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All credit for the above title to my long distance writing buddy, Mike Lein. He lives and writes in the Northwoods of Minnesota. If you’re into hunting, fishing, camping or just plain good stuff to read, check him out on Amazon. (Firewood Happens and Down at the Dock.)

But back to that title. It comes from an essay by Mike.

“Things you don’t want to hear at a Deer Damp.”

(You’ll have to buy the book to find out more. Especially about Grandpa losing his check book down the “you know what” in the Outhouse.)

I was lying on my back, one dog on my stomach, one dog under my feet, chuckling away when there it was.  One of those

 “Things you don’t want to hear on a boat.”

An alarm. Not a loud “in your face” fire engine alarm. No, a persistent birdlike peep-peep-peep.

“Watch for a moment,” said the Captain as he disappeared downstairs to the engine room. 

Reluctantly I put Mike and The Deer Camp aside. I stood there, hands resting lightly on the wheel with the boat on auto-pilot. To a passing mariner it would appear as if I’m in control. Talk about deceptive appearances.

Truth is; I don’t have a clue. Nearly lost it last night when a lady, who captains her own boat, tried to convince me.  “You must learn to dock a 50 foot cabin cruiser by yourself.”

Nothing would dissuade her. She had a counter solution to every objection I raised. Luckily, we didn’t sit together for dinner.

But back to that peep-peep-peep.

The Captain came back, not having found anything amiss in that mysterious part of the boat, aka the engine room.

Next, he stuck his head into the closet beneath the chart plotter and did something. The sound stopped.

“You found the problem?” I asked.

“No, I turned off the alarm,” he said.

Electronics at its best. It will remain a mystery. Until next time.

I was reminded of another time. And another boat. And another persistent alarm that peeped and peeped and peeped.

We weren’t as experienced, or should I say blasé, as we are now. This alarm was nothing we’d heard before.

We had to find the reason or at least the source. In the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, we turned off the engines and listened. We investigated.

Closets on the fly bridge. V-berth cabin forward. Galley. Lounge area. Engine room. Master cabin. Aft deck. 

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Futile opening and closing of all the hidey holes and trust me, there are lots on trawlers.

About the third time round we were ready to give up. The Captain was plodding up the stairs from the lounge, me close behind and two steps further down. Eyes more or less level with the back pockets of his shorts.

And then I heard it. The beeping was coming from his belt, sort of on the side towards the back.

His phone.

Who knows how his phone got set to have the alarm go off. Especially as he never uses the alarm on his phone.

It too, will remain a mystery.

In the meantime, I wait for the next thump or wump or peep-peep-peep.

Such is the boating life.

Cyber hugs and blessings all!

Photo credit  – Dane Deaner –

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