It was a typical morning aboard Rode Trip. I awoke to the alarm sounding, at 6:30am, just in time for Chris Parker's weather forecast. We had guests aboard and although captain Brian was soundly sleeping our friend Brian was wide awake. Just as Chris Parker was wrapping up the weather, Brian headed topside to take in the sights of a new day. In the meantime, I readied the coffee perkalator and called up to the cockpit, "Bri, could you please turn on the propane?" He hadn't heard my request because he had moved to the foredeck. So, I bopped up the ladder to turn on the propane. With a few swift maneuvers I had stepped across the cockpit, opened the lid of the propane box, and twisted the propane tank valve. As I closed the top of the propane box I glanced at the tiller and spotted something atop the tiller...it sent an instant shiver down my entire body.
"There's a SNAKE!?! EEEEWWWWWW! There's something in the tiller! ...something in the tiller!" I screeched and retreated quickly through the hatch and down the ladder. Friend Brian, who was still on deck, made his way to the cockpit as captain Brian hopped out of his bunk and passed me to go up the ladder. Whimpering and sputtering, I somehow managed a few words to direct the guys' attention toward the back of the tiller. "...there, all the way back, inside, eeeeewwww...inside that square, on the top, ugggghhhh, gross, I can't look!" I managed to direct their attention to this section of the tiller, where the tiller rests atop the rudder.
A snake was curled snugly on the tiller. "Spears!" Brian and Brian commanded in unison. Jennifer assisted. I had moved myself onto the couch for a seat to rest my shaky legs. The guys poked, prodded, shoved, flipped, and flung the snake overboard. Both agreed the snake was not accustomed to water, or at the very least did not want to be swimming first thing in the morning. After they threw it overboard, they had to push it away from the boat several times to redirect it toward land. It swam awkwardly with it's head very high above the water.
I returned to the cockpit when the guys assured me it was out of sight. I was a bit jumpy for the next several hours. Brian and Brian spooked me a few times with hissing sounds.
How in the heck!?! I'd mentally prepared myself for critters aboard. I knew rats or rodents were a possibility, they come from docks or get caught swimming and scurry up an anchor chain for rescue. Friends of ours had a bat attempt to snuggle beneath their canvas, but their "watch-cat" was about to put an end to that bat's plans. Captain Brian shared that he had heard stories of sea snakes getting into boats via the head plumbing. Ugh! Thank goodness we don't have plumbing! Rode Trip has had a gecko, who unfortunately met an untimely death at sea. We've also narrowly avoided a cockroach infestation (lucky!) having found the roaches quickly and squashing them immediately. It pays to be obsessed with cleaning! But a snake? We were anchored near shore but we didn't think the snake would have swum out on it's own free will. Had it fallen into the water? Had an irritated passerby thrown it onto our deck during the night? We were anchored very near a channel and at least two boats had hollered and raised their fists in the air while passing us. Had a hungry bird dropped it's next meal? We were baffled! I reiterated how important it is that we get to Hawaii as soon as possible, where there are no snakes, and stay there!