In general we love having a slip close to shore and being able to back the boat up to the dock, but there's a downside that we didn't anticipate. We should have taken a clue from the rat "hotel" under the dock gangway. Then yesterday afternoon T found some evidence that there had been a rat in the boat. With two cats aboard, we hoped he scoped things out and then beat a hasty retreat. But at 3:30am this morning, the cats located him hiding mere feet from where Tanya makes her temporary bed. I was promptly notified that a full-scale rat removal project was required. Now.
I'm sure it was a comical scene. I chased him around the boat naked with a pair of kitchen tongs for about 30 minutes before I finally cornered and caught him. I distracted him with the flashlight and got him with the tongs from above. He gave a couple panicked squeaks and then was silent.
I hadn't given any thought what to do with him at this point, so I stood outside, naked, holding a pair of tongs and a very pathetic little rat and contemplated my options. I wasn't about to take him ashore, ask his forgiveness, and set him free to find his way back. His trangression carried mortal consequences as far as I was concerned, and there was a chance I'd already killed him with my determined grip on the tongs. I decided I didn't care where he ended up as long as it was far away and he got there quickly, so I hurled him off into the night. It was a good throw and a few seconds later I heard a splash. But then I realized I no longer had the tongs. Oh well. I don't think Tanya wanted them back anyway.
In addition to the cats on the inside, there's a feral stray that patrols the dock (and our boat) most nights. I would have thought that would be enough to keep rats from getting too adventuresome. I don't know if he came aboard by the docklines, but our transoms are less than a foot from the dock, so I don't think there's much I can do to rat proof the boat. So for now I guess we'll get some new tongs. And maybe a spare pair, too.