Monthly Archives: April 2021

Burglar Leaves Money In Blacktip Island Liquor Store Break In

The note and cash left in the Blacktip Island liquor store by Wednesday night’s reverse-theft burglar, who broke in undetected to pay for rum he or she had stolen during the past few months. (photo courtesy of Peachy Bottoms)


An unidentified person broke into Blacktip Island’s liquor store Wednesday night and left more than $300 in cash and a note apologizing for past alcohol thefts, island officials said.

“Damnedest thing I ever seen,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Guess somebody on Blacktip has a conscience. Whoever it was knew what they were doing—there’s no fingerprints, and no forced entry.

“The note was done in letters and words cut out of magazines, but there’s no other clues who’s responsible,” Marquette said. “Frankly, even if I caught the person, I’m not sure what I’d charge them with. Breaking and entering, maybe. But they didn’t take anything or do any damage. I guess it’s up to Peachy whether she wants to pursue things.”

The occurrence stunned the store’s owner.

“White rum’s been disappearing from the shelves for a while, but I wrote that off as the price of doing business,” Peachy Bottoms said. “I’ve never had a reverse-theft before. Or even heard of such a thing. I haven’t run the numbers yet, but it looks like it covers the last two months’ rum shortages.

“Whoever it was cased the place pretty good,” Bottoms said. “They didn’t damage the door, and avoided the security cameras. Hell of a risk breaking in. I get wanting to pay me back, but I’d’ve just left the cash on top of the beer cases during normal business hours.”

The small Caribbean island’s mayor praised the act.

“We get a bad rap for being a backwater island full of scallywags,” Jack Cobia said. “But this proves there’s good people here. Sure, whoever it was stole booze in the first place, but they atoned for that. I’m focusing on the positive.”

Island residents speculated who the culprit might be.

“Judging by the grammar and spelling, it’s someone not well educated,” Chrissy Grayby said. “Of course, that could be a red herring to throw people off the track. They like white rum, too. That doesn’t narrow it down much, but it does say something about the thief. I mean, if you’re gonna steal liquor, why not steal the good stuff?”

Others said they hope the incident boosts community spirit.

“I hope others on the island will follow suit,” Helen Maples said. “More and more items have been going missing lately. Blacktip has never been like that. It’s nice to think we might be reverting to the happier days when one could leave the house unlocked when off island.

“I’ve no clue why whoever’s conscience kicked in, or why, but I’m glad it did,” she said.

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Wednesday. Dolphins. With a little help from their friends:

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Blacktip Island Weather


Sunday, April 25, 2021
Temperature: 81
Humidity 68%
Precipitation – No time soon

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Blacktip Island Resort To Show ‘Sea Hunt’ Underwater

A prop from the set of the 1950s classic TV series Sea Hunt. Eagle Ray Cove resort will begin showing ‘Sea Hunt’ episodes underwater this week. (photo courtesy of Peter Southwood)

A Blacktip Island resort will begin showing episodes of the 1950s scuba-themed television series ‘Sea Hunt’ this week on an underwater screen in Eagle Ray Cove to celebrate the Caribbean island’s long history of scuba diving.

“People love those campy black-and-white shows with the old-timey scuba rigs,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “We showed ‘Sea Hunt’ before, at the bar, but the results were underwhelming. Then we came up with this, where divers on scuba can watch it. It’s like a night dive, but better.

“We set up a big screen right off the end of the dock, and pipe the soundtrack through underwater speakers,” Skerritt said. “Divers can sit in the sand and watch a 20-minute show. We can’t serve popcorn down there, but we sell it on the dock before and after.”

Divers praised the move.

“It’s a mondo-cool take on an old show,” Alison Diesel said. “And it’s always good to have something different to do on this little rock. I can lie down in the sand and watch Lloyd Bridges do his thing, like when I was a kid watching with my dad.

“And the way-shallow depth and short show times mean you can chill about decompression sickness,” Diesel said. “You can also sneak down a squeeze bottle filled with your favorite adult beverage, if you’re low key about it.”

Eagle Ray Cove discouraged alcohol consumption during shows.

“We ask folks not to bring alcohol,” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “This is Blacktip, though, so that’s asking a lot. We will have dive staff down there to surface anyone obviously drinking.”

Other divers were pleased with what they called an enhanced underwater experience.

“It’s great seeing the old Mike Nelson adventures underwater, but it’s what goes on offscreen that really makes the dive,” Payne Hanover said. “The light from the screen attracts all kind of fish. Last night we had reef sharks tearing into schools of snapper. It was awesome, watching someone wrestle a shark on film while real sharks frenzied around us. And if you sit too close to the screen, you’ll get swarmed by blood worms.”

Some residents objected to the practice.

“Underwater movies can’t be good for the fish,” Harry Pickett said. “And divers kick the hell out of the reef bad enough as it is. Now they’re gonna kill even more coral.”

Latner belayed those concerns

“Out in the lagoon, there’s no coral to kill,” he said. “And the fish actually seem to enjoy it. Or the ones that’re left, anyway.

“Our main safety concern is current and surge,” he said. “It has to be pretty calm for us to show the episodes. First trial run you couldn’t see the screen there was so much sand stirred up.

Skerritt said he hopes to expand the showings.

“If this proves popular, we’re thinking of branching out and showing ‘Flipper.’ Maybe ‘Baywatch,’ too.”

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Finally. It’s Wednesday!

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Blacktip Island Weather

Sunday, April 4, 2021
Temperature: 77
Humidity 62%
Precipitation – Not today

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Blacktip Island Will Celebrate Spring With Fritter-Flinging Contest

Diddley’s Landing public pier will be the new home of Blacktip Island’s expanded Spring Fling conch fritter-throwing contest Saturday afternoon. (photo courtesy of Jay Valve)


Blacktip Island residents will welcome spring to the island this Saturday with an expanded version of the annual Spring Fling conch fritter-throwing contest at Diddley’s Landing public pier.

“Historically, the Fling was always done at the Heritage House,” event organizer Jay Valve said. “But the crowds got so big, and the flingers developed such range, we’ve moved it to Diddley’s Landing and’ll have flingers tossing their fritters out into the water.

“We’ve marked off distances with floats, and will have judges on snorkels to mark exactly where each fritter lands,” Valve said. “We have a record number of contestants this year. And there’ll be extra points awarded if any of them hit a judge.”

Locals say the event is a time-honored island tradition.

“Blacktippers have lived off conch fritters for generations,” island historian Smithson Altschul said. “But staples can become tiresome. The Spring Fling started decades ago when Dermott Bottoms’ daddy got sick of eating fritters and threw one as far as he could. Then other people at the bar, all drinking, tried to outdo him.

“Personally, I think the Fling is the only proper use for conch fritters,” Altschul said. “These days, tourists’ll eat them, but that’s about it. Or when someone’s very hung over.”

Organizers say they modified the rules this year to ensure a fairer competition.

“Years past, folks were adding rocks and fishing weights and God-knows-what to their batter to make their fritters fly farther,” Doris Blenny said. “This year we’re requiring all fritter batter to be mixed and cooked on site.

“We’re also requiring all fritters to be technically edible,” Blenny said. “We’ll have judges watching the cooking, and tasting were necessary. We also don’t want fish eating anything unhealthy.”

Some in the community opposed the event.

“This is an utter waste of food,” Angela Fisher said. “With so many people going hungry around the world, it’s not right. Why not use those ingredients to make something people want to eat?”

Organizers were quick to defend the Fling.

“This is one of our oldest island traditions,” Valve said. “We tried using faux fritters a few years back, but the turnout was pretty dismal. And this a seasonal celebration, after all, not some Astroturf dog-and-pony show.

“If anybody, anywhere, is starving, they’re welcome welcome to come here and eat all the fritters they want” he said. “Until then, Angela can keep her yap shut and we’ll keep chucking fritters.”

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Blacktip Island Designer Creates Island-Themed Feng Shui

Washed-ashore debris is central to the island-themed décor local interior designer Paloma Fairlead calls her new ‘funky shui’ look. (photo courtesy of Paloma Fairlead)

A Blacktip Island interior designer Wednesday unveiled a new decorative esthetic combining Taoist principles for harmonious living with locally-sourced decorating elements.

“It’s a riff on classical feng shui,” Paloma Fairlead said. “Feng shui, literally, means ‘wind’ and ‘water,’ and Blacktip’s got plenty of both. I took the principles of feng shui and gave them a Blacktip twist. It’s a natural fit. I’m calling it ‘funky shui.’

“Using local items and sensibilities is the quickest way to bring harmony into your island home,” Fairlead said. “Instead of a ‘bagua’ map of energy areas, we use a ‘wah gwan’ map to channel island energies.”

Clients praised the move.

“I was dubious at first, when Paloma was going on about five elements and a commanding position and not having plants with pointy leaves and whatnot,” Wendy Beaufort said. “But now that the renovation’s complete, it’s stunning. Words truly fail me.

“Paloma tacked some washed-up black coral all over one wall, then scattered some sea beans and swaths of ghost nets on the other side of the room, and I felt the tension wash right out of me,” Beaufort said. “It smells a bit gamey, but that’s part of the feel, Paloma says.”

Some residents dismissed the newfound esthetic.

“Frankly, it looks like Paloma simply threw some beach rubbish on the walls,” Reg Gurnard said. “I’m all for using local products, and I wish Paloma the best, but I’m not in a hurry to decorate my home with washed up shoes and bits of broken plastic. I guess if that’s your vibe, though, have at it.

“What’s most striking is the sheer stench of it,” Gurnard said. “‘Funk’ is an apt descriptor for that wall of smell. Some of the decorations are still alive. Or were recently.”

Fairlead defended the design’s aromatic aspects.

“Funky shui is designed to engage all five senses,” she said. “Smell is an important aspect to that. We do live on a small island, after all. Bringing that sea smell inside makes one feel more integrated with the land and the sea.

“It may seem odd at first, but it creates a very peaceful environment,” Fairlead said. “I have clients lining up, and quite the long waiting list.”

Eager clients agreed.

“I’m on the list, but I couldn’t wait to have a taste of funky shui,” Herring Frye said. “I tried a DIY project with dried turtle grass and sea fans in my living room, and the energy levels are just night-and-day different. I feel so much more positive and energized. I can’t wait until Paloma can do my house in full and I can get the complete effect.”

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Happy Wednesday!

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