When we tell new friends we make during our trip about our lives, we often hear “Wauw!”. “That must be great, we want that too!”. But sailing the world has many sides and some of these we don’t speak about. This week I share one of the disgusting sides of sailing the world; dealing with pests.
Toxic snakes on board
In Guyana we sailed some 50 Miles inland on the Essequibo river and anchored in the jungle. In the river live among others Anaconda’s, Caimans and snakes. A number of yachts repeatedly encountered toxic snakes on board. The slimy creatures probably used the anchor chain to slide on board. And with the tremendous heat in Guyana you simply cannot sleep with open hatches. So there we where every night staring at the open hatch above us, hoping nothing would slide onto our heads.
With everything you take on board you should pay attention. In Brazil a voracious wood eating insect lives. The small creatures eat their way to the boat´s wood while multiplying and destroying the interior. And also in Suriname they live. I vividly remember how I was picking up bamboo with great enthusiasm from the bush when speaking to a experienced sailor. He warned me that this bamboo is often crawling with the wood eaters
Cockroaches in your food
Cockroaches perhaps form the most common pest on board of yachts. A yacht in the tropics is a cockroach heaven. The thousands of cracks and cavities with food remains are often too good to be true for the small critters. Once on board they form a plague. You may not see them during the day but when you go to the lo in the night there´s a good chance you see them crawling for safety. By washing food, vegetables and shoes preventative with bleach, Hope fortunately is cockroach free.
Rats under your bed
Rats, just like cockroaches feel at home on board. But contrary to cockroaches they are dangerous. You may think of the diseases they carry but that is not the whole story. In their attempt to make themselves at home, rats are known to chew through wood and electric cables. A rat on board can paralyze a ship’s navigation systems and make a ship blind in a matter of days.
Flies, mosquito’s and spiders
Flies are mostly disgusting but can be exterminated easily with insecticide and good hygiene. Mosquito’s carry the potentially deadly Dengue and malaria but can also be easily exterminated with insecticide and nets. At the moment I am thinking what to do with a potential deadly spider we picked up in the Amazon. A number lives under the couch in my spare supply of teak wood and unfortunately they seem to be of the same family as the deadly Theridiidae family, you might know them, the same family as that of the black widow.