Otters AND Snakes?

When my children go to sleep at night, we often talk about different things they can imagine to help them drift off to sleep. Entire imaginary worlds have been created in a very short time often leaving me wishing I could just lay down and drift off to sleep letting the beautiful dolphin world wash away my day. The innocence and depth of a four year olds imagination is magical.

Living on an island has its perks for the over zealous childhood imagination. When fears of lions and bears and monsters enter the conversation it’s so easy to say “Oh honey, those things don’t live on our island, we only have friendly creatures here.” That’s the truth. When we moved onto the boat it was even easier to distance ourselves from the “scary” land creatures. However, they were quickly replaced with the scary sea creatures…. the octopus that could climb the side boat or the jelly fish that could open windows. Admittedly, that’s some scary stuff. Thank goodness that stuff doesn’t happen….

Fast forward a few days, and Matt and I are talking. He casually says, “We are gonna have to make sure otters don’t get into our boat. I saw one with the longest body yesterday, it was HUGE!” Wait, what? Otters? Why would they be in our boat? Aren’t they nocturnal anyway? Does this mean you saw a rabid one? (I don’t even know if they can have rabies, I am just applying raccoon logic to them, since they are in the weasel family and that’s close enough, right?) This new little piece of information my husband shed light on was not music to my ears.

River-Otter

Turns out river otters are aplenty here in the marina and they love to make little homes on boat decks. Despite being called a river otter, they can apparently function quite well along coastal shorelines and can also wreck havoc a boat. Could you imagine if an otter ended up in our living room? I did for just a minute and realized it would take a while for me to recognize the hilarity of the situation. After plenty of research and conversation it sounds like our back deck is most likely where we would find them, not, say, the galley. Chances are my screaming will rid the boat of an otter should I find one, but I did discover that they can be aggressive, so hopefully we won’t have an “Otter Attack”. I will lose my mind. I haven’t really heard or read about that happening so hopefully it’s not one of those, “it’s only a matter of time” situations. Yikes! Bonus for the otters though, they are cute.

Then last night, Matt poked his head into the boat and said, “You should come out on the dock for a minute. I found something cool.” What should my wondering eyes see, but what looked like thirty or so bright orange snake/worms swimming around our neighbors slip. Matt shined the flashlight into the water and we just stood there staring, silent. Having taught Environmental Education for years, we both felt confident in our marine ecology knowledge. We did not know about these little fella’s though. Instantly, I saw my visions of taking a refreshing dip into the sea over. Why would I swim with snakes or worms or what ever they are? That is fodder for a good horror flick, not an afternoon of fun aboard the Wild Rose.

So, it’s back to the books I go to find out what these things are and whether they are seasonal or if they are going to bit my leg off should I take a dip. If you know, please tell me so that I can rest easy. I’d like to get back to dolphin village utopia as I drift off, but last night, all I could think about was snakes swimming under my bed, literally.

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One thought on “Otters AND Snakes?

  1. Well, at least your kids fear something real! On some of his early days sailing he would scream, “we’re gonna die!” at the top of his lungs, then cry and moan some more. There wasn’t any particular thing we could talk about. It was just raw fear. Needless to say this wasn’t too conducive to getting anywhere…

    I admire your determination. And do watch out for those otters- they’re cute and leave stinky things behind!

    -Bruce

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