Iguana Destroys Mail In Blacktip Island’s Post Office

iguana in PO

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.

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Wednesday! Dolphin time!

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Blacktip Island Weather

Sunday March 14

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Temperature: 77

Humidity 65%

Precipitation – None

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Blacktip Island Scientists Create Glow-In-The-Dark Sharks

glow in the dark sharks

One of the reef sharks Blacktip Island researchers are modifying to glow in the dark, prior to being injected with bioluminescence. (photo courtesy of Richard Ling)


 

A group of Blacktip Island geneticists, citing safety concerns, this week have released multiple glow-in-the-dark sharks within the island’s Caribbean reef shark population.

“Many people, especially visitors, are scared of sharks,” Tiperon University-Blacktip marine science professor Ernesto Mojarra said. “This allows people to see them better. If swimmers know where the sharks are, and aren’t, they’ll feel better about going into the water. This’ll be a game changer when tourism kicks in again.

“We got the idea from all the recent news stories about other glowing fish,” Mojarra said. “Lots of species bioluminesce. We just enhanced a natural process by flipping the switch on some of our reef sharks. One simple injection in the dorsal fin does the trick, almost like we’re tagging them, so there’s no real negative effect on the fish.”

Local residents praised the breakthrough.

“Safety wise, the glow isn’t so effective in the day, though you can sort of see them when it’s overcast,” Wendy Beaufort said. “But at night they’re quite beautiful. We chum around the resort docks in the evenings and watch the light show.

“They tried it with nurse sharks first because they were easier to tag,” Beaufort said. “But nurse sharks tend to just lie on the bottom, and no one’s scared of them, so it was pretty underwhelming. Then Ernesto’s team switched to reef sharks and BAM! things really took off. It makes night dives so much cooler, too.”

Animal rights activists condemned the practice.

“These are completely unnatural and unnecessary acts inflicted on wild animals,” Chrissy Graysby said. “There’s no sound, ethical reason for doing this to sharks. No one has ever been attacked by a shark on Blacktip Island. This is grossly unethical and goes beyond animal cruelty.

“There’s also been no studies of the long-term negative effects this process has on sharks,” Graysby said. “We have no data on whether these injections decrease the sharks’ lives or lessens their ability to hunt. Or of being eaten by other sharks. We’ve called the International the SPCA. They’re sending a team to investigate. If they can get across the borders.”

Island businesses, however, see the glowing sharks as an opportunity.

“Once tourism opens up, these suckers’ll be a hell of a draw,” Club Scuba Doo owner Ham Pilchard said. “The Chamber of Commerce posted some videos online, and they’re already getting a ton of hits. Right now, we’re ramping up getting as many sharks injected as possible.

“We’re primed to be the premier tourist destinations in the Western Hemisphere,” Pilchard said. “No one else has what we have. These glow sharks’ll be the new face of Blacktip Island tourism. Our motto’ll be ‘Blacktip: Island of the Glowing Sharks!’”

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Blacktip Island Weather

Sunday, March 7

Sunday, March 7, 2021
Temperature: 79
Humidity 66%
Precipitation – Not happening

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Iguana/Crab Races Debut On Blacktip Island

iguana races

A group of racing enthusiasts this week launched an iguana-and-land-crab racing league to help bolster their incomes. (photo courtesy of Kitty Terwolbeck)

 

In an effort to boost income while tourism is shut down due to COVID border closures, Blacktip Island sporting enthusiasts this week launched an iguana-and-land-crab racing league they hope to market to subscribers worldwide.

“It has everything: it’s a competition, it’s unique and people love a good race,” Rocky Shore said. “Clete Horn’s the one who came up with the idea of having those little, red, baby land crabs ride as jockeys on some of our island iguanas. It’s the novelty of the thing that’ll get folks to subscribe.

“The trick is to piss off the little crabs so they’ll clamp their claws down on an iguana’s back spike,” Shore said. “It’s a tricky balance—you don’t get the crab mad enough, it’ll let go mid-race and you’re disqualified; get it too pissed, it’ll turn on you and give you a nasty pinch.”

Animal rights activists say the races are blatant animal abuse.

“This is not some new sport. It’s textbook animal cruelty,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Harry Pickett said. “They abuse the crabs to get them to clutch the iguanas, then they abuse the iguanas by sticking the crabs on them. Neither crabs nor iguanas asked for this, and all would run away from it if they could.

“There’s no upside,” Pickett said. “There’s no mitigating factors. Quite the opposite. This is a horrific act, all for money and twisted entertainment. At the animals’ expense.”

Some on the small tropical island disagreed.

“Harry and his gang need to lighten up,” Goldie Goby said. “It’s just good fun, and the crabs and iguanas seem to enjoy it. They’re fine afterwards, and there’s no shortage of either on the island.

“You should see those iguanas tearing down the track, with little red crabs hanging on for dear life,” Goby said. “‘Tonio Fletcher’s got a couple of bad-ass iguanas that are beating all comers. No telling what he’s feeding them but they go like scalded . . . well, scalded iguanas.”

Organizers say proceeds have been minimal thus far.

“We’ve put a few races on YouTube to attract attention, build the interest, but we haven’t sold any subscriptions just yet,” Clete Horn said. “But all it takes is that one person seeing it and passing on the word, and we’ll be golden. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re nearly there.”

Island authorities have warned locals against betting on the races.

“As fun as these races are, gambling is still illegal,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “I’ve posted notices, and talked to all the parties involved, warning I will arrest anyone caught placing wagers. I gave ‘Tonio a second, sterner talking-to yesterday when he brought me my winnings.”

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Blacktip Island Weather

Sunday, Feb 28

Sunday, February 28, 2021
Temperature: 81
Humidity 68%
Precipitation – Zero

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Blacktip Island Thespians To Perform Ring Of The Nibelung Operas

Ring of the nibelung

Jessie Catahoula, left, as Sieglinde, and Hugh Calloway as Siegmund rehearse for the Blacktip Island Community Players’ spring production of Wagner’s ‘Der Ring Des Nibelungen’ Thursday afternoon. (photo courtesy of יוסי צבקר)

 

The Blacktip Island Community Players Thursday announced the group will perform all four opera’s in Richard Wagner’s ‘Der Ring Des Nibelungen’ cycle in the original German for their annual spring theater fundraising extravaganza.

“We were tired of doing the same old ‘Tora Tora Tora’ and ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ fare,” BICP creative director Doris Blenny said. “As a joke, someone suggested Wagner, and the idea really took off. We couldn’t agree on which opera to do—Das Rheingold is the most accessible, but it’s really just a prelude—so we went ahead and committed to the whole 15-hour epic. It’ll last all spring. If enough people come.

“We’re scouring the dump and the beaches for props and costumes,” Blenny said. “Helen Maples is working with anyone interested on boosting their vocal ranges, and Alison Diesel is giving everyone German lessons. This production will truly showcase the unique talent we have on Blacktip.”

Many in the community said the choice was fitting.

“Operas about heroes fighting gods, then at the end everybody dies and Valhalla gets destroyed?” Corrie Anders said. “Sounds like a standard Saturday night at the Ballyhoo, frankly. I mean, people already call it ‘Brawl-holla. It’s perfect. The horned helmets and spears and whatnot’ll make it even better.”

Others were uncertain.

“When Doris said ‘Wagner’ I thought she meant Robert Wagner,” Stoney Macadam said. “Now I’m really confused. I didn’t know he had a brother, much less that the brother wrote musicals. In German. I’d have studied German if I’d known.”

The cast includes:

Marina DeLow as Wotan

Payne Hanover as Fricka

Hugh Calloway as Siegmund

Jessie Catahoula as Sieglinde

Elena Havens as Siegfried

Lee Helm as Brunhild

Linford Blenny as Alberich

Antonio Fletcher as The Norns

“Had plenty of time to kill, so I figured why not learn some basic, myth-specific German and give it a shot?” Jessie Catahoula said. “Now, none of us can sing worth a damn, but that adds to the rustic appeal. We’re even looking at live streaming it so off-island people can see it.

“What really blows me away is the sheer scope of this production,” Catahoula said. “We’re not just staging a one-hour musical number. This is the biggest opera there is. It’s a definite go big or go home opportunity.”

Blenny hopes the operas will inspire future performers.

“I think the little ones will really like the story and the singing,” she said. “People talk about opera being unapproachable, but I think just the opposite is true. The kiddos should love it. Especially the brass and drums at the end of Götterdämmerung when everyone dies.”

Proceeds of the performances will go to the Blacktip Island chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

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Yay! It’s Wednesday!

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Blacktip Island Weather

s51

Sunday, February 21, 2021
Temperature: 77
Humidity 64%
Precipitation – Incoming

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