Category Archives: Scuba Diving

Underwater Lawn Dart Tourney Set For Saturday

Lawn dart tourney

Lawn dart tournament organizers are urging safety at Saturday’s double-elimination contest (illustration courtesy of Cori Anders)

A group of sports enthusiasts Wednesday announced Blacktip Island’s first underwater lawn dart tournament will take place Saturday afternoon in the Diddley’s Landing sand flats to raise money for local charities.

“We had fun with lawn darts when we were kids and wanted to relive that,” Hugh Calloway said. “Rosie Bottoms found an old set from back in the ‘70s, and we tried them out on the beach. Alcohol was involved, and we had some close calls, safety-wise. That’s when we hit on the idea of using them underwater.

“They move slower in the water, so even if one does hit you, it’s not going quite as fast,” Calloway said. “You get the same adrenaline rush, but without as much potential pain. We wear lead hard-hat diving boots so you stick to the bottom, and helmets are recommended. Full face if possible.”

Players raved about the game.

“I smile seeing young people experience the joys and terrors of Jarts,” Cori Anders said. “It’s like horseshoes, or cornhole, but with big metal spikes raining down. I mean, sure, they’re moving slower, but with those lead boots, you can’t run when one’s coming right at you.

“It’ll be a double-elimination tournament, with any scuba-certified resident or guest encouraged to enter,” Anders said. “The winner gets what we’re sure will be the coveted Golden Jart trophy. We’ll also have Marissa the nurse standing by, just in case.”

Some residents focused on the game’s historical context.

“These darts are modeled on the ancient Roman plumbata,” Society for Creative Anachronism chapter Seneschal Catalina Luxfer said. “Roman foot soldiers would lob them at enemy formations, much like modern dart enthusiasts do. They did incredible damage. And with the darts moving slower in the water, we can study more precisely the dynamics of their flight and impact and improve the design.”

Others questioned the safety of the event.

“Lawn darts were banned a long time ago for a bloody-good reason,” Reg Gurnard said. “They were impaling people left and right. Killing children, even. Reviving this horror, even underwater, will get people hurt. If one’s coming at you, the most you can do is lean away. It’s still a heavy, sharp spearhead flying at you.”

Calloway downplayed those concerns.

“We’ve run trial tourneys underwater and no one’s been hurt. Much,” he said. “The biggest problem has been barracudas swooping in and nipping at the shiny spikes and knocking them off course and into players. But that adds to the excitement, really. And it’s for a good cause.”

Proceeds from the tournament will go to the Blacktip Island Divemaster Retirement Fund. The tournament can be viewed in person by certified divers, or on a live feed at Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort bar.

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Blacktip Island Weather


Sunday, May 7, 2023

Temperature: 84

Humidity: 73%

Precipitation: Soon come

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Blacktip Island Community Players To Stage ‘Book Of Moron’

book of moron

From left to right, Blacktip Island Community Players Payne Hanover, Marina DeLow, Gage Hoase, Jessie Catahoula, Lee Helm and Alison Diesel will star in the BICP’s typo-inspired production of ‘The Book of Moron’ at the Caribbean island’s Heritage House this weekend. (photo courtesy of the State Library of South Australia)

The Blacktip Island Community Players Wednesday announced their annual spring musical will be ‘The Book of Moron,’ a celebration of life on the small Caribbean island, at the island’s Heritage House this Saturday and Sunday evenings.

“It started as a typo, but the response was so overwhelming, we just went with it,” BICP artistic director Doris Blenny said. “We’ve never had so many people turn out for auditions. This is the first time we’ve had to turn people away.

“We had to change the songs and dialogue, of course, but there’s a ton of folks volunteering to do that, too,” Blenny said. “Frankly, on this island, a play like this writes itself. It’s really a day-in-the-life sort of narrative, set mostly in bars. And at the dump.”

Cast members say the play addresses the island’s existential angst.

“It’s the story of Temperance League organizers trying to reform residents of a small island,” Payne Hanover said. “The locals, of course, want nothing to do with them. There’s a recurring gag where the Temperance people use big words and the locals think they’re talking about fancy wine.

“There’s a couple of big party scenes, and a big anti-Temperance riot at the dump,” Hanover said. “It’s Blacktip Island in a nutshell, really. And we made some of the musical numbers karaoke so the audience can participate, too.”

Cast members include:

  • Payne Hanover as Carrie Natation
  • Marina DeLow as Billy Sunday
  • Gage Hoase as Gnarly Thompson
  • Alison Diesel as Bud Lightning
  • Cal Batten as Holden Hiscock
  • Jessie Catahoula as the Pirate Queen
  • Lee Helm as JoJo the Wonderdog

Some residents questioned the choice of material.

“We were hoping for something a little less controversial this year,” Chrissy Graysby said. “The younger kiddos are still traumatized after last year’s ‘Nudibranch’ musical, and that on-stage melee ‘Tora Tora Tora’ turned into. We keep hoping they’ll do a nice, family-friendly, animal story, like ‘Pet Sematary.’”

Others praised the play.

“Celebrates our heritage, y’know,” Dermott Bottoms said. “This’s the kind of thing makes Blacktip what it is today. Makes us proud to be Blacktippers.”

Alcohol will be available at a makeshift bar outside the Heritage House. All proceeds from the performances will go to the island’s Salvation Army chapter.

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Blacktip Island Weather


Sunday, April 30, 2023

Temperature: 82

Humidity: 71%

Precipitation: Needed, but no

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Blacktip Island Dolphin Squeaks Translate As French, Researchers Say

french dolphins

Dolphin researchers on Blacktip Island have discovered the resident pods all speak French, with differing accents from pod to pod. (photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

A team of marine biologists attempting to communicate with resident dolphin pods around Blacktip Island this week discovered the cetaceans’ vocalizations, when translated to human speech, are in French, the lead researcher said Thursday.

“We’ve been working on audible communications for a while, but this caught us totally off guard,” Tiperon University-Blacktip marine biology chair Goby Graysby said. “We set acoustic buoys all around the island to record the dolphins’ squeaks and clicks. When we ran the sounds through a new artificial intelligence program, voila, turns out they’re speaking French. I don’t speak French personally, but I know what it sounds like.

“The question now is, ‘why French?’” Graysby said. “And why French in a part of the Caribbean, where there’ve never been any French colonies? Also, different pods have different accents—the south-enders sound Quebecois—so we’re also gathering DNA to see whether the different pods have different origins.”

Team members tasked with translating the recording transcripts were stunned.

“We thought we’d get random Pidgin something-or-other, if anything, so this really blindsided us,” TU-B genetics professor Vera Cuda said. “Not many of us are conversant in French on this little rock, and our French is all pretty dodgy. We got Josselin Brittany from the language school to listen to the translations, and it turns out our dolphins—or dauphins, I suppose—are quite fluent.

“Apparently, they’re fond of the subjunctive, which would speak to a certain wistful outlook and world view,” Cuda said. “It’s an interdisciplinary project now, and we’re sending our findings out to other dolphin researchers around the world to see if all dolphins speak French, or if this is a localized phenomenon.”

Some in the local scientific community questioned the findings.

“Dolphins no more speak French than I do Mandarin,” Dr. Azul Tang said. “They ran random sounds through an untested algorithm and got random results. They’re not talking to Flipper. These sounds in no way correspond to any known language’s syntax, grammar or verb tenses. Goby and his gang are just milking this for grant money.”

Long-time locals, though, were not surprised by the study’s results.

“Been warning folks for a while the French plan to invade Blacktip,” handyman Antonio Fletcher said. “Reckon they’ll listen to me now. De Gaulle brainwashing them dolphins was the first step. Next it’ll be reef fish, then iguanas, then it’s fiat accompli—them Frenchies fly in and it’s goodbye Blacktip Island, hello Île Pointe Noire.”

Researchers are continuing their efforts to communicate with the dolphins.

“They’re cheeky monkeys,” Goby said. “This morning I asked them if the sea was chilly and they all laughed at me. Kept repeating something about the ocean being a strawberry. I don’t get it, but I’ll keep trying.”

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The race is on

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Blacktip Island Weather


Sunday, April 23, 2023

Temperature: 81

Humidity: 72%

Precipitation: Gonna be a scorcher

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Blacktip Island Judge Codifies Right To Be Rude

right to be rude

Blacktip Island judge Harry Bottoms approved a new law protecting residents right to be rude to each other. (photo illustration courtesy of Blogtrepreneur)

A Blacktip Island magistrate Thursday approved controversial legislation guaranteeing island residents the right to be publicly rude to each other, making certain minor public disturbances legal.

“It’s about time this passed,” Alison Diesel said. “Friday, Saturday nights, any little comment’ll set somebody off, then Rafe Marquette has to haul them to jail for some rando verbal dust-up. Same at the store, when folks get banned for complaining about the prices. Now, we can bitch about all kinds of little things with no legal blow back.

“Blacktippers have a natural flair for rudeness, and punishing us for that wasn’t right,” Diesel said. “It also covers folks’ rights to be rude right back, so it’s a cool two-edged sword. Lets people bicker and snark and be a-holes and go about their business.”

Island authorities praised the ruling.

“There’s been times, trying to keep the peace, I’d run out of jail space,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Only got the one cell, you know, so it fills up fast. People used to be charged with starting trouble, but now that’s done with. This lets me concentrate on physical altercations and ignore the yelling matches.”

Others were more cautious.

“Big worry’s people may take advantage of the new law,” de facto island mayor Jack Cobia said. “Locals going out of their way to be rude, well, that could chase away tourists, and then where’d we be? All out of work, that’s where. At minimum, there needs to be a stipulation you can’t be rude to tourists. Harry’s a dumbass for passing this law.”

Island judge Harry Bottoms disagreed.

“Jack’s a dumbass for making that statement,” he said. “But then, that’s always been his stock-in-trade. This law’s is based on the strong precedents set in Chromis v. Ray and Damsel v. Goby. It frees up vital community resources and puts responsibility on the individual. Folks that don’t like it need to toughen up, grow a thicker skin.

“Also, the law does not protect the consequences of being rude,” Bottoms said. “Anything that goes beyond verbal fireworks’ll still be prosecuted vigorously. This has been a long time in coming.”

Mayor Cobia plans to appeal the decision. Bottoms, the only judge on the small Caribbean island, has promised to ignore the appeal.

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Scotty always was a bit different . . .

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