Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chesapeake Seals and Alligators?

We take the dogs off the boat three times a day.  Once in the morning for a potty break, once during the day for a two or three mile walk, and once in the evening for  another potty break.    We had an interesting thing happen last night.

As soon as the dogs got off the boat, they were on high alert.  Heads erect, standing perfectly motionless.  Then they ran to the side of the dock and were peering into the black water below.  They reluctantly agreed to be put on their leashes, and then dragged Pam and I down the dock to the shoreline where they ran from finger pier to finger pier, sniffing and looking.   Pit bulls are very powerful dogs for their size, and when they want to go someplace, there's not too much you can do about it.  As we got close to the only floating dock at the marina, something very large grunted and dove into the water with a huge SPLASH.  The dogs went ballistic and dragged us down to the floating dock.  They ran from side to side, sniffing and staring into the blackness.  We saw nothing. 

"What was that?" asked Pam.

"I dunno.  Probably a Chesapeake alligator." I replied, jokingly.

Back at the boat, Pam got on her iPad and began searching.   Ruby relaxed and laid down, but Chevy, the male, demanded to go back outside, woofing his insistance to me.   Chevy is part pit bull and part Shar-pei, which is a Chinese guard dog and very protective of family.  While everyone on board is relaxing, Chevy will patrol the perimeter. 

He was too busy to do his business the first time, so I took him off the boat again.  As soon as he jumped onto the dock, he ran to the end of it and checked our stern, and then began his perimeter inspection of the dock.   I got him on his leash and he repeated his first route, finally going to the floating dock and searching all around it. 

I dragged him off the dock and up to shore to the grassy area and he began pacing back and forth, sniffing the ground, finally bringing me to a brick paved area.  It was wet.  Whatever was on the dock also was up further on shore.

Back at the boat, Pam showed me that Harp Seals have been seen on the Chesapeake.  I did some more searching and found that small alligators have been found on the Potomac, which is just a bit south of Annapolis.

I sailed on Lake Champlain for a few years and had first hand encounters with Champ, it's version of the Loch Ness monster.   A quick Google check shows that the Chesapeake may also have its own monster named Chessie.   It's even been photographed.

My morning routine when I awake is to start the coffee and go up to the showers.  I got up at 6:30 today when it was still dark.  I drank a cup of coffee and waited for daylight before going to the shower.   While seals are cute furry animals, alligators and sea monsters are not.

UPDATE-  A dock worker came by while we were sitting outside enjoying the 68 degree sunshine and I asked if seals were known to hang around the marina.  The answer is yes, they do.  Mystery solved.   I still think I'm going to wait for sunrise before going to the shower, though.

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