Monthly Archives: July 2019

Blacktip Island Bar-Goers Plan Nocturnal Platypus Hunt

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Two Blacktip Island residents hope a Friday night hunt will prove their claims of a platypus living in the mangrove tangles behind the Caribbean island’s Sand Spit bar. (photo courtesy of Cori Anders)

Two Blacktip Island drinking aficionados will stage a nocturnal platypus hunt Friday at midnight behind the Sand Spit bar to prove their claimed platypus sightings are neither a hoax nor alcohol-induced hallucinations.

“Tired of folks doubting us, laughing at us,” handyman Dermott Bottoms said. “Me and James Conlee, we seen the platypus a bunch of times. Comes out of the mangroves late at night. Usually Friday, Saturday, sometimes Sunday. Came over on a shipping container, like as not, like green iguanas do.

“Wander down there to pee, you got a good chance to see it swimming around,” Bottoms said. “It moves real quiet, and is real shy, but it’s by-God a platypus. Got the duck bill, the beaver tail, everything. Only way to stop folks making fun of us is to catch it, and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Conlee said their plan relies on participation of other Sand Spit patrons.

“We got some big nets we set up on either side of the Spit,” he said. “One end anchored to the shore, the other strung out wide on long poles. As soon as we get a sighting, people’ll wade out with the nets in big semi-circles and surround it.

“Gonna get some beaters, too, to chase it into the nets,” Conlee said. “We got it all worked out. Once we catch it, we’ll take it to the university so they can make it official. Then we’ll laugh at the laughers.”

Tiperon University-Blacktip officials are dubious about the reports.

“The university will have no part of this,” TU-B chancellor Donna Requin said. “There is no way a venomous mammal indigenous to eastern Australia migrated to Blacktip Island. And there is zero chance a platypus survived months inside a shipping container, undetected through multiple container repackings, to land here.

“You think it’s a coincidence the only people who’ve seen this thing are Dermott and James?” Requin said. “Who only see it late at night, at the bar where they’ve been drinking all evening? The only thing swimming behind the Sand Spit is their rum-fuelled imaginations.”

Some residents say they plan to attend the hunt, whether there is an actual platypus or not.

“Not much happens on Blacktip, so this’ll be something fun to be a part of,” resident Gage Hoase said. “The biggest worry is James or Dermott might actually catch a platypus and get envenomated. They probably wouldn’t feel it after all the booze they down, but still. Platypus or no, it’ll be a laugh to get out there with the nets.”

Requin agreed.

“They won’t catch a platypus, but if a bunch of drunks is going to wade out with giant nets, there’s no way I’m missing that kind of comic gold,” she said. “I’ll bring Marissa from the clinic, too. There’s bound to be a near-drowning or two, or someone’ll step on a stingray, and they’ll need someone medical on hand.”

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Conspiracy Theories Scuttle Blacktip Island Recycling Program

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A plan to ship recyclable items from the Blacktip Island dump to mainland processing centers met unexpected opposition from island residents this week. (photo courtesy of Catalina Luxfer)

A proposed island-wide recycling program stalled this week due to vocal opposition from island residents convinced the program was a plot to destroy the island’s culture and heritage.

“Blacktip’s a tiny island drowning in garbage, and this plan addressed that,” environmentalist Catalina Luxfer said. “The dump’s the highest point on the island now, and the beaches are clogged with plastic. The clock’s ticking.

“We worked out a deal with local shipping companies to haul recyclables off island to mainland facilities,” Luxfer said. “It’s the first step in making Blacktip completely green and sustainable. Then came these protests and, frankly, I’m still trying to make sense of what they’re protesting.”

Opponents claim program organizers are hiding darker motives.

“Cat’s people are Big Island profiteers who want is to kill our Blacktip traditions,” Ginger Bass said. “Browsing through the dump for that perfect item is a great Saturday outing for the whole family. It’s our way of life. They want to ship our culture, our heritage off-island, like they did on Tiperon years ago.

“We’ll have to buy new items, from them, instead of repurposing what we find at the dump,” Bass said. “This is just a sneaky way to line their pockets by stealing from ours and calling it a sustainable something or other.”

Others saw a more sinister plot.

“Catalina and them want to increase pollution worldwide,” Antonio Fletcher said. “They’re just using the ‘green’ cover so people here’ll go along with it. Recycling centers burn more fossil fuel. So does a tugboat to haul stuff away. Everybody knows that.

“The recycling industry hurts the environment, long term, you know,” Fletcher said. “They’re secretly part of the global anti-environmentalist plot. And what happens to the dump workers they put out of work?”

Luxfer denied those claims.

“There’s no conspiracy. No secret plots with the global recycling Illuminati,” she said. “This is an Occam’s Razor moment. The answer with the fewest assumptions is true: we just want to help the island and everyone on it.

“On a speck of land this small, it’s crazy not to recycle as much as possible,” Luxfer said. “The Blacktip can only hold so much. Throwing everything in the dump will bite us in the butt. Soon. Also, ‘Blacktip Island culture’ is an oxymoron.”

The island’s business leaders were dubious.

“They’re creating a solution where there’s no problem,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “Cat’s just grandstanding. She can take that green, global hippie crap back to the mainland where she got it. Blacktip’s not that kind of island. And never will be. Unless I get a slice of the profits.”

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Facial Recognition System Will Protect Blacktip Island Reefs

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Blacktip Island marine parks authorities have installed facial-recognition cameras like this one on the Caribbean island’s dive sites in an effort to reduce scuba diver-caused coral damage. (photo courtesy of Nick Hobgood)

Concerned with increasing diver damage to Blacktip Island reefs, authorities have installed facial-recognition cameras, disguised as coral heads, throughout the island’s dive sites to identify the most egregious offenders.

“The coral on some of our most popular dive sites is wiped out from so many divers with crap buoyancy,” marine parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “We’ve tried being nice. We’ve tried educating people. Now we’re getting ugly.

“There’s not enough dive staff, or marine park staff, to patrol the reefs, so we’ve installed hidden cameras,” Schrader said. “Whenever someone crashes into coral, we’ll be able to track them down and take appropriate action.”

Authorities say punishment for damaging coral will be stiffened as well.

“In addition to the fines already in place, we’ll be posting violators’ names and faces on our website,” Department of Tourism head Rocky Shore said. “We’re going for an all-out, island-wide full-court press. Naming and shaming’s an integral part of that.

“Additionally, we can move the camera housings from site to site,” Shore said. “Dive staff will be able to spot them, but tourists down for the week will never know. They’ll have to assume they’re under surveillance the entire time they’re under water.”

Many scuba diving visitors raised concerns about the program.

“This is a serious invasion of privacy,” Bill Fisch said. “They say it’s to protect the coral, but who gets all that data they’re collecting on every diver, and who are they selling it to later?

“Plus, how can divers relax and unwind is they know they’re being spied on?” Fisch said. “I’m gonna get fined and insulted time my fin brushes a sea plume?”

Others supported the plan.

“If it protects the coral, I’m all for it,” longtime island visitor Suzy Souccup said. “Plus, it’s fun to watch divers striking poses underwater, as if there’s a camera in every coral head. The guy who mooned the brain coral, though, I could have done without that.”

Park officials were quick to defend the program.

“Divers waive some of their privacy rights when they enter the marine park,” Schrader said. “That’s stated quite clearly on every dive operation’s waiver. And we’re only concerned with major reef crashers.

“You put out a fingertip to keep surge from slamming you into coral, no worries,” Schrader said. “We’re going after the yahoos who crawl across the reef, drag their gauges over it, kick the crap out of sea fans or stand on coral. We expect this to be a major revenue enhancer.”

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