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After having discussed victualling, it looks logical to spend few words concerning the cute little beasts that can hitch a ride in the packing of our precious stores!

All books about long-distance sailing in tropical waters devote many pages to the problem of bug infestation, how to reduce the risk and how to get rid of them when (when, not if) the infestation takes place.

Is the risk real? During our voyage we always followed the basic recommendation, and never had a problem with the provisions until we reached Oman, where we found a carton of soft drinks, bought in a new, spotlessly clean supermarket, which was literally crawling with the little beasts! Luckily, we were still following the basic cautionary procedures, so we noticed the invasion before taking the package onboard.

This is a lesson to remember: a shop may be spotlessly clean, but their wares may have been stored few meters from the rainforest, so you never really know. 

Strangely, all authors insist on the risk of getting bugs hidden in food packing, while nobody mentions the risk of them getting aboard on their own, especially when moored to a quay, maybe few meters from the outskirts of the rainforest.

Actually, itís very easy to offer a ride to bugs on our own clothing or aboard the dinghy, and obviously itís even easier for them to come aboard when the boat is moored to a quay: we got the first warnings about this risk in Flamenco Marina, at the southern end of the Panama Canal, a modern but dirty and bug-infested place if there is one!

Probably the worst situation, which strengthened us against all later cases, was in the Galapagos islands, where also the bugs are plenty and oversized: the little town of Puerto Ayora is literally teeming with one-inch-long black things, and itís very easy to get one (perhaps fallen from a tree) on your clothes, and also the water-taxy boats by late afternoon are often infested, so itís far from difficult to carry a few on your boat, especially after sundown.    Chasing the intruders before they could hide in an inaccessible place was a common occupation after returning on board after a dinner ashore!

Despite these misadventures, we must notice that none of the 30-odd Rally yachts had any large-scale problem, besides taking the obvious precautions and chasing the occasional intruder!

 

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Last Update: 07/09/2017

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