Pool towels rest unused on a table at Blacktip Island’s Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort Thursday. Towels of all descriptions have ceased to absorb water on the small Caribbean island. (photo courtesy of Brandon Wiggins)
Blacktip Island visitors and residents this week were vexed by bath and pool towels suddenly becoming water resistant, community leaders said.
“Damnedest thing I’ve ever seen,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “Started about four days ago, when all our guests started hollering they couldn’t dry off. It’s like somebody sprayed all our towels with Scotch Guard. We thought it was a guest playing a practical joke, but it’s the same story all over the island. It’s like trying to dry yourself with a trash bag.
“There’s not a resort, boat or house on the island with a towel that’ll dry a damn thing,” Skerritt said. “We got people shaking themselves like dogs on the dive boats, and the pool lounge chairs are packed with people drying in the sun after they shower. Guests’re hacked off and threatening to leave.”
Theories explaining the non-drying towels have swept the island.
“It ain’t rained in a while, and I reckon booby pond ‘water’ got in all the cisterns,” Linford Blenny said. “There’s so much goop and bird poop in that pond, anything it gets on can’t help but shed water.”
Others noted the phenomenon was limited to towels.
“Shirts and rags and whatnot dry just fine,” Christina Goby said. “It’s only the terrycloth stuff that won’t dry anything. Folks are using t-shirts to dry off, then hanging them on balconies to dry. It looks like hell, but the dive shops are selling shirts and hoodies like crazy.”
Local scientists are studying the phenomenon.
“At this point we’re looking for common variable,” Tiperon University-Blacktip hydrology professor Catalina Luxfer said. “We know it’s not the various soaps used, or the water from different sources. We’re looking at the possibility of it being caused by humidity or specific gravity of the salt air or barometric pressure inversion. And we have a separate team working on new, non-terrycloth towel technology.”
Old-time residents say the problem can’t be addressed by science.
“It’s the duppies doing it, y’know,” handyman Antonio Fletcher said. “Something, or someone, got ‘em riled up. They’re messing with folks to get even. Happened before, only with all the coconuts falling out the trees instead of towels not drying. It’s the duppies’ way of saying not to bathe so much, ‘cause that washes off your protective coating.”
Business owners have joined forces to investigate the mystery.
“Me and Rich and Sandy Bottoms, we’ve put our best staff on the case,” Blacktip Haven resort owner Elena Havens said. “One way or the other, we’re gonna get to the bottom of this, and if it turns out to be a bizarre prank, some practical joker whose initials are Jerrod Ephesians is gonna eat a can or two of Scotch Guard.”
Ephesians would neither confirm nor deny the allegations.