Saturday, January 29, 2005

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Occasionally we hear strange things in the night. Like the otters in the spring – they come swimming along and bang right into our keel. Island Packets have a very long and deep keel, and the water here is not very clear. So, from time to time, while diving and swimming between boats they misjudge the depth and whack themselves. It is a very thud-like noise, like dropping a shoe on the floor.

In Florida we heard popping noises, something like clicking. It would go on and on for hours. It turns out that was the sound shrimp make when mating. We got used to it, but it was always predictable that the first night after boat owners would stay aboard their new boats they would always ask about the noise. Some would run to the office and report something terrible was wrong and they just knew their boat was going to sink because the hull was popping. Some would spend the night with a flash light peering into the bilge, trying to find the source of the sounds. Amusing.

This winter we now have a new mystery noise. It sounds like bubbles, coming up from the deep and hitting the bottom of the boat. It is not the waves lapping, which sounds like little slaps and ripples – swimming pool sounds. This is like glugs of water or air hitting the hull. It starts about 9:30 pm and lasts about 2 hours .... Or maybe I am just falling asleep and don’t hear it end. It has been every night for the last week. It’s fairly steady, and the sounds are pretty uniform in loudness, though there is some variation.

Could it have something to do with the tide changing? Something to do with the ice itself? Perhaps there is some monster of the Salt Pond trapped under the ice, trying to escape? Or has the bottom of our hull become like a HAPPY HOUR bar in New Orleans at Mardi Gras with free hor d’oeuvres – and all the nocturnal fish are snacking Chez Auana Ke Kai? It’s a mystery, and I guarantee you, that this Cajun isn’t going out after dark to see what is out there lurking in the deep!

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