Tag Archives: wreck diving

Blacktip Island Plane Wreckage Could Be Amelia Earhart’s

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The Lockheed Electra’s broken wings rest upside down in the shallow waters off Blacktip Island’s northeast coast. Aviation experts say the airplane could be that of Amelia Earhart, who disappeared along with the plane in 1937.

Recreational scuba divers Wednesday discovered the remains of a 1930s twin-engine aircraft off Blacktip Island’s rugged northeast coast local authorities say could be that of famed aviatrix Amelia Earhart.

“The aircraft looks to have been a Lockheed Model 10 Electra,” said local aviation expert Whitney Pratt. “It was modified with a large fuel tank, and some of its windows were intentionally obscured.

“An Electra with those modifications fits the description of the one flown by Amelia Earhart on her unsuccessful attempt to circumnavigate the globe,” Pratt said. “There’s also the matter of the initials ‘A.E.’ scrawled on the fuselage.

“If it is Earhart’s plane, the big question is how it got here,” Pratt said. “She disappeared over the South Pacific.”

Marine scientists say the soft coral growing on the wreckage deepens the mystery.

“The wings have live carnation coral on them that’s indigenous to the southern Pacific ocean,” Tiperon University-Blacktip biologist Goby Graysby said. “We’re 5,000 miles from where any Dendronephthya should be. I can’t speak to the aircraft details, but yeah, there’s a South Pacific connection somewhere.”

The find has sparked talk of the so-called Blacktip Triangle where hundreds of boats and aircraft are reported to vanish, sometimes reappearing years later.

“All kinds of compass variations out there, you know,” longtime resident Antonio Fletcher said. “Space and time work different in the Triangle. Boats go missing. Lots of scuba divers get lost, too, but that’s something else. Bloody Marys, mostly.

“Plane could’ve crashed somewhere else and been transported here, like those Flight 19 bombers that got zapped to Kathmandu,” Fletcher said. “Happens all the time, you just don’t hear about it.”

Island officials are skeptical of the Blacktip Triangle theory.

“Most of those disappearances are exaggerated, or flat out made up,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Civil Aviation divers are examining the wreckage. If this is Miss Earhart’s airplane, there’s lots of non-supernatural explanations.

“If someone wanted to fake their death and disappear forever, transmitting a false position and then flying halfway around the world’d be a great way to do it,” Marquette said.

Blacktip Island community leaders, meanwhile, are drawing up plans for an interactive educational facility devoted to Earhart.

“We’re gonna soak visitors in what it was like to be Amelia Bedelia. I mean Earhart,” local entrepreneur Rich Skerritt said. “The centerpiece’ll be a life-sized mockup of that plane linked to a flight simulator so folks can have a feel what flying it was like. We’ll have shirts and caps and coffee mugs for sale, too.

“Our goal’s to make Blacktip Island the hottest destination in the Caribbean. Or the South Pacific,” Skerritt said. “You got to have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?”

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World War Two Aircraft Found On Blacktip Island Reef

Divemaster Alison Diesel investigates airplane wreckage from the World War Two Battle of the Blacktip Sea.

Divemaster Alison Diesel investigates airplane wreckage from the World War Two Battle of the Blacktip Sea.

Divemasters scuba diving off Blacktip Island’s rugged east coast Wednesday discovered the wreckage of an airplane believed downed in the World War Two Battle of the Blacktip Sea.

“We was looking at a stingray when we seen the wings and undercarriage,” Eagle Ray Cove divemaster Lee Helm said. “We brushed the rubbish off and there was the Tiperon Air Corp’s roundel, plain as my hand.”

“Those storms last week blasted out all kinds of sand, I guess,” said divemaster Alison Diesel. “I mean, we’d dove there before and never seen anything but fish and coral.”

The wreckage matches photos of the island’s Piper Cub mail plane shot down as it delivered the fatal blow to the invading Axis flagship.

“The Battle of the Blacktip Sea was minor, but decisive,” said island historian Smithson Altschul. “The Italians hoped to gain a foothold in Cuba. All that stood in their way was Blacktip Island and the Tiperon navy’s light frigate Frigate. It was outgunned and outnumbered by the Italian pocket destroyers Fianchetto and Giuoco Piano.

“Islanders loaded the mail plane with Molotov cocktails made from grain alcohol and rum bottles,” Altschul said. “The last bomb dropped took out the Fianchetto’s bridge just as the Piper got hit.”

“Mama seen it,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Said folks thought it was a fireworks show ‘til they heard hollering in Italian. After, any enemy sailors swam to shore, folks whacked ‘em with conchs and stuffed ‘em in the turtle kraal.”

The Tiperon government has declared the area around the wreckage a heritage site and banned scuba diving to discourage souvenir collectors. Local dive entrepreneurs Sandy Bottoms and Rich Skerritt, however, are lobbying to turn the site into a pay-per-dive scuba park with interpretive tours.

“This is our heritage,” Skerritt said. “We got a right to access. Got Battle Diver specialty courses lined up, you know. In English and Italian. The fees’ll raise money for more exploration. And other things.”

Island officials, meanwhile, commemorated the find by declaring a new public holiday.

“August was the only month without a bank holiday,” island mayor Jack Cobia said. “It screamed for one. Hell, April has two holidays. This first-ever Battle Day’ll be a blast!”

Holiday festivities are works in progress, organized by local residents.

“Gonna start with a round-robin Boobies and Frigates tournament with lawn darts out back of the Last Ballyhoo,” said local James Conlee. “There’s free beer for all team members, and a free kamikaze shot if you get hit.”

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Blacktip Island Shipwreck May Be Legendary Pirate Galleon

The wreck discovered by lost scuba tourists off Blacktip Island could be the Caribbean’s legendary Santo Mojito pirate ship.

The wreck discovered by lost scuba tourists off Blacktip Island could be the Caribbean’s legendary Santo Mojito pirate ship.

Tiperon Islands authorities announced Thursday the discovery of a previously-unknown shipwreck off Blacktip Island’s west coast. The wreck, possibly dating to the early 18th Century, was discovered by scuba diving tourists.

“Couple of knuckleheads got lost and stumbled across it,” Eagle Ray Divers operations manager Ger Latner said. “They came up on the wrong boat, hell-and-gone from where they started, with no idea where they were or where they’d been. Took us three days of swimming grid patterns to find the damn thing.”

“It’s too early to tell for sure what we’re dealing with,” said government spokesperson Doc Plank, “but it’s definitely a galleon-type vessel, and there’s not many of those unaccounted for in this part of the Caribbean.”

Local maritime experts speculate the ship is the legendary Santo Mojito, which terrorized the Spanish Main under three famous pirate captains. The ship was lost in the Great Hurricane of 1723.

“Redbeard absconded with the ship, crew and all, from the docks in Cartagena in, oh, 1712,” island historian Smithson Altschul said. “Blackbeard commandeered it from him in 1718, then lost it to Fauxbeard in what the records famously call ‘a gamme of pokker’ in 1721.

“Historians are in consensus that Fauxbeard was the nom de guerre of pirate Mary Read after she faked her death in Jamaica the year before,” Altshul said.

“The Santo Mojto was refitted as a casino cruise ship, the first of its kind in the Caribbean,” Altschul said. “She left Panama in mid-September. A week later the hurricane whacked the central Caribbean. The Santo Mojito was never heard from again.”

“If this is the S-M, it’s a priceless piece of Caribbean history,” Blacktip Island Historic Association chair Wade Soote said. “So’s all the gold she carried. Especially the gold.”

The government is flying in experts from the United State and Europe to confirm their findings. In the meantime, authorities are focused on preserving the wreck and its contents.

“We’ve cordoned off the area with fishing skiffs until we can positively identify the wreck and inventory its contents,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said.

“Yahoos’ve tried to sneak in on underwater DPVs, but their scuba bubbles gave them away,” Marquette said. “Our big concern is looters using rebreathers that leave no tell-tail bubble trail. We’ve installed nets made of 200-pound monofilament around the wreck to discourage that. Divers can’t see the monofil, but it tangles them up in a heartbeat. Then we just haul them to the surface.”

The Caribbean Salvage and Exploration Association is protesting the government’s efforts to protect the wreck, as well as the netting of several of its members.

“It’s a pirate ship filled with pirate treasure,” said CSEA commandant Jack Snapper. “Its rightful place is with pirates, not some government warehouse.”

“If this island’s authorities aren’t pirates, I don’t know who is,” Doc Plank said. “Any treasure found on this wreck will used for the public good. Mostly.”

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Cross-Island Canal Sparks War Between Scuba Resorts

A new canal, created to shorten ride time to the Caribbean island’s scuba diving sites, has cut Blacktip Island in two geographically and culturally.

A new canal, created to shorten ride time to the Caribbean island’s scuba diving sites, has cut Blacktip Island in two geographically and culturally.

A cross-island canal dug to facilitate access to Blacktip Island’s eastern dive sites has sparked a conflict between scuba resorts over who has priority at the island’s most popular dive sites.

“It’s always been first come, first serve out there,” Sandy Bottoms Beach Resort owner Sandy Bottoms said. “It’s not our fault we’re closer to the sites and have faster boats. Digging this canal, that’s playing dirty pool.”

“We cut the canal to help everyone,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “Sandy and the other yahoos up north are free to use it. When they’re finished sucking on their sour grapes.”

Bottoms and other resort owners from Blacktip’s north refuse to back down.

“Rich wants two islands? Fine,” Club Scuba Doo owner Nelson Pilchard said. “The dive sites north of his canal are technically in our territorial waters. The southerners think they can dive up here, they have another thing coming.”

“Some of the Caribbean’s best wreck dives are off our north coast,” Bottoms said. “Rich brings his divers up here, the island’ll have a few more wrecks to dive.”

The split echoes a deeper divide in the small Caribbean island community.

“It’s a Pond versus Bluff thing that’s been simmering for generations,” Bottoms said. “The southerners sit up there in the breeze, looking down at us like they’re something special.”

“We have better sense than to live by those stinky bird ponds,” Skerritt said. “We give our dive guests gas masks for the boat ride when the east wind’s blowing. This canal lets us bypass the stench altogether.”

An island council meeting has been scheduled to settle the issue. However, neither side can agree on where to meet.

“I’m not setting foot up there,” Skerritt said. “It smells like bird poop. I might catch something.”

“Crossing to their so-called island acknowledges its right to exist,” Bottoms said. “We go down there, we’ll probably end up as hostages.”

Island authorities are taking steps to bridge the divide.

“We have the police launch standing by so all parties can confer mid-canal,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “If neither side’s amenable to that, we’ll have them stand on either side of the canal and yell back and forth at each other.”

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Blacktip Navy Repels Cuban Invasion

Blacktip Island shore batteries fire on attacking naval vessels.

Blacktip Island shore batteries fire on attacking naval vessels.

The Blacktip Island naval militia has repelled an attempted nighttime invasion by elements of the Cuban Navy, Island officials reported Friday.

“They sent their pocket frigates in under the new moon, but we were ready,” said Jack Cobia, Scuba Tourism Director and commander of Blacktip’s defenses. “We showed them there’s more to this little island than drunks and scuba hippies.

“Fidel’s had his sights on us for a long time. We’re just a hop, skip and a jump for him.”

“It was utter chaos at sea, battling in total darkness,” said Sgt. Major (ret.) Beaugregory Damsil, captain of the island’s fleet. “Vessels from both sides were firing flare guns, launching beer bottles, swinging sticks at anything that moved. It was hand-to-hand amongst our own crews at the end. They did themselves proud.”

Some island residents questioned the official account.

“There was an offshore kerfuffle, yes, but there’s no evidence Cuba was involved,” longtime resident and de facto mayor Frank Maples said. “And with Mr. Cobia standing for mayor next month, frankly, it smacks of a political straw man.”

“They were definitely Cubans,” Sgt. Major (ret.) Damsil said. “We’re quite certain of that. Well, reasonably certain. They all spoke quite strangely, at any rate.”

The battle was clearly visible from shore.

“It was lovely, really,” Club Scuba Doo manager Polly Parrett said. “We thought it was practice for next month’s Queen’s Birthday celebration, what with the rockets and starbursts and shouting. Our guests were thrilled.”

Cuban authorities have filed an official protest, claiming Blacktip fishermen attacked several boats of refugees fleeing to Central America.

Blacktip officials cited damage to their own fleet.

“We lost some good skiffs in the battle,” Cobia said. “The upside is we gained some great new wreck dives. In the space of an evening Blacktip Island became the premier wreck diving destination in the Caribbean.

“We issued strict orders: Draw them into the shallows, don’t fire until you see the rivets on their hulls, and shoot for the waterlines. A wreck in 6,000 feet of water does no one any good. We’re not just defending the island, we’re creating jobs!”

Cobia would not comment on the exact number, or sizes, of the sunken warships, nor on the possible existence of Cuban prisoners.

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