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Date:  20 September 2013. Going Batty.

My tale for tonight begins like many nights aboard Seaweed start.... As the sun meets the horizon I light my small reading lantern and bring out a book to read later. An oil lantern is not a necessity in these modern times though I must confess I enjoy the ambience. Mine is a-okay for reading but it does not light brightly the interior, and that's where the trouble began!

For those that are new to the whole oil lantern as a reading light source, you'll note that mine is above the book, thus the light shines down on the page. I can play cards too with the same set up. That's a circa 1949 "The Encyclopedia of Cookery" cookbook (thick) that I'm using for height. Eventually I'll find a box that will do the same thing and give me a place to store my writing items (paper, cards, address book, stamps) and will pass along the cookbook -- presuming someone wants a 60+ year old cookbook that is....

As I was saying the light from the lamp is sufficient to read or play cards by, however the interior of my cabin isn't bright by any means, and that's where things could be better. Remember yesterday (Screening Seaweed article) how I extolled my simple screening system and how easy it was to put a few loops at the top of the screen to hang it from the framework of the windows? Well, there is one flaw in that system, and it's a doozy!

Take a look at the upper right corner of my screen over the back window into the cockpit and imagine it very dark... That red arrow is where my visitor arrived.

Yes, I was reading but noticed a noise and saw/heard a fluttering across the top of the cabin above the window, aft. I got up and reached for my flashlight and shined it up in the corner. See next photo.


Please direct your attention to the red arrow in the picture above.

Right there I spotted a dark shadow... have you ever wished something was a cockroach? Well, I did so at that point. Alas, the shadow was far too big for a roach so then my mind thought "maybe it's a black frog" and "there are black frogs, aren't there?" and GET IT OUT OF MY HOME!!!

Sigh. Unfortunately about then the critter spread its little wings and I knew it was not destined to be a great night aboard Seaweed. Fortunately an innocent cruiser with testosterone and a friendly demeanor was one phone call away. Of course when you have a bat in the boat the person you'd want to call is named Robin, right?!

One thing I'd forgotten was that critters when presented with a barrier go up, so when the bat hit my screen its natural inclination was to start climbing and that took it to the top of the screen that was (then) not firmly adhered to the window frame. It was easy to come on in. [Now since telling my tale one fellow questioned my suggestion that critters naturally go over obstacles and frankly I'm not sure when or how I came by the information -- it may well be inaccurate.] In any event, some Velcro has sealed the access from future winged visitors so it's all good now.

Upon spotting the bat a phone call to the next boat anchored off my starboard quarter brought quick results. Yes, I am fully capable of pulling the "Girl Card" and this is one time I'm very happy to have it available. It was great to have a gentleman who could come and save the day so close by too.

Well, by the time Robin arrived the little bat had hidden behind the curtain over my sink but after catching it in a towel Robin gave it a swimming lesson out back. I'm hoping the bat lives because anything that eats mosquitoes can't be all bad -- not that I want one inside Seaweed of course.

Lesson Learned: Make sure the screens are sealed at the edges -- my haphazard loops and clothes pins are great for mosquitoes but failed the bat test. Velcro around the edges seals the screens to the window frames and should prevent any further critter incursions.


Robin Wiest is on Dawgfish, a MacGregor 26 he sailed down from Bath, Illinois.
That's his dog Miss Kitty on the deck he built. Robin is a good fisherman too.

Now his momma may have named him Robin, but for me, he'll always be my Batman. Thanks again, and I hope to run into you along the coast. Happy cruising to you and thank you very much for coming out in the night to take care of my problem visitor.

Have you ever heard of wild things going up when confronted by a barrier?
What type of critters have you had to evict from your home?

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Categories: Boats, Characters, Comfort, Security, Wild Things

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