo owners, meanwhile, are eager to buy.

“They say all these buildings will be interconnected,” island visitor Suzy Souccup said. “When they’re finished, we’ll be able to walk all the way around the island without ever having to leave the air conditioning. What could be lovelier, and safer, than that?”

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Misprint Sparks Mayhem at Blacktip Island Poetry Slam


Blacktip Island Poetry Slam winner Reg Gurnard’s West Indian whistling ducks prepare to take the stage Thursday afternoon on the small Caribbean island. (photo by Charles J. Sharp)


Five Blacktip Island residents were hospitalized and an estimated 14 chickens and four ducks were injured Thursday after flyers for the Heritage Society’s annual Poetry Slam were incorrectly printed as “Poultry Slam.”

“We called the order in to the print shop, same as ever, and I clearly said ‘poetry,’” Heritage Society president Doris Blenny said. “Clete Horn read the text back to me, but he was slurring his words at the time and I guess we both misunderstood.

“The first sign of trouble was when twenty-plus people showed up at the Heritage House with poems in hand and birds under their arms,” Blenny said.

“The announcement said ‘poultry,’” island poet Alison Diesel said. “It seemed odd, but it is Blacktip Island, after all. I practiced for days – thawed Cornish hens, mostly – and wrote two sonnets set to the same beat. Rhyming with a live hen, though, in front of an audience, it’s harder than you’d think.”

Organizers proceeded with the event as advertised, but the performances were halted by animal rights protestors.

“It was crazy enough, with our local bards spouting verse and waving their chickens,” the Heritage Society’s Blenny said. “Then the PETA people stormed the stage and the feathers really flew.”

“Abusing birds so flagrantly, we had to cry foul,” local People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Harry Pickett said. “Sure, some of our folks got a bit out of hand, but really, thwacking chickens like that, those so-called artistes deserved a sock in the puss.”

Thirteen participants were charged with animal cruelty. Eight protestors were charged with battery. Several poets also were disqualified due to their over-reliance on duck-related rhyme schemes.

“This is a family event, after all,” Blenny said.

A handful of contestants dodged legal trouble by opting for figurative interpretations of the event’s theme.

“I slammed my Rhode Island Red rooster but good,” contestant Led Waite said. “Insulted him every which way, in rhyme royal, no less. I should’ve won some sort of prize.”

Other finalists substituted fried chicken and roast duck for living poultry. The winner used a gentler approach, with live birds.

“I trained each of my West Indian whistling ducks to quack a different note when I smacked them on the head,” Slam champion Reg Gurnard said. “It made for excellent counterpoint, me rapping and them quacking. And none of them the worse for wear.”


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Experts To Identify Every Color of Blacktip Island’s Water

An international research team is set to determine the exact number of colors in the waters covering Blacktip Island’s reefs.

An international research team is set to determine the exact number of colors in the waters covering Blacktip Island’s reefs.

An international team of scientists and artists this week will test the seawater on Blacktip Island’s scuba dive sites to determine the precise number of blue shades the water contains.

“The question’s confounded scientists and scuba divers for decades,” Tiperon University-Blacktip hydrogeology professor Ernesto Mojarra said. “Is it the standard five-shade range we’ve heard about on dive boats, or is closer to the 17-shade scale our electron spectrophotometers seem to indicate?

“Our goal’s to catalogue every separate and distinct color here,” Mojarra said. “The next step’ll be to send our water samples to the Smithsonian for use as a baseline for any future water color cataloging worldwide.”

Island tourism workers and visitors embraced the news.

“We get tired of hearing it,” Eagle Ray Cove divemaster Gage Hoase said. “‘How many colors of reef water are there?’ and ‘Can we get a sample of each one?’ Now, hopefully, we can give our guests a solid answer and move on to the next stupid question.”

“All I want’s some little glass vials with different water colors in them,” island guest Candy Wrasse said. “The Eagle Ray Cove gift shop sells five-color gift sets. Sandy Bottoms’ has seven-color sets. Club Scuba Doo has eight. And Blacktip Haven sells swirly, blue-green sarongs they say have 113 colors. Some scientific clarity would be great.”

Other residents, however, were skeptical of the study’s goals.

“This isn’t a simple green, blue and indigo issue,” local activist Harry Pickett said. “The bigger picture is where are the lines drawn? Who draws them? And can the colors be gamed? Arbitrarily dividing seawater into someone’s preconceived notion of shading is really a statement on power and privilege.”

TU-B’s Mojarra was quick to defend the study.

“We have some of the world’s top colorimetrists, marine hydrologists and watercolor painters to triple-blind study our samples,” Mojarra said. “As for doctoring the water, it’s true, particulate matter can play a large part, but we’re running the water through a non-biased third party’s .01 micron filter to ensure minimal particle density.”

The island’s religious community remains unconvinced.

“All water is one. You can’t divide it into colors,” said the former-Reverend Jerrod Ephesians, head of the island’s ecumenical council. “Let the mystery be and enjoy your swim.”

Blacktip Island’s theosophists reacted more strongly.

“We wanted to do a group self-immolation at Diddley’s Landing Friday evening,” Palometa Fischer said. “But that gets so messy. Instead we’ll all sit cross-legged and throw water on ourselves. An anti-immolation, if you will, with each person using the water color of his or her choosing.”

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Blacktip Island Dive Sites Get Underwater Wi-Fi

Blacktip Island’s scuba diving guests can now roam the internet while underwater on the Caribbean island’s dive sites.

Blacktip Island’s scuba diving guests can now roam the internet while underwater on any of the Caribbean island’s dive sites.

Blacktip Island entrepreneurs Rich Skerritt and Sandy Bottoms have teamed up to install the first underwater wireless network for scuba diving guests on the small Caribbean island.

“It’s the 20-something generation of divers who’re behind it,’ Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “They get bored on safety stops. They want their social media. And if we don’t give it to them, you can bet the next guy will.”

“Underwater Wi-Fi draws divers to Blacktip Island, away from other dive destinations,” Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort owner Sandy Bottoms said. “It’s good for the island. A rising tide lifts all boats, you know.

“No one resort could foot the bill for something like this, so Rich and I threw in together to meet our guests’ needs,” Bottoms said.

The network functions via underwater routers hardwired to topside modems.

“We put antennas in all the dive site mooring balls, then ran cables down the mooring lines,” Blacktip Island Public Works head Stoney MacAdam said. “You can get a signal in a 50 foot radius of every mooring pin.

“Folks take a smart phone or a tablet down in a waterproof case and, voila, they’re streaming live video to their blogs and their kids are playing Candy Crush.”

The response among divers is split along generational lines.

“This is brilliant,” 28-year-old dive guest Kenny Chromis said. “Just looking at the reef is so 2014. I mean, what’s the point if you can’t share it in real time? Plus, we can leave the baby in the room and still monitor the crib-cam while we dive.”

Others are less enthusiastic.

“Leave it to the damn millennials to ruin diving, too,” said 53-year old scuba enthusiast Joe Pompano. “It used to be calming, a silent world. Now it’s all beeps and pings and yahoos Skyping through their regulators. Put the damn gadgets down and look at the fish, why don’t you.”

Blacktip’s dive operators have embraced the new technology.

“We’re selling waterproof tablet cases like crazy,” Club Scuba Doo dive operations manager Finn Kiick said. “Interactive fish ID apps, too.

“The hot spots also create an extra level of diver safety,” Kiick said. “Our Wi-Fi connected guests never stray more than 15 meters from the boat. And if one does wander off, we can track their signal from anywhere on the island.”

“This is the new frontier in scuba tourism,” Rich Skerritt said. “For a reasonable access fee, of course.”

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Mutant Crabs Protect Blacktip Island’s Reefs

Genetically-modified channel crabs, escapees from Cuban biological labs, are now protecting Blacktip Island’s marine parks.

Genetically-modified channel crabs, escapees from Cuban biological labs, are now protecting Blacktip Island’s marine parks.

The Tiperon Island Marine Parks Department Friday confirmed reports it is using laboratory-bred channel crabs to protect Blacktip Island’s dive sites against scuba diver-related damage, tasking the crustaceans with pinching divers who come in contact with the Caribbean island’s fragile reefs.

The crabs, larger and more aggressive than wild channel crabs, are a byproduct of the genetic research of famed Cuban geneticist Pellizco de Cangrejo, Tiperon University-Blacktip biology professor Ernesto Mojarra said.

“It’s a gene-splicing experiment gone horribly wrong,” Mojarra said. “Instead of big, tasty crabs, they ended up with big, mean ones. Then the crabs broke out of the lab and took over the reefs. For a short time they controlled significant portions of Old Havana.

“Trade winds and currents carried some of them to Blacktip Island’s reefs, where they’ve become intractable.”

“These suckers are nasty,” said marine parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “They’ll defend their territory to the death. We’re lucky we’ve been able to recruit them to our side.

“Scuba tourism’s our life’s blood, but reef-crashing divers are fast destroying that,” Schrader said. “We have to take action. One touch from a careless diver can kill an entire coral head. We’re strapped for cash, or we’d hire more officers. With these crabs onboard, well, it’s win-win. The reefs are safe, and we don’t have to pay wages or benefits.”

Local reaction to the news has been positive.

“We’ve had the crabs for years,” Club Scuba Doo dive operations manager Finn Kiick said. “They’re more of a nuisance than anything. We can’t get rid of them, so we might as well embrace them.”

“Recreational divers have to learn: you touch coral, you pay the price,” Blacktip Haven owner Elena Havens said. “You think a stingray hickey’s bad? Wait ‘til you get a Cuban crab pinch.”

Scuba diving visitors, however, are furious.

“These monsters have been leaving us bruised and bloody for years,” longtime Blacktip Island dive guest Buddy Brunnez said. “Now, to find the government’s sponsored it? It’s like a bad horror movie. Trip Advisor’s getting some scathing reviews about this. We pay good money to dive here. We can touch anything we want.”

Meanwhile, island dive shops are making the most of the situation.

“We’re selling Peak Performance Buoyancy courses like hotcakes,” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “It’s amazing how motivating a 450 foot-pound pinch in the shorts can be. Our Crab Diving specialty courses are jam packed, too.”

Marine Parks officials would not confirm rumors of other marine life being trained to safeguard the island’s reefs.

“Moray eels chomp divers all the time,” Schrader said. “And it’s not uncommon for pike blennies to take a chunk of flesh from a diver who strays too close. That’s just coincidence. Reef life protecting itself.”

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