Three Blacktip Island residents claim they saw a mermaid swimming off the end of the Eagle Ray Cove Resort dock Tuesday night. (photo courtesy of W. Carter)
Three Blacktip Island locals Tuesday reported sighting a mermaid swimming in Eagle Ray Cove, setting the small Caribbean island’s population buzzing this week.
“She was down at the end of The Cove’s dock, splashing around in them underwater lights,” longtime resident Dermott Bottoms said. “Long green tail and no top, just like all the books show.
“James Conlee and Lee Helm, they saw her, too. Just ask ‘em,” Bottoms said. “Soon as she saw us, though, she swam off right quick. Couldn’t get any photos. Always thought there was mermaids here. Now we have proof. And three eyewitnesses.”
The others supported Bottoms’ claim.
“We’d wandered down from the bar for a bit of fresh air,” Helm said. “We were standing there talking. James had just lit a smoke when we heard the splashing and looked over the edge. There she was, long, scaley tail and all.”
Some on the island questioned the story.
“Dermott and James wandered down from the bar and saw a mermaid?” Herring Frye said. “These are the same yahoos who claimed they saw a platypus behind the Sand Spit a while back. The common element here is heavy drinking. If it’s those two, you know alcohol was involved.
“They probably just some drunk tourist swimming in a long dress,” Frye said. “And as for her swimming away when she saw them, well Lee Helm has that effect on most women. Even when he’s not three-sheets-to-the-wind drunk.”
Others said the claim had merit.
“All kinds of old sailors’ tales about mermaids around Blacktip, y’know,” resident Antonio Fletcher said. “Got to be based on something. And no manatees or dugongs around there. Herring’s got no call to call Dermott and James wahoos.
“Not saying whether it was or wasn’t, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt,” Fletcher said. “No solid proof there’s a mermaid out there, but there’s no proof there’s not, either. And there’s three eye witnesses.”
The men vowed to produce evidence.
“We gonna take turns watching at the end of the dock, phone cameras ready,” James Conlee said. “Got some trail cams on order, too, so we can stake out all the docks in the cove.”
Eagle Ray Cove Resort, meanwhile, has launched nightly mermaid-lookout events on the dock. “We set up chairs and loungers right out at the end, where the underwater lights are,” ERC owner Rich Skerritt said. “The bar staff runs drinks and snacks down to anyone out there. And we have ‘I Saw the Mermaid’ t-shirts for sale in the lobby.”