Tag Archives: humor

Proposed Underwater Bar Draws Blacktip Residents’ Ire

underwater bar

Resort owner Sandy Bottoms’ plans for a mobile underwater bar off Blacktip Island’s west coast met opposition from many Blacktip Island residents concerned about the project’s safety and environmental impact. (photo by Charlie Noble/BTT staff)

A Blacktip Island entrepreneur’s plans for an underwater drinking establishment hit an unexpected snag Wednesday when island residents protested the proposed bar.

“The bar scene’s damned competitive on this island, and we’re trying to get ahead of the curve,” Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort owner Sandy Bottoms said. “It’ll be the only place in the Caribbean you can dive down, sit in a Plexiglas dome and have a drink. It’ll have little electric servo motors, too, so it can cruise around the reef.

“For safety, we’ll only serve freedivers, not anyone on scuba,” Bottoms said. “And it’ll only be in about six, eight feet of water, so decompression sickness won’t be a factor. It’s only a prototype so far, but we’ve been encouraged. I don’t know what all the fuss’s about.”

Many opponents say those precautions don’t go far enough.

“Sandy’s talking about serving people alcohol at depth, then having them leave the bar underwater and swim back to the surface inebriated,” Sally Port said. “One inhalation, or hiccup, at the wrong time, a bar patron drowns.

“And if you stay down there for multiple drinks, maybe make an afternoon of it, DCS will definitely come into play. People’ll get hurt,” Port said. “He’s chasing a dollar today that’ll cost him multiple dollars tomorrow. That’s a black eye for Blacktip.”

Others questioned the structure itself.

“There’s no way they can build a plastic bar sturdy enough to withstand pressure at depth and a bunch of drunks banging around in it,” Harry Blenny said. “Dermott spends one evening there and the place’ll be demolished.

“Sandy got the idea from him and his buddies taking beers down in wreck wreck and drinking them in an air pocket,” Blenny said said. “There’s a world of difference between a steel hull and a plastic bubble. And how much coral will it destroy into while it’s scooting around the reefs?”

Not all residents opposed the concept.

“It would be lovely to slip down, have a glass of wine and watch the fish go by,” Paloma Fairlead said. “And sunsets would be incredible. You’d just have to drink responsibly.

“And Sandy, or someone, would have no problem coming up with a shuttle of some sort to get people down and back without the danger of drowning,” Fairlead said. “I’ve seen that sort of thing in movies.”

Others said they would avoid the bar.

“Don’t have to worry about me trashing it because there’s no way I’ll go down there,” Dermott Bottoms said. “I’ll go on the sea to fish, but won’t go in it, much less under it. There’s sharks and such. And plenty of rum right here where it’s dry.”

2 Comments

Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving

Charity Pumpkin Carvers Destroy Blacktip Island’s Heritage House

P2010847.JPG – Version 5

A screen grab from a pumpkin carver’s phone shows the mayhem at Thursday’s charity pumpkin carving contest that severely damaged the Caribbean island’s Heritage House. (photo courtesy of Ginger Bass)

A Thursday afternoon jack-o-lantern carving contest to raise money for a local charity devolved into a brawl that seriously damaged Blacktip Island’s Heritage House community center, organizers said.

“It was supposed to be a low-key event to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity,” Heritage House director Doris Blenny said. “We shipped in all kinds of pumpkins, provided the necessary carving tools, set out snacks and lemonade and were set for some relaxing Halloween fun.

“Problem was the chocolates,” Blenny said. “Somebody put out booze-filled ones inadvertently and none of the carvers said anything. We knew the chocolates were popular, but didn’t realize something was wrong until it was too late.”

Attendees described a chaotic scene.

“It started off with giggling and shooting pumpkin seeds at each other,” carver Val Schrader said. “It escalated pretty quick to chucking pumpkin guts across the room.

“Things got ugly when Lee Helm put a big jack-o-lantern around Gage Hoase’s head,” Schrader said. “Gage took a swing at Lee, missed, and the carved pumpkin fell on Marina DeLow. From there it was an all-out pumpkin fight. There were pumpkins going through windows, knocking holes in drywall and whacking blades off ceiling fans.”

Organizers say the building might have survived if not for a second wave of violence.

“Some carvers came dressed in costume, it being for Halloween and all,” carver Ginger Bass said. “Jerrod Ephesians was dressed as an angel, and he must’ve gotten into the tequila-filled candy, because the next thing we knew he was shouting he was the Archangel Gabriel.

“He was hollering about ‘smiting’ people, and swinging a big push broom like it was a pole ax,” Bass said. “People were scrambling for the doors and diving out windows. Then he hit Dermott Bottoms, Dermott tackled him and that’s when the structural damage occurred. Rafe Marquette had to take them both down with tranq darts.”

Construction experts say the building is not repairable.

“Dermott’s a big guy. And Jerrod’s crazy-strong when he goes into smiting mode,” Stoney MacAdam said. “They broke half the wall studs and a dozen roof beams. A corner of the roof’s missing, too.

“We can strip it down to the foundation and build new for less than the repairs’d cost,” MacAdam said. “It’s a shame to lose the historic building, but it’s also a blessing in disguise. The place was full of termites, and the electric work’s always been dodgy.”

Habitat for Humanity officials say they will host a Christmas charity event far from any structures to raise funds for a new Heritage House.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean

Mayor Launches Blacktip Island Motto Contest

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Blacktip Island leaders hope an island slogan contest, open to all, will give the Caribbena island a competitive advantage in the growing tourism wars. (photo courtesy of Wendy Beaufort/BT staff)

Blacktip Island leaders Friday announced a contest to create a motto for the small Caribbean island to use in promotions in order to stand out among other vacation destinations in the region.

“With so many islands, we get lost in the shuffle,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “Our resorts have seen a drop in occupancy across the board. Most people get to Tiperon and stop. We’ve got a whizz-bang marketing plan to address that, but it all hinges on a catchy slogan.

“The Bahamas have ‘Life Is Grand.’ Saint Lucia has ‘Simply Beautiful.’ Greater Tiperon has, “Surface With A Smile.’ They’re all eating our lunch, tourism-wise,” Cobia said. “We made a suggestion box for anyone on the island, local or visitor, and as soon as we get enough entries, we’ll pick the best ones and have an island-wide vote.”

Organizers say the contest is off to a spirited start.

“We’ve had more suggestions than expected, and you can tell people are taking the contest to heart, no matter how misguided,” contest chair Kay Valve said. “We’re anticipating more, and more appropriate suggestions this week.

“We’re keeping the process as democratic as possible, within reason,” Valve said. “We’ll disqualify anyone stuffing the box, and anything too malapropos, but at this point we’re letting the public have its say.”

Valve said the leading entries so far are:

  • I’ve Been Drinking and Probably Shouldn’t Say This, But . . .
  • Two Roads To Nowhere
  • Well, I Heard
  • Discover Our Blacktip
  • If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
  • Welcome to Blacktip. Leave Your Money and Go Home

Some in the community say the contest is misguided.

“We’re a small island with incredibly limited resources,” environmental advocate Harry Pickett said. “The dump’s overflowing. Resort septic fields are killing the reefs. Blacktip needs to go backward, un-develop, if you will. More tourists mean more infrastructure, more waste, more dying coral.

“Popularizing the island will be the worst disaster since building that electrical power plant,” Pickett said. “We need to be tearing down resorts and sending people away, not encouraging more. The next thing you know, we’ll have paved roads and we’ll have lost our charm.”

Contest backers disagreed.

“Progress doesn’t have reverse gears,” Cobia said. “We’re looking to the future. We can’t afford to fall further behind those Tiperon rat bastards on this one.”

1 Comment

Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving

Illegal Iguana Cullers Injure Dozens On Blacktip Island

iguana culling

An invasive green iguana lurks in the underbrush at Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort Thursday. Over-aggressive culling of the non-native species has created a public safety crisis on Blacktip Island. (photo courtesy of Christian Linder)

A rash of mishaps involving over-zealous green-iguana cullers this week has created a groundswell public backlash against unlicensed cullers on Blacktip Island.

“The green iguanas don’t belong here and need to be checked, but things’ve gotten out of hand,” Eagle Ray Cove owner Rich Skerritt said. “Every yahoo and his cousin’s running around with slingshots, golf clubs, cricket bats, lionfish spears, you name it.

“Thank God guns are illegal. And bows and arrows,” Skerritt said. “James Conlee took out a whole row of bar stools—guests still on them—with a croquet mallet at the tiki hut yesterday. Sent five people to the clinic.”

Authorities blamed the rogue hunters on the bounty placed on iguanas.

“It’s only supposed to be a handful of licensed cullers, but with the government paying $5 a lizard, everyone wants in on the fun and profit,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Folks’re throwing common sense out the window trying to kill as many iguanas as they can. And most aren’t trained to cull safely.

“We tried only paying licensed cullers, but they just brought in iguanas their unlicensed buddies killed and split the take with them,” Marquette said. “I’m arresting illegal cullers. And drunk cullers, legal or otherwise. But I only have the one jail cell. To them it’s a laugh. To the rest of us it’s a public safety nightmare.”

Many island residents support the crackdown.

“It’s scary going outside these days, not knowing if you’ll be caught in a culling melee,” Peachy Bottoms said. “Nighttime’s the worst. You don’t dare wander out with all the spears and bats and sand rakes flying. People are whacking first and checking their target afterwards. Our little Shelley caught a stray lionfish spear in the buttocks Wednesday.”

Island nurse Marissa Graysby voiced safety concerns as well.

“The clinic’s in shambles,” she said. “There’s only one of me, and I’m out of medical supplies. We’re not equipped for a dozen injuries a day. Sure, the iguanas are bad, but all these people with cuts and bruises and cracked skulls are worse. It doesn’t help that most of the cullers are three-sheets-to-the-wind drunk, either.”

Many cullers defended their actions.

“Doing a service to the island’s what we’re doing,” longtime resident Dermott Bottoms said. “Jack Cobia and them said green iguanas were bad, so we’re taking care of them, on our own time and at our own expense. We sit in some stupid class, that’s time we could be killing iguanas.

“And alcohol’s a help, not a hindrance,” Bottoms said. “Couple glasses of rum, I start to think like an iguana. That’s where the magic happens. And that third glass, well, that just sharpens my aim.”

Marquette, meanwhile, is focusing his crackdown in the island’s more populated areas.

“I’m concentrating on the resort strip where most of the injuries are occurring,” he said. “Away from the resorts, it’s pretty much a free-for-all, but it’s mostly culler-on-culler injuries. If I can keep the tourists safe, I’ll call it a victory.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean

Blacktip Island Scuba Retailer Launches Steampunk Gear Line

Steampunk scuba

A gear-driven dive computer is one of many steampunk-themed scuba accessories released by local retailer Bamboo You this week in response to a growing demand for high-end steampunk gear among scuba diving visitors. (photo courtesy of Abraham Parseghian)

Blacktip Island scuba equipment manufacturer Bamboo You released a new line of steampunk-themed scuba accessories this week to capitalize on the growing popularity of the science fiction genre-inspired fashion among scuba divers.

“The whole alternative history with steam engines and metal gears is a natural for diving,” Bamboo You owner Piers “Doc” Planck said. “Divers are showing up with homemade cosplay-looking get ups, but none of it’s very polished. This’s an untapped market, and we’re going after like a duck on a June bug.

“Anyone can strap on an underwater top hat, or trick out their mask to look like a dirigible captain’s brass goggles, but we’re making high-end accouterments that capture an authentic steampunk aesthetic,” Planck said. “We’ll kit you out like you’re an underwater Jules Verne or Sherlock Holmes. Without the cocaine, of course.”

Steampunk aficionados are eager to use the equipment.

“You can make your own faux-riveted wetsuits and pith helmet dive beanies, but this stuff goes way beyond that,” Kenny Chromis said. “Leather fins with brass buckles up to your knees? Steam-powered dive computers with visible gears? That’s some bad-ass gear.

“That level of detail’s critical if you respect the genre,” Chromis said. “You can’t very well be Lord Archibald Clankenshaft-St. Giles at 80 feet without clockwork mechanisms and a skeleton pocket watch, now can you?”

Island dive staffs are concerned about the new equipment’s safety.

“Most of our divers, with standard scuba rigs, are lucky to finish a dive without hurting themselves,” Eagle Ray Divers divemaster Marina DeLow said. “They strap on all these funky gizmos, it’s gonna get ugly underwater.

“It’s job security for us, though,” DeLow said. “More than ever, our divers’ll need us to get them back to the boat alive and in one piece.”

Other resorts are requiring divers to familiarize divers with their new gear before entering open water.

“We’re making steampunkers do a full skill circuit in the pool so we can see what we’re dealing with,” Club Scuba Doo dive manager Finn Kiick said. “They have to know what they’re doing with whatever contraption they strap on before they jump in real water.”

Planck is planning to expand the line if it proves popular.

“We’ve got plans for all sorts of gear-driven diabolical devices—smoothbore spear pistols and zeppelin-shaped underwater scooters and the like,” he said. “They’re scuba accessories. The more useless they are, the better they sell, and we’re making our stuff plenty useless.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving

Blacktip Island Resorts Stage Underwater Hide-And-Seek Contest

Scuba hide-and-seek

A group of Blacktip Island scuba-diving guests have a practice session Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the Caribbean island’s inaugural underwater hide-and-seek contest. (photo by Paloma Fairlead/Blacktip Times)

Blacktip Island’s scuba charter companies will join forces Sunday afternoon to host the inaugural Where’s Waldo underwater hide-and-seek contest on and around the island’s Hammerhead Hole dive site, the Blacktip Island Tourism Department announced Thursday.

“It started with us joking about how dive staff are constantly searching for lost dive guests underwater,” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “From there it morphed into a monthly staff training exercise, the guests got a kick out of it, so we made it a game.

“The staff still gets to sharpen their skills,” Latner said. “If anything, it’s even better training when the guests are trying to get lost. And to raise the bar more, we invited back some of our most navigationally-challenged guests as all-star hiders.”

Organizers say the rules are hide-and-seek standard, with a few twists.

“Everyone has five minutes to hide after they jump off the dive boats,” contest judge Jay Valve said. “We expect people to scatter like minnows once they hit the water. Open-circuit scuba bubbles are a dead giveaway, and rebreathers are banned, so we’re expecting more swimming away than crouching and hiding. Guests do it naturally.

“Hiders are limited to one 80-cubic-foot cylinder, and we’ll be frisking everyone for hidden pony bottles,” Valve said. “If you’re not ‘found,’ but you’re low on air and surface, you’re automatically ‘out.’ And we’ll have spotters, and drones, keeping watch.”

Some worried the contest presents significant safety issues.

“The temptation’s to suck your tank down to the last breath,” island nurse Marissa Goby said. “That’s potentially problematic, decompression sickness-wise, if you’ve been down a while. Or forget to exhale on your way up. There’ll be chase boats, and I’ll have a helper with first-aid training on hand, but it still creates a lot of risk.

“Also, the safety crews have to cover a ton of territory—people can go a long way with 3000 psi,” Goby said. “They’ll have GPS trackers on everyone to keep track of where they are, or where to recover the bodies, but GPS only works on the surface. We’re expecting lots of skip breathing, too, so we’ll have ibuprofen on hand for those vicious carbon-dioxide headaches.”

Others say the safety concerns are overstated.

“Bird dogging goofballs across three dive sites? That’s just a normal workday for us,” divemaster Alison Diesel said. “Honestly, I can’t tell the difference between divers trying to get lost and divers trying not to get lost. Bottom line, they can swim, but it’s not our first cat herding.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving

Theosophy Society Takes Over Blacktip Island Church

church repurposed

A stained-glass panel in the newly-renamed Blacktip Polyagnostic Sanctuary is a reminder of its former life as the Blacktip Island Interdenominational Church. (photo courtesy of Ernestine Bass)

Faced with declining attendance and increasing expenses, the Blacktip Island Interdenominational Church shuttered its doors Thursday and handed the keys to the Blacktip Island Theosophy Society, church leaders said, setting off a war of words in the small Caribbean island’s spiritual community.

“I hated to do it, but I couldn’t cover the electric bills or afford repairs,” the Rev. Pierre Grunt said. “Congregation members either lost faith or were lured away by Our Lady of Blacktip. The church was the island’s heart and soul. Now it’s been sold off.

“The theosophists were the only ones who showed any interest, and that’s one hell of a coincidence,” Grunt said. “They’re in cahoots with that damned ecumenical council and pulled off a hostile takeover, pure and simple. They’ve always held a grudge against us. Both groups have.”

Ecumenical council members denied any hostility.

“We’re deeply committed to faith and enlightenment on Blacktip,” said the former-Rev. Jerrod Ephesians, Blacktip Island Ecumenical Council president. “But Pierre shot himself in the foot, repeatedly, by constantly preaching against the sins of drinking and smoking and carrying on. You’ve got to know your audience.

“His droning on and on and on in that monotone didn’t help, either,” Ephesians said. “The theosophy society had been looking for someplace permanent to meet for a while, so the council stepped in and helped make that happen. They’re already drawing bigger crowds than Pierre ever did.”

Theosophy society members hope to appeal to a broad swath of Blacktip residents.

“The building’s still a church, we’re just about seeking God through each individual’s direct, intuitive steps, not in some narrowly-defined sectarian tropes,” BITS president Ernestine Bass said. “We’ve renamed it the Blacktip Polyagnostic Sanctuary to emphasize that. And for our first meeting, the place was nearly full.”

Community members backed the change.

“It’s a lot more fun now that Reverend Grunt’s gone,” Ginger Bass said. “There’s less emphasis on sin and damnation and more on forgiveness and being happy. Plus, they’re OK with us bringing drinks in with us.”

The Rev. Grunt will continue to conduct itinerant services at various island locations.

“I’ll be preaching this Sunday at Diddley’s Landing public pier, weather permitting,” he said. “I’ll be doing baptisms right there on those concrete steps, too. There’s plenty on this island could use something like that. Communion’s out, though, after Dermott Bottoms got into the Communion wine last week. All the wine.”

Our Lady of Blacktip cathedral will continue to be open for any who prefer not to attend Rev. Grunt’s services or theosophy meetings.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean