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Happy Wednesday!

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Blacktip Island Weather

24

Sunday, November 13

Temperature: 82

Humidity: 68%

Precipitation: Not anytime soon

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Viking Runes On Blacktip Island Reef Shock Local Historians

viking runes

Detail of the Old Norse runes, estimated to be from the 12th Century, carved into a piece of submerged coral, found by visiting scuba divers off Blacktip Island’s east coast. (photo courtesy of Dagny)

The discovery this week of Medieval-era Norse runes carved into coral on Blacktip Island’s Hammerhead Reef has historians and archeologists debating their authenticity, as well as the possibility Viking explorers could have visited the small Caribbean island in pre-Columbian times.

“A dive guest was the first to notice them,” Club Scuba Doo dive manager Finn Kiick said. “Came up yapping about somebody carved on the coral. With that graffitied-up coral in the South Pacific a while back, we quick-timed it down to see what was up and hopefully ID the yahoos who did it.

“I nearly spit my reg when we found these Lord of the Rings-looking letters chiseled into the coral head,” Kiick said. “We had no clue what they were, but we took pictures and researched them on the internet and VOILA! they turned out to be Viking.”

University experts confirmed those findings.

“They’re definitely Old Norse— Elder Futhark runes, to be precise,” Tiperon University-Blacktip linguistics chair Dr. Dunning von Kruger said. “There’s been a bit of degradation since they were carved, probably in the 12th Century, but they appear to claim the island for a King Hrothgar. We have no idea why they would inscribe that underwater. Our theory is they were worried about attacks from local mermen and wanted to get the local ocean gods on their side.”

Local historians are focused on further authentication.

“There’s always been rumors of Vikings landing on Blacktip,” island historian Smithson Altschul said. “Now we have proof. Dunning’s no Viking expert, but she did write that paper on Visigoths, so that’s close. Modern Blacktippers got their marauding mentality from those ancient Norsemen, and there are lots of blue-eyed folks on the island. We’re looking at island topography now to see where the most likely site is for finding a Viking longhouse.”

Some historians, however, disagreed.

“The idea of accepting this graffiti as a Viking relic with no other corroborating evidence is ridiculous,” TU-B archeology professor Fannie Bottoms said. “How—and why—would Vikings dive 30 feet deep on the reef and carve graffiti?

“I know a little Old Norse. It’s not an ancient land claim,” Bottoms said. “It reads, ‘Björn was here. ABBA forever.’ The most likely source is the roaring-drunk Swedish dive club staying at Blacktip Haven last year. I’m calling Occam’s Razor on this— what’s more likely, ancient runes or modern graffiti?”

One local dive operator is taking advantage of the find by expanding its educational offerings.

“We whipped up a specialty Viking Diver course overnight,” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Reg Latner said. “It’s a four-dive course that focuses on Viking culture and history, how to read runes and how to protect artifacts like these.

“Guests’ll do their training dives in Viking gear, horned helmet and all,” Latner said. “We won’t have them carve stuff in coral, of course. We’ll have ‘em make inscriptions in the sand with lionfish spears, then move on to sword fighting and pillaging.”

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And now, here’s dolphins

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Blacktip Island Weather

23

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Temperature: 84

Humidity: 73%

Precipitation: Take a rain jacket

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Candidate Shakeup Upends Blacktip Island Mayor’s Race

election shenanigans

Blacktip Island’s League of Women Voters has been busy this week drumming up voters for Saturday’s contentious mayoral election. (photo courtesy of Leigh Shore)

Following accusations of intimidation by one mayoral candidate, Blacktip Island’s already hotly-contested mayor’s race saw the three other candidates drop out this week and throw their support behind an unlooked-for dark-horse challenger to incumbent Jack Cobia.

“Jack’s a nasty one to cross,” former candidate Rocky Shore said. “Him talking about the fire department being useless and the police being understaffed aren’t policy points. They’re threats. He’s had folks burned out and beat up before. I’m not gonna stand in those crosshairs.”

Other former candidates echoed that sentiment.

“Jack sitting at the bar with his drunk buddies saying how ‘it’d be a shame if something happened’ to me, that’s purposeful and dangerous,” Christina Mojarra. “It’s the definition of stochastic terrorism. Jack’s responsible for any harm that comes to any of us.”

Cobia refuted the claims.

“I’ve never threatened so much as a fly,” he said. “These are just thin-skinned crybabies who can’t handle politics and the little digs that go along with it. Rocky or Christina get hurt, it’s because folks don’t like them sticking their noses into other folks’ business.”

After discussions with island residents, the former candidates put forward Dermott Bottoms as the person most likely to beat the heavily-favored Cobia.

“We took a straw poll, and Dermott’s name kept popping up,” former candidate Sally Port said. “People like him, and if Jack tries to get rough, Dermott’s big enough, and ornery enough to whip Jack’s butt without half trying.”

Bottoms welcomed the challenge.

“Jack comes after me, I’ll wallop him good,” he said. “Been in office too long, y’know. Too old for it now. Don’t have the people’s interest at heart. Roads are bad. Booby pond stinks. Rafe Marquette writes too many drink-driving tickets. I get elected, all that changes. Then I’m gonna sit at the bar all day and drink beer. More useful than whatever it is Jack does.”

Cobia brushed aside that criticism.

“I’m not too old, but Dermott’s too crazy,” he said. “He’s got no clue what the mayor actually does. There’s lots of things to preside over and whatnot. Big responsibility, keeping this little rock full of crazies from killing each other. A vote for Dermott’s a vote for chaos. And I don’t think he realizes the job doesn’t draw a salary. Or a beer allowance.”

Blacktip Island’s mayoral election will be this Saturday at the small Caribbean island’s Heritage House. The island’s lone police constable will be on hand to prevent any campaign-related violence, electioneering or drinking.

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When the whales are all right . . .

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Blacktip Island Weather

22

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Temperature: 83

Humidity: 71%

Precipitation: Not today, Satan

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Blacktip Island Players To Stage ‘Gilgamesh’ Underwater Operetta

gilgamesh

Alison Diesel, front left, and Jessie Catahoula, front right, and other cast members walk through the ‘Smiting of Humbaba’ scene from the Blacktip Island Community Players’ during an on-land rehearsal for the new underwater operetta, ‘Gilgamesh.” (photo courtesy of Kadumago)

The Blacktip Island Community Players this week announced they will take their audiences back to Second Millennium BCE Sumer with their 2022 fall production, an underwater operetta based on the ancient Sumerian creation myth the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh.’

“We try to stretch ourselves with our fall plays,” BICC creative director Doris Blenny said. “Last year’s underwater ‘Pirates of Penzance,’ with actors in full-face masks and live-streamed to all the bars, was a rousing success, so we decided to do the same thing with ‘Gilgamesh.’ We had to create our own scores and librettos, of course, but that just enhanced the growth opportunity.

“It’s the oldest recorded story in the world, and it has so much in common, in terms of theme and sensibility, with life on Blacktip today’,” Blenny said. “We had input from The Blacktip Island Literary Society as well as local cryptoarcheologists. Coral heads will serve as the city of Uruk, and sea plumes will be Inanna’s huluppu tree. The effect will be otherworldly.”

Actors were excited about the new material.

“Gilgamesh’s really the world’s first buddy film,” Alison Diesel said. “Him and wild-man Enkidu basically travel the world, taking names and kicking ass. They save the goddess’ tree, whack Humbaba the giant, then smite the Bull of Heaven.

“With Inanna being the goddess of love and war, well, it’s something everybody can relate to,” Diesel said. “And to make it even more relevant for today’s viewers, with the city of Uruk being in the mix, we added some Middle Earth uruk-orcs, too.”

Others emphasized the music and casting.

“Payne Hanover and Elena Havens worked night and day to come up with the music and lyrics,” assistant director Helen Maples said. “It may sound reminiscent of their ‘Nudibranchs—The Musical’ score, but time was tight, and the songs take on an added resonance underwater.

“Casting-wise, Dermott Bottoms was the obvious choice for Enkidu the wild man,” Maples said. “And frankly, during rehearsals, we all get a kick out of him going berserk and beating the stuffing out of Lee Helm, playing the Bull of Heaven.”

Other cast members include:

  • Cal Batten as Gilgamesh
  • Jessie Catahoula as Inanna
  • Finn Kiick as Ishtar
  • Alison Diesel as Humbaba
  • Jerrod Ephesians as the orc chieftain

BICC leaders say audience participation will be encouraged throughout the performance.

“This will be an immersive, collaborative experience for everyone,” Blenny said. “We’ll especially need extra orc soldiers of Uruk when they charge out to confront Humbaba.”

Performances will be Saturday and Sunday afternoons in November. Proceeds from the show will go to the Blacktip Island Cryptoarcheology Society.

All audience members will be required to pass a Breathalyser test prior to entering the water following last year’s unfortunate ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ incident during the BICC’s Hannukah play.

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The Wednesday Morning Commute

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