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.”