Video from Thursday afternoon of what two Blacktip Island residents claim was the mythical Manta Claus bringing Christmas gifts to island residents. (video courtesy of Linford Blenny)
A pair of Blacktip Island residents fishing from shore Christmas Eve recorded video of what they claim was Manta Claus on his way to deliver holiday gifts to islanders.
“It was almost dusk when me and ‘Tonio seen a commotion in the water just off the dock,” Linford Blenny said. “It was something big, flapping its wings. Pretty sure it had a red cap and a bag full of toys, too. I pulled out my phone right quick and got footage to prove it.”
Blenny’s companion confirmed the sighting.
“The fish stopped biting, there was a sparkle in the air and a tingle down my spine,” Antonio Fletcher said. “Knew something important was gonna happen out there. Could feel it down deep. Then BAM! there was Manta Claus flapping in the sea, just like the stories say.
“With Santa not being able to come to Blacktip this year ‘cause of the COVID quarantine, we knew Manta Claus would come early, doing double duty,” Fletcher said. “For years folks been saying he’s a myth. Well, now we got proof. This isn’t Dermott saying he saw a platypus behind the Sand Spit. We got by-God video.”
Many islanders welcomed the news.
“This was shaping up to be a rough Christmas for the kiddos, big and small, what with Santa being banned,” Chrissy Graysby said. “Word about Manta Claus spread around the island like you wouldn’t believe. It’s the happiest I’ve seen people in months.”
Others questioned the sighting.
“It’s a great island myth—the manta ray who brings goodies to good scuba divers, and dead lionfish to ones with crap buoyancy,” Jay Valve said. “This story picked up everyone’s spirits, but there’s no evidence this was anything but a normal, everyday manta ray.
Some brushed aside such criticism.
“If Jay wants to be a Scrooge, that’s fine, but he shouldn’t spoil the holiday for the rest of us,” Christa Goby said. “Besides, if you don’t really believe in Manta Claus, he won’t slip under your door and leave you any presents anyway. You just wait and see. “How do you think presents get to a tropical island, some old man in a fur coat and his reindeer?” Goby said. “Please. It’s Manta Claus and his eagle ray helpers who fill kids’ stockings and eat the conch fritters we leave out for him. Santa handles the gifts north of here, and Manta covers us from the West Pole.”