11 November 2008 | On passage from Curacao to Cartagena
A short note from Monique about...flying bandits. Bugs have become a regular part of cruiser-to-cruiser conversation. Asking, "How are the bugs here?" is as common as saying, "How's the weather?" Once you hear the answer, then you check with other cruisers to get a larger sample size, therefore giving a more accurate gauge. Knowing where the bugs are and when they are coming to get you is critical for living aboard a boat in warm climes. We have started to do some pretty neurotic things when it comes to mosquitoes in particular. Money towards bug prevention and eradication is money well spent in our books. We've acquired marine grade mosquito screens for our forward and aft doors, allowing us to let the breeze into our salon, while keeping the skeeters out, cans upon cans of volatile aerosols to kill anything that flies, and every trip to the store requires the purchase of at least one spray bottle of OFF. Natural oils and candles would be OK with us, but we figure the hard core chemicals have guaranteed results...who knows what results they unleash on us humans...but we only go around once, right? "Screen me" has also becoming a standard phrase on Zen, translated, it means, "I can't close the screen from the outside, so you, who are indoors, close the screen on the Velcro." Everyone has their little ritual. I, being the Numero Uno Choice Delicacy of all skeeters, have numerous rituals. Let me share some wacky ones that really get me wondering if my sanity is intact. Feel free to comment. When I arrive in the head, aka bathroom, I will immediate look under and around the toilet to see if I find any skeeters taking a snooze. I love our hulls, they are white, and those pests are easily seen on that backdrop. If I find one, I will pound it with my hand and shout with glee, "Dead!!!!" All hands on deck are also celebrating my kill since I say it so loudly all can hear. Next, while sitting, (don't you love my sharing?) I will continually scan the area. If any targets are found, they get a minute or two until their life comes to an abrupt end. Upon entering bed at night, covering exposed skin w/bug spray is key and mandatory. Tom, if asleep, unfortunately gets to wake up to me, stinking of OFF, putting the light on above his head. More scanning must occur. If bitten in middle of the night, all lights go back on and the war begins. To avoid long battles at 2am, we have resorted to screening all opening hatches and doors 100-percent of the time. If a daytime war occurs, Cole will get out his camouflage belt, which acts as a harness for the aerosol cans. Killing with spray can give a different gratification. Needless to say, the more bloodshed we see on our walls, the more bites we have to show for it. The locals are telling us it's been a particularly wet rainy season and the critters are rampant. Hopefully it will be getting drier and our antics will be curtailed so we can put the Benydryl lotion away for a few months!
This email is via satellite phone. Please do not send any attachments. Please reply with your email only. Delete all other previous email threads.