Category Archives: best scuba diving novels
Dermott Bottoms holds a COVID-vaccine protest sign outside the Blacktip Island medical clinic Thursday morning before authorities confiscated it. (photo courtesy of Anthony Crider)
A pair of anti-vaccination advocates blocked the entrance to Blacktip Island’s medical clinic Thursday to protest what they say are unreasonable vaccine requirements.
“Government’s saying I got to get a shot, but they don’t have that right,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Bill Gates just wants to scramble my DNA, turn me into a lizard person like him. Ain’t gonna make no iguana out of me.”
The other protester voiced similar concerns.
“Not about a virus, it’s about mind control and tracking folks,” James Conlee said. “If God wanted me vaccinated, I’d’ve been born that way. Me and Dermott, we’re getting the word out to anybody coming in for a jab. There was supposed to be more of us, but I guess the others’re too hung over.”
The island nurse said clinic affairs have been largely unaffected.
“They walked back and forth by the entrance for an hour, chanting and waving signs,” nurse Marissa Graysby said. “Then they got tired and sat on the steps in the shade. Now they just yell every 15 minutes or so, whenever a car drives past.
“It’s kind of entertaining,” Graysby said. “It’s also kind of nice to have someone to talk to instead of sitting here by myself. And most of the island’s already vaxxed, so they’re not really scaring anyone away. I tried explaining no one’s requiring the vaccine, but they’re committed.”
Island authorities say the protest has been peaceful.
“I had to confiscate their signs after James took a swing at Lee Helm when Lee came in to have a boil lanced,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Now that they’re not physically stopping patients from entering the clinic, they’re within their rights to protest and can yell any damn-fool thing they want.”
Some island residents came to the clinic solely to watch the protest.
“The misspelled signs were expected,” Payne Hanover said. “And it’s funny that Dermott and James worried about mind control. Those two have the fewest brain cells of anyone on the island. If someone wanted to control minds, they wouldn’t pick either of them.
“I gave them water, since they were both beet red and sweating like crazy,” Hanover said. “No reason to turn whatever this is into an actual medical emergency.”
Bottoms said the community has shown support.
“People honk and cuss us when they drive past, so you can tell folks’re behind us,” he said. “And Payne bringing water, that’s important. I get dehydrated and dragged into that clinic, M’rissa’d stick me with the vaccine without telling me. Now, if somebody’d donate beer and snacks, we could be here all day.”
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Precipitation – Not happening
An artist’s rendition of the relief expedition reaching the abandoned ‘lost colony’ on Roanoke Island, N.C. in 1590. A recently-discovered scroll indicates the colonists relocated to Blacktip Island in the late 1580s. (illustration by Smithson Altschul)
A newly-discovered iguana-hide scroll, found while excavating the crypt of Blacktip Island’s original church, claims the tropical island’s original settlers were the remnants of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island in North Carolina, which disappeared in 1590, island historians said Thursday.
“It’s one of the biggest mysteries in North American history,” Blacktip Island resident historian Smithson Altschul said. “John White founded the colony with 115 people, went back to England for supplies, and when he got back, the colony had vanished, including little Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America.
“The only clue was ‘Croatoan’ scratched on a fence post,” Altschul said. “Leading theories are the colonists were killed by hostile natives, Spaniards or disease, but now we know the truth. This hide proves they came here. The scroll says food ran short and enemies were closing in, so they set sail in what boats they had. A hurricane blew them here. And most people don’t know it, but ‘Croatoan’ is actually the Middle English word for ‘Blacktip.’”
Many locals were not surprised by the discovery.
“Old timers always talked about their ancestors being English castaways way back when,” Antonio Fletcher said. “Most Blacktippers, we got that look about us. And there’s all the people on this island named Virginia. And Dare. And you think it’s coincidence the Ballyhoo’s run by ol’ Croatoan Bottoms?
“Found old pottery, too, around that crypt,” Fletcher said. “That seals the deal. No evidence up in North Carolina, ‘cause we got it all here, where they came to be safe from indians and Spaniards. Never took up with friendly natives on Hatteras. Settled here with friendly Blacktippers instead.”
Others questioned the findings.
“The only indication of the Roanoke settlers migrating to Blacktip is a single scroll of questionable provenance,” Tiperon Univesity-Blacktip archeology professor Lucille Ray said. “It’s on an old hide, yes, but the writing is in 20th-Century cursive. And the pottery looks more like broken flower pots. It’s an interesting story, but there’s no actual proof.
“It’s also a convenient coincidence that Smithson’s in the middle of raising money for museum improvements right now,” Ray said. “An announcement like this is exciting, sure, and it’ll also open a lot of wallets.”
Altschul denied the allegations.
“I’m a serious historian and would never perpetuate a hoax. Not like this,” he said. “This is the find of a lifetime. Lucille’s just jealous and trying to piss on my charcoal. This discovery is a proud day for all of Blacktip. We should be celebrating it together, not picking at each other.”
The manuscript will be on display at the Blacktip Island Heritage Museum for the next month, and available for public viewing for an addition $5 fee. ‘Croatoan’ mugs, caps and t-shirts will be available in the museum gift shop.
Sunday, October 3, 2021
Precipitation – Could be
Dominoes and drunk driving will highlight Blacktip Island’s inaugural culture and heritage festival this weekend. (photo courtesy of Jay Valve)
The inaugural Blacktip Island Culture and Heritage Festival is scheduled for various venues across the island this Saturday and Sunday to celebrate the small Caribbean island’s unique traditions, event organizers said.
“We thought it was high time someone shone a spotlight on how special this little island is,” Blacktip Island Culture Society president Doris Blenny said. “With tourism lagging, what better way to draw attention to us than a celebration of everything Blacktip’s about.
“We’re spreading events out over multiple sites and multiple days to give everyone a chance to attend,” Blenny said. “There’ll be things to see and do at the Heritage House, the public dock, multiple bars, and even the roadways. Both of them. We’ll also have the Blacktip Island Community Players performing flash-mob interpretive dances of everyday life. There’ll be something for everyone.”
Organizers stressed the variety of festival events.
“There’ll be domino competitions, of course,” BICS sergeant-at-arms Jay Valve said. “And fishing from the pier. There’s lots of contestants signed up for that. But we’ll also have a drinking booth on the dock, where the winner is the last one to fall into the sea, a making-up-gossip contest, and a poetry slam-style open mike where people can talk about all the things they plan to do but never get around to doing.
“The highlight’ll be the drunk driving demonstration, with points awarded for how far participants can drive without crashing into something, and how many beer bottles they can throw at people while driving,” Valve said. “Blacktip leads the world in single-vehicle accidents, so we’re embracing that. Everyone’s welcome. We’re hoping to get the kids involved in some of these activities, too. Except with the drinking. And drunk driving.”
Some residents questioned the need for the events.
“Blacktip Island culture and heritage is a bit of an oxymoron,” Helen Maples said. “It’s difficult to find either one here, frankly, unless you count arguing and fighting. And one can find that at any bar on a Saturday night. Truly, the most culture one will find on Blacktip is under Dermott Bottoms’ arm pits.”
Many, though, embraced the festival.
“Don’t know anything about culture, but it’s Blacktip. Folks’re always looking for something to do,” Reg Gurnard said. “Any excuse for a party, I suppose. That’s definitely island heritage.”