Red Knot & The Raccoons!

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by Liz Healy

If you’ve been to Blake Island, you know how friendly the resident raccoons can be. The park hosts warn all boaters and campers to keep nothing edible anywhere in sight.

A few weeks ago on the way back from a terrific South Sound cruise, we stopped for two days at Blake Island and got the usual warning from the host about the raccoons. In past years, they were inquisitive, but not as bold and demanding as they’ve now become.

We left the boat to go for a walk leaving the cockpit door open since it was so hot. There was no food anywhere to encourage these rascals. When we got back, I noticed some wet spots on the carpet in the saloon and was ready to blame Harlen when it dawned on me that we’d had a visitor. No harm done so I cleaned up the few wet spots and figured that was that.

We were relaxing on the fly bridge enjoying a bottle of champagne thinking isn’t this the life! I’d left the door open again since it was so hot, but we were on the boat talking and laughing. I’d also left two lovely hamburgers wrapped in foil on the galley counter to finish thawing along with four rolls wrapped in cellophane.

Can you picture it? We’re having a fine time on the bridge while a raccoon saunters into the boat not making a sound, heads to the galley, climbs onto the counter, and waltzes out of the boat with the burgers wrapped in foil and the entire package of rolls. They didn’t eat inside and make a huge mess; they took everything with them!

When we came back down from the bridge, we noticed a tiny piece of foil with a bit of raw burger stuck to it lying in the cockpit. For a split second, I wondered what on earth I’d done. And then, OMG, it hit us! We’d been robbed by a masked bandit with absolutely no scruples about coming into a boat with us on it and stealing our entire dinner! The only thing I can say is that if you have wild animals on your boat, you want raccoons because they are so neat and clean, they left absolutely no trace whatsoever of the rolls – nothing – and only that tiny piece of foil.

After being livid, we ended up laughing so hard we could barely stand up and had canned chili for dinner.

We almost got our revenge the next day. I was kayaking outside the marina and heard this huge commotion on shore and then this ungodly screeching. I looked over just 20 feet away, and an eagle was taking off with a young raccoon in its talons, and that baby was yelling its head off and trying to escape, which it did! The eagle dropped it from about 30 feet, plop into the water, and that little critter began paddling for dear life, scrambled up on the rocks looking none the worse for almost being someone’s lunch, and disappeared. No doubt he’s resumed his training in how to steal food from inside a boat, leaving no trace, with the owners on board. You have to admit, THAT takes talent!