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Blacktip Islanders The Focus Of Psychological Study

Psychologists will descend on Blacktip Island to study the widespread abnormal behavior of its population.

Psychologists will descend on Blacktip Island to study the widespread abnormal behavior of its population.

Blacktip Island and its residents will be the subject of a large-scale abnormal psychology study, the Island Psychology Association announced Thursday.

“We couldn’t create this kind of control group if we tried,” IPA president Elysia Fromm said. “You read about populations like this, but you never expect to actually find one. It’s like The Lord of the Flies, only scarier.

“The percentage of the general population with personality disorders and psychoses is six to eight percent,” Fromm said. “On Blacktip, it’s close to 90 percent. You’d think there’s an industrial-strength crazy magnet buried in the center of the island. It’s good they’re all on one isolated island, for them and the rest of the world.”

The study was prompted by an article, published earlier this year in the American Psychiatric Journal, that focused on several Blacktip Island residents.

“A shrink on holiday caught one of ‘Tonio Fletcher’s rants about how he’s Fletcher Christian reincarnated,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “Then she saw James Conlee do a karaoke duet of “Summer Nights” with a barracuda he caught. Next thing you know, we got pointy-head psychobabblers spying on us, talking about us.”

IPA researchers will set up observation blinds in bars and other public places. Psychologists will also disguise themselves as divemasters and construction workers to intermingle with the island population.

“It’s old school nature versus nurture stuff,” lead researcher Graysby Jung said. “Are residents mentally unstable when they arrive? Does island life lead to instability? Or do the subjects come here with mild mental disorders that get worse with after exposure to the local populace?”

Local mental health experts are unimpressed with the proposed study.

“It’s a small island. Normal people don’t move here,” said Tiperon University-Blacktip’s psychology department chair Sigmund Skinner. “Blacktippers don’t suffer from insanity. We quite enjoy it.”

Island officials went a step further.

“We’re a welcoming people,” Cobia said. “In the real world they lock you up for being bat shit, but on Blacktip you’re one of the gang. If you can’t handle crazy, get off the island.

“Now, all these headshrinkers sneaking around only make things worse. They got folks jumpy, not trusting each other more than usual,” Cobia said. “And I don’t care what that squinty-eyed boat driver says. I’m not schizophrenic. And neither am I.”

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Underwater Golf Comes To Blacktip Island

A groundskeeper prepares the first tee at Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort’s new underwater gold course for Friday’s grand opening.

A groundskeeper prepares the first tee at Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort’s new underwater golf course for Friday’s grand opening.

Blacktip Island golfers will tee off underwater Friday when Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort opens its 18-hole underwater golf course, allowing scuba divers to tour the island’s reefs while golfing.

“A lot of our guests felt left out,” resort owner Sandy Bottoms said. “Scuba golf reaches out to a broader demographic eager for underwater activities and topside attractions.

“It’s the first of its kind in the Caribbean,” Bottoms said “There was a place over in China tried it last year, but their caddies kept drowning.”

“It’s like regular golf, really,” course designer Rocky Shore said, “Except the course hazards are hungry barracuda, coral heads and jellyfish.”

“Another challenge is mantis shrimp claiming the holes,” Shore said. “We shoo them out, but they scuttle right back. Then one claw snap and BAM! your ball’s in a hundred pieces.”

Resort guests had mixed reactions to the new activity.

“I like to dive, and my wife likes to golf,” visitor Buddy Brunnez said. “Now we can dive and golf together. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. For either of us.”

Non-golfing divers complain the course is laid out across a dozen of the island’s most popular dive sites.

“They’re dropping folks into an incredibly fragile ecosystem to flail around with clubs,” Blacktip Haven resort owner Elena Havens said. “We’ve already seen scolfers blasting out of coral heads with pitching wedges and whacking balls at stingrays.

“And what of the habitat destroyed creating this atrocity?” Haven said.

Bottoms was quick to allay environmental concerns.

“We chose sandy areas for each hole,” Bottoms said. “There was no need to landscape. Well, not too much, anyway. And our course rule is you add a stroke to your score every time you damage coral.”

For island dive professionals, safety is a bigger concern.

“You can yell, ‘fore’ all you want down there, but no one’ll hear you,” said divemaster Marina DeLow. “I had two divers get plunked today. And playing 18 holes, they’re gonna have yahoos blowing their no-decompression limits left and right.”

“We put all these holes in 20 feet of water or less,” Bottoms said. “Getting bent shouldn’t be an issue. Unless you’re a bad golfer. Or get a hole with a mantis shrimp in it.”

Bottoms also plans to build a knee-deep miniature golf course for non-divers and children too young to be certified.

“There’ll be an underwater shopping mall, too,” Bottoms said. “It’ll be tasteful, though, really spruce up the reef.”

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Blacktip Island Resort Launches Lionfish Spa

A free-range Indo-Pacific lionfish readies for a day’s work at Blacktip Haven’s new Lionfish Beauty Spa. (photo courtesy of Paula Whitfield)

A free-range Indo-Pacific lionfish readies for a day’s work at Blacktip Haven’s new Lionfish Beauty Spa. (photo courtesy of Paula Whitfield)

Blacktip Haven resort will open the Lionfish Beauty Spa this weekend as part of the resort’s continuing effort to combat the invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish overwhelming the Caribbean island’s reefs.

“Other resorts encourage scuba divers to hunt lionfish and kill them,” Blacktip Haven owner Elena Havens said. “They serve lionfish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But karma’s a harsh mistress, even on the piscine level. Our goal’s to keep lionfish from destroying the reefs without us becoming killers.

“This spa lets us welcome lionfish as part of the solution instead of demonizing them. We can’t beat them and we won’t kill them, so we’re joining with them.”

Spa patrons will be able to submerge their hands, feet, or entire bodies in specially designed lionfish pools, where the voracious predators will eat any dry or damaged skin.

“Whether it’s calloused feet, chapped lips, or a bad outbreak of psoriasis, these lionfish will work wonders for you,” Blacktip Haven masseuse Jessie Catahoula said. “It’s a mani-pedi and so much more!”

“I wish I’d thought of it,” said Blacktip Island Chamber of Commerce president and Club Scuba Doo owner Ham Pilchard. “You see spas like this in Europe, but with minnows. It took someone with Elena’s special vision to adapt that to Blacktip.”

Local environmentalists are supportive as well.

“No lionfish are harmed in the spa, and the pools are open to the sea so the fish can come and go as they please,” Blacktip Island PETA head Harry Pickett said. “Elena also makes sure the fish get regular rest periods, and at least one day off per week to rejuvenate.”

As an added benefit to customers, the spa will also use lionfish venom as a skin-tightening agent.

“The toxin in their dorsal spines is chemically similar to Botox, and renders similar results,” local marine biologist Joey Pompano said. “It’s uncanny.”

“One spine poke in the cheek and you look years younger for the next three, four weeks,” Catahoula said. “Plus, it’s all natural, 100% organic and gluten free.

“The idea may sound fishy,” Catahoula said, “but the results speak for themselves.”

The spa plans to explore additional uses for the lionfish.

“On the molecular level, lionfish toxin’s structurally quite similar to Viagra,” Havens said. “That could open up a whole new line of spa treatment, but no one’s had the courage to put that to the test. Yet.”

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Blacktip Island Players to Stage Medieval Favorite

The Blacktip Island Community Players will perform a modern version of ‘The Somonyng of Everyman’ on a partially-submerged stage on the Caribbean Island’s west coast.

The Blacktip Island Community Players will perform a modern version of ‘The Somonyng of Everyman’ on a partially-submerged stage on the Caribbean Island’s west coast.

The Blacktip Island Community Players will perform the classic Medieval morality play ‘The Somonyng of Everyman’ November 21 – December 6 in their annual Fall Extravaganza.

“We felt ‘Everyman’ offered the perfect run-up to the December holidays,” said director Doris Blenny. “We made some slight changes to the original script to make it more relevant to our modern audience, though.

“The original had too much preaching and navel-gazing, so we tarted it up with a boat chase, a shootout and a stage-clearing sword fight finale.”

The characters have also been modernized.

“Death? Fellowship? Good Deeds? Who wants to watch that?” said Kay Valve, who plays the title character. “We substituted the Seven Deadly Sins to give it some zing.

“We made them island-specific Sins, too,” Valve said. “Sins we run into every day, a lot of times before lunch. Or breakfast.”

In addition to Valve as Everyman, the cast includes:

  • Alison Diesel as Sloth
  • Gage Hoase as Lust
  • Edwin Chub as Gossip
  • Wendy Beaufort as Rum
  • Lee Helm as Stupid Questions
  • Mallory LaTrode as Buffett
  • Clete Horn as Speedo

The play will be performed in its original Middle English.

“Aside from the plot and the characters, we wanted everything as authentic as possible,” Doris Blenny said. “We’ve had the cast studying Middle English language CDs for weeks.”

In a break with tradition, this year’s Extravaganza will be performed in the surf behind the former community playhouse.

“We had no choice,” Edwin Chub said. “The crowd burned the theater last year, and we’ve no money to rebuild the place. We managed to piece together bleachers on the beach, though. And performing in the sea does speak to our island heritage.”

Audience members are strongly encouraged to wear waterproof clothing as well as goggles or a scuba mask.

As ever, the production has been aided by local volunteers.

“We’re especially grateful to the school children who captured all the frigate birds for Gossip’s big entrance,” Mal LaTrode said.

Alcohol consumption is banned from the venue. Theater-goers will be given Breathalyzer tests prior to admission.

“They’ll find ways to sneak it in, though. They always do,” Blenny said. “That’s what sparked last fall’s ‘Tora, Tora, Tora!’ debacle. And the ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ melee the year before that.

Background music will be provided by local country-western band Duck on a Junebug.

Proceeds from the play will go to Habitat for Humanity of Blacktip Island.

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Blacktip Island Launches Surveillance Satellite

Amateur photo of Conchnik 1’s Thursday night launch from Blacktip Island’s Spider Bight space port.

Amateur photo of Conchnik 1’s Thursday night launch from Blacktip Island’s Spider Bight space port.

The Tiperon Island Space Agency Thursday night launched its first low-Earth orbiting satellite, Cocnhnik 1, from Blacktip Island, making the Caribbean island nation the newest member of the world’s orbital launch-capable community.

“This sucker puts Blacktip, and the Tiperons, on the interstellar map,” said Rich Skerritt, owner of Skerritt Communications, one of the project’s underwriters. “Blacktip’s not an isolated backwater anymore. We’re flying with the big dogs now.

“Conchnik was locally designed and built, start to finish,” Skerritt said. “The solid rocket boosters were fueled with weapons-grade rum resin produced right here on Blacktip Island.”

Space agency officials promise Conchnik 1 will provide improved communications, weather forecasting and scuba dive site navigation.

Critics, however, questioned how the fledgling space program was funded and what other purposes Conchnik’s top-secret payload might used for.

“They launch some multi-billion dollar gizmo that’s five times the country’s yearly budget, and we’re supposed to believe they did it out of the goodness of their hearts?” local activist Ledford Waite said. “What kind of communication? And what kind of navigation?

“Who’s to say they’re not funneling all this data to the NSA for a fat paycheck? Or that the North Korea didn’t flat-out pay for this thing 100 percent?” Waite said. “It’s a spy satellite, plain and simple. Well, maybe not so simple – it is maintaining a low-Earth orbit. But that just proves my point.”

Government officials were quick to dispel those fears.

“Conchnik 1’s mission is purely scientific,” TISA spokesperson Dr. Azul Tang said via satellite phone from an astrophysics conference in Brazil. “Could it be used for surveillance? Sure. But in a public safety context. If someone gets robbed or murdered or lost on a dive site, this satellite will enable us to take appropriate action as soon as possible.

“Conchnik was financed by public donations,” Tang said. “School children held bake sales as part of their science curriculum. This criticism is unfounded and harmful top the community.”

Other community members had a more cynical view of the project.

“Skerritt’s a pirate, from a family of pirates, and Led Waite’s been co-opted,” local activist Harry Pickett said. “A satellite manufactured and launched from Blacktip Island? Seriously? There is no satellite. There never was. There’s just a crappy YouTube video.”

“They faked the project, and the launch, to drain the public purse. Everyone in on it’s living it up in South America by now. And with Led and his cronies protesting the so-called satellite, well, it gives credence to the scam.”

Those involved with the program disagreed.

“Conspiracy theories and rectums – everybody’s got one,” Rich Skerritt said. “How in the world could you fake something the whole island saw? These hippies are just worried we’ll be keeping tabs on them.”

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Fire Destroys Blacktip Island Library

A security camera still of unidentified witnesses watching the Blacktip Island library burn.

A security camera still of unidentified witnesses watching the Blacktip Island library burn.

The Blacktip Island Public Library burned Thursday night in what authorities are calling suspicious circumstances. The library, housed in a shed on property next to Eagle Ray Cove scuba resort, contained one of the Caribbean’s largest collection of scuba diving manuals, some in Latin and Koine Greek dating back to the Second Century C.E.

“There was plenty of fuel, what with all that parchment and papyrus,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “But there was nothing there to spark a flame. I would term that ‘suspicious.’

“There’s also security camera footage showing people watching the place burn. That’s suspicious as well.”

“It’s a tragedy,” librarian Edwin Chub said. “This was one of the few places folks from all walks of life could gather without having to buy a drink or stink of cigarettes. To think this was intentional really burns me up.”

“Whether an accident or vandalism, the place burned quickly,” IPC Marquette said. “It was done before Dermott could get two buckets of water on it, and the folks on video only had time for one beer.”

Local opinion differed on the fire’s cause.

“Business owners have eyed that land for years,” long-time resident Frank Maples said. “There were plans to put a clothing boutique there. I’m not pointing fingers, but there are people who benefited from this.”

Eagle Ray Cove Resort owner Rich Skerritt bristled at talk of arson.

“The bookworms can’t keep a fire extinguisher handy, it’s not my fault,” Skerritt said. “The real tragedy is some of those books hadn’t been colored in yet. One of those yahoos sitting around drinking beer probably flicked a cigarette butt in the wrong direction.”

Other locals remained unconvinced.

“The historic house that used to be on that property blew up in the middle of the night a few months back,” resident Reg Gurnard said. “The fire department said it was a gas leak, but there’s no natural gas on the island. Plus, Dermott pretty much is the fire department, and he’s half sauced most nights, so there’s no telling what happened, then or now.”

“We, as a community, will come together to make this better,” Eagle Ray Cove’s Skerritt said. “We can’t replace those old books, but we can give Chub and his library a fair price for the property, get him some nice, new books and set him up in a newish shed across the island.”

“We encourage anyone with information about the fire to contact us,” IPC Marquette said. “The security footage is so grainy, we’re having a hard time identifying bystanders. I’d like to say we’ll catch the arsonist, but I wouldn’t make book on it.”

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Blacktip Island Braces For Palindrome Slam

The winner of Saturday’s palindrome slam will name one of the Caribbean island’s new scuba dive sites.

The winner of Saturday’s palindrome slam will name one of the Caribbean island’s new scuba dive sites.

Saturday brings Blacktip Island’s third annual Palindrome Festival to Blacktip Haven resort, celebrating words and phrases spelled the same backwards and forwards.

“It’s a celebration of our cultural heritage,” event organizer Emma Lamme said. “Blacktip has been at the forefront of international palindroming for generations. People think of Blacktip Islanders as a bunch of beer-swilling scuba bums and fishermen. This event shows we’re so much more than that.”

The island’s top palindrome artists are expected to compete in Saturday evening’s palindrome slam.

“Show up with something weak like ‘racecar’ or ‘do geese see God,’ you’re going down hard,” contestant Lee Helm said. “Last year I threw down ‘go hang a salami, I’m a lasagna hog’ and finished dead last.”

“There’s several dyslexic locals who are absolute wizards at palindromes,” Emma Lamme said. “We wanted to disallow them this year, but we got the ballots reversed.”

In a break with precedent, the composer of this year’s winning palindrome will get to name one of the island’s new dive sites.

“Years past we let them name a site after the winning whaddya-call-it,” marine parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “That’s how we ended up with Satan Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas reef and wall. We’re not having a repeat of that nonsense.”

Last year’s runners up included:

  • Tarzan raised Desi Arnaz’ rat
  • Eliot nixes sex in toilet
  • Kay, a red nude, peeped under a yak
  • Lisa Bonet ate no basil
  • Eros? Sidney, my end is sore

“Payne Hanover won an honorable mention for ‘rum, rum, I murmur,’ but I don’t think he knew he was competing,” Lamme said. “Frankly, I’m not sure he was fully conscious.”

Island authorities are prepared for unruly crowds after last year’s brawl between rival palindromers spilled into the street, sending six festival-goers to the island clinic.

“It was a question mark that caused the ruckus,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Alison Diesel rattled off, ‘Golf? No sir, prefer prison flog,’ Jessie Catahoula wanted it disqualified because the punctuation didn’t work in reverse, then all hell broke loose.”

The festival will also feature palindrome-related music and film.

“We’ll be playing ABBA and Emily’s Sassy Lime all weekend,” Lamme said. “We’ll also be showing select movies in forward and reverse. Most people don’t realize Oklahoma! played backwards is Paint Your Wagon. You just have to squint. And pinch your ears.

“After midnight there’ll be a reverse beer drinking contest out back, too,” Lamme added, “but that’s not an officially-sanctioned part of the festival.”

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