March 30, 2010

I spent a good bit of time the last two weekends doing work on the boat. Theskinnyonbenny family has been looking forward to our annual Easter voyage, but the list of boat chores was long, and I hoped to complete as many of those as possible before we left. One chore -- repair of a ripped sail -- was a firm requirement do be done prior to departure.

I didn't know until Sunday morning that I had an audience for most of my preparations. On Sunday, I was headed down toward the boat when I noticed a mallard jump up into the cockpit. I've never seen a duck board my boat before, so this gave me a chuckle. Then, she disappeared, and as soon as she did, I got a sinking feeling in my gut.

Mama duck on her nest. That's my speaker wire that drapes down in front of her.

I climbed into the cockpit, got down on my hands and knees, and confirmed my fear. She was sitting on a nest of eggs, build in the middle of my anchor rode.

She let me get right down in her face. We were eye to eye, just inches apart, but she didn't seem to mind. Eventually, I just got up and went about my work.

The question is this: if she doesn't hatch those eggs this week, what do I do? I'm thinking I'll try to slide the whole box -- anchor rode, eggs, and all -- out from under the seat and into a box that's set on the side of the dock. That way, when we sail away, she should find the nest. Although that means I would need to buy or borrow a different anchor rode.

Ducks are pretty stupid. Was she planning to build them a ramp to the seat, and then another one up to the top of the gunnel?

And isn't it true that something like 7 of 10 ducklings becomes food for a gator or a nutria? In that case, wouldn't I be sparing them all a lot of heartache if I turn mama duck into a gumbo and the eggs into omelets? (Of course I kid. I understand that instead of delicious duck eggs, she's sitting on duck fetus. Which is probably less delicious.)

There are actually a lot of nesting ducks out there. I know of two others who had the sense to nest in bushes instead of in my boat. In fact, my mother is bringing one of the nesting mothers a small bowl of dog food every day, which the duck seems to enjoy.

Masturbation is very awkward for the male ducks.

Meanwhile, the male mallards swim around with each other. They're probably stupid too, and I assume that they're asking each other why they find themselves in the middle of one sausage fest after another. "A month ago, I was getting laid every time I turned around. Now, all the females have disappeared. I guess I'll just take care of number one by myself again."