The Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort pool deck was the site of an impromptu chicken rodeo on scooters during last year’s shut-down celebrations on Blacktip Island. (file photo by Wendy Beaufort)
Blacktip Island officials are bracing for the annual end-of-tourist-season chaos this weekend when all island resorts close Saturday afternoon for the height of hurricane season.
“It happens every year at shut-down,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “People’re worked out and stressed out and ready to blow off some steam. The tension’s been building these last few weeks.
“There’s no telling what’ll happen. Fights, pranks, property damage, you never know,” Cobia said. “We urge folks to take it easy, but some don’t listen. Last year Dermott Bottoms and James Conlee about destroyed the Eagle Ray Cove bar bo-staff fighting with kayak paddles.”
The island’s police officer has been busy preparing.
“I cleared the stored junk out of the jail cell, so it’s ready for occupants,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Just got it repaired after last year’s arrestees tore it down. We reinforced the walls and doors this time.
“Most people celebrate in moderation, but there’s consequences for taking things too far,” Marquette said. “People herd chickens around the Sandy Bottoms pool deck on scooters again, they’ll definitely see the inside of the cell.”
Most locals are taking the impending chaos in stride.
“I make sure all my stuff’s either inside or locked down, then pull up a chair to watch,” Val Schrader said. “Jack Cobia urging moderation is a hoot. He’s the one who knocked out cell service last year bungee jumping off the cell tower.
“And they’re still trying to figure out who ran the two dive boats up the beach,” Schrader said. “That far up in the Scuba Doo hammocks, they had to have been doing 18, 20 knots when they hit the sand.”
One local is continuing his traditional end-of-season beach party to keep the misbehavior self-contained.
“I have a pig roasting and booze on ice at my place,” Payne Hanover said. “As soon as that last plane with the last tourist leaves, the lids come off. Everyone’s invited. It’ll go all night. Maybe into the next night.
“And anyone gets in a condition they can’t drive, or walk, there’s plenty of beds and lounge chairs,” Hanover said. “Anyone who looks like they might get sick, there’s spots on the beach.”
Others are taking a more preemptive approach.
“I restocked the entire first-aid and medical supply section,” store manager Peachy Bottoms said. “I learned my lesson last year.
“I also brought in a double order of pregnancy tests,” Bottoms said. “We’re not having a replay of that fiasco.”