Dan Rattiner's Stories

Look Out! Great Ecuadorian Eel Returns to the Hamptons

The Great Ecuadorian Eel may be returning to the Hamptons for the winter. That is the essence of an email received last night by Hampton Police Chief John Mitchell from his counterpart in Quito, Ecuador, where the Eel spends nine months a year in a pond next to a waterfall on the slope of Mt. Chimborazo, not far from the town of Latacunga. The Eel considers that his home. But he goes away winters.

“Residents with long memories may recall that back in the early 2000s, the Ecuadorian Eel was reported to have spent two winters here living under the ice in Mill Pond in Water Mill and Trout Pond in Noyac,” the chief said. “He was reported to be about 33 feet long, though no one ever got a clear sighting of him. But it was suspected he was involved in the disappearance of several local dogs and two resident ice fishermen who were never accounted for. He left in March both years. After that second winter, thinking that the Eel might be coming back I had asked Brndrn Fxisd, the chief of police in Quito, to send a warning if he was. Now he has.”

There were many naysayers in the Hamptons about the Eel back then. They felt there was no eel that could be 33 feet long, or if there was, he certainly was not here. But then back then there were people who would not believe in global warming.

Chief Mitchell said he had asked Senor Fxisd where the Eel had been wintering in the intervening 12 years. He said that since there were Americans saying he had never come north, they had snuck up on the Eel while he was sleeping by the waterfall after his return from the Hamptons and darted him with a tracking device. They were therefore to determine that in the next winter, he swam off to a remote harbor 200 miles west of Reykjavik, Iceland, and then for the next four winters he was in the uninhabited Churchill’s Cove at the southern tip of Hudson Bay in Canada.

After that he wintered two years just offshore one of the uninhabited Faroe Islands west of Scotland, and then for the next three years he wintered in a fjord that has never been named in northern Finland.

Why he goes where he goes, no one knows.

But he always comes back home to his family in Ecuador. During 2013 and 2014 the tracking device was not working properly and the scientists could never get up to the mountain waterfall when he was asleep. (They lost two during one attempt.) Then last year, the tracking device unexpectedly started back up again.

“And now, he is apparently on his way here,” the Chief said. “He is even bigger now. He is 44 feet long now, the Chief says, and about 15 feet in circumference. He eats six times a day.”

Fxisd told him that the Eel is wriggling at the rate of about 200 miles a day and was last located 140 miles east of the Outer Banks off North Carolina. At that rate, if he is coming here, he should be here next week.

“But of course he might be going somewhere else,” the Chief said. “Maybe Nantucket or Nova Scotia or somewhere. We will just have to see.”

In an unrelated matter, the Chief reported that his dog Sluggo, a black lab, has still not been seen. He has been off somewhere for the last three days. If found, please call 911.

“Also,” the Chief said, “I’ve noticed that with the cold spell, the ponds have iced over, but we consider the ice still thin and dangerous. In fact, Long Pond in Bridgehampton, where I live, developed a big hole in the center suddenly three days ago. I don’t know why. Please stay away from the ponds until you see our signs that read ‘Safe for Ice Skating.’ We will be testing thickness daily at all the ponds.”

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The Dan's Papers staff holding the Great Ecuadorian Eel
The Dan’s Papers staff holding the Great Ecuadorian Eel, Photo: Dan’s Papers
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