Monthly Archives: November 2019

Divemaster Reality Show To Film On Blacktip Island

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Club Scuba Doo will be the focal point of the upcoming reality television series ‘Real Divemasters of Blacktip Island, which began filming on the small Caribbean island this week. (photo courtesy of André Héroux)

A new scuba-themed reality television show about the daily lives of Caribbean dive staff on Blacktip Island began filming this week, show producers said.

“We were looking for the bat-shit-craziest island in the Caribbean, and Blacktip blew the metrics off the chart,” Leah Shore said. “It’s like this island has a crazy magnet buried somewhere. Professional actors couldn’t have done better.

“We’re calling it ‘Real Divemasters of Blacktip Island,’ and it’ll show on what goes on at a scuba resort when the guests aren’t around,” Shore said. “Or when the staff thinks they’re not around. There’s a huge untapped TV market of scuba geeks who can’t get enough scuba talk and who love drama.”

The show will focus on dive staff at one of the island’s four dive resorts.

“They liked the look of Eagle Ray Cove, but the staff there’s actually pretty decent to each other,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “It needed the nastiest staff possible to showcase all the behind the scenes griping, backstabbing and sandbagging that goes on after the guests go to their rooms.

“They picked Club Scuba Doo instead,” Cobia said. “We had no idea, but the staff there’re truly vicious to each other. They’re over-the-top passive-aggressive about their divers, too, when guests turn their backs. The first dailies had jaws dropping. It’s great TV.”

Club Scuba Doo dive staff are enjoying the spotlight.

“They’ve got hidden cameras, body cams, Speedo cams, you name it,” Club Scuba Doo dive manager Finn Kiick said. “We had no idea people’d want to watch this stuff. For us it’s just business as usual, only now we’re gonna be semi-famous for it.

“You work at CSD, you’re in the arena. If it’s your day off, the knives come out,” Kiick said. “But then it’s you doing the stabbing when someone else isn’t there. Yeah, we may hack off some customers, but for every guest we scare off, we’ll gain three more.”

Some on the island worry the show will send the wrong message.

“Our business is hospitality, and here’s a program showing staff being as inhospitable as they can be,” Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort general manager Kay Valve said. “It paints a totally unrealistic picture of life in the scuba industry. Snarky divemasters playing it up for the camera will do more harm than good.”

Kiick was quick to belay those concerns.

“If it jams the boats, where’s the down side?” he said. “Sure, the tank-filling scene was harsh, but it’s all for show. Kay’s just chapped they didn’t choose her resort.

“People’ll come here just to meet the jerks they saw on TV,” he said. “We’re celebrities. As long as they pronounce my name right and tip well, I’m good.”

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Proposed Underwater Bar Draws Blacktip Residents’ Ire

underwater bar

Resort owner Sandy Bottoms’ plans for a mobile underwater bar off Blacktip Island’s west coast met opposition from many Blacktip Island residents concerned about the project’s safety and environmental impact. (photo by Charlie Noble/BTT staff)

A Blacktip Island entrepreneur’s plans for an underwater drinking establishment hit an unexpected snag Wednesday when island residents protested the proposed bar.

“The bar scene’s damned competitive on this island, and we’re trying to get ahead of the curve,” Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort owner Sandy Bottoms said. “It’ll be the only place in the Caribbean you can dive down, sit in a Plexiglas dome and have a drink. It’ll have little electric servo motors, too, so it can cruise around the reef.

“For safety, we’ll only serve freedivers, not anyone on scuba,” Bottoms said. “And it’ll only be in about six, eight feet of water, so decompression sickness won’t be a factor. It’s only a prototype so far, but we’ve been encouraged. I don’t know what all the fuss’s about.”

Many opponents say those precautions don’t go far enough.

“Sandy’s talking about serving people alcohol at depth, then having them leave the bar underwater and swim back to the surface inebriated,” Sally Port said. “One inhalation, or hiccup, at the wrong time, a bar patron drowns.

“And if you stay down there for multiple drinks, maybe make an afternoon of it, DCS will definitely come into play. People’ll get hurt,” Port said. “He’s chasing a dollar today that’ll cost him multiple dollars tomorrow. That’s a black eye for Blacktip.”

Others questioned the structure itself.

“There’s no way they can build a plastic bar sturdy enough to withstand pressure at depth and a bunch of drunks banging around in it,” Harry Blenny said. “Dermott spends one evening there and the place’ll be demolished.

“Sandy got the idea from him and his buddies taking beers down in wreck wreck and drinking them in an air pocket,” Blenny said said. “There’s a world of difference between a steel hull and a plastic bubble. And how much coral will it destroy into while it’s scooting around the reefs?”

Not all residents opposed the concept.

“It would be lovely to slip down, have a glass of wine and watch the fish go by,” Paloma Fairlead said. “And sunsets would be incredible. You’d just have to drink responsibly.

“And Sandy, or someone, would have no problem coming up with a shuttle of some sort to get people down and back without the danger of drowning,” Fairlead said. “I’ve seen that sort of thing in movies.”

Others said they would avoid the bar.

“Don’t have to worry about me trashing it because there’s no way I’ll go down there,” Dermott Bottoms said. “I’ll go on the sea to fish, but won’t go in it, much less under it. There’s sharks and such. And plenty of rum right here where it’s dry.”

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Charity Pumpkin Carvers Destroy Blacktip Island’s Heritage House

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A screen grab from a pumpkin carver’s phone shows the mayhem at Thursday’s charity pumpkin carving contest that severely damaged the Caribbean island’s Heritage House. (photo courtesy of Ginger Bass)

A Thursday afternoon jack-o-lantern carving contest to raise money for a local charity devolved into a brawl that seriously damaged Blacktip Island’s Heritage House community center, organizers said.

“It was supposed to be a low-key event to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity,” Heritage House director Doris Blenny said. “We shipped in all kinds of pumpkins, provided the necessary carving tools, set out snacks and lemonade and were set for some relaxing Halloween fun.

“Problem was the chocolates,” Blenny said. “Somebody put out booze-filled ones inadvertently and none of the carvers said anything. We knew the chocolates were popular, but didn’t realize something was wrong until it was too late.”

Attendees described a chaotic scene.

“It started off with giggling and shooting pumpkin seeds at each other,” carver Val Schrader said. “It escalated pretty quick to chucking pumpkin guts across the room.

“Things got ugly when Lee Helm put a big jack-o-lantern around Gage Hoase’s head,” Schrader said. “Gage took a swing at Lee, missed, and the carved pumpkin fell on Marina DeLow. From there it was an all-out pumpkin fight. There were pumpkins going through windows, knocking holes in drywall and whacking blades off ceiling fans.”

Organizers say the building might have survived if not for a second wave of violence.

“Some carvers came dressed in costume, it being for Halloween and all,” carver Ginger Bass said. “Jerrod Ephesians was dressed as an angel, and he must’ve gotten into the tequila-filled candy, because the next thing we knew he was shouting he was the Archangel Gabriel.

“He was hollering about ‘smiting’ people, and swinging a big push broom like it was a pole ax,” Bass said. “People were scrambling for the doors and diving out windows. Then he hit Dermott Bottoms, Dermott tackled him and that’s when the structural damage occurred. Rafe Marquette had to take them both down with tranq darts.”

Construction experts say the building is not repairable.

“Dermott’s a big guy. And Jerrod’s crazy-strong when he goes into smiting mode,” Stoney MacAdam said. “They broke half the wall studs and a dozen roof beams. A corner of the roof’s missing, too.

“We can strip it down to the foundation and build new for less than the repairs’d cost,” MacAdam said. “It’s a shame to lose the historic building, but it’s also a blessing in disguise. The place was full of termites, and the electric work’s always been dodgy.”

Habitat for Humanity officials say they will host a Christmas charity event far from any structures to raise funds for a new Heritage House.

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