Tag Archives: Caribbean tourism

Beach Plastic Henge Is Blacktip Island’s Newest Attraction

beachplastic henge

The Beach Plastic Henge, formed from discarded plastic pressed into standing-stone molds, is Blacktip Island’s newest tourist attraction. The henge stands near the small Caribbean island’s airfield. (photo courtesy of Harry Wrasse)

A Blacktip Island civic group Wednesday unveiled what it dubbed the Beach Plastic Henge, modeled after Great Britain’s famous Stonehenge, as an alternative to throwing plastic collected on beach cleanups in the island dump.

“People collect tons of plastic off the beaches, which is great, but the dump’s filling up, and the stuff’s still loose for the wind to blow away,” said Art and Nature Society Of Blacktip president Harry Wrasse. “Shipping it off island’s ungodly expensive, so, using the we figured we’d put the one-big-pile’s-better-than-a-bunch-of-little-piles theory into action.

“We settled on the scale-model henge,” Wrasse said. “Stone Age Blacktippers built henges, so it’s a hat tip to them, and to the island’s heritage. And it’s aligned so the sun shines through it at equinox and solstice. Pretty much. I mean, it shines through part of it, anyway. We hope it’ll become a popular tourist spot for photos and such.”

Island conservationists applauded the structure.

“All that garbage packed inside those chicken-wire frames really drives home how much plastic is out there,” resident Kay Valve said. “It reminds people not to pollute. That it’s also art is just icing on the cake.”

Despite its popularity, the henge is still a work in progress ANSOB members said.

“Even in the frame, and with the sprayed-on coating, the stuff still decays in the sunlight,” Christina Mojarra said. “We have big ceramic flowerpots at the base of each stone to collect any plastic that falls. We’re still working out how to handle microbeads and nanobeads, but this is a start.

“A lot of the maintenance, going forward, will be done by school kids as part of their art class,” _____ said. “Well, school kid. Little Shelly Bottoms so loves to pick at the plastic and nibble the rough edges.”

Some island residents are not pleased with the sculpture.

“It’s not art. It’s an eyesore,” Club Scuba Doo owner Ham Pilchard said. “It’s a big neon sign screaming, ‘Hey, look at our pile of crap!’ And right by the airstrip for everyone to see.

“Harry and them can pat themselves on the backs all they want, but it still doesn’t get the plastic off the island,” Pilchard said. “You don’t want to get downwind of it either. Some of that junk’s been in the ocean a while and had stuff growing on it. The smell’ll make your eyes water.”

Wrasse stressed that no marine life was harmed in making the henge.

“We only collect plastic from above the high-tide mark,” he said. “We’re not taking any living organisms from the sea.

“We have more plastic that we can handle just from that,” Wrasse added. “As more gets collected, we may do other famous world landmarks – the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall, the Coliseum. We’ll call it the Seven Wonders of Blacktip Island. And sell t-shirts and drinks.”

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Ground Eel Population Explosion Terrorizes Blacktip Island

ground eels

A Blacktip Island ground eel crawls past a game camera in a Blacktip Island mahogany grove Thursday evening. A sudden uptick in eel numbers has the Caribbean island’s tourism industry concerned about their impact on hotel bookings. (photo courtesy of Blacktip Island Chamber of Commerce)

A surge in the Blacktip Island ground eel population has island residents on edge and guests panicking this week, causing local businesses to scramble for ways to combat the creatures.

“Ground eels are incredibly rare. We know little about them,” said Goby Graysby, marine biology chairman at Tiperon University-Blacktip. “They’re akin to aquatic morays, but adapted to breath air. This is the first time there’s been a population explosion like this, and we have no idea what caused it.

“The problem is, they’re slimy, they’re smelly and they get into everything. And now there’s a ton of them,” Graysby said. “They’re like hagfish on steroids and can wiggle under doors, down vents and up toilets. They’re normally a solitary species, but in numbers this large, apparently, they can be problematic.”

Island hoteliers say the creatures are wreaking havoc among tourists.

“The eels love sunscreen. And hair gel,” said Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort manager Kay Valve. “They gobble the stuff up and look for more. Most locals don’t use that crap, so for us it’s not so bad. Resort guests, though, they can’t sleep or eat or even sit by the pool and read.

“God help you if you have sunscreen on you,” Valve said. “Yesterday a swarm of eels got on one of our docked dive boats and gnawed everyone raw. We have guests cancelling left and right. And the sunburns have been horrific.”

Departing visitors at the island’s airstrip agreed.

“We expected mosquitos and flies and ants and scorpions, but these eels threw us one hell of a curveball,” said Eagle Ray Cove guest Harry Blenny. “They wormed into our room last night and ate everything in my Dopp kit. And what they did to my wife’s hair while she was sleeping! We had to shave it all off. We’re leaving and never coming back!”

Some locals say the problem is a decline in the eels’ natural predator.

“The mersquatch usually keeps them in check,” said longtime resident Molly Miller. “What we need is a second mersquatch. Or a livelier one.”

The Chamber of Commerce has declared an island-wide state of emergency.

“We put a bounty out on the suckers,” Mayor Jack Cobia said. “Problem is, they’re damned hard to catch, or kill, because they’re so slimy. And nocturnal.

“We got teams in headlamps hunting them with sticks and machetes and golf clubs, but those eels’re damned savvy,” Cobia said. “Shine a light on them, they slither off right quick, leave you clubbing slime trails.”

Island scientists, meanwhile, hope to capture some of the elusive creatures for study.

“We keep setting traps, but the eels can get out of about anything,” Graysby said. “And the few we have caught slip out of any container we put them in. Mason jar with holes punched in it for air? They’ll screw the top off from the inside – they generate that much torque.”

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