Monthly Archives: December 2022

Blacktip Island Literary Society Will Offer Individualized New Year’s Poetry Readings

BI lit society

Members of the Blacktip Island Literary Society will recite poems about any suggested topic Saturday evening at the Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort’s New Year’s Eve party as part of what the Society is calling ‘Rhyme in the New Year.’ (photo courtesy of Ernestine Bass)

Members of the Blacktip Island Literary Society will recite poems-on-request at this year’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza at Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort Saturday night in what society members are calling ‘Rhyme in the New Year.’

“We thought we’d make poetry relatable to everyone,” BILS president Doris Blenny said. “Poetry shouldn’t be some stuffy, unapproachable mystery. It’s part of our everyday lives, what with song lyrics and limericks and such. Our goal is to emphasize that.

“We’ll have members wandering through the party crowd offering to recite short poems—say, a Shakespeare sonnet—on any requested subject for anyone, or any group, for $5,” Blenny said. “We’ll be wearing bright orange shirts so people know who we are. Any theme is fair game, though we urge partygoers to avoid the more risqué topics until later in the evening. All the money we raise will go to charity. Mostly.”

Society members have been reviewing a wide variety of poems to prepare for the evening.

“Anything for Chaucer to Amanda Gorman’s fair game, and we’re ready for anything,” Ernestine Bass said. “It’s mostly in English, though some members specialize in other languages. Payne Hanover’s got a thing for Baudelaire and Rimbaud. And ‘Tonio Fletcher does love his Basho in the original Japanese.

“There’s also the option of requesting longer poems for an upcharge,” Bass said. Anything longer than an alexandrine’ll be $10, and even longer works’ll be $15. Jessie Catahoula’s been busy memorizing ‘The Wasteland’ just in case.”

Residents were looking forward to the event.

“It’s something different, isn’t it?” Chrissy Graysby said. “It’ll be lovely to start the new year with a bit of culture. It’ll set the tone for the year, I should say. Though who one chooses to recite is key. Lee Helm has such a beautiful speaking voice, but Dermott Bottoms, bless him, has a monotone drone. And mumbles. Though that may be beneficial with some of the more avant-garde selections.”

The BILS is also staging a raffle, with the randomly-chosen winner earning the role of a character in an upcoming Society member’s work.

“It may seem like a minor thing, but it makes art a bit more accessible if someone you know is in it,” Blenny said. “We’ve had a good bit of positive feedback on the concept and expect a lot of participation.”

Literary-themed snacks will be served at the party. Proceeds will, for the most part, go to the establishment of the Blacktip Island public library.

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Heading Into the New Year

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Blacktip Island Weather


Sunday, December 25, 2022

Temperature: 84

Humidity: 63%

Precipitation: Santa brought clear skies and calm seas

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Unknown Thieves Steal Blacktip Island Church Cross-And-Steeple

church steeple stolen

Vandals absconded with the cross and part of the steeple at the Our Lady of Blacktip cathedral Wednesday night, leaving no clues as to how or why. (photo by Wendy Beaufort/BTT staff)

Unidentified thieves Wednesday night stole the steeple roof and cross from the Our Lady of Blacktip cathedral, leaving church officials and local residents baffled as to the motivation.

“I came to prep for mass Thursday morning, and the cross was just gone,” Father Audley Crossblesser said. “I ran all around the outside of the church to see if it had fallen, but there was no sign of it. To do something like that this time of year, that’s Satan’s work.

“This is shaping up to be the saddest Christmas in memory,” Crossblesser said. “First the iguanas maul the carolers, now somebody’s stolen our cross. And added to that, it’s supposed to rain this weekend. We’ve got a big blue tarp, blessed by the bishop, but it’ll be pure hell hauling that thing up there and anchoring it down.”

The Blacktip Island Ecumenical Council was united in denouncing the act.

“We condemn this attack on a religious building, on behalf of all faiths on the island. Or lack thereof,” BIEC chair former-Reverend Jerrod Ephesians said. “Someone went out their way to play Scrooge.

“Our guess is it’s the work of an organized anti-Christmas group,” Ephesians said. “There’s no way one person did that, and it took a good bit of planning. We’re tracking down all cranes and other heavy equipment on the island capable of pulling off something like this. And there’s been no ransom note. Yet.”

Many on the island were quick to point fingers.

“It had to be the atheists,” Chrissy Graysby said. “They’re definitely anti-holiday. It wouldn’t take much for some of them to go into Grinch-mode and steal everything to do with Christmas. I’m sleeping next to my tree with a baseball bat the next few nights in case they come for my Christmas stuff.”

Island atheists denied the charge.

“Why would we waste our time and energy on stealing a giant cross?” Angela Fisher said. “We had nothing to do with the theft. We just ignore Christmas, like we do every year. You ask me, they ought to be questioning those druids and pagans up on the north end. They have a real vendetta against Christianity.”

Others had more far-fetched theories.

“The way that steeple always leaned to one side, said for years it was a missile silo,” Antonio Fletcher said. “There was flashing lights and a big boom Wednesday night. Woke me up. My guess is they fired that missile at Cuba when everybody was asleep.”

Father Crossblesser belayed that theory.

“The flashing lights and booming Wednesday night were from a passing storm,” he said. “Our Lady of Blacktip has never had, nor ever will have, missiles stored in it. Not big ones, anyway. Though I’d love to take a missile to the backside of whatever heathen did this.

“Our short-term goal is raising funds to ransom our cross back. Or, if that falls through, for rebuilding the steeple and replacing the cross. We’ll build it back better. And weld that sucker on to make it impossible to steal.”

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Who needs reindeer?

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Blacktip Island Weather


Sunday, December 18, 2022

Temperature: 83

Humidity: 61%

Precipitation: Not a chance

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Blacktip Island Carolers Bloodied, Routed By Crazed Iguanas

iguanas attack carolers

French fry-craving sand iguanas attacked Blacktip Island holiday carolers Wednesday night, sending eight to the small Caribbean island’s medical clinic. (photo courtesy of Jimi World)

Holiday carol singers going door to door Wednesday night had their procession cut short when they were attacked by a hungry group of Blacktip Island’s native sand iguanas, sending eight carolers to the island medical clinic for stitches and tetanus shots, local authorities said.

“They came out of nowhere, with no warning, a dozen of them, at least” Jessie Catahoula said. “We’d just started ‘Good King Wenceslaus’ when they swarmed out of the sea grapes. Big, bull-iguanas. They don’t have teeth, but they still bite like hell. And those claws’ll shred flesh—they fight off feral cats, you know.

“A first wave of three or four hit, then the rest came charging out,” Catahoula said. “It went from ‘O Holy Night’ to ‘Hell Night.’ They were clawing people’s legs and scaling up their backs. Carolers were screaming, running every-which-way to get away, with iguanas chasing them down the road and through the bushes. Fannie Bottoms fell, and they swarmed all over her. I haven’t seen her since.”

Authorities say the onslaught was food related.

“Big problem on the island with tourists feeding the iguanas French fries,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “They’re herbivores, but just like the rest of us, they prefer fries. Got so bad, we declared a moratorium on iguana feeding two months ago to keep folks from getting hurt.

“That appears to have been the trigger Wednesday,” Marquette said. “Little Shelly Bottoms brought a big bag of fries with her, and shared them with the other carolers. The whole group reeked of fried potatoes, the iguanas hadn’t had fries in months, and that sparked a feeding frenzy. Got to remember, these are wild animals.”

Religious authorities said the incident has put a damper on holiday festivities.

“Normally we’d be fully in the Christmas spirit, but now folks are just in shock,” the Reverend Pierre Grunt said. “This could have been any one of us getting mauled out there. All future caroling has been canceled, I can assure you. Everyone’s just too traumatized.

“Folks are hesitant to order fries with their meals, too,” Grunt said. “And frankly, some are scared to cook turkey or mashed potatoes or anything else that might smell like fries and bring the iguana horde down on them. We’ll bounce back, but it’s taken the cheer out of the season.”

Island health authorities are offering free counseling to all carolers. No culls of aggressive iguanas are planned, though the mayor’s office has issued a ban on French fry consumption everywhere except inside island restaurants with securable doors.

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Wednesday! Yay!

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Blacktip Island Weather


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Temperature: 81

Humidity: 64%

Precipitation: Nooope

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Walking Coral Head Discovered On Blacktip Island

walking coral head

The colony of Blacktip Island walking staghorn coral, found this week by island divemasters, is the only-known specimen of the once-believed-extinct species. (photo courtesy of Gage Hoase)

A rare subspecies of staghorn coral, native solely to Blacktip Island and thought extinct for more than 30 years, was rediscovered by members of an island resort’s dive staff, island marine biologists said.

“We went to show our divers one of the only stands of staghorn on the island, and it wasn’t there,” Eagle Ray Divers divemaster Gage Hoase said. “We thought some yahoo’d torn it up for a souvenir, then we spotted it—the exact, same, tangle of coral—50 feet away, about 15 feet deeper, by the drop off.

“We’d heard stories of Blacktip Island walking coral, but passed them off as a local myth,” Hoase said. “But this coral head uprooted itself, then re-rooted in a completely different place. That’s the only explanation. There was no drugs or booze in us at all.”

The discovery stunned island old-timers.

“Walking staghorn used to be all over the place here, before climate change and ocean acidification and human refuse took its toll,” island historian Smithson Atschul said. “The last known sighting was back in the early 90s. We thought it was extinct. But now, this is exciting news.

“Firstly, it tells us the environment’s healthier than we thought, if walking coral can re-establish itself,” Altschul said. “Since it moved to deeper water, that also tells us the water quality, or temperature or both are more conducive to growth at that depth. Divers’ll be looking for more coral there along the wall’s edge.”

Local biologists praised the find.

“Blacktip walking staghorn was, is, a migratory sub-species,” marine cryptobiology professor Ginger Bass said. “They can perambulate, like sea anemones, but are harder. We’ve long suspected there were colonies down deep over the wall—this is one of the most resilient corals in the world, and would never be killed off so easily.

“If you study those long, thin arms, you can see they’re made for gripping sand and substrate,” Bass said. “The corals were obviously threatened in the shallows and moved to safer waters. With this resurgence, our goal now is to install underwater video cameras all over the wall to record the migration.”

The island’s business community is promoting the coral.

“A one-of-a-kind thing like this, it’ll put us on the diving map,” the island’s Chamber of Commerce president Piers ‘Doc’ Plank said. “There’s gonna be people from all over coming to see it and film it and study it. That means lots of business for dive companies, hotels and restaurants. Well, restaurant, singular, since that’s all we have.

“We’re gonna put a fence around this bit we know about so it doesn’t wander too far away,” Plank said. “Eagle Ray Divers is also offering rebreather courses so people can go sit in the sand for hours and wait for the coral to move.”

Eagle Ray Divers is not disclosing the coral head’s location until it can be safeguarded.

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