Monthly Archives: June 2022

Blacktip Island Scientists Plan Cowboy-Style Grouper Roundup

Fishing nets drying on the quay in Lysekil, South harbor, Sweden.

Blacktip Island ichthyologists this week are building a giant corral out of fish nets to hold all the small Caribbean island’s Nassau grouper, which they plan to round up next week for tracking and study. (photo courtesy of W. Carter)

A group of Blacktip Island marine scientists Thursday announced they will stage a Wild West-themed Nassau grouper roundup next week so they can implant location transponders in as many of the fish as possible to track their movements and behaviors.

“We’ve been randomly tagging Nassaus for years, but it doesn’t give us an accurate picture of their habits,” Tiperon University-Blacktip marine science professor Goby Graysby said. “Rather than continuing all higgledy-piggledy, our plan is to round up every grouper on the island in one big pen so we can stick ‘em all.

“It’s a big project, and we’ll need every volunteer diver we can get,” Graysby said. “To encourage participation, we decided to model it after an Old West cattle drive. Without the horses and lassos, of course. But we will have divers, some on underwater scooters, herding the groupers into a big net enclosure just out from the public pier. Then we can tag them all at one time.”

Organizers expect the roundup to be a multi-day affair.

“Blacktip’s a small enough island, it’s likely we can get almost all the Nassaus,” Ginger Bass said. “Thing is, it’s also big enough it’ll likely take us several days to get all the fish corraled and tagged. Weeks, even, depending on the number of herders we get.

“We’ll have our aqua-buckaroos working ‘round the clock, and sleeping on boats,” Bass said. “There’ll be a chuckwagon-style pontoon boat bringing meals to herders so they don’t waste time going home and cooking dinner. If this works out like we think it will, this could be the new standard for fish tagging worldwide.”

Island environmentalists, however, opposed the plan.

“Why do they need every Nassau to have a transponder?” ecologist Harry Pickett said. “They can’t study the grouper without terrorizing them? In a marine park. And what about the other reef creatures they’ll traumatize? And the coral they’ll damage?

“This central net-corral they’ve installed is anchored in living reef and will cause irreparable damage,” Pickett said. “And once they release the grouper, what guarantee is there the fish will go back to the section of reef they came from? They might just stay there, and there’d be no groupers anywhere else on the island.”

Organizers remained optimistic.

“We’ll have contests as we go along, to keep volunteer fis-pokes engaged,” Graysby said. “We’ll have time trials, where individual divers compete to see who can round up and tag a grouper the fastest. Like an underwater rodeo. This could become the Tiperons’ national sport. Maybe even get in the Olympics when we host them.

“We also encourage all participants to dress in Western-themed scuba gear,” Graysby said. “We’ve seen some nice neoprene cowboy hats and vests already. And rumor has it several folks’ll be turning up in leather chaps.”

Participants will receive free meals during the roundup, and ‘Grouper Wrangler’ t-shirts afterwards.

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Happy Dolphin Day from an undisclosed position somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere!

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Blacktip Island Weather

sunday june 19

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Temperature: 85

Humidity: 61%

Precipitation: On the way

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Sargassum Festival Kicks Off Blacktip Island’s Summer Season

sargassum fest

The continued influx of sargassum choking Blacktip Island’s beaches will be the focus of Sunday’s inaugural Stink Off festival at Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort, celebrating the rotting seaweed. (photo by Wendy Beaufort/BTT staff)

Blacktip Island will mark the beginning of summer this Sunday with its first-ever Stink Off Sargassum Festival, a lemons-to-lemonade approach to the waves of decomposing sea algae flooding the small Caribbean island’s beaches and coastal waters, organizers said Thursday.

“Sargassum’s here to stay, so we’re making the best of it,” Stink Off committee chair Jay Valve said. “Sure, all the rotting seaweed piled on the beaches make it tough to get to the water, and the smell’ll about knock you out if you’re downwind, but rather than cut and run, we’re gonna celebrate it.

“We’ll have a sargassum sculpture contest, a sargassum cook-off, and sargassum fights for the kids,” Valve said. “There’ll also be a swim-in-sargassum race, a name-that-biting-fly contest and a sargassum-themed parade on the beach, where participants will dress as sargassum, or any creature that lives in or around it. It’ll truly be fun for the entire family.”

Many on the island welcomed the event’s positivity.

“It’s great folks are focusing on how to move forward despite this stinky nuisance,” Angela Fisher said. “I’m looking forward to the Most Unusual Use contest—with ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ divisions—the sargassum-based skin care products and the Stank Neutralizer event. It’s also great they’re providing complimentary cortisone showers and oxygen treatment for all participants.”

Others questioned the wisdom of celebrating the decomposing algae.

“Big picture, embracing a nuisance is a great way to raise peoples’ spirits, but there is a downside, health wise, in this case” public health director Dr. Azul Tang said. “Rotting sargassum releases hydrogen sulfide. That’s what gives it that rotten egg smell. But hydrogen sulfide is also highly toxic and can cause severe respiratory distress, or even death.

“The idea of frolicking in miles of this stuff, of physical exertion while breathing large concentrations of toxic gas, is medically irresponsible,” Tang said. “We can’t stop it, though, so we’ll have both our medical staff nearby, with lassoes, to rescue any participants who pass out.”

Community leaders, meanwhile, are poised to make the most of the event.

“You’ve got to seize opportunities like this,” de facto island mayor Jack Cobia said. “We’re losing tourism dollars now because of the sargassum. This idea of Jay’s’ll turn that around. We’re gonna market Blacktip as the sargassum capitol of the Caribbean.

“We aim to get folks coming to Blacktip because of the sargassum,” Cobia said. “We’ll have a sargassum museum, interactive sargassum tours and an underwater viewing chamber. We’re also doing t-shirts, caps and hoodies made from 100 percent repurposed Blacktip Island sargassum. And they won’t be exported, so folks’ll have to come here to get them. Couple of us are also working on ways to bottle the gas to export for riot control.”

Stink Off activities are scheduled to start at noon Sunday at Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort. The parade will start at 4 p.m. Respirators are recommended for all events.

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Wednesday! Dolphin time!

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Blacktip Island Weather

sunday june 11

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Temperature: 89

Humidity: 63%

Precipitation: Tomorrow, maybe

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Blacktip Artist Translates ‘The Odyssey’ Into Emoji

iliad in emojis

The opening lines of Blacktip Island artist and writer Rosie Blenny’s emoji translation of Homer’s Ancient Greek epic ‘The Odyssey.’ (image courtesy of Rosie Blenny)

In an effort to revive interest in Classical literature, a Blacktip Island artist and writer is translating Homer’s Ancient Greek epic poem ‘The Odyssey’ into an all-emoji format, she announced Thursday.

“I wanted to update an old chestnut, make it culturally relevant again,” Rosie Blenny said. “The goal’s to get younger generations interested in literature. Sure, using only emojis limits the number of characters I can use, but a picture’s worth a thousand words, so I reckon I’m in good shape.

“I was going to do the obvious and start with ‘The Iliad,’ but it’s pretty dry, and bogged down with all the names and speeches,” Blenny said. “The Odyssey’s got lots of whizz-bang action and is way more of a page turner. Or screen scroller. I’m releasing it in short, daily installments to keep up folks’ interest.”

Local artists praised the idea.

“It’s a brilliant cross-textual take that truly speaks to what it’s like to be alive in this time and place. And that one,” local artist Jerrod Ephesians said. “The Odyssey’s about a sea voyage, after all, and Blacktip’s surrounded by the sea. That naturally lends itself to speak to the in-common experiences of Blacktippers and the Ancient Greeks. I think people underestimate how expressive you can be in emoji.”

Others in the island’s literary community weren’t so sure.

“It’s an interesting concept, certainly, but I’m not sure emojis will deliver the desired level of nuance to the story,” Tome Time book club president Helen Maples said. “There are aspects of Ancient Greek society emojis simply can’t convey. The worry is that could easily lead to misinterpretation.

“What Rosie is doing is essentially creating a new text that’s a hollow echo of the original,” Maples said. “Any meaning or has import it has will spring from the call-and-response between the old and the new. If there is any. Personally, I don’t see the point, but if it gets kids reading, I suppose I’m all for it.”

Others on the small Caribbean island were looking forward to the work.

“It’s literature, so it’ll be better for the kids than Aquaman or manga or whatever comic books they’re reading now,” George Graysby said. “Hell, I loved the Classic Comix version of Moby Dick when I was in high school. That puppy got me a ‘C’ in 10th-grade English without having to slog through that boring great brick of a book.”

Blenny said she has other translations planned.

“If this proves popular, I’ll do Shakespeare’s sonnets next,” she said. “I can publish one a day, and emojis naturally lend themselves to iambic pentameter.”

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Never piss off a dolphin . . .

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Blacktip Island Weather

sunday june 5

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Temperature: 87

Humidity: 62%

Precipitation: Not today

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Blacktip Islanders Form Flat Earth Council Chapter

flat earth society

Blacktip Island’s Flat Earth Council members are using a modern version of a medieval T-and-O map—centered on Jerusalem, with east at the top as with the original T-and-Os— as evidence the Earth is not spherical. (infographic courtesy of Foobaz)

A pair of Blacktip Islanders this week founded a chapter of the Flat Earth Council, an international organization devoted to proving the planet is not spherical, in an effort to rebut comments made by scientists at a recent astrology lecture on the small Caribbean island.

“We’re tired of folks telling us we live on a giant ball, when we obviously don’t,” Blacktip Island FEC president B.C. Flote said. “FEC’s got chapters all around the globe, and it’s about time we got one here to combat the flat-out lies being spread. Shouldn’t have to prove something so obvious, but here we are.

“We’re clearly living on a giant flying pancake in space,” Flote said. “Ancient Greeks and Egyptians knew it— Herodotus and Balzac and all them. St. Augustine, too. Think about it—no matter how high up a mountain you climb, the horizon’s always at eye level. If that doesn’t prove it, I don’t know what does.”

The chapter’s other member was more conspiracy minded.

“All those photos from space showing a curvy Earth are part of the hoax,” Goldie Goby said. “Bill Gates and NASA and the global Illuminati all have a vested interest in the spherical Earth concept. That’s how they make their money. And keep us in line.

“And the Earth’s actually more of a bowl than a pancake,” Goby said. “The Arctic’s in the center, and the Antarctic’s a giant wall of ice around the outside, kind of like the salt on the rim of a margarita glass. Except it’s ice, not salt. NASA security folks guard the wall and keep people from falling off the other side.”

The island’s scientific community derided the idea.

“The idea of the Earth being flat is a relic of the Bronze age,” Tiperon University-Blacktip astrology professor Sally Port said. “Aristotle even calculated the circumference in the 3rd-Century BCE. This isn’t new stuff. Goldie and B.C. need to send their T-and-O maps back to the Middle Ages. But she’s an Aries and he’s a Scorpio, so what can you do?

“Every space agency in the world has photos of a nice, round Earth, just like all the other planets,” Port said. “And if that’s not proof enough, if the Earth were flat, cats would have knocked everything off the edges long before now. Think about it.”

Flote rebutted that criticism.

“Saying Aristotle proved the world’s round isn’t saying much,” he said. “You can’t trust Greeks using Arabic numerals. A giant snow globe dome’s the only thing keeping us safe, and Sally knows it.”

Island authorities are taking a wait-and-see approach to the group.

“So long as they’re not drunk-brawling or tearing anything up, I have no problem with them,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “So far, they’re harmless. And if this keeps them out of the bars and off the roads, preferably both, I’m all for it.”

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