Mexico Living – I’m Home Today – with Boogeymen

Think back to when you were a kid. Did you wake in the night and think there was a person standing in a corner of your room? It happened to me a lot. I “saw” boogeymen in my room more times than I want to think about. It probably had something to do with the Nancy Drew Mystery I was reading right before I turned out the light. And, to make matters worse my childhood bedroom had knotty pine walls. I think most of Nancy Drew’s mysteries had a hidden door built into the paneling. Often my imagination could see every wall in my room looking like a potential hidden door. Or, someone was looking at me – with one eye – through a knot hole. Oh. I would lay there in total fear, wanting to call out to my mother, but afraid because the bad buy was closer and could get to me before my mom could. So, I would lie there, trying not to move, hoping he wouldn’t know I knew he was there, and maybe – just maybe he would go away. Finally, I would fall asleep and realize the next morning that it was some clothing hanging on my closet door that was making the “man shape”. Oh, how frustrating! After a few of those experiences I learned to close my closet door. That never stopped the dreams of someone coming through one of my bedroom walls, but it did eliminate some boogeymen from my life.

Come back to the present. It’s one-thirty in the morning, the lines are creaking, the fenders are groaning, and then I hear a solid thump against the hull. I have been listening to the lines and the fenders all winter here in Paradise Village Marina. There is an almost constant surge in the marina – that varies in intensity,  and all the boats suffer from the constant movement caused by the surge.  I was almost asleep when I hear a “thump” on the hull. A the solid thump.  I heard it a few nights ago, and then again tonight. Wait! There it was again. (Why am I the one that hears all the noises? Captain wears ear plugs!) I hold my breath, racking my brain as to why the thumps.

They are solid enough that I actually “feel” them. Is something out there? What could it be? My eyes are wide open and I am awake. It isn’t totally dark, due to the dock lights around the marina. My eyes are probably bug-eye open by now. All my senses are on alert. I grab Captain’s shoulder and shake.

“Bruce! Someone’s out there!”

He comes awake and listens – he doesn’t hear anything. I grab him again.

“I know someone is out there”! All this was said in whispers. I don’t want them to know we are on to them.

Bruce goes topside to take a look around. I am still lying as still as ever – waiting. What?? A face – I see a face in our head port hole. No, I don’t. I do. There he is and he is scoping out the room. I don’t think he knows I can see him. I am afraid to move and scare him off.

No, Angie, there is no one; a human head won’t fit in there – you know better. Well, there is a head – and then I see an arm! The intruder has his arm through the screen of the porthole and now his arm is working its way down the bulkhead. There is nothing to steal but the brass clock – but I like that clock. I can see his hand grasp the clock and I flew out of bed.

“You put that back”, I yell in a very firm voice – so they can’t tell I am scared!

I run in, turn on the light in the head – and – and nothing. Nothing! Bruce came running at my hollering and he saw what I saw – nothing! The curtain was hanging properly in place and it was virtually impossible for me to have seen a face – or for that matter for a face to look into the porthole up against the screen. Really, it was nothing, but my heart didn’t stop pounding for awhile, and all I could think was that I didn’t leave my closet door open.

We went topside again and checked around the boat. There was nothing to see. No one was about.  The boats were moving with the surge, but the water was flat.

Maybe it was what I ate at dinner that night. It wasn’t what I was reading before I turned out the light. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe all the photos of the sharks that Doug shared with us disturbed me. Maybe it was that I was coming down with a raging cold, but the creaks, groans, and bumps were real. And then my imagination took off from there.

Asking around, one answer for these solid “bumps” is there are some very large fish swimming in the marina, and they may bump into the boats while chasing after food. Hm, well, it makes as much sense as anything, and I really want some kind of non-threatening answer. The water here in the marina is very murky.  It must be pitch black under our hull – so maybe big fish do run into us occasionally. Just to check out the theory I am going to watch my fish finder for a few days.

Who says I don’t have a vivid imagination? I just wish it would show up at blog time!

We spent the last week doing battle with head colds and fending off creative dramas while Living in Mexico – At home today.

7 thoughts on “Mexico Living – I’m Home Today – with Boogeymen

  1. Hi Angie & Bruce,

    In muddy or dark water, having fish, sometimes large fish, bang into the hull is very common. Especially at night. I assume that they see the bioluminescence of a smaller fish moving near the hull and attack it at a high speed, not realizing that the ‘brick wall’ of your hull is right behind the prey.

    In warm waters, lots of fish hunt this way at night. We were anchored in the Gulf of California, outside Puerto Escondido one VERY calm night and were watching the bioluminescence and the drama of “no matter how big and mean and hungry you are, there is always someone bigger, meaner, and hungrier” next to our boat.

    We accidentally discovered that if I stomped my foot on the deck of our 38′ sailboat, that the entire sea for over 100′ in all directions would erupt with a feeding frenzy! It was quite amazing.

    Another mystery noise is made by pistol shrimp. They have a special claw that makes a loud for its size noise that stuns the shrimp’s prey. For more info:
    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Alpheidae

    In many harbors, there are lots of them and the sound carries, so it sounds like high pitched popcorn or a crackling sound as hundreds snap. Each snap is one shrimp, but the snap is 200 decibels, louder than the Concord jet engines, if you are close to one of the tiny shrimp.

    A friend invited us to spend the night aboard the wooden sailboat that he’d just bought. As we were laying there, going to sleep, he asked what that crackling noise was.

    Ever the comedian, I said, “Teredos. And from that much noise, you must have a lot of them. Didn’t you get the boat surveyed?”

    (Teredos are a marine worm that loves to eat wood and riddles unprotected wood with holes, that as the worm grows, can be big enough to put a man’s finger into. One of the terrors of owning a wood boat.)

    Well, I’d over done it and he was terrified! It took about an hour to calm him down and get to sleep.

    We enjoy getting your news. If you need any ‘scare the aluminum boat owner’ stories, just say the word.

    (In case that actually worried you, aluminum has its special needs, like any material, but is arguably the best boat material as it is VERY tough in the engineering sense of being able to withstand rocks and collisions without leaking. Or as I like to put it, “A metal boat allows the captain to make one more mistake than any other hull material. They have hit reefs in mid ocean, been bounced over the the reef by the surf and then sailed almost 2000 miles to a harbor for repair, without taking on any water. Amazing stuff!”)

    • Dave and Janet! Great to hear from you. Even greater to be validated in the “big fish” theory! 🙂 We know all about the strength of our aluminum hull, take comfort in it, and hope never to have to test the theory. For all my readers, Dave and Janet have extensive world cruising experience – for which I am grateful. I believe it is better to learn from others, than experience some things first hand!

  2. One more thing we have in common – Nancy Drew fans! I can totally relate to your “boogeyman” noises! Ours aren’t quite as loud as yours but with scorpions occasionally running around I tend to perk up my ears whenever I hear a strange noise after turning out the lights! You know as well as I that scorpions aren’t wont to make any significant noise but one can’t be too careful! Better safe than sorry is our mantra! Don’t listen to anyone who says that margaritas or wine are the cause of your enhanced observational skills! :}
    Hope you and Bruce are feeling better! Can’t wait for the next chapter!

  3. Angie

    I know all about boat noises and things that go bump or slap, slap, slap in the night. Having a sailboat adds another dimension to it with all the rigging and lines to flap in the wind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve climbed out of my berth in the middle of the night to tighten or tie off some line. The worst one can be the spring line on the dock lines. If the wind or current is pumping the boat on it’s lines the spring line will slacken and sometimes get caught on a fender. Then when it tightens back up it will whack the side of the boat and sound like someone is hitting it with a hammer. I know you have pretty heavy lines on DV. Could that one of them is whacking the side of the boat when it surges?

    Dan

  4. Angie I loved this as I can relate to things like this. I also read Nancy drew Books and was scared of the Boogeyman also. But I here things and I make Paul get up and look as my heart beats a million miles a hour. It is usually never nothing but something sets me off that is for sure. I love this little story.

  5. Wow Angie, that is the funniest thing I have ever read in your blog! Great writing too. I think you might want to cut back on the margaritas, stop watching all those Mexican soap operas where you don’t understand all the words, and maybe get some professional help. This might be too much for Bruce to handle on his own.

    Big fish bumping into your hull, come on, if that were true all the fish would have bruised heads. A better explanation is drug smuggling submarines, lost and wayward scuba divers or the Vallarta-ness Monster.

    Keep writing though, stick it in the children’s section rather than the boat cruising lifestyle section.

  6. Hi Angie and Bruce,, You should write crime stories and make some extra money,
    that was a good one, you had us captured for a wile.
    We know that kind of bumps on the hall.Any litle creature can cost that. SPUKY
    We know now , you are well and alive.
    Here the Winter is slowly going away, still lots of rain, snow, storm but also SON SHINE. the spring flowers are poking there heads out.

    Love to here from you, Hubert is fixing things for our boat, we got the bugg again after we visited you.
    Take care Hubert and Marianne

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