Monthly Archives: March 2018

Tag Team Dominoes Tourney Debuts On Blacktip Island

tag team dominoes

The Caribbean’s best team domino players will converge on Blacktip Island this weekend for the inaugural tag-team dominoes championship. (photo courtesy of Joy Spotts)

Dominoes competitors from across the Caribbean will descend on Blacktip Island this weekend for the inaugural Blacktip Association of Interlocking Tiles tag-team dominoes tournament at the island’s Heritage House.

“It’s the dominoes of the future,” said association president Inky Pipps. “It combines the strategy of dominoes, with the physicality of pro wrestling. It’ll feature two-person teams and a double-elimination format.

“We play by the Marquise of Tiperon rules, so everyone’s required to drink between rounds,” Pipps said. “And during. It takes the island’s two most popular activities to the next level. And referees will make sure everyone is drinking the same amount, to keep things fair.”

Final scores will be tallied at the end of each round, which end after the last contestant passes out.

Local dominoes fans say the sport adds an element of drama to the game.

“It’s not just people sitting around a table, drinking beer and slapping down tiles,” dominoes aficionado Ginger Bass said. “The head games get intense, with trash talking and mean-mugging before each match. And there’s another level of tactics involved once play starts.

“If a player’s outmatched, she can tap out and let her teammate take over,” Bass said. “The adrenalin kicks in when you get both team members playing the same table at the same time. And when you get six, eight people slamming down tiles and whacking each other with folding chairs, there’s nothing else like it!”

Tournament organizers stressed any in-game altercations are not staged.

“Every players signs off that any violence they’re involved in will be spontaneous,” association vice president Joy Spotts said. “And Rafe Marquette’ll have both eyes peeled for any signs of illegal gambling.

“We’ll also taking every step to keep the players from cheating,” Spotts said. “There’ll be proctors on the lookout for anyone using performance-enhancing substances. We have zero tolerance for light beer. Period.”

Favored teams include local favorites Rocky Shore and Stoney MacAdam, Dermott Bottoms and Sheena Goode, and regional sensations Patsy Dunning and Lori Kruger.

“Winners receive a small cash prize, as well as the coveted Golden Tile award,” Spotts said. “We assume it’ll be coveted, anyway. It’s the first one, but focus groups at the Ballyhoo happy hour were all positive.

“The Heritage House only holds a dozen or so spectators, so we’ll be live streaming the contests to all the island bars,” Spotts added. “If things go as expected, we plan to add tag team dominoes as an Olympic sport when the Tiperons host the Olympics.”


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Blacktip Island Nudibranchs Write Limericks In The Sand

nudibranch writing

Scuba divers discovered a purple-line sea goddess nudibranch finishing a line of poetry Wednesday afternoon during a shore dive on Blacktip Island’s Sailfish Reef. (photo courtesy of Steve Childs)

Blacktip Island scuba divers on an afternoon shore dive Wednesday discovered signs the island’s sea goddess nudibranchs may spell words in the sand with their slime trails.

“There was a film of algae on the sand, the light was just right and I could make out a cursive ‘N,’” Emma Dorris said. “I looked closer and there was ‘Nantucket’ spelled out in a flowing, 19th Century script. And at the end of the ‘t’ there was a tiny yellow-and-purple sea slug.

“You could see traces of other words, but divers had kicked too much sand to read them,” Dorris said. “Nudibranchs could be doing this all over the place but no one ever noticed, what with divers and storms stirring up the sand. But the weather’s been good and the sand was undisturbed.”

Longtime local divers were not surprised.

“There’s been stories for years of divers seeing words on the sand,” Rusty Goby said. “‘Pruitt’ and ‘trucker,’ most often. We always passed that off, but now it all makes sense. Near as we can tell, those little suckers get of on writing bawdy limericks.”

The scientific community said more study is needed.

“Assuming these slugs do leave words in their wake, is it something they do by happenstance or is it a conscious act?” Tiperon University-Blacktip marine biology professor Ernesto Mojarra said. “Is it only one species? Do they all slime in the same script? Indications are the gold-line sea goddesses have the best penmanship, while the tasseled nudis’ slime is damn-near illegible, but it’s early yet.

“We’re building big Plexiglas cubes to lower over nudibranchs to protect the sand writing from surge and current and divers,” Mojarra said. “And we have teams scouring the reef looking for all species of nudibranchs. That’s the real hard work.”

Some on the island scoffed at the idea of sea slugs writing poetry.

“Limericks? Not haiku or Italian sonnets?” said Chrissy Graysby. “And they only write in English? This is another crop-circle hoax.

“Ernie and his gang’re piling on as an excuse to get grant money,” Graysby added. “And free diving under the guise of ‘research.’”

Mojarra was unfazed by the criticism.

“This could be the cross-discipline breakthrough of our generation,” he said. “The engineering department worked up some underwater blacklights that really make the letters pop.

“We’re also teaming up with the English department to study how and why these slugs acquired their literary preferences,” Mojarra said. “They’ve done studies that indicate lettuce sea slugs compulsively slime-write the text of T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Wasteland.’ Or as much of it as they can before something eats them.”

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Overtaking Vehicles A New Danger On Blacktip Island

traffic overtaking

Motorists speed past Blacktip Island’s Club Scuba Doo during rush hour Thursday. Local authorities worry a recent uptick in overtaking vehicles on Blacktip roads represents a growing public safety threat. (photo courtesy of Rosie Blenny, Jr.)

A surge in the number of vehicles overtaking other vehicles on Blacktip Island roads had island officials scrambling for solutions Thursday.

“Blacktip has two roads and a 25 miles per hour speed limit,” Chamber of Commerce president Kay Valve said. “Vehicles don’t overtake each other here. There’s never been a need to.

“Now, though, there’s three, four overtakings a week. It’s crazy,” Valve said. “Just today, a big construction truck blew past a rental car on that stretch in front of Club Scuba Doo. Unless you’re the police or the nurse, what’s the hurry?”

Witnesses were stunned.

“It was shocking. A pair of Scuba Doo guests had just stepped out on the side of the road,” the former Reverend Jerrod Ephesians said. “The wind from the truck blew their hats off, scared the hell out of them. The one guy’s eyes bugged out like big dinner plates.

“Away from the resorts, and on the east coast road, it’s always been a free for all, vehicle-wise,” Ephesians said. “But to drive hellbent-for-leather through town? It’s a miracle no one’s been hurt.”

Island police said curtailing the trend is a top concern.

“Safety of pedestrians, especially resort guests, is very much at risk,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Tourists on vacation don’t think. They climb on a rusty resort bike after not having ridden a bike in 30, 40, years, and wobble off down the road. Add two cars barreling down the road side-by-side to that mix, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

“The overtaking’s dangerous, but not illegal,” Marquette said. “The problem is the overtaker’s usually exceeding the 25 mph speed limit. That’s where we’re focusing our enforcement efforts.”

Some island officials are taking proactive measures.

“I’m pushing through a law banning overtaking on Blacktip,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “We’ll send a clear message to motorists: if you want to pass someone, go somewhere else. Blacktip isn’t that kind of island, and it won’t become one.”

Social scientists worried about the trend’s cause.

“It speaks to an increasingly-agitated mental state of Blacktip motorists, this need to pass another car on an island with maybe two dozen vehicles,” Tiperon University-Blacktip sociology professor Moraye Meade said. “It also speaks to the changing nature of island society.

“We’re animals, competing for the same resources,” Meade said. “As the population grows, that competition intensifies. People fight to be the first, even if it’s just the first to happy hour. That’s a disturbing trend.”

Some residents fear the problem is a sign of things to come.

“Blacktip’s getting too crowded, like the big city with all this crazy traffic,” longtime resident Rosie Blenny, Jr. said. “If this keeps up, I’m going to have to move to a quieter island that’s not so stressful.”

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