A group of Blacktip Island residents claiming native-American descent called this week for an immediate ban on all scuba and snorkeling on a dive site group members say is sacred ground.
“The Loggerhead Hole dive site is the most sacred religious site on the island,” resident Cori Anders said. “Our Taíno ancestors would paddle out once a month to drop zemi sculptures in the water and commune with their forbears. Then the Baptists came and that all went to hell. That reef’s still sacred, though.
“That it’s crawling with oblivious tourists is completely disrespectful,” Anders said. “We want to start up worship again, but can’t with dive boats always there and the constant scuba bubbles. And the divers snatch up any carvings we toss in the water. We’re asking for a 100-yard no-non-native diver zone around that one mooring ball so only we can go there.”
The proposal drew immediate fire from the small Caribbean island’s scuba industry.
“They want to close one of the most popular sites on the island,” Club Scuba Doo owner Ham Pilchard said. “We stop diving Loggerhead Hole, we’ll be bombarded with complaints. All day, every day. Tripadvisor would blow up. We might as well just shut our doors, we’d be out of business that fast.
“Plus, this whole Taíno angle is bollocks,” Pilchard said. “Cori has blond hair and blue eyes. And Jack Wrasse, he was bloody well born and raised in North Wales. These are just busybodies looking for attention. And a private dive site. They can damn well go sing kumbaya somewhere else and let us dive in peace.”
Group members scoffed at that idea.
“The site is where our ancestors live,” Jack Wrasse said. “Worshipping anywhere else, we’d just be talking to the water or the trees, and chucking sculptures into the void. St. Dervil himself blessed the place when he arrived on Blacktip, and performed his first seawater-into-rum miracles there.
“It’s about preserving our heritage, not just religious services,” Wrasse said. “There’s petroglyphs down there from centuries ago. Most are covered in algae, but they’re there. The ones that haven’t been looted by divers and sold on eBay and Craigslist, anyway.”
The Island Council will meet Saturday night / Sunday morning at The Last Ballyhoo bar to discuss the matter and vote on the site’s status.