Category Archives: Scuba Diving
Washed-ashore debris is central to the island-themed décor local interior designer Paloma Fairlead calls her new ‘funky shui’ look. (photo courtesy of Paloma Fairlead)
A Blacktip Island interior designer Wednesday unveiled a new decorative esthetic combining Taoist principles for harmonious living with locally-sourced decorating elements.
“It’s a riff on classical feng shui,” Paloma Fairlead said. “Feng shui, literally, means ‘wind’ and ‘water,’ and Blacktip’s got plenty of both. I took the principles of feng shui and gave them a Blacktip twist. It’s a natural fit. I’m calling it ‘funky shui.’
“Using local items and sensibilities is the quickest way to bring harmony into your island home,” Fairlead said. “Instead of a ‘bagua’ map of energy areas, we use a ‘wah gwan’ map to channel island energies.”
Clients praised the move.
“I was dubious at first, when Paloma was going on about five elements and a commanding position and not having plants with pointy leaves and whatnot,” Wendy Beaufort said. “But now that the renovation’s complete, it’s stunning. Words truly fail me.
“Paloma tacked some washed-up black coral all over one wall, then scattered some sea beans and swaths of ghost nets on the other side of the room, and I felt the tension wash right out of me,” Beaufort said. “It smells a bit gamey, but that’s part of the feel, Paloma says.”
Some residents dismissed the newfound esthetic.
“Frankly, it looks like Paloma simply threw some beach rubbish on the walls,” Reg Gurnard said. “I’m all for using local products, and I wish Paloma the best, but I’m not in a hurry to decorate my home with washed up shoes and bits of broken plastic. I guess if that’s your vibe, though, have at it.
“What’s most striking is the sheer stench of it,” Gurnard said. “‘Funk’ is an apt descriptor for that wall of smell. Some of the decorations are still alive. Or were recently.”
Fairlead defended the design’s aromatic aspects.
“Funky shui is designed to engage all five senses,” she said. “Smell is an important aspect to that. We do live on a small island, after all. Bringing that sea smell inside makes one feel more integrated with the land and the sea.
“It may seem odd at first, but it creates a very peaceful environment,” Fairlead said. “I have clients lining up, and quite the long waiting list.”
Eager clients agreed.
“I’m on the list, but I couldn’t wait to have a taste of funky shui,” Herring Frye said. “I tried a DIY project with dried turtle grass and sea fans in my living room, and the energy levels are just night-and-day different. I feel so much more positive and energized. I can’t wait until Paloma can do my house in full and I can get the complete effect.”
A photo a Blacktip Island hiker captured Thursday, showing what he claims is an extinct Tasmanian tiger. (photo courtesy of Lee Helm)
A pair of Blacktip Island residents exploring the small Caribbean island’s rugged interior Thursday captured an image of what they claim is a long-thought-extinct thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger.
“We was out in the bush, looking for ghost orchids, when all of a sudden this thing just exploded out of the bushes,” Lee Helm said. “Me and Alison barely spotted it before it bolted off through that thick underbrush. Just had time to get the one photo, but it’s definitely a Tasmanian tiger. Nothing else it could be.
“There’s been reports of them popping up all over the world lately,” Helm said. “Just a matter of time before one came to Blacktip. They’re a migratory species, you know.”
Alison Diesel corroborated the story.
“It was plain as the nose on my face,” she said. “I only wish people’d stop saying it was spotted. It had stripes. Duh. And if there’s one, you know there’s more. That tangley brush on the bluff is the perfect place for them to hide. There’s plenty to eat, too, with iguanas and the landfill chickens.”
The island’s scientific community questioned the sighting.
“There are no records of any thylacines outside Tasmania for nearly 100 years,” wildlife biologist Fozzy Kritter said. “They’ve been extinct since the 1930s. And Tasmania’s an island on the other side of the globe. How would they migrate? Build a raft? There’s also been no verified thylacine sightings, or bones or skulls found, anywhere between Tasmania and here. I don’t know what Lee and Alison were smoking. Or photographed. It was probably a feral cat. In the photo, I mean.”
Helm and Diesel stood by their claims.
“Fozzy’s just hacked he didn’t see it first,” Diesel said. “And of course it didn’t build a raft. That makes zero sense. It hopped on a cargo ship. All kinds of exotic animals get here that way.
“Thylacines are quite clever,” Helm said. “Why do you reckon there’s none left in Tasmania? They knew folks were hunting them and hid in shipping containers. The next time this container was opened was here on Blacktip. No great mystery. And it’s not a Tasmanian tiger anymore. This is a Blacktip Tiger now.”
Diesel said the pair have launched plans to further substantiate their claim.
“We set up trail cameras all through that patch of jungle, and around the dump,” she said. “Only photos we got so far, though, were of Dermott Bottoms and James Conlee crawling on all fours, both drunk as skunks.
“We’re building live-capture traps, too,” she said. “Big enough to catch a tiger, but let the cats and iguanas and what-have-yous slip out.”
A passage from D.H. Lawrence’s formerly-banned novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Blacktip Bibliophile Society scuba divers will copy the complete text of the novel in the sand off Diddley’s Landing public pier during the coming months. (photo courtesy of Silas Mariner)
In conjunction with Blacktip Island dive operators, scuba-certified literature enthusiasts will transcribe the complete text of D.H. Lawrence’s classic novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover in the sand at one of the island’s dive sites during the coming months.
“We’ll be doing a page per day, weather permitting, so we should be done with the whole thing by mid-August or so,” Blacktip Bibliophile Society president Silas Mariner said. “We’re hoping to dispel the notion that scuba divers are a bunch of party-hearty Neanderthals. It will give a sense of culture, of gravitas to diving. The passages will be done by two-person teams—one person to hold the laminated page, and one to write with a boat hook.
“The club voted on which classic novel to transcribe, and it came down to Lady Chatterley or Jude the Obscure,” Mariner said. “But Jude is just so damned depressing, we worried it would scare divers away. With Lady Chatterley, we reckon divers will be fighting to get to the site.”
Group members said the project presents some unexpected difficulties.
“You’ve got to have spot-on buoyancy to print the letters and not erase others with your fin kicks,” Christina Mojarra said. “And we can’t write on windy days because the surge erases the words as fast as you can print them.
“Conchs are an issue, too” Mojarra said. “And stingrays play pure hell with the text. But the little gobies add some cool diacritics, so that’s fun. We photograph each ‘page’ as we go so there’s a record.”
Some on the island are concerned about legal issues.
“That book’s still banned in lots of places,” resident John Thomas said. “I already called Marine Parks, asked them to get an underwater censor down there so make sure Silas and them aren’t scribbling smut all over the sea floor This isn’t that kind of island. We’ll be sending our own divers down, as needed, to erase any and all naughty bits.”
Legal authorities say the transcription poses little legal risk.
“There’s only a few words in the text that fit the definition of indecency,” local attorney Ferris Skerritt said. “The book’s legal to sell and possess in the Tiperons, so it really depends on who sees the dodgy words in the sand and what they do about it. Copyright infringement’s not even an issue, with the text being in the public domain.”
Mariner said he welcomes controversy.
“If people object, that’s great,” he said. “We’ll fight that in court. This is world-class literature and should be treated as such. The novel’s about class distinctions and gender roles, not pornography.”
Local authorities are taking a wait-and-see approach. “I read the book and, frankly, it was a struggle to get through, it was so dull.” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Kept expecting raunchy, x-rated scenes, but it was all pretty underwhelming. Seen more graphic stuff on HBO. I’ll do whatever the law requires, but I didn’t read anything worth folks getting their shorts in a wad about.”
A photo of the iguana Blacktip Island officials suspect of destroying the small Caribbean island’s postal facilities Wednesday night/Thursday morning. (photo courtesy of James St. John)
A stray rock iguana in the Blacktip Island post office overnight has disrupted mail delivery on the small Caribbean island for the foreseeable future, island postal officials said Thursday.
“When I came in this morning, it looked like a hurricane’d been through the place,” island postmaster Dervil Haynes said. “A hurricane with claws, mind you. There was cards and letters all over, and parcels all shredded. Incoming bills, outgoing payments, you name it, it’s all torn to hell.
“Near as I can tell, somebody jimmied the lock after hours and chucked the thing in,” Haynes said. “The door was unlocked when I got here in the morning, and that didn’t just happen by itself. And an iguana didn’t just let itself in. This is vandalism, plain and simple.”
Island officials confirmed the post office will be out of service for at least a week.
“They’re still sorting sorting out what was damaged and trying to put things back together,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “Dervil had to order a case of cellophane tape to patch up all the letters and whatnot—he bought all the island store had, and that barely put a dent in the damage.
“Everything in there was clawed up, including the walls and windows,” Cobia said. “That lizard really wanted out. It’ll be at least a week before the place’ll be functional again. We’re in the process of trying to explain it to creditors and insurance people. And installing some sort of iguana-proof devices on the doors.”
Some residents questioned Haynes’ story.
“Ol’ Dervil always leaves the back door open when he goes out for a pee,” Catalina Luxfer said. “He’s forgetful like that, and getting worse. It’s a whole lot more likely the iguana wandered in while he stepped out, Dervil didn’t notice and shut the thing inside at the end of the day.
“The morning sun coming through the windows probably woke it up,” Luxfer said. “Then it freaked when it couldn’t get out. I can see why Dervil doesn’t want to admit that, but in the meantime, I got birthday presents in tatters, and no way to tell when I’ll be able to get them.”
Others saw the occurrence in a more positive light.
“We been talking about going to paperless billing for years,” Cori Anders said. “This is a great example of why we should. Now, it wouldn’t have stopped the parcels from being damaged, but bill-wise, we’d be in a lot less of a mess. This iguana was a wakeup call.”
Island authorities say the iguana was gone on arrival and has not yet been apprehended.