Can one man’s snoring save lives?

Ancient technique touted for keeping the wolves at bay

I snore. There, I said it.

I snore. I honk. I wheeze, grunt and grumble — the cause of many a poke in the ribs and bleary-eyed accusations in the morning. There is no international conspiracy involving everyone in whose presence I have ever slept. It’s true.

Darn good thing too, as it turned out on my Labour Day weekend paddle off Cortes Island with my old buddy, John.

We launched at Manson’s Landing, heading for Shark Spit on nearby Marina Island. The spit has a clean, rugged beauty that at least gives you the feeling of wild isolation. As we paddled closer however, we saw that it was occupied.

Sailboat after sailboat hove to offshore. All the camp spots were taken up, but Marina’s a big island, so we paddled down the beach a ways and made our camp. John opted to build a simple tarp shelter up in the woods, while I pitched my tent on the beach below.

It cooled off quickly and as the beach was crawling with sand fleas, we made an early night of it.

It was about 6 a.m. when I heard the howl. There was just the one, but it was definitely a wolf. It sounded close, too — right up by my friend’s shelter.

There was no time to wrestle my way out of my sleeping bag, unzip my tent and then struggle with that darn zipper on the fly and go stumbling through the dark woods to go rescue my pal. By the time I got there they would have ripped both his arms and legs off and probably half his face, too. What kind of life would that be for him after that?

I had to act fast. I flipped over on my back, closed my eyes and, summoning every ounce of meditative power I had, drifted off to sleep.

In the morning, one of the yachtsmen came ashore and walked over to where I was sunning myself.

“Hear the wolves this morning?” he asked. “They were all around your tent, a whole pack of them. They seemed leery though. Didn’t seem to want to get too close. Then they ran off, gave a howl and that was it.”

“Oh right, the wolves,” I thought blearily, wishing I had coffee. “I wonder how John’s doing?”

He was fine, although he’d had quite a night, waking to a wolf howling right on the other side of the tarp in the dark woods. When he crawled out to look around, his flashlight showed he was surrounded by two grey wolves, a black one and one that was pure white.

They gazed at him, the white one for a long time, before disappearing into the shadows.

He’d been wide awake ever since. When I told him about my experience, his eyes narrowed.

“So let me get this straight,” he said. “You thought there was at least one wolf up by me so you turned over and went back to sleep?”

“Lucky for you,” I explained, noting that snoring is believed to be a defence mechanism humans developed back in Paleolithic days to ward off predators and other dangers while they slept.

A big, husky male snore tells a sabre toothed tiger it probably doesn’t want to mess with this cave, while it alerts mammoths out on the plains that they should avoid this area if they don’t want to have to deal with a whole lot of mooshy toe jam.

“I can just imagine that alpha male’s thoughts,” I continued in my best wolf voice. “‘He sounds powerful. Come my brothers of the night, we must flee this place!”’

“You went back to sleep, you dirty dog!”

“I saved your life.”

It’s something to think about ladies, next time hubby is grunting, honking and bubbling beside you. He may be keeping you up, but he’s just protecting his family from predators.

And hey, you don’t see any wolves around, do you?


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