Sunday, June 4, 2023
Precipitation: Hammer time!
Sunday, June 4, 2023
Precipitation: Hammer time!
Blacktip Island’s 23rd-Annual Iguana Beauty Contest will take place Saturday evening at the small Caribbean island’s Heritage House to raise money and awareness of the need to protect the critically-threatened lizards.
“This event’s always a crowd pleaser,” master of ceremonies Doris Blenny said. “It puts faces on a threatened species, so they’re not just some random lizards crawling under your feet at the bar. Without this yearly event, and the support it generates, there might not be any iguanas left on the island, what with the feral cats and speeding cars.
“As ever, our contestants will compete in swimwear, musical talent and congeniality,” Blenny said. “Their beauty and personality are so underrated, you know. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Something about their eyes. And tongues. And the sassy way they look at you. The pageant will conclude with a free-for-all fight among the big males at the end.”
Some island residents opposed the event.
“This is animal cruelty, pure and simple, no matter how Doris spins it,” island People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals president Harry Pickett said. “Did these wild animals ask to wear bikinis and lipstick? This is an endangered species we’re talking about, and this debacle just encourages folks to catch iguanas and dress them up in Barbie clothes.
“You put lipstick on an iguana, it’s still an iguana. Literally and figuratively,” Pickett said. “And parading them down the catwalk does more harm than good. This idiocy has an overall negative impact on their survival, no matter what the Chamber of Commerce people say.”
Island officials contested that view.
“This pageant’s a unique quirk that draws tourists to Blacktip year after year,” de facto island mayor Jack Cobia said. “Lord knows we need that, after being shut down so long for COVID. Harry just needs to sit back and enjoy the show.
“And no iguanas are harmed by any of this,” Cobia said. “We turn the suckers loose immediately afterwards, and they’re better for it. Long term, we’re forging closer human-iguana bonds. That does more to help their survival than a bunch of road signs. It’s for the greater good.
The contest winner will receive a plate of French fries and shredded cheddar cheese. Runners up will receive lettuce. Island authorities warned the gambling ban on the event will be strictly enforced, with violators being rubbed with French fry grease and thrown naked into a pit of iguanas.
Sunday, May 28, 2023
A fortunate accident by an inebriated Blacktip Island divemaster has revealed a possible solution to the Caribbean’s sargassum seaweed inundation. (photo courtesy of Filo gèn)
A pre-dinner snack mishap Monday on a Blacktip Island beach inadvertently revealed a method of destroying the masses of sargassum seaweed choking beaches on the small Caribbean island and throughout the Caribbean.
“I was walking along the beach behind Sandy Bottoms’, a little tipsy after happy hour, munching a double-spicy chicken wing and sipping a margarita, when I stumbled,” Gage Hoase said. “I dropped my wing, and when I tried to catch it, I ended up spilling my drink over it. There was a puff of smoke, then I saw a bare patch in the sargassum and the air smelled like rose petals.
“I went back to the bar for more wings and maragaritas to try it again,” Hoase said. “Turns out hot wings and margaritas burn up sargassum. All that’s left is some black dust, and the wind blows that away. For once, it was good alcohol was involved.”
Local scientists were quick to replicate the phenomenon.
“We went out with a wide array of wing flavors and mixed drinks, and Gage’s claims were highly inaccurate,” Sargassum Containment Unit director Fanny Basslet said. “Hot wings and margaritas don’t obliterate sargassum. It’s the hotter-that-hot hot sauce and tequila, mixed at a 1-5 ratio, that does it. And how.
“Near as we can tell, the sauce-tequila combination forms a complex amino acid chain that interacts with the sulphur and arsenic in the sargassum and desiccates it instantaneously. The chemical reaction does leave an odor reminiscent of wild roses. We’re still researching the exact reactions involved and how to augment them to their full advantage.”
Island residents, meanwhile, have embraced the solution.
“First thing I did was run to the store for hot sauce and tequila,” Larry Blenny said. “Mixed ‘em in a bug-spray sprayer and cleared the beach out back of my house in 15 minutes. Haven’t been about to sit out there with an onshore wind for years. This’s a Godsend.
“The cheap, white, skull-cracker tequila works best,” Blenny said. “So does the low-end hot sauce that tastes like salt and vinegar. Smokes a bit when it comes out the nozzle, but, man, it’s king hell on that nasty-ass sargassum. And leaves the house smelling like a spring day.”
Island merchants said the unexpected find has caused supply-chain issues.
“I can’t keep hot sauce on the shelf,” Peachy Bottoms of Peachy Bottoms General and Liquor store said. “Same with tequila, good quality or bad. I’m ordering so much my suppliers can’t keep up, and folks are lining up outside the store screaming for more. The situation’s getting ugly.”
Island officials have stepped up to alleviate the shortages.
“We’re using our sources to buy the ingredients in bulk and ship them in on pallets,” Public works head Stoney MacAdam said. “Bug- and weed-sprayers, too. We’re gonna recruit volunteer coast-clearers to blast assigned sections of beach. Then, once the onshore problem’s under control, we’ll move offshore and blast the stuff before it can make landfall.”
“Sure, there may be disastrous secondary and tertiary consequences down the line that could destroy the environment,” MacAdam said. “But who cares, so long as the beaches are clear and that stench is gone?”
Sunday, May 21, 2023
Precipitation: Seek shade
In a move to boost its tourism offerings, Blacktip Island’s Eagle Ray Cove resort this week unveiled its new shark-petting zoo in the shallows off the Eagle Ray Cove beach.
“It’s really a no brainer,” Eagle Ray Cove owner Rich Skerritt said. “People love sharks, and this gets them right up-close and personal with them. It hooks the kids, especially, and they’re our next generation of guests. This is a long-term investment.
“We built a wooden deck a foot or so under water so folks can pet the sharks without stirring up silt,” Skerritt said. “And while the kids are doing that, the parents can hang out at the bar or in the gift shop. We’ve doubled our pass-through traffic this week. And if a child occasionally gets bit, well, that’s a sacrifice we’re willing to make.”
Resort managers noted safety measures are in place.
“We get mostly nurses and lemons, so they’re not all that dangerous,” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “We kit folks out in chain-mail gloves and booties, too, to guard against the occasional nips, and let them wade on in. And the sharks aren’t penned—they can come and go as they please.
“We sell little bags of squid and leftover pizza to feed to the sharks, but folks can also just jump in without chum,” Latner said. “Once the feeding frenzy starts, the water around the submerged deck goes white with all the thrashing. Sometimes you lose sight of the smaller kids. It’s beautiful to see. From shore.”
Resort staff said the attraction has educational value as well.
“Kids go bonkers ‘cause it literally connects them with nature,” divemaster Alison Diesel said. “Sure, the sharks bite their feet and hands, but with our handy fish ID cards, they can tell what kind of sharks. We’re creating future conservationists every day.”
Some on the island objected to the activity.
“They shouldn’t encourage people to feed any wildlife,” Marine Park spokesperson Val Schrader said. “That’s bad for the wildlife and they people. What happens when someone wades in without armored booties? Or goes swimming where sharked are habituated to being fed? They’re attracting apex predators. What happens when a bull, or a tiger shark shows up?
“Rich’s set up a situation where someone’s guaranteed to get hurt,” Schrader said. “And once that happens, it’ll give the entire island a black eye. This ultimately threatens tourism, and conservation efforts, on Blacktip. We’re pushing for legislation to ban this insanity.”
Skerritt rebuffed those concerns.
“The only people unhappy about this are Val and her earth-muffin cronies,” he said. “The kids get the thrill of a lifetime, and their parents get a break from them long enough to relax with a beer or buy a t-shirt. And our revenue’s doubled this past week. Where’s the down side to any of that?”
Sunday, May 14, 2023
Precipitation: Wear (reef-safe) sunscreen