Category Archives: Caribbean

Community Christmas Tree Lights Shock Blacktip Islanders

christmas tree lighting

A stampede at Blacktip Island’s Community Holiday Tree lighting ceremony Thursday night injured five residents. All were treated at the island medical clinic and released. (photo courtesy of KTNV)

Five people sustained minor injuries at the Blacktip Island Community Holiday Tree lighting ceremony Thursday evening after many attendees claimed the lighted palm tree resembled male sexual anatomy.

“We didn’t think it through, obviously,” event organizer Jay Valve said. “We used a palm tree this year instead of the usual sea grape tree, and on paper the lights looked lovely, with the trunk all bright, and oversized blue Christmas balls around the base. We should have put more lights on the fronds so you could tell it was a tree.

“Someone told us never to put holiday lights on a palm tree,” Valve said. “I guess we found out why the hard way.”

Witnesses described a chaotic scene following the lighting.

“We’d finished singing The Chipmunk Song, Jay flipped on the lights and all hell broke loose,” Gage Hoase said. “Most of us were laughing, but a bunch of people started screaming and running every which way.

“They were trampling each other, trying to get away, trying not to look,” Hoase said. “The people who fell down laughing got the worst of that. They’re the ones got hauled off to the clinic. We all needed a good, stiff drink afterward.”

The display shocked many attendees.

“The kids were excited about seeing the new tree, so we made sure we were in the front row,” resident Glenda Goby said. “Then the lights came on, and Christmas turned into a nightmare.

“I covered the little ones’ eyes quick as I could, but I have three kiddos and only two hands,” Goby said. “My youngest is still screaming. I’m still answering awkward questions. We expected a nice, family-friendly tree. That shouldn’t have been so hard.”

Some defended the decorations.

“It’s Christmas. There’s supposed to be surprises,” Wendy Beaufort said. “I mean it was awkward, happening in front of God and everyone, but it’s still quite festive. I wouldn’t accept any presents from under that thing, but, in a way, it sums up Blacktip Island life.”

The display has caused others to rethink all holiday decorations.

“Now people are imagining sex organs in every decoration on the island,” the Rev. Pierre Grunt said. “Icicle lights, angels, you name it, they’ve been dragged into the gutter. Jay and them really should have done some lighting test runs instead of going off all half-cocked.

“We even took the wreaths on the church doors, for decency’s sake,” Grunt said. “There were way too many people pointing and snickering. And taking rude selfies.”

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Messages-In-Bottles Flood Blacktip Island Beaches

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Blacktip Island beaches have been inundated with messages-filled bottles this week, sparking numerous rescue missions. (photo courtesy of Edwin Chub/Marine Parks Department)

Blacktip Island beaches this week were flooded with hundreds of message-filled bottles from around the globe, sending island officials scrambling to find the cause and stretching the island’s emergency services thin.

“Message bottles started washing up over the weekend,” marine parks spokesperson Edwin Chub said. “Mostly on the windward east coast, but some came ashore on the west side, too. Resort guests were running up and down the beaches collecting the damn things.

“We never guessed there were so many castaways so many places,” Chub said. “Now, some are probably jokes, but they all ask for actual rescues and we can’t ignore any of them.”

Experts are uncertain what caused the sudden influx.

“Out of nowhere there’s 80, 90 bottles washing ashore every day, so something significant changed,” Tiperon University-Blacktip oceanography professor Grady Snapper said. “The leading theory’s warming sea water’s creating new convection patterns in the open ocean. The North Atlantic Gyre probably trapped a bunch of these bottles, and now shifting currents are shooting them all our way.”

Others suspect the bottles are an elaborate hoax.

“All these bottles showing up at the same time? That’s not natural,” resident Marcia Seagroves said. “Someone’s out dumping bottles off a boat. Or chucking them in at the beach so they wash back onshore.

“I’d bet it’s Antonio Fletcher or Jerrod Ephesians pulling our collective leg,” Seagroves said. “Like those guys who made crop circles for years to cause a kerfuffle while they laughed among themselves.”

Fletcher denied the accusations.

“Got no time for that kind of nonsense,” he said. “Ain’t got that many bottles, either. People’re pointing fingers at me when folks out there need rescuing.”

Observers say the messages are too varied to be the work of one person or group.

“We’re finding notes in all kinds of languages. That’s way beyond anything ‘Tonio’s capable of,” Donna Requin said. “I found one yesterday in Norwegian. Some kid tossed it in off Stavanger as a joke in 2009 and it took that long to get to us.”

Island emergency personnel are taking a sterner view.

“We have to take every rescue request seriously,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “We’ve been contacting the appropriate authorities worldwide all week. Some have stopped taking my calls.

“If any of these notes do turn out to be jokes, the culprits will face the full brunt of the law,” Marquette said. “I’ve had no sleep for days, tracking down all these places. I still can’t find ‘Wanna-Hocka-Loogie’ on any nautical chart, but I do hope that Nigerian prince gets rescued safely.”

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Blacktip Island Braces For Black Friday Dump Scrounging

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Blacktip Island resident Ginger Bass scans the island landfill’s scrap metal section for holiday bargains prior to the dump’s Black Friday scavenging event. (photo courtesy of Stoney Macdam/Tiperon Islands Public Health Department)

Blacktip Island bargain hunters will storm the Caribbean island’s landfill at dawn today to find the perfect holiday treasures, the island’s public health department announced Thursday.

“We closed the dump’s for all but our garbage trucks last week while we spruced the place up,” health department head Stoney MacAdam said. “We needed the place free of people while we put in a new incinerator and rearranged the junked auto section. It’s just coincidence we’re re-opening the place this Friday.

“Thing is, we underestimated how popular dump diving is this time of year,” MacAdam said. “People were already lining up along the entrance track Thursday, so we threw up gates and barriers in the interest of safety. Folks being deprived of scavenging for so long, it’s made them bug-nutty. Well, more bug-nutty.”

Residents say the impromptu event is the perfect start for the holidays season.

“It’s the Blacktip version of the Black Friday sales in the U.S.,” resident Ginger Bass said. “And now with no one being able to get in the dump for a week, there’s bound to be all kinds of great stuff all over the place.

“The trick’ll be getting in fast,” Bass said. “We have our little ones ready to go at the main entrance, and we’ll circle around the back to be the first ones in back there. We’d never sneak in ahead of time, of course. That’d set a bad example for the kiddos. But we’ll all charge in quick as we can when they blow that whistle.”

Some decried the event’s commercialism.

“It’s the holiday season. The focus should be on the holidays,” the former Reverend Jerrod Ephesians said. “People descending on the landfill en masse to pick through junk isn’t festive. It’s crass. And unsanitary.”

Island emergency personnel will be on alert during the event.

“We have volunteer medics, bandages and stretchers ready to go,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “And pickup trucks to haul any injured shoppers to the clinic.

“We also have the fire truck with its water cannon, primed for crowd control,” Marquette said. “Any fights break out, we can blast the troublemakers out the other side of the dump. And won’t hesitate to do so.”

Landfill officials expect the morning to be violence free.

“We’ve warned everyone about the need for civility,” MacAdam said. “Sure, there’ll be some pushing and shoving, but that just adds to the holiday atmosphere.

“Our aim is to create a safe environment for the children to scavenge in,” MacAdam said. “We didn’t plan on this becoming such a big deal, but we’re going to make sure it’s a family event now that it is.”

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Outgoing Blacktip Island Mayor Dedicates Mayoral Library

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All Blacktip Island outgoing mayor Jack Cobia’s correspondence and documents from his time in office will be archived in the Caribbean island’s new mayoral library. (photo courtesy of Jack Cobia)

Following a surprising recount loss in this month’s mayoral election, outgoing mayor Jack Cobia announced Thursday he will create Blacktip Island’s first mayoral library to house all documents from his years in office.

“Folks call it arrogant, but I have a legacy to protect,” Cobia said. “They’ve got no clue the amount of time and effort that goes into running an island this size. I’m making all that public. For posterity. For the people.

“Every note, email, text and bar napkin’ll be downloadable,” Cobia said. “There’ll also be a searchable database so researchers can look up stuff by topic. The database is pretty small, but that actually helps with research.”

Library designers say interactive displays will bring Cobia’s tenure to life.

“There’ll be a scale model of the Sandy Bottoms bar, where Jack did most of his business, so visitors can get a feel for a day in his life,” said Ferris Skerritt, of the Skerritt and Skulpin architect firm. “They can also check out mobile readers and sit in their choice of bar stools, hammocks or toilet stalls.

“We’ll have video screens showing clips of Jack in action, too,” Skerritt said. “Everything from him leading the St. Dervil’s parade to singing karaoke at the Tail Spinner. It’ll be first class all the way.”

Many were critical of the proposed facility.

“Jack’s going passive-aggressive after he lost. At public expense,” Frank Maples said. “Who in their right mind would read his emails. Or see what he had for lunch or who he met for drinks five years ago? Researchers? Seriously?

“And I guarantee no one wants to watch video of Jack singing ‘Fat Bottom Girls’ off-key on the karaoke machine,” Maples said. It is appropriate there’s toilet seating, though. Now if they could just invent something that prints documents on toilet paper printer, that would be perfect.”

Island visitors, though, praised the concept.

“It’ll be something different to do in the afternoons, won’t it?” said Club Scuba Doo guest Amarillis Tang. “Especially for the non-divers and the kiddos. You don’t get anything like that on other islands. It’s a glimpse inside how local politics works – in bars, at parties, out fishing, that local color sort of thing.”

Some residents were inspired by the planned library.

“Gonna get me one of those memorial reading rooms, too,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Let folks stand in a scale model Ballyhoo, read the bar food menus and watch curling on TV.

“Or maybe sit in the Sand Spit toilet and read the graffiti,” Bottoms said. “Wrote most of it myself, you know. The good stuff, anyway.”

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Blacktip Island Role Players Create Durgons and Dragons Game

durgons and dragons

The common black durgon is a major danger in the new Durgons and Dragons role-playing game developed by a group of Blacktip Island scuba-diving gaming aficionados. (photo courtesy of NOAA)

A group of Blacktip Island underwater role-playing game enthusiasts this week played their first rounds of their newly-developed Durgons and Dragons on Jawfish Reef to celebrate the upcoming end of hurricane. season.

“It’s a riff on Dungeons and Dragons, played underwater,” game developer Lee Helm said. “The Dive Master walks players through underwater adventures, usually quests to find treasure or explore sunken pirate ships or caves.

“There’s no magic per se, but the in-game reef is way different than the real reef,” Helm said. “Sharks and orcas and krakens are the obvious dangers. But all the normal reef fish can be deadly, too.”

As in Dungeons and Dragons, players must navigate dangers and defeat monsters.

“Parrotfish, triggerfish, nurse sharks, even other divers can kill you,” gamer Edwin Chub said. “And you have to watch for swarms of brown chomises. Chromii. Whatever.

“The real terrors, though, are the leafy sea dragons and black durgons,” Chub said. “Just yesterday a durgon chewed through 10 player characters. We’re still recovering from that.”

With players on scuba, game time is limited by air consumption.

“When you’re out of air, the game’s over. Heavy breathers put the entire team at risk,” said player Harry Blenny. “You’re basically playing against game hazards, other players and time. People meditate beforehand to save air.

“It gets vicious. Light breathers try to kill off the air hogs’ characters so the game will last longer,” Blenny said. “And the air-suckers gang up on other players to get those characters killed off. We had plans for surface-supplied air to avoid all that, but decompression sickness issues scotched that since there’s no barometric chamber on the island.”

Some residents remained unimpressed.

“I really don’t get it, but I guess I don’t have to,” cook Jessie Catahoula said. “It’s goofy, but at least it keeps Lee and his buddies out of sight and away from me.”

Players emphasized the game’s positive aspects.

“It teaches people to work together as a team, not knowing if one of the characters is a Random Bad Diver,” Helm said. “When an RBD starts flailing there’s a 20 percent chance the character closest to him drowns.

“Just this morning my 39th-level heliox diver got bent on a rogue upwelling because of a Baddie,” Helm said. “I had to start over with a character that’s barely nitrox certified.”

Others touted the game’s growing popularity.

“There’s already Durgons and Dragons clubs on other islands,” Blenny said. “We’re gonnna have a D and D tournament over the holidays, too. As word spreads, our ultimate goal is to have some women join us. Or talk to us.”

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Blacktip Island Ballot Box Stolen; Mayoral Election On Hold

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The theft of Blacktip Island’s ballot box Thursday has put the election on hold and left the small Caribbean island leaderless. (photo courtesy of Rama)

The 2018 Blacktip Island mayor’s election was stymied Thursday when a supporter of one candidate stole the island’s sole ballot box in an attempt to forestall that candidate’s defeat.

“As always, Jack Cobia was set to win by double digits, this time over political newcomer Val Schrader,” Elections Supervisor Belinda Graysby said. “Then Dermott Bottoms decided to weigh in. He got a snoot full of rum, grabbed the ballot box and ran.

“It was more personal than political,” Graysby said. “Dermott’s always had a thing for Val. Nearest we can guess, he stole the election so she’d notice him. He’s holed up in the church now, howling her name and claiming sanctuary or some such nonsense.”

Both candidates condemned Bottoms’ actions.

“This was a planned political op from the get go,” incumbent Jack Cobia said. “Val knew the only way she’d win was by cheating. And that Dermott’d do anything for her. He’s probably tearing up ballots as we speak. Or eating them. Dermott’s not bright, but he has a certain low cunning.

“Bottom line is, until there’s official, verified results, I’m still the mayor,” Cobia said. “There’s got to be continuity of leadership, for the island’s sake, and I’m the one to provide it.”

Schrader refuted Cobia’s claims.

“I never I encouraged Dermott. About anything,” Schrader said. “He’s just bat-shit crazy. Always has been. I’m trying to lead the island, not deal with some cow-eyed drunk.

“Jack pulled every dirty trick in the book to rig this election, and I wouldn’t put it past him to have put Dermott up to this,” Schrader said. “But that doesn’t make stealing ballots right Win or lose, this isn’t how democracy works.”

The stolen votes have thrown island politics into a tailspin.

“Jack’s term expired midnight. Period,” resident Frank Maples said. “With the votes uncounted, technically Blacktip has no mayor. Jack can bluster all he wants, but he has no legal authority. And Blacktip’s mayor-less.

“Rafe Marquette’s trying to talk Dermott into giving up the box, but Dermott’s having none of it,” Maples said. “Jerrod and Gage snuck in and tried to steal it, but they got whacked up pretty bad. Dermott’s an unholy terror when he’s riled. And drinking. All indications are he’s got into the Communion wine.”

Other leaders focused on more pragmatic goals.

“Our aim’s to get Dermott out of the church so he’ll stop ringing those damn bells non stop and screaming, ‘Val!’ from the rooftop,” B.C. Flote said. “Rafe Marquette popped him with a couple of tranquilizer darts, but Dermott seemed to enjoy them. I guess he’s built up a resistance to pretty much everything. Except misplaced emotions.”

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Marker Thieves Make Blacktip A Black-And-White Island

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The few remaining colored pens on Blacktip Island are locked in the Caribbean island’s police station until the person responsible for a rash of colored-pen thefts has been apprehended. (photo by Wendy Beaufort/Blacktip Times staff)

The theft of all colored markers in the Blacktip Island store Wednesday night has left many island residents questioning the culprit’s identity and motives, officials said.

“On the face of it, it’s someone’s warped idea of a joke, leaving only black markers,” store owner Peachy Bottoms said. “But it’s not funny my being out the cost of the markers and lock repair so some idiot can get high sniffing them.

“I got in yesterday morning and the door’d been jimmied,” Bottoms said. “My first thought was someone stole the cash or the safe, but those were untouched. The only things missing were colored magic markers and paint pens and colored pencils. And crayons, for when they get the munchies, I guess.”

Island officials worry the theft is part of a larger crime wave.

“This past week there’ve been reports of colored pens disappearing from homes and businesses,’ Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “I passed that off as people misplacing things, but in light of this break in, I’m re-evaluating that.

“Right now, anyone wants to write or draw in anything but black is out of luck,” Marquette said. “The few colored markers left are locked up in the police station until I get to the bottom of this. The multi-colored insults on the side of the police car aren’t helping the perp’s cause.”

The marker disappearance has many residents on edge.

“This isn’t a simlpe inconvenience,” Ginger Bass said. “The kids can’t draw in anything but black and white now. You should see their blacked-out coloring books. The younger ones can’t rationalize something like that. They’re cranky. Parents aren’t getting much sleep. We’re at a crisis point here.

“Plus, the dive staffs can’t draw dive site maps on the boats without colored dry-erase markers,” Bass said. “There’s some serious safety concerns in all this, you know.”

Others maintain the thefts are an elaborate hoax.

“It makes no sense. That smacks of one of Jerrod’s artsy projects,” Helen Maples said. “He can deny it all he wants, but there are an awful lot of colorful, hand-drawn designs on the outside of that crazy house of his.

“Lots of melted-down crayons tacked to the side of it, too,” Maples said. “There’s no proof, of course, but he certainly has the motive and is hare-brained enough to do it. And leaving the rest of us with only black pens is exactly his sort of humor.”

Jerrod Ephesians denied the allegations.

“I have all the paint and markers I need. Why would I steal more?” he said. “End of the day, folks are missing something that’s essentially useless. Is that really a bad thing? It makes them see the world differently.

“There’s a lesson in all this, really,” Ephesians said. “People don’t realize how dependent they are on something until it’s gone. Blacktippers learning to do without is a positive. It makes us all stronger.”

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