(c) Photograph Katherine Breen
The Bugs Out Here
15 Aug, 13 - 19:25
I’m not sure if Boomer ever really loses his cool, but when I saw him swinging his paddle like a wild maniac and shouting at the top of his lungs a few mornings ago, I would say that he was pretty close. I can cut him some slack, and you would too, if you could see the great clouds of mosquitoes that have entered our lives since arriving on Nettiling Lake.
I can’t say that we weren’t warned. Numerous people who have travelled in these areas told us that the mosquitoes would be terrible. One person told us that they have been known to kill dogs . . . and even people. While we’ve not felt that our lives are in peril, the inside of my tent does look like the scene of a violent crime; blood streaks, dead mosquitoes stuck to the roof, to the walls, and on the floor. The bugs get into everything: breakfast, dinner, the inside of your bug jacket, the inside of your sunglasses, and the inside of your pants. Biblical proportions.
Each one of us has adopted a different coping mechanism. Eric is deliberate, calculating. He often tries to out-race the swarms that follow him from camp, to kayak, and onto the water. Once he gets far enough from shore he does away with any remaining stragglers. The top of his boat looks like a mosquito graveyard. When it comes to entering and exiting the tent, Sarah has ninja skills. She likes to use a dive-roll technique to minimize the potential for mosquito intrusion. When he isn’t using his loud voice and swinging paddle technique, Boomer likes to use his hat as a fly swatter.
Personally, I believe that with this many bugs, relief cannot be found by battling against the swarms and have instead found that a zen-like approach works best. In this war against the blood sucking insects there can be no winners, only itchy losers and dead mosquitoes. Wearing my paddling gear and a bug net I’ve made my peace with the mosquitoes. Try as they might, they can’t bite through my clothing, or my tent walls. So, those are my safe spaces and I am prepared to make them mosquito free. The rest of the wilderness belongs to the mosquitoes. So, I’ll just keep suiting up in my bug-proof wear, and hoping for a steady breeze.
Forecast Expedition Q - 19 August
Wind: SW7-12kt becoming 13-18kt
Wx: few sunny spells,after 12utc becoming ovc/slight rain-shower
Wind:SSW5-10kt after 12/15utc becoming 10-15kt
Wx:sunny spells with patches of high clouds -good conditions
Wind:SE10-15kt no significant change
Wx:becoming very cloudy with tempo rain/rainshowers