Sunday, December 5, 2021
Precipitation – Not a chance
Sunday, December 5, 2021
Precipitation – Not a chance
Sightings this week of ‘Blessie,’ a large aquatic creature purported to live in Blacktip Island’s landlocked booby pond, have island residents on edge, island authorities say.
“Past few days there’s been multiple reports of a large creature in and around the booby pond,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette. “Blessie sightings are nothing new. Difference is, this time it’s sober people who’re seeing her. That has folks scared. And keeping an eye on their pets and children.
“Started with Lee Helm seeing something splashing way out in the pond,” Marquette said. “Then Rocky Shore saw something crawling out onto the mud, and last night Ernestine Bass almost ran into some big animal with her car. There’s evidence something’s out there, but not precisely what. And how dangerous it is.”
Residents are divided over what the creature is.
“There’s been tales about Blessie for years,” Antonio Fletcher said. “Looks like a big log, but with a long neck. Grampa almost caught her once with a cast net. Figure she’s a dinosaur that survived. Got one like that in Scotland. Why not here?”
Others had different descriptions.
“Folks say she’s a manatee or a giant salamander,” Wade Soote said. “That just proves whatever Blessie is, she can change her appearance. Nobody knows how deep that pond is, or if it has an outlet to the sea. Most likely, she eats fish out there, then comes back to the warm pond to rest. Only a matter of time before she runs out of fish and switches to people.”
Local scientists refuted the claims.
“That shallow pond won’t support any creature that large,” Marine Parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “Something that big would have an obvious environmental impact. What does it eat and where does it poop?
“The Booby Pond Monster’s a charming wives’ tale passed down through generations, but she has no biological basis,” Schrader said. “Blessie looks like a log because she is a log. Seen by people who’ve been drinking. Or what have you.”
Eye witnesses stuck to their claims.
“I saw Blessie, plain as day, on my way to work in the morning,” divemaster Lee Helm said. “I reckon she’s the last of the Caribbean fur seals, hiding out in the pond. All the poop and stink in that pond, you think it’s all from birds?”
“Blessie’s out there, folks just scared to admit it,” he said. “You can find Blessie teeth and scales by the pond all the time. they just look like rocks. But she’s not dangerous—never been a verified attack on people or scuba divers. Only a threat to pets and feral chickens. And small children.”
Blacktip Island visitors and residents this week were vexed by bath and pool towels suddenly becoming water resistant, community leaders said.
“Damnedest thing I’ve ever seen,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “Started about four days ago, when all our guests started hollering they couldn’t dry off. It’s like somebody sprayed all our towels with Scotch Guard. We thought it was a guest playing a practical joke, but it’s the same story all over the island. It’s like trying to dry yourself with a trash bag.
“There’s not a resort, boat or house on the island with a towel that’ll dry a damn thing,” Skerritt said. “We got people shaking themselves like dogs on the dive boats, and the pool lounge chairs are packed with people drying in the sun after they shower. Guests’re hacked off and threatening to leave.”
Theories explaining the non-drying towels have swept the island.
“It ain’t rained in a while, and I reckon booby pond ‘water’ got in all the cisterns,” Linford Blenny said. “There’s so much goop and bird poop in that pond, anything it gets on can’t help but shed water.”
Others noted the phenomenon was limited to towels.
“Shirts and rags and whatnot dry just fine,” Christina Goby said. “It’s only the terrycloth stuff that won’t dry anything. Folks are using t-shirts to dry off, then hanging them on balconies to dry. It looks like hell, but the dive shops are selling shirts and hoodies like crazy.”
Local scientists are studying the phenomenon.
“At this point we’re looking for common variable,” Tiperon University-Blacktip hydrology professor Catalina Luxfer said. “We know it’s not the various soaps used, or the water from different sources. We’re looking at the possibility of it being caused by humidity or specific gravity of the salt air or barometric pressure inversion. And we have a separate team working on new, non-terrycloth towel technology.”
Old-time residents say the problem can’t be addressed by science.
“It’s the duppies doing it, y’know,” handyman Antonio Fletcher said. “Something, or someone, got ‘em riled up. They’re messing with folks to get even. Happened before, only with all the coconuts falling out the trees instead of towels not drying. It’s the duppies’ way of saying not to bathe so much, ‘cause that washes off your protective coating.”
Business owners have joined forces to investigate the mystery.
“Me and Rich and Sandy Bottoms, we’ve put our best staff on the case,” Blacktip Haven resort owner Elena Havens said. “One way or the other, we’re gonna get to the bottom of this, and if it turns out to be a bizarre prank, some practical joker whose initials are Jerrod Ephesians is gonna eat a can or two of Scotch Guard.”
Ephesians would neither confirm nor deny the allegations.
Sunday, November 21, 2021
Precipitation – On the way
Blacktip Island tourism leaders hope to put a positive spin on the annual winter jellyfish influx this weekend with the inaugural Jellyfish Days festival at the small Caribbean island’s Heritage House beach.
“We’ve got to attract tourists after the country’s been closed for so long because of COVID,” de facto island mayor Jack Cobia said. “Problem is, tourists’re coming back right when the jellyfish arrive en masse. We figured we’d flip the narrative, so to speak, and celebrate them instead of cussing them. The jellyfish, not the tourists.
“Hopefully guests’ll embrace the stings and spend a week with us,” Cobia said. “It’s a unique opportunity—nobody else in the Caribbean’s doing what we’re doing. Any sissy can dive in the jelly-free summers. This is adventure diving.”
Organizers say the celebration will focus on multiple aspects of the seasonal jellyfish boom.
“We’ll have classes on jellyfish ID, how to avoid them, and first-aid seminars for how to treat the various stings,” Christina Mojarra said. “We’ll also have multiple urinating contests so each person can discover their effective range, should they need to use that particular sting treatment.
“For entertainment, there’ll be dodge-jelly games on the beach, a Portuguese man-o-war eating contest, and a jellyfish costume parade,” Mojarra said. “The store’s already out of shower curtains and plastic drop cloths. We’ll also feature all kinds of locally-produced jellies—sea grape, hibiscus, iguana, you name it, as well as our soon-to-be-famous peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches.”
Local conservationists are critical of the event.
“Sure, the economy needs a boost, but this isn’t the way to do it,” the former-Reverend Jerrod Ephesians said. “A bunch of drunks flinging cnidarians at each other won’t have the positive effect Jack and Christina think it will. Best case, tourists’ll avoid us. Worst case, word’ll get back to the wild jellies, and it’ll be pure hell trying to dive.”
Government officials say the event, while in questionable taste, is legal.
“Sure, jellies can hurt like hell, but that’s no reason to wantonly kill them for sport,” marine park spokesperson Val Schrader said. “But if they’re not culling them from the marine park, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Many on the island, though, supported the celebration.
“It’s a welcome a stress relief for a lot of people here,” BC Flote said. “Jelly season’s all about welts and swelling. In a bad way. This shindig’s a not-so-passive-aggressive pressure release that’ll let lots of folks vent frustration. I, for one, am looking forward to slapping that a-hole Lee Helm upside the head with a moon jelly.”
Sunday, November 14, 2021
Precipitation – Not happening
Blacktip Island’s annual charity open-mic music festival, scheduled for Friday evening, were disrupted this morning by several groups reacting to a promotional flyer’s typographical error stating ‘snakes’ would be served at the festival, event organizers said.
“Took us a while to figure out the notices we’d put up all over the island said ‘snakes will be served,’ not ‘snacks will be served,’ Blacktip Island Music Club president Jay Valve said. “Out of the blue we had parents calling, yelling they were scared to bring their kids. Next thing we knew there’s protestors outside, hollering about animal cruelty. Then a second group showed up with pillow cases, hoping to get a snake or two. It’s been pandemonium.
“We’re trying to get folks settled down enough to have the festival,” Valve said. “There’s still a bunch of shouting protestors waving signs. And a few sad sacks wandering around looking for snakes. We’re not sure if we’ll be able to stage the festival at all, at this point.”
Residents had multiple interpretations of the typo.
“It’s absolutely reprehensible to think these people would capture live snakes and hand them out willy-nilly, regardless of the money raised being for a good cause,” Blacktip People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Harry Pickett said. “Also, snakes play a vital role on the island, keeping the ecosystem in balance. They’re part of the environment. But, frankly, they shouldn’t be brought together in large numbers.”
Others thought the notice indicated snakes would be served as food.
“I thought it was gonna be snakes-as-protein thing, like the rattlesnake stew they make in Texas,” Christina Goby said. “It’s a disappointment, really. There’re so few exotic food options on the island. We were all set for a dining adventure, now poof, nothing.”
Some hoped the event would help with home vermin control.
“I was looking forward to getting a little rock boa or two to have around the house, keep the rats and roaches in check,” Joey Pompano said. “They got my hopes up, then crushed them. As snake enthusiasts, we view this as a bait-and-switch situation. That’s dirty pool.”
Event organizers re-emphasized snakes will play no part in the festival.
“I can assure everyone zero snakes will be served, whether that’s handed out or sold as snacks or given food and beverage,” Valve said. “People need to take a deep breath and relax. No one’s foisting reptiles on them. We just want people to come and listen to some good local musicians.”
Some say the clarification is too little, too late.
“I don’t care what Jay says, this is still a serious situation,” Angela Fisher said. “Folks’re scared. Kids’re scared. Snakes’re scared. And sure, Blacktip snakes aren’t venomous, but they’re still icky.”
Other praised the concept of serving snakes.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea, giving them treats and beer,” Lee Helm said. “On this island, you make friends with the snakes, they like you and life gets easier.”
The Blacktip Times will update this evolving story throughout the day.