When we went through the marine survey on Shearwater, Ray Walden noted in his official report that we needed to replace a number of the safety flares aboard due to issues of them being woefully out of date. I looked at them myself and the prior owner(s) had seriously neglected a number of them – the oldest having expired back in 1993. Ray had recommended that we dispose of the expired flares by putting them in a bowl or bucket of water, weighting them down with something that was heavy and letting them soak for a number of weeks, so as to disarm them and render them safe for local trash collection.
So that’s what I did when we returned home from Shearwater a week and a half ago.
Imagine my surprise when the scene below greeted my eyes this morning.
It appears one of our little raccoon friends discovered the stash of soaking distress signals and absolutely could not resist the inspired aroma and tangy flavor of the lowly handheld smoke flare.
Yup – all that orange-red colored liquid is from the expired smoke flare, as are all the stains on the picnic table. The raccoon splashed the stuff everywhere and left little bits of the paper tube casing all over the table and the deck underneath. How do we know it was a raccoon? You can see the paw print of the guilty party yourself in the image below.
It’s amazing what a raccoon finds attractive and/or appetizing. Over the years we’ve had them raid our tent camping sites and eat the following:
- One entire tin of General Mills International Cafe Vienna instant coffee mix
- One entire bottle of Dawn hand-washing dish detergent
- One set of seriously stinky and beat-up running shoes (I found them, cleaned them up, and finished wearing them out)
- One entire stick of butter that was left out by accident
- And now, one expired handheld smoke flare