Monthly Archives: April 2019

Christian-Pagan Brawl Forces Blacktip Island Easter Parade Underwater

UW Easter parade

Kay Valve of the Blacktip Island Ecumenical Council marks the route of Sunday’s underwater Easter parade on Jawfish Reef Thursday. Parade organizers hope staging the event underwater will reduce sectarian violence that has marred recent Easter parades. (photo courtesy of Rosie Blenny/BIEC)

The Blacktip Island Ecumenical Council announced Wednesday the Caribbean island’s annual Easter parade will take place underwater after sectarian violence marred last year’s parade along the island’s resort strip.

“Staging the parade underwater’s a Hail Mary, but it was that or cancel it completely,” BIEC chair, the former-Reverend Jerrod Ephesians said. “There’ll be fewer people underwater, and it makes crowd control a whole lot easier.

“Last year’s fights between the Christians in the parade and the yahoos hijacking it for Ostara’s spring fertility festival blind sided us,” Ephesians said. “It started with insults, then thrown beer bottles, then an all-out melee the length of the parade route. We had to do something to preserve the event.”

Island authorities confirmed last year’s parade brawl set new records for damage.

“Vehicles were burned. Businesses were vandalized. The clinic was chock-a-block with injured participants from both sides,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “If Jerrod and his council hadn’t come up with this alternative, the parade was history.”

Organizers noted security measures will be in place for this year’s parade.

“We’ve tailored the event to maintain a high degree of safety while being as inclusive as possible,” BIEC sergeant-at-arms Kay Valve said. “Safety divers will keep the various factions separated and peaceful. And prevent drownings.

“Participants can be Christian, pagan or anything else,” Valve said. “They don’t even have to be religious. We do ask that everyone be sober, though. And anyone starting trouble will be immediately power-inflatored to the surface, regardless of religious affiliation.

Parade participants praised the changes.

“It will be lovely seeing everyone kitted out in their best wetsuits, BCs and masks,” Blacktip Island Junior League president Marcia Seagroves said. “And we’ve all gussied our neoprene hoods into the most wonderful bonnets. It’s different, certainly, but promises to have its own sort of dignity. Nevertheless, all League members will wear dive knives, just in case.”

Not all locals were pleased with the parade’s new format.

“It’s a mockery, celebrating Holy Week with an underwater game of follow-the-leader,” Father Poppy Bottoms of Our Lady Of Blacktip Cathedral said. “So’s Jerrod organizing it – he’s the one who set the spark to the tinder last year by running through the parade wearing nothing but a white bathrobe and yelling he was the archangel Gabriel.”

BIEC officials remained upbeat.

“We’ve encouraged underwater spectators to bring video cameras so we can stream the parade live to the BIEC website for non-divers,” Valve said. “There will also be prizes for best bonnet and most inappropriate wetsuit. And afterwards we’ll have a sea turtle egg hunt for the kiddos.”

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving

Tiperon University-Blacktip Offers Free Continuing Education Courses

TU con-ed

Wine making and adult literacy are two of the continuing education courses offered in Tiperon University-Blacktip’s new adult education program. (photo illustration by Clete Horn/BT staff)

In its continuing effort to serve the Blacktip Island community, Tiperon University-Blacktip officials announced Thursday the university will offer free adult education courses for island residents.

“We take a lot of heat for being hoity-toity ivory tower,” TU-B chancellor Donna Requin said. “This program’s aimed at showing TU-B is relevant to everyone. The university’s donating the space and our instructors are donating their time to make this happen. We’re not some elitist bastion. We’re here for the hoi polloi, too.

“We pulled out the stops to offer something for everyone,” Requin said. “We have courses in driftwood arranging, flotsam bottle collecting, basic literacy I and II, wine making, arithmancy and intro to psychological self-therapy.”

Many residents praised the new program.

“Anything that gives people something to do after work besides sitting around and drinking is great,” Rusty Goby said. “Theses courses are a great way to grow personally, regardless of your background.

“I covered the bases by signing up for wine making and self-therapy,” Goby said. “I figure if one doesn’t work out, the other one will.”

Not all residents agreed.

“Slap in the face is what it is,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Donna and them’re still looking down their noses at everybody. Saying I should better myself? That’s saying something’s wrong with me.

“They’re dissing us all, and I won’t stand for it,” Bottoms said. “Got half a mind to go to a class, then just sit there and not learn anything. Or teach my own class, maybe, in the parking lot. Or at the Ballyhoo.”

Some TU-B faculty also were critical of the new program.

“If by ‘donating time’ you mean ‘working extra hours without pay so the university doesn’t lose government funding and grant money,’ then sure,” archeology professor Catalina Luxfer said. “Put all the lipstick on it you want, this pig’s still just a revenue ploy. At the faculty’s expense. Like I know anything about collecting washed-up bottles.”

Others pointed out the program’s long-term benefits.

“You really can’t get more egalitarian than free university,” TU-B engineering chair and arithmancy instructor Sally Port said. “These are accredited university courses. They count toward a degree in Island Liberal Arts.

“It’s a plus for everyone,” Port said. “Whoever wants a class can have one, and the university can keep its doors open. A rising tide lifts all boats.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean

Self-Styled ‘Sand Flea’ Superhero Terrorizes Blacktip Island

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Spider Bight beach, where the anonymous, self-styled Sand Flea claims he was bitten by mutant no-see-ums that gave him super powers. (photo by Wendy Beaufort/Times staff)

Blacktip Island authorities this week are searching for a man dressed in an insect-themed costume-and-cape, claiming to be a super hero, who has bitten at least 13 island residents since last Friday evening.

“The guy’s got a yellow Jack LaLanne-style romper, a blue mask and cape and sort-of antennas,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “He sent out a half-page manifesto, calling himself the ‘Sand Flea.’ Says he got super powers from getting bit by mutant no-see-ums and is out to punish wrongdoers. Our guess is that’s where the biting comes in.”

“It’s not always a full-fledged chomp,” Marquette said. “Sometimes it’s just a little nip. But it’s assault, all the same. And he will be charged. As soon as we apprehend him. Or knock him out with bug spray.

Residents say the Sand Flea strikes without warning.

“I was at the Ballyhoo, arguing about my bar tab, when this whacko flew in through the window, bit my hand and flew out again,” Gage Hoase said. “I tore out after him, but he was gone.

“I had to have five stitches,” Hoase said. “If I find him, we’ll see how super he is. Rafe can arrest whatever’s left after I’m done.”

Island officials say the Sand Flea’s identity, abilities and motives are uncertain.

“Despite reports, there’s no indication this joker can fly,” mayor Jack Cobia said. “We tried to identify from dental records, but no one on Blacktip’s been to a dentist in ages, so that was a wash.

“It’s not clear what he considers ‘wrongdoing,’ either,” Cobia said. “So far he’s bit people for drunk driving, public cursing, loud music and peeing in the bushes behind the Tail Spinner. For all we know, it’s just someone with a fetish using any excuse.

The situation has many island residents on edge.

“There’s no telling when or where he’ll strike. Or why,” Ginger Bass said. “The clinic’s running out of antibiotics and sutures. What if he has rabies? Or worse?

“This could be the start of a real-life zombie apocalypse,” Bass said. “Are we gonna have people running around gnawing on each other? I’m keeping the kiddos inside, especially around sundown.”

Others laughed the matter off.

“It’s probably just Jerrod in yellow jammies, doing one of his provocative artsy things,” bartender Cori Anders said. “I mean, no one’s ever seen the two of them together, have they? And he hasn’t been bitten. Plus he’s always had that weird oral fixation.”

Jerrod Ephesians denied the accusation.

“You’ve never seen Dermott or Lee Helm or Cori in the same place as the Sand Flea, either. Let that sink in,” he said. “There’s lots of people on Blacktip without bite marks. And you can’t rule out self-inflicted bites as red herrings.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean