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.”
“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.”