Blacktip Island beaches have been inundated with messages-filled bottles this week, sparking numerous rescue missions. (photo courtesy of Edwin Chub/Marine Parks Department)
Blacktip Island beaches this week were flooded with hundreds of message-filled bottles from around the globe, sending island officials scrambling to find the cause and stretching the island’s emergency services thin.
“Message bottles started washing up over the weekend,” marine parks spokesperson Edwin Chub said. “Mostly on the windward east coast, but some came ashore on the west side, too. Resort guests were running up and down the beaches collecting the damn things.
“We never guessed there were so many castaways so many places,” Chub said. “Now, some are probably jokes, but they all ask for actual rescues and we can’t ignore any of them.”
Experts are uncertain what caused the sudden influx.
“Out of nowhere there’s 80, 90 bottles washing ashore every day, so something significant changed,” Tiperon University-Blacktip oceanography professor Grady Snapper said. “The leading theory’s warming sea water’s creating new convection patterns in the open ocean. The North Atlantic Gyre probably trapped a bunch of these bottles, and now shifting currents are shooting them all our way.”
Others suspect the bottles are an elaborate hoax.
“All these bottles showing up at the same time? That’s not natural,” resident Marcia Seagroves said. “Someone’s out dumping bottles off a boat. Or chucking them in at the beach so they wash back onshore.
“I’d bet it’s Antonio Fletcher or Jerrod Ephesians pulling our collective leg,” Seagroves said. “Like those guys who made crop circles for years to cause a kerfuffle while they laughed among themselves.”
Fletcher denied the accusations.
“Got no time for that kind of nonsense,” he said. “Ain’t got that many bottles, either. People’re pointing fingers at me when folks out there need rescuing.”
Observers say the messages are too varied to be the work of one person or group.
“We’re finding notes in all kinds of languages. That’s way beyond anything ‘Tonio’s capable of,” Donna Requin said. “I found one yesterday in Norwegian. Some kid tossed it in off Stavanger as a joke in 2009 and it took that long to get to us.”
Island emergency personnel are taking a sterner view.
“We have to take every rescue request seriously,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “We’ve been contacting the appropriate authorities worldwide all week. Some have stopped taking my calls.
“If any of these notes do turn out to be jokes, the culprits will face the full brunt of the law,” Marquette said. “I’ve had no sleep for days, tracking down all these places. I still can’t find ‘Wanna-Hocka-Loogie’ on any nautical chart, but I do hope that Nigerian prince gets rescued safely.”