Sunday, April 24, 2022
Precipitation: On the way
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Precipitation: On the way
A typographical error on a Blacktip Island Marine Parks ‘Shark Week’ flyer Wednesday led to multiple protests and a small riot on the small Caribbean island, event organizers said.
“It was a simple typo—shark with a ‘t’ instead of a ‘k’—one that obviously didn’t mean what it said, but some people took it literally,” marine parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “Things spiraled out of control from there, but I suppose that’s the Blacktip way.
“We’ve had multiple protests outside the DoE office, demanding we cancel the event they think we’re planning,” Schrader said. “More worrisome, there’s been counter protestors attacking them, voicing support for it. And destroying property in the process. This worse than when the poetry society had its ‘poultry slam’ mix up.”
Protesters are demanding any and all events be cancelled.
“It’s all well and good to say it’s a typo, but that doesn’t address the damage it’s done. And’s still doing,” Rocky Shore said. “There’s folks who’re taking this seriously, making asses of themselves, and that creates a messy situation for everybody. Val and them need to come out with a statement saying that flyer’s wrong and telling folks to mind their manners.
“You can’t just throw something like that out there on this island,” Shore said. “I don’t understand why someone would want to celebrate something like that. Or even admit to it. But they’re coming out of the woodwork. And with Val not retracting that announcement, it begs the question of if it’s really a typo. We need to get to the bottom of this.”
Counter protesters have embraced the mix up.
“It’s genius—folks finally can celebrate being humans without feeling ashamed,” Linford Blenny said. “Most natural thing in the world, and people look at us like we’re bad people. That don’t matter, though. We’re spending this week practicing. The whole Bottoms family’s with us. Except Peachy. And Rosie.”
Other residents urged calm.
“It’s obviously an error. Come on, people, use your noggins,” Marcia Seagroves said. “No one in their right mind thinks we’d celebrate something like that. Or burn cars because of it. We’ll be picketing the picketers and the counter-picketers all week. Unless anyone decides to . . . celebrate. Then it’s every person for themself.”
Other locals had broader concerns.
“Mistake like this, makes you wonder how many other typos’re out there no one’s noticed,” Antonio Fletcher said. “Could be people all over doing things wrong and not know it. What if it’s s’posed to be ‘celebrate’ instead of ‘celibate’? Or ‘porn and beans?’ Makes you wonder, don’t it?”
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Blacktip Island children of all ages will celebrate Easter Sunday with a Department of Environment-sponsored sea turtle egg hunt along the small Caribbean island’s beaches to raise awareness of endangered sea turtle nests, DoE officials said.
“They’re not real turtle nests, of course,” marine parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “It’s the wrong season. But when nesting season comes around this summer, we aim to have a small army of beach walkers who know what to look for so we can track all of the green and loggerhead turtle hatchings.
“We dug fake nests all over the island and filled them with dyed pingpong balls to simulate turtle eggs,” Schrader said. “Then we used tractor tires to simulate turtle tracks up the beach. The kids dig into them like little terriers—sand flies everywhere. The smaller ones go in head-first to their waists.”
Some on the island criticized the activity.
“You’re teaching children to dig up turtle nests. That can’t end well,” Frank Maples said. “Most adults can make the distinction between a spring egg hunt and summer nest spotting, but some of the younger kiddos can’t. This could lead to hordes of preschoolers destroying endangered nests in a few months’ time.”
Organizers downplayed such scenarios.
“Kids are smarter than that. And we explain the difference,” DoE volunteer Melissa Snapper said. “Plus, there’s only about three kids on the island, so, worst case, they can’t do too much damage. It’s the half-wit adults we’re worried about. But that’ll be more than offset by our raising awareness of the nests. A bigger danger is folks getting snake bit.”
Local retailers are supporting the hunt.
“We’ll have food and drink booths set up near every faux-nest site,” Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort manager Kay Valve said. “We’ll serve turtle-related fare like turtle steaks and turtle medallions. There’ll be no mock-turtle soup, but we will have real-turtle soup and mock anyone who eats it. Oh, and chocolate turtles, too, if the heat doesn’t melt them.
“There’ll also be a nest-digging contest, a crawl-up-the-beach-on-your-belly contest and pin the head on the turtle game,” Valve said. “We’ll also have pingpong tables and paddles for anyone who fancies a game with the faux eggs they find.”
Local bands The Social Morays and Turtlehead will perform in the evening.
Scuba divers on Blacktip Island’s east coast Thursday discovered clay tablet fragments inscribed with what experts say is the never-deciphered Linear A writing system used by ancient Minoans.
“It was the damnedest thing,” divemaster Gage Hoase said. “Last week’s storms had shifted the sand around and uncovered a bunch of stuff. I was looking at a sea slug on some exposed rock and noticed a flat piece of clay with some scratchings on it. Then another.
“I didn’t think anything of it ‘til I showed them to Lucille Ray,” Hoase said. “She’s a history buff, and her jaw about hit the ground. Said she’s only ever seen Linear-whatsits in textbooks and museums. We’re going out again this afternoon to see if there’s any more.”
Experts are divided on how the fragments came to Blacktip Island.
“Linear A was used solely by the Minoans, and no one’s used it since about 1400 BC,” Ray said. “The only known samples of it are from Crete and the Greek mainland. The obvious answer is the fragments were stolen from a museum, then fell, or were tossed, overboard. And since there’s no marine growth on them, that happened fairly recently.”
“No growth on ‘em ‘cause they was buried in the sand. Long time ago,” handyman Antonio Fletcher said. “That means Minoans visited Blacktip way back when. They were a seafaring people, you know.
“End of the Bronze Age, Mediterranean culture collapsed, folks were on the move,” Fletcher said. “Why couldn’t Minoans have sailed to Blacktip? Good chance they’re our ancestors. There’s locals who got a Greek look to them. Could be descended from ancient Cretans.
Some in the small Caribbean island’s academic community disputed the find.
“It’s just bits of clay with some random scratching on them,” Tiperon University-Blacktip archeology professor Dunning von Kruger said. “There’s no indication it’s Linear A, or any other writing system. It’s far more likely to be a child’s scibbling than ancient writing.
“There’s also an excellent chance this is a weak attempt at a hoax,” von Kruger said. “It’s Gage and Lucille we’re talking about here. It smacks of a sad cry for attention. And validation.”
Experts, meanwhile are keeping a close watch on the fragments.
“We have the fragments locked up at the museum to study, with archival gloves and whatnot,” Blacktip Island Museum curator Lefty Wright said. “Mostly relying on YouTube and the Google. We think we have a good shot at finally deciphering Linear A. The pussy-cat pictogram’s the key.
“The national museum on Tiperon’s interested, too. They’re sending one of their top people over to have a look. She specializes in Medieval barter systems, though, so that may be a wash. Worst case, the fragments’ll go to the Blacktip Island Museum, and sit alongside the cannon ball and turtle shell.”
Hoase and Ray have not disclosed the exact site of the find to discourage potential looters.
Sunday, April 3, 2022
The Blacktip Island Art Society this week announced a team of its scuba-certified members will recreate a version of Pablo Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ underwater in the sand near the small Caribbean island’s Eagle Ray Cove resort.
“We wanted to make a statement, show art is for everyone,” BIAS president Christina Mojarra said. “‘Guernica’ is one of the iconic paintings of the 20th Century, but no one we talked to had heard of it or knew who painted it. Our aim is to change that by creating a mural-sized line-drawing reproduction on the sea floor for swimmers to see.
“The painting resonates on Blacktip because it looks so much like The Last Ballyhoo bar on a Saturday night,” Mojarra said. “It’s touch and go weather-wise when we’ll be able to do it. We need a flat calm day with no surge and no current. That’s why we chose the sheltered lagoon down by Eagle Ray Cove.”
BIAS members say the project presents unexpected challenges.
“In practice sessions, the conchs destroyed our designs as fast as we could draw them,” Reg Gurnard said. “We had to round them all up and pen them well away from our work area. We also have underwater sentries to shoo away stingrays and eagle rays.
“It was a unanimous vote to declare the site a no-scuba zone for as long as the image is viable,” Gurnard said. “It wouldn’t last five minutes with divers kicking across it. The artists have all been picked for their buoyancy skills—one stray kick could ruin the piece. Folks are welcome to view it from the surface with a diving mask. Or a glass-bottom boat.”
Some on the island were critical of the project.
“I understand wanting to inspire a love of art, but this isn’t the way to do it,” Helen Maples said. “Disturbing that much sand will wreak havoc with the marine environment. And putting conchs in pens? Chasing rays? That’s flat-out harassment of marine life and needs to be fined, at the very least.”
Marine Parks officials say the project, though ill-conceived, is legal.
“It’s outside the park—barely—so we can’t do anything to stop it,” marine parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “I had a talk with all the BIAS divers about respecting marine life, but they were all so zoned in on their scratchings, I’m not sure how much good it did.”
Most island residents, however, look forward to the re-creation.
“I love to see things like this done with the wider community in mind,” Angela Fisher said. “We plan to take the little ones out snorkeling so they can watch the artists in action, maybe inspire them to do some sand drawing of their own one day.”
Eagle Ray Cove has created a special ‘Guernica’ cocktail to mark the event and will have ‘Guernica’-themed t-shirts, caps and other related items for sale.