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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Kill Them. Kill Them All.

from Wikipedia.
Thus spake Dustin Hoffman as the big bad guy pirate in “Hook,” about Peter (Robin Williams) and the lost boys.

In one of my least zen moments of this journey, I too ordered it, laughing evilly and unrepentantly about my desired fate for Culicoides, also known as no see ums or biting midges.

“Blood sucking little bastards is what they are,” when Wayne said when he saw the Wikipedia image on my laptop.
A small sampling of my no see um bites, before they swelled up.

I agree. 

Clouds of these tiny demons infiltrated our boat in Cape Canaveral’s Harbortown Marina.  Florida is a mecca for these nasty little critters, boasting 47 varieties, according to University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology Department.  They’re small enough to easily wiggle through mosquito screen netting.

After a miserable night of hundreds and hundreds of bites from these bloodthirsty little devils, we left.  Madly itching welts covered us. “Their bites can cause intensely itchy, red welts that can persist for more than a week,” informs Wikipedia.  Great.
Doesn't look like much, but lots of little dead bodies
provided proof that my revenge was successful. 

We hotfooted – as much as you can call sailing at 5 knots hotfooting -- to Titusville, to settle in an anchorage not moored in mangroves.   

Problem was, the midges happily hitchhiked along; their tiny blood-filled bodies continued to torment us. 

We hit up the local drug store for Benedryl-like antihistimines to reduce the swelling and more hydrocortisone anti-itch cream.  We also fogged the boat with Raid, keeping it closed up to kill as many of the wicked winged vampires as possible. 

Unlike typical Twilight characters, fortunately, midges do die.  There are but a few that survived the fogging.  Their bodies leave bloodstains when we’re sharp-eyed and swift-handed enough to spot and successfully swat them.  A fellow cruiser told us gin deters no see ums.  Wayne tried it, and it didn’t work.  I can’t quite get myself to deet up, like Wayne, so likely got a few more bites; my hands, neck and feet fared the worst.  If we encounter clouds of these nasty insects again, I will, deet up, but not for a few stragglers.

What’s the attraction to bloodsuckers?

If I were Bella in Twilight, Edward would be spurned for Jacob.  Give me justice, not bloodlust.


Rumor has it, “Hook’s” “Kill them all!” line was uttered because Peter alone was not a sufficiently worthy opponent.  Neither are the midges, I suppose.  While not a fan of chemical warfare, the same arsenal also attacks mosquitos and “mahogany birds.”  Bring on the bottle, and I don’t mean the gin.

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Note:  I promise the next posts will be more upbeat than the last few.