Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Blacktip Island Potterheads Form Underwater Quidditch League

A Caribbean reef squid serves as the golden snitch in ‘squidditch,’ Blacktip Island’s new underwater version of quidditch. (photo courtesy of Joey Pompano)

A group of scuba-diving Harry Potter fans this week introduced squidditch, an underwater version of the quidditch game made popular by the fantasy series, played over sand flats on Blacktip Island’s sheltered west coast, organizers said.

“People’re playing quidditch with brooms and soccer balls, and tennis balls hanging out the back of their shorts, so we figured ‘why not do an underwater version?’ Goldie Goby said. “Instead of brooms, we use boat hooks, and underwater Frisbees instead of balls.

“What makes it uber-cool is we use an actual squid as the snitch,” Goby said. “We dope up a reef squid so it won’t bolt too far, or ink, and the chaser has to catch it with a lionfish net. Also, random squid don’t count. Or octopi. It has to be the specific snitch-squid.”

Players say the game presents different challenges than the terrestrial version.

“It’s’ damned hard to generate any speed, or maneuver, with an aluminum pole wedged between your legs,” Joey Pompano said. “And the squid’s hell to catch, even if it is drugged. The last two games had to be called before the snitch got caught because all the players hit their nitrogen-loading limits.”

Spectators had mixed opinions of early matches.

“It’s a cool concept, and early in the games it’s a blast to watch,” Ernestine Bass said. “But after a few minutes the sand gets all stirred up and you can’t see a thing. The players are supposed to stay up high in the water column, but when competitiveness kicks in, all that goes out the window. It adds to the challenge for them, but it makes for boring viewing.”

Local animal-rights activists were critical of the new sport.

“First they catch a live squid. Then sedate it. Then throw it back in the sea and chase it with nets,” People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Harry Pickett said. “It’s the definition of animal abuse three, four times over. Even if they don’t catch the snitch-squid, it’s still been traumatized.

“And what happens when the squid’s so groggy it can’t escape predators?” Pickett said. “The first game they played, a barracuda hit the snitch so fast all you saw was a cloud of ink and guts. Alison Diesel nearly lost her hand. We’re filing a lawsuit to stop this horror.”

Players defended the use of a live squid.

“It’s OK to use squid for bait, but not for a snitch? Please,” Reg Gurnard said. “It’s one squid, on a reef loaded with squid. And saving the snitch from ‘barras is added incentive to catch it quickly. That PETA lot need to get those sticks out of their bums and have some fun.”

Island authorities say the games are within legal bounds, if barely.

“It’s played outside the marine park, so we have no say in it,” Marine Parks spokesperson Val Schrader said. “If they cross into the park, though, we’ll be forced to shut it down. But until then, I have $10 on the Eagle Ray Divers team in this afternoon’s match.

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‘Larry Otter’ Lands Blacktip Island Author In Legal Trouble

Larry Otter

An illustration from the first of local author Corrie Anders’ ‘Larry Otter’ series of young adult novels, now subject of a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement. (illustration by A. E. Brehm)

A Blacktip Island author Wednesday was ordered to pay $1 million and stop all sales of her popular ‘Larry Otter’ fantasy novels for young adults due to alleged copyright infringement.

“They’re bagging on it for being a Harry Potter rip off, but it’s totally different,” author Corrie Anders said. “Larry’s a young, orphaned sea otter trying to fit in with a school of fish on Snogmorts Reef, not some sorcerer-in-training.

“Sure, Larry has a zig-zag scar on his rear flipper, but it’s from a shark attack. That’s where the similarity ends,” Anders said. “And the only magic is in the hearts of my readers.”

The series, which includes ‘Larry Otter and the Sea Urchin Stone,’ ‘Larry Otter and the Chamber of Smelt,’ ‘Larry Otter and the Prisoner of Lorenzini,’ and ‘Larry Otter and the Goblet of Kelp,’ were popular sellers in Caribbean book stores until the lawsuit stopped all sales.

“We’re fighting this nonsense tooth and nail,” said Anders’ attorney Bob Skulkin. “There’s also a cease-and-desist order on any in-progress novels. We’ve filed a counter-suit to shut that crap down.

“And $1 million? Good luck with that,” Skulkin said. “Corrie’s day job’s bartending. They’re asking for blood from a stone.”

Local ‘Larry’ fans were shocked by the news.

“The kids love Larry’s adventures,” Sally Port said. “We read a chapter before bed every night. Our youngest got the reading bug with the series.

“I don’t see what some big publishing house has to gain, taking these stories away from little children,” Port added.

Others echoed that sentiment.

“These books are a much more positive influence than those horrible Harry Potter books,” Christa Goby said. “Larry’s adventures have the kiddos out learning to swim and hunting sea urchins. Harry had them waving sticks at each other and believing in witches and magic spells and I don’t know what all.”

The Blacktip Island Writer’s Guild is backing Anders.

“All proceeds from Guild members books are going to Corrie’s legal defense fund,” Guild chairperson Quinn Blenny said. “Less expenses, of course. So far we’ve raised $13.54.

Anders, meanwhile, has vowed to keep writing.

“Until someone physically takes away my laptop, I’ll keep telling Larry’s story,” she said. “My readers believe in me, and that’s all that matters. ‘Larry Otter and the Order of the Lionfish’ll be out by Christmas.”

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