Blacktip Island Handyman To Give Underwater TED Talk

TED talk

Channeling You Inner Nudibranch will be the focus of Antonio Fletcher’s inspirational talk Saturday from a Blacktip Island dive site. (photo courtesy of Nick Hobgood)

Local jack-of-all-trades Antonio Fletcher Thursday announced he will deliver a TED-style Talk, live-streamed to Blacktip Island bars, on scuba from Blacktip Island’s Hammerhead Hole dive site Saturday to promote personal empowerment and mental health awareness.

“Calling it ‘Channel You Inner Nudibranch,’ on account of nudibranchs have life figured out,” Fletcher said. “They’re not in a hurry, they’re beautiful and don’t have any negative impact on the world around them. Except for the other sea slugs they eat.

“With so many people stressing these days and being ugly to each other, the idea’s to get folks thinking more like nudibranchs,” Fletcher said. “Folks need something upbeat, something empowering in these trying times. I’m gonna talk about how to make the world a better place by harnessing the inner strength we don’t know we have.”

Some in the community questioned the concept.

“I like, ‘Tonio, I really do, but this makes even less sense than he normally does,” resort owner Elena Havens said. “I get the upbeat, self-improvement idea, but ‘think like a nudibranch?’ Nudibranchs are sea slugs. They don’t think. ‘Tonio’s essentially telling people to turn off their brains. There’s way too much of that on Blacktip as it is. And ‘Tonio’s the last person to give motivational advice.”

Fletcher was quick to respond.

“I know a damn sight more about motivating folks than Elena thinks,” he said. “Sure, I drive the Eagle Ray Cove airfield shuttle now, but, past life, when I was Fletcher Christian, I motivated the Bounty’s crew every day. And nudibranchs? They make everybody around them smile. Even if they can’t smile themselves.”

Other residents are looking forward to the talk.

“I think it’ll be a hoot,” Ginger Bass said. “I like seeing photos of nudibranchs, and I love those rare times I find them on dives. We’re gonna take the kiddos to the Ballyhoo to watch his talk. We can all use a little positive energy these days.

“We’ve already had the little ones visualizing themselves as nudibranchs, to get them in the right frame of mind,” Bass said. “We’re not going so far as to wear antenna or butt tufts. They can just imagine them. That’s the real power of this, bringing out your inner butt tuft, and going through your day as if you had one.”

Fletcher noted the talk is not an official TED Talk or associated with the TED Conferences.

“I pitched the idea to the TED folks a couple of times, but never heard back,” he said. “So I decided to channel my own inner nudibranch and do this anyway, Got to do what you can with what you have, especially with the island still on lockdown.

“I even learned to scuba dive, with a full-face mask, so I could give the talk underwater. Have more impact that way, y’know,” Fletcher said. “Still calling it a TED Talk, though, ‘cause nobody’d listen to a ‘Tonio Talk.”

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