Tag Archives: Tiny Tim

Underwater Screaming Classes Bring Peace To Blacktip Island

underwater screaming

A green moray eel flees from a primal screaming diver Thursday afternoon during one of Club Scuba Doo’s ‘underwater hollering’ sessions off Blacktip Island’s Diddley’s Landing public pier. (photo courtesy of P. Lindgren)

 

In an effort to reduce stress on Blacktip Island, one local resort this week began offering underwater screaming sessions for its guests and island residents.

“We noticed our divers seemed more stressed than usual lately and decided to do something about it,” said Club Scuba Doo diving manager Finn Kiick. “Everybody’s doing the meditation bit these days, so we decided to take a different tack.

“It’s a throwback to the primal scream craze from the 70s,” Kiick said. “The retro thing is all the rage. We call it ‘submerged hollering’ to avoid legal trouble.”

Organizers say the classes produce immediate results.

“Everything about it’s relaxing,” Club Scuba Doo scuba instructor Rosie Blenny said. “The water’s calming. The fish are calming. And when you let out that first yell, your stress evaporates. Underwater, they can hear you scream. And that’s a good thing.

“After the first scream all the fish disappear, but at least they’re there to set the tone,” Blenny said. “The only hitch is sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a participant and a diver in actual trouble, but we’re getting better at sorting that out. Mostly.”

Participants say the formal structure is key.

“I can yell all I want on my own, but it doesn’t do me any good,” Club Scuba Doo guest Marlin Bleu said. “But with this we sit in the sand, like those drum circles men’s groups used to do. Except not in our underwear. We wear shorts. It’s different.

“We give ourselves fish names and scream them through our regs,” Bleu said. “I’m Parrotfish-Who-Nibbles-Earlobes. I was so relaxed at the end of the first class I could barely climb up the dock steps.”

Organizers dodged environmental minefields by staging the sessions outside the marine park.

“It’s Blacktip, so someone’s going to complain to matter what we do, but we nipped the fish-hugger protest in the bud,” Kiick said. “We do classes in the sand out from Diddley’s Landing where there’s no coral to kill.

“The big thing’s not to have sessions when the barge’s coming in,” Kiick added. “That surprised last week. The hull slid over us and blocked out the sun, and the big-ass props were spinning like giant Cuisinarts right above us, it was like the end of the world. People screamed alright, but not in a good way.”

Participants hope the classes continue.

“I laughed at first, then tried it on a dare, and it actually works,” Sand Spit bartender Cori Anders said. “I’m up to three sessions a week now, and my blood pressure’s down a good 20 points. My throat’s raw, but at least I’m not yelling at guests anymore.”

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving

Undersea ‘Christmas Carol’ Brightens Blacktip Island Holiday Season

underwater xmas carol

The cast of the underwater ‘Christmas Carol’ run through the final scene at Bob Cratchit’s house during the dress rehearsal Wednesday afternoon. (photo courtesy of Mahdian)

Dive staff from Blacktip Island scuba resorts have joined forces to stage an underwater version of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol in the shallows off the Diddley’s Landing public pier. The play will be performed twice daily through Christmas Eve.

“We wanted a fresh take on an old classic,” artistic director Cori Anders said. “The dialogue’s 100% scuba signals, with some new ones we got from the local Mime Divers Association.

“Each actor gives surprising nuance to the hand signs – is that ‘eel’ sign fast, slow, over-the-top, understated? Small inflections carry a ton of weight,” Anders said. “After the ghost of Christmas Yet To Come leaves, Scrooge’s desperate out of air sign had the crew in tears.”

The cast includes:

  • Elena Havens as Ebenezer Scrooge
  • Gage Hoase as Bob Cratchit
  • Marina DeLow as the Ghost of Christmas Past
  • Alison Diesel as the Ghost of Christmas Present
  • Wendy Beaufort as the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come
  • Hugh Calloway as Tiny Tim
  • Lee Helm as the Christmas Turkey
  • Finn Kiick as Old Fezziwig

“We didn’t really need the Old Fezziwig character, but it’s just fun to say and lightened the rehearsals,” Anders said.

The underwater venue allows for creative staging.

“Scrooge clomps across the sand in lead boots, while neutrally-buoyant ghosts float over and around him,” said Blacktip Haven resort owner Elena Havens. “And when the inevitable sting ray cruises past, it gives an ethereal quality to the performance.

“The audience is on scuba and can view the play from any angle, so long as they don’t interfere with the actors,” Havens said. “And we have morning and afternoon shows to give all divers a chance to see it.”

Some of the staging had to be curtailed for safety’s sake.

“We tried a night dive version, but the audience got mixed in with the actors and it turned into a real Charlie Foxtrot,” said cast member Gage Hoase. “Things blew up when the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come scared the bejesus out of a couple from Cincinnati. They bolted to the surface. But, man, did they tip well at the end of the week.”

The play is not without its critics.

“You have to be 10 years old to scuba dive, which means the younger kiddos can’t see it,” local parent Ginger Bass said. “And the sign language is a mostly gibberish. I mean, I know the story and I had a hard time following along. I think they make it up as they go along, and there were some rude gestures mixed in that are definitely not scuba signals.”

Performances are at 10:30 and 2:45 daily. Proceeds of the play go to The Blacktip Island Widows and Orphans Fund, minus expenses and incidentals.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caribbean, Scuba Diving