Blacktip Island sustainable scuba gear manufacturer Bamboo You is marketing retired restaurant chalk boards as ‘Sol-Less’ reverse-seasonal-affective disorder panels for overstimulated island visitors. (photo courtesy of Scottb211)
Blacktip Island entrepreneur Piers ‘Doc’ Planck Wednesday unveiled a new product line of black matte, light-absorbing panels to help island visitors manage their reverse-seasonal-affective disorders.
“People think of SAD only affecting folks in northern, low-sun latitudes, but the sunlight here can overwhelm newcomers,” Planck said. “Sometimes people need a downer, but they don’t know it. Or want to admit it. And our Sol-Less panels provide that.
“Visitors can get too upbeat and burn themselves out, what with all the sun and the light reflected from the water and the sand,” Planck said. “A lot of people overdose on sun and fun and crash by the third day or so. Next thing you know, they’re going to bed at 8:30.”
Planck associate Christina Mojarra explained how the panels counteract tropical sunlight.
“It’s based on the concept of subtractive lighting, like you’d use in photography,” she said. “Originally, we had test subjects sit inside for a bit, but no one wants to do that on a nice day. And the blacklights just made them hungry.
“Then we noticed people sitting by the blackboard at the Sand Spit bar were way chill, and the lightbulb went on,” Mojarra said. “In trials, overstimulated subjects sat beside our black matte panels for 20 minutes and it calmed them right down. They went from being out carousing and annoying the more low-key guests, to being low key themselves.”
The island’s scientific community is skeptical.
“Whatever Doc and Christina are doing may calm people down, but I’ve seen no causal relationship between sedate individuals and repurposed blackboards,” Tiperon University-Blacktip biology chair Catalina Luxfer said. “I think it’s more than coincidental their original test subjects were sitting at a bar mid-afternoon.”
Others objected to the panels’ marketing.
“Doc’s had some damn-fool ideas before, but this one takes the cake,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “He wants people to be less happy? How do you pitch ‘less happy’ as a good thing to potential island visitors?
“Tourists plan all year to come down here and get happy,” Cobia said. “It’s great he’s making money, but at what cost to the rest of us? Blacktip’s a 24-7 party, and he’s selling a buzz kill.”
Despite the criticism, end-users praised the panels.
“Sometimes the party, party, party side of a Caribbean scuba vacation can take its toll,” Eagle Ray Divers guest Quinn Blenny said. “The Sol-Less panels don’t squelch your fun, they just dial it back a notch or two. They let you enjoy your vacation in moderation and not need a vacation when you get back home.”