21 June 2006
How to repel sand fleas?
Good question, and there are probably as many answers as there are cruisers. Here's our experience.
Mosquito Milk, by JABSCO. I've found it in St. Martin/St. Maarten in the Caribbean, and in Phuket, Thailand(! probably because there are so many European tourists there). It has a high concentration of DEET, and many's the time I was the only person not cursing the sand fleas. It comes in a roll-on bottle, looks a bit like deodorant.
Skin-So-Soft, by AVON. Many cruisers swear by this, though it didn't seem to work very well on me. I didn't like it too much because it was too oily for my taste.
If you get the sand fleas on the boat, I always had a 12V Vap-Mat to repel/kill them. I also carried mosquito coils ("FISH" brand), but I developed an allergy to the smoke, so couldn't burn them inside the boat, but did burn them in the cockpit, which did a good job of keeping mosquitoes and sand fleas away.
I don't know where you are cruising, but I noticed that a lot of cruisers bitten by sand fleas in French Polynesia developed infections and nasty scars. I don't know why the reaction was so bad, though it might be due to the fact that everybody keeps pigs - but that is only my theory. I suggest that if you get bitten by the sand fleas that you clean the skin with some vinegar - it's a very good disinfectant.