Squishy Crawly Bitey Things

There was a leech in my kayak. A LEECH Y’ALL.

Please forgive my KANYECAPS and reliance on pseudo-Southern twang to convey my displeasure, but EW.

Now Oregon is not perfect, but two things I never encountered in all my time in the out of doors are leeches or ticks – two wee beasties that seem to have infiltrated this part of the world.

The habit of “checking for ticks” I thought was some cute rural anachronism, but when I found myself face-to-P’s butt (too much information?) after a particularly tick-infested walk, I knew these little monsters were the real deal.

Over the past few years I somewhat adjusted to that small pleasantry of New England outdoor recreation, but somehow no one thought to mention the leeches.

I’ve spent my fair share of time on various bodies of water, frolicking about, without a care in the world. Being raised by a SCUBA instructor, I’m really not scared of fish or water dwelling creatures (with the exception of that one time a dogfish came at my dad and I diving, and I totally pushed him toward it because I legit thought it was a Great White shrunken by a shrink ray and shit was going to go down – Sorry Dad!).

So today I’m merrily paddling along when I catch a contraction/lengthen motion in the bottom of the boat near my leg. I think – oo! Perhaps a caterpillar or worm or something benign – but NO.

Distinct little sucker head, disgusting body – although I’ve never seen one in real life, my instincts kicked in.

LEECH!! I practically yelled at P as I debated my next move.

Try to grab it with my bare hand and throw it? Little grossling contracts and SUCKS ON THE KAYAK.


Luckily a tree had fallen in the water nearby and I grab a leaf, yank that thing with all my will and throw it as far as scared-S-in-a-wobbly-kayak-with-visions-of-extreme-bloodloss-a la 19th century medicine possible.

After I got over that squiggly disgusted feeling, which took a while, I was a bit proud. Although I didn’t kill it (not out of an ethical concern, just didn’t particularly know how – tips?), I did deal with it.

These days, I’m definitely counting the small victories.


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