Friday, May 1, 2009

we didn't just pull the name out of a hat

Anybody who wants to know why we are calling a sailing trip "The Skeeter Beater" need only take a look at today's post on Kiwibird's blog. This is the third and final post about a exploratory trip she and SandyBottom made as they prepare for the fall NC Challenge 2009. Here is a quote....

"...we could hear… the humming of a thousand—possibly more—mosquitoes, inside our tent flys and out—starving for blood—as big as sparrows. And I am not exaggerating.

...we speedily donned paddling clothes and pushed off the beach, still wearing our headnets. (The next day Dawn e-mailed me at work to report she’d counted 300 bites all over her body—I had much fewer, but where I had been bitten turned into large red lumps.)"

The marsh-lined sounds of North Carolina are a beautiful place. Great sailing, excellent fishing. Countless creeks, bays, inlets and....... mosquitoes. Bruce and I had a great time during our '07 trip down there but the fly in the ointment was in fact mosquitoes in the sleeping bags. Take a look below and you'll see Bruce sleeping in the early morning with the can of bug spray nearby.
Bruce contended that the mosquitoes got on board Spartina at Harkers Island and just came along for the ride, terrorizing us each night. I believed that the mosquitoes arrived each night from whatever marsh we had anchored near. This was a nightly debate, mostly because the debating took our minds off the mosquitoes biting.

That is our solution just above, the Outdoors Research Alpine Bivy. I bought mine the winter after our '07 trip and used in twice in '08 with great success. The key is the bug screen (you can see it against the white interior) that can be zipped over the head/shoulders area.
We typically anchor, depending on the location, anywhere from 30 to 50 yards off of the marsh. During the daylight hours mosquitoes are not a problem (at least offshore - if you were to stand in the marshes then yes, they would be a problem all day long). Anchored out, my experience is that the first few skeeters show up within a moment or two of the sun dropping below the horizon. The trick is to have the bivy set up in place. I'll read and relax until the sun goes down, then at the first buzz of a mosquito I'll slip in to the bivy and zip up the bug screen for a good night's sleep.
The bivy now is required gear on the boat. Bruce picked his up a couple of months ago. We'll put them to use in three weeks!

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Too smart! Life would be perfect on the NC coast, and elsewhere (eg. our home property!), without them.