Sunday, August 14, 2022
Precipitation: Not a chance
Sunday, August 14, 2022
Precipitation: Not a chance
Aspiring local underwater fashion designers will show off their creations this weekend on Jawfish Reef, off Blacktip Island’s west coast, as a run up to next month’s New York Fashion Week.
“There’s a lot of untapped design talent on Blacktip, and it’s time the world recognized that,” show organizer Sue Nami said. “We have people doing some really exciting things with color and texture. The way these garments billow like algae in the current is stunning.
“The goal is to create designs that simply wouldn’t work on land,” Nami said. “Anyone can create clothes topside. These pieces flow so naturally they could be seaweed or soft coral or discarded plastic bags. It takes extra-ordinary skill to do ‘diaphanous’ successfully underwater.”
Garments will be constructed in a variety of confined-water venues, then showcased in open water.
“Designers are using pools at the various resorts, mostly in the evenings when guests are eating dinner,” fashion critic Vinny Abalone said. “A few are using blow-up pools and cisterns. Lee Helm’s doing his work in the booby pond, though there’s some debate on how his garments will function in the viscously-different sea water.
“Models will be dive staff, since they’re the most experienced on scuba and use the least air,” Abalone said. “We’re working out what the tides will be doing Saturday and Sunday so we can time the show when there’s just the right water movement. We pick the wrong time, our models might have their garments just hang there, or they could get swept away in the current.”
Designers say the underwater aspect offers intriguing challenges.
“The temptation is to go old stodge and use lots of neoprene, but that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?” designer Dusky Blenny said. “The beauty of this is we can make garments that will flutter like underwater life. We’re breaking new ground here. Or water, rather.”
Others echoed that enthusiasm.
“I’m patterning my collection on stoplight parrotfish phases,” Joey Pompano said. “I’m mimicking scales and colors of juvenile, male-and-female adults, and terminal phase to emphasize that while all these fish may look so different, they’re actually the same species at different stages of development. Like much of the island’s dive staff.”
Some dive professionals were concerned about safety during the show.
“It’s fine to talk about ‘diaphanous robes,’ but what happens when one wraps itself around a model’s head, or gets tangled in a regulator?” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “And if currents shift unexpectedly, folks could get blown over the wall.
“We’ll have rescue divers hovering over the catwalk, and a line of divers carabinered in down current to grab any flailing models as they fly past,” Latner said. “Can’t stop this nonsense, but we can try to control it. And create a new specialty course.”
The show will be streamed live to all island bars. The winner will receive an application to New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.
Sunday, August 7, 2022
Blacktip Island residents this Saturday will choose the small Caribbean island’s 2022/23 Village Idiot, the annual event marking the end of the dog days of summer, organizers said.
“This time of year, everybody gets a little goofy,” Idiot vote organizer Lefty Wright said. “It was an unofficial title for the longest time, then we decided to formalize it, make it a kind of honor. The person with the most votes wins one get-out-of-jail-free card and a reserved seat at each of the island bars. And a t-shirt.
“Voting’s based on an individuals’ behavior over the last 12 months,” Wright said. “Emphasis is on the stupidest actions, ideas and suggestions people come up with. It’s a great way to boost everybody’s spirits during these hot days.
As ever, competition is expected to be fierce.
“Most years, the hard part’s sorting through all the options,” Wendy Beaufort said. “Honestly, half the people on this island are worthy of the title. It usually comes down to who commits the most memorable idiocies, though some winners earn the title through their entire body of work.
“Right now, Dermott Bottoms is favored to keep the title,” Beaufort said. “He has some serious competition, though: Lee Helm’s always a contender, and Linford Blenny’s making a late surge. His peeing in the wall outlet last month may have put him over the top.”
Some expect dark horse candidates to make strong showings.
“It’s a wide-open field,” Billy Ray said. “In addition to the favorites, you have Gage Hoase trying to walk across the booby pond with tennis rackets on his feet. There’s Alison Diesel who got bit hugging a shark on a dare. And Angela Fisher’s telling everybody the Nassau groupers can control people’s thoughts.”
Others were critical of the contest.
“People are celebrating others having serious mental health issues,” Helen Maples said. “Many of these people need counseling, or medication, or both. Instead they’re being lionized. I don’t know whether this island attracts the mentally unstable, or if it creates them, but we have more than our fair share. That needs to be addressed in a responsible manner, not by everyone getting falling-down drunk.”
The voting will take place at the Sand Spit bar.
“I’ll be on duty all day, making sure folks only vote once,” bartender Cori Anders said. “Last year Vinson Noboddie tried to stuff the ballot box by voting for himself five times. Luckily, his crappy handwriting gave him away.” Votes will be counted publicly at the end of the night. In the case of a tie, those with the most votes will be declared co-idiots.
Sunday, July 31, 2022
Precipitation: Not happening
After a recent reef survey revealed declining fish numbers, Blacktip Island civic leaders this week launched a controversial plan to repopulate the small Caribbean island’s reefs with robotic fish island, officials said.
“We’re seeing drops in the number of species as well as overall population of fish on our reefs,” de facto mayor Jack Cobia said. “That really dings our tourism product, so we had to do something before folks take their scuba vacations someplace else. Since the fish aren’t breeding fast enough, it makes sense to boost their numbers with robots.
“The pointy-heads down at the university’ve been working on micro technology, and this project’s the perfect opportunity to see if that stuff actually works,” Cobia said. “They’re making everything from little pike blennies up to sharks and manta rays. Our world-class scuba diving is about to get supercharged.”
Tiperon University-Blacktip scientists have embraced the task.
“This is a chance to really put our biorobotic technology to the test,” TU-B engineering department chair Sally Port said. “We’ve combined biological tissue with mechanical systems to create news forms of fauna. Releasing them on the reef is an exciting next step. These aren’t fake fish. They’re better fish.
“Natural tail movement was simple enough,” Port said. “Now we’re fine tuning the motion of the pectoral fins, eyes and gills to make the creatures as realistic as possible. So far we’ve only had one mishap, with our mechanical reef shark. But the two interns are healing nicely.”
Some ecologists objected to the plan.
“Long term, this will actually do more harm to the reefs than good,” ecologist Harry Pickett said. “These gizmos may look like fish, but they’ll wreak havoc on the underwater ecosystem. They’re hundreds of Frankenstein’s monsters with fins.
“The big concern is all these cyborgs will scare off the real fish,” Pickett said. “That could start a spiral that ends with there being more fake fish than real ones. And what happens when they turn on the divers, like that shark did to the two researchers? Sally and her team have no control over these things. This a nightmare in the making.”
Dive operators were generally supportive.
“Frankly, most of our diving guests won’t know the difference between the Franken-fish and real ones,” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “And if they have to fight off one or two, well, that makes their dive more exciting. When they have fun, they’re happy. And if they come up smiling, we’re happy.”
Port echoed that sentiment.
“We’re creating new life forms,” she said. “That inherently enhances the dive experience. I’m hoping our babies can breed with each other. And with other fish, to create even more new species.”
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Precipitation: Zero chance