Category Archives: Caribbean

Study Reveals Blacktip Island Shrimps Play Bach Concertos


A pistol shrimp snaps its claw in C sharp on Blacktip Island’s Jawfish reef Thursday as part of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. (photo courtesy of OpenCage)

Marine biologists on Blacktip Island this week discovered the snapping sounds made by the island’s pistol shrimps’ claws, when heard in succession, play all six of Johan Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos.

“No one had connected the dots until a computer glitch sequenced all the sounds from one reef,” Tiperon University-Blacktip marine biology professor Goby Graysby said. “Apparently, those suckers’ve been doing it for a while, with shrimp from one section of the reef playing one concerto, then shrimp on the next part of the reef continuing with the next one.

“It’s still early in the study, but it looks like each shrimp snaps one individual note,” Graysby said. “Obviously, the higher in the shrimp hierarchy they are, the more frequent the note they play is in the melody. Our working hypothesis is as individuals die, or are eaten, others move up in the pecking order and younger ones move from apprentice status to minor roles.”

Researchers noted it’s possible for scuba divers to hear the music underwater.

“You’ve got to lie on the bottom up in the shallows for a while to really hear it,” Leigh Shore said. “My personal favorite is Brandenburg Number Three on Wahoo Reef. I can hang out there for hours and just Zen out to the music. The reef’s a very Baroque place, really.

“We have no proof, yet, but I’m pretty sure the Pederson shrimp organize and conduct the whole thing. They’re like that,” Shore said. “And if you go out a bit deeper, where the hardpan transitions to coral, you can hear the singing coral heads doing a counterpoint, a cappella accompaniment.”

Some on the island discarded the claim.

“It’s more hokum from that so-called university,” island resident Noddy Bolin said. “Them shrimps are no more playing Bach than my butt is. You run enough notes randomly through a program long enough, eventually you’ll get something sounds familiar.

“Hell, they do the experiment again, they’ll probably end up with Bohemian Rhapsody,” Bolin said. “It’s a riff on the old ‘given enough time, a bunch of monkeys with typewriters could reproduce the works of Shakespeare.’ Ten’ll get you 20 it’s just a scam to drum up grant money.”

Island dive operators, however, are ecstatic about the discovery.

“We’re tracking which reefs play which tunes at what times so we can schedule concert dives,” Club Scuba Doo dive manager Finn Kiick said. “We’ll drop divers in the shallows, where their air lasts longer, maybe take them reef-to-reef so they can hear each concerto in succession. For an upcharge, of course. Per concerto.

“We’re also culling shrimp who’re off key, or out of time,” Kiick said. “It seems harsh, but it’ll improve the performance. And our overall product.”

Environmental activists decried the culling.

“It’s bad enough to put gaggles of scuba divers on top of these shrimp,” Wade Soote said. “But to go out and kill wildlife just because you think it doesn’t sound right? That’s abhorrent.

“If Finn actually goes through with this, he’ll regret it,” Soote said. “We have underwater protests planned. As soon as his divers go in, we’ll go to town with our tank bangers and rattlers and air horns. If the guests can’t hear the shrimp, or if the shrimp get spooked and stop snapping, Finn’ll have a hell of a time selling his dives.”

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Dolphin time!

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Blacktip Island Weather

sunday May 8

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Temperature: 83

Humidity: 65%

Precipitation: Sailor take warning . . . ?

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Scuba-Powered Mini-Windmills Bring Blacktip Island Renewable Energy

underwater windmills

Blacktip Island scuba divers will help the small Caribbean island transition to renewable energy by towing small turbines like this behind them while they dive. (photo courtesy of Donald Trung)

A group of Blacktip Island environmental activists have launched a plan to use small underwater windmills, powered by the small Caribbean island’s scuba diving guests, to provide a sustainable, renewable source of energy, group members said Thursday.

“Electricity’s expensive on this little rock, and diesel-powered generators are killing our environment,” Blacktip Ecological Revolution Consortium president Harry Pickett said. “We have the technology to generate electricity from waves and currents, but those aren’t always reliable. That’s where the divers come in.

“We’ll have diving guests tow small turbines around behind them to generate electricity as they swim,” Pickett said. “There’s no shortage of divers, and once we explain the situation to them, most’ll be happy to help. It gives their dives a purpose beyond just looking at fish.”

Island officials say the initiative is a good, if limited start.

“Divers with little mini-windmills won’t provide a ton of power, but it’ll definitely add something to the overall grid,” public works head Stoney MacAdam said. “We’re trying to lessen our carbon footprint, so every little bit helps. We’ll be running power cables from the power plant out to the most popular dive sites so folks can take the turbines off the boat, plug in underwater and go to town.”

Some on the island opposed the plan.

“Everybody knows windmills kill birds and cause cancer. How do we know these gizmos won’t do the same to fish and divers?” Catalina Luxfer said. “All this rush to go green and be energy independent is likely to cause more problems that it solves. Diesel-generated electricity’s worked fine in the past. First rule of living on Blacktip: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Several island dive operators see hidden benefits to the plan.

“We already got divers coming in and asking about this, eager to help, wondering when they can start,” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “Soon as Harry and them get these what’s-its operational, we’re gonna start doing special ‘green dive’ charters. For a slight upcharge, our guests can go generate some electricity and feel good about helping the island.

“Truth be told, we’ll work up a underwater windmill specialty course, for safety reasons, to get divers certified as Windmill Divers,” Latner said. “There’ll be a fee for that, of course, but folks’ll jump at the chance to save the planet. And they’ll get a t-shirt, too.”

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Dolphin Day! Yay!

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Blacktip Island Weather

sunday may 1

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Temperature: 82

Humidity: 62%

Precipitation: Not a chance

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Blacktip Island Scientists, Artists To Revive Dead Poets

iambic park

Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary are two of the Romantic-era writers the Blacktip Island Poetry Society hopes to clone for their new Iambic Park interactive attraction. (engraving by George J. Stodart)

A consortium of Blacktip Island genetics experts and literary aficionados have launched a project to clone multiple British Romantic writers to more-fully study their works, the project’s leaders announced Thursday.

“It’ll be like Jurassic Park, but with 200-year-old poets,” Blacktip Island Poetry Society president Edwin Chub said. “It’ll literally bring poetry to life. We’ll keep them in a compound, down south, by the Last Ballyhoo bar, so we can have easy access to study them. We’ll also allow interested scholars and tourists in, for a fee. We’re calling it Iambic Park.

“We chose the Brit Roms due to access to DNA,” Chub said. “Mary Shelley saved Percy’s heart, so we’re going to use tissue from that as a starting point. If this works, we’ll be able to get first-hand insight into their creative processes. With any luck, they’ll even write some new poems while we watch in real time.”

Local scientists say the project is not a farfetched as it sounds.

“With just a scrap of Percy Shelley’s DNA, we can clone him in a heartbeat,” Tiperon University-Blacktip genetics professor Vera Cuda said. “We’ll prove the naysayers wrong once and for all. And with his wife hoarding that heart for so long, there’s undoubtedly some of her DNA there as well. It’s a two-for, really.

“We’re also tracking down genetic samples from other artists of that period to fulfill the BIPS vision,” Cuda said. “We have some excellent leads on DNA from Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats and Byron. The home run sample would be from William Blake, but that may not be possible. We have our best people on it, though.”

Island residents support the idea.

“It’ll be way cool to hang out with John Keats,” Alison Diesel said. “Or just to be chased by young, consumptive men shouting in terza rima. English classes would’ve been so gnarly if this’d been around back in the day.

“I’m betting there’ll be lots of lolling and languishing involved, too,” Diesel said. “That fits right in on Blacktip. I bet Keats’ll write some kind of ‘Ode to a Booby Bird.’

Others noted the connection between the Romantic-era poets and the small Caribbean island.

“Byron didn’t die in Greece. No, sir,” local handyman Antonio Fletcher said. “He faked that to get creditors off his tail, and set sail for the West Indes. Final resting place’s right here on Blacktip. Tore the place up back then. Bringing him back’ll be . . . well, bringing him back.

“Jurassic Park was really just Frankenstein, y’know,” Fletcher said. “Mad scientist creates life with no thought of the consequences, things get out of hand, and the creation gets called a monster when it’s really the scientist who’s the baddie. That’s the worry with bringing Byron back. Island barely survived his time here once. Lock up your daughters. And sons. And livestock.”

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Getting by with a little help from their friends

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Blacktip Island Weather

sunday april 24

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Temperature: 83

Humidity: 64%

Precipitation: On the way

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‘Shart Week’ Typo Leads To Mayhem On Blacktip Island

shart week
Burned cars sit outside Blacktip Island’s Marine Parks office Friday after a night of protests and counter protests sparked by a typographical error in a ‘Shark Week’ flyer. (photo courtesy of Banswalhemant)

A typographical error on a Blacktip Island Marine Parks ‘Shark Week’ flyer Wednesday led to multiple protests and a small riot on the small Caribbean island, event organizers said.

“It was a simple typo—shark with a ‘t’ instead of a ‘k’—one that obviously didn’t mean what it said, but some people took it literally,” marine parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “Things spiraled out of control from there, but I suppose that’s the Blacktip way.

“We’ve had multiple protests outside the DoE office, demanding we cancel the event they think we’re planning,” Schrader said. “More worrisome, there’s been counter protestors attacking them, voicing support for it. And destroying property in the process. This worse than when the poetry society had its ‘poultry slam’ mix up.”

Protesters are demanding any and all events be cancelled.

“It’s all well and good to say it’s a typo, but that doesn’t address the damage it’s done. And’s still doing,” Rocky Shore said. “There’s folks who’re taking this seriously, making asses of themselves, and that creates a messy situation for everybody. Val and them need to come out with a statement saying that flyer’s wrong and telling folks to mind their manners.

“You can’t just throw something like that out there on this island,” Shore said. “I don’t understand why someone would want to celebrate something like that. Or even admit to it. But they’re coming out of the woodwork. And with Val not retracting that announcement, it begs the question of if it’s really a typo. We need to get to the bottom of this.”

Counter protesters have embraced the mix up.

“It’s genius—folks finally can celebrate being humans without feeling ashamed,” Linford Blenny said. “Most natural thing in the world, and people look at us like we’re bad people. That don’t matter, though. We’re spending this week practicing. The whole Bottoms family’s with us. Except Peachy. And Rosie.”

Other residents urged calm.

“It’s obviously an error. Come on, people, use your noggins,” Marcia Seagroves said. “No one in their right mind thinks we’d celebrate something like that. Or burn cars because of it. We’ll be picketing the picketers and the counter-picketers all week. Unless anyone decides to . . . celebrate. Then it’s every person for themself.”

Other locals had broader concerns.

“Mistake like this, makes you wonder how many other typos’re out there no one’s noticed,” Antonio Fletcher said. “Could be people all over doing things wrong and not know it. What if it’s s’posed to be ‘celebrate’ instead of ‘celibate’? Or ‘porn and beans?’ Makes you wonder, don’t it?”

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