... Until an evil cackle rang out through the night. Annelies shrieked and I shouted, "Daaaamnit! Raccoons!"
Ugggh. I absolutely loathe raccoons, with their creepy paws, brazen attitudes and menacing behavior (like when they killed a few of our darling backyard chickens). Those sneaky bandits are no friends of mine!
Turns out, our French camping neighbors thought it would be a good idea to ignore the signs that read, "No cooking after dark" and leisurely decided to begin grilling food close to midnight. A serious camping no-no, especially when you're in Florida palmetto scrub crawling with raccoons.
I mean, duh.
The saga unfolded as Annelies honked the car horn while I attempted to scare off the varmints with projectile debris. Those chunks of palm fronds sure came in hand as makeshift boomerangs, ha!
Unfortunately, we exhausted effort only to discover the scoundrels didn't even flinch (people, stop feeding the raccoons!) Eventually, most of them reluctantly shrugged off into another section of palmetto scrub or probably a trash can. We counted 8 or 9, casually stroll out of the trees and over to the site of our French neighbors who, from the sound of things were completely horrified. We overheard them shouting as they threw everything in their car, flew into their tent and zipped it up with haste. Needless to say, the French were gone first thing in the morning and became the joke of all the redneck fishermen in the surrounding area.
Sharing a common distaste for the pests, we wet down the fire and took our card game back into the tent. The moral of this story... if you're camping at Ft. De Soto keep all your food locked up and be prepared for an onslaught of raccoons (they even returned again at breakfast time, yuck!)
Given the wicked noises and chaos of it all, Annelies was disturbed by her first raccoon encounter. Looking back, this is a pretty funny story to retell together, we must have looked so ridiculous!