Friday, May 25, 2007

Big Galliot Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: NE-E 25-30 knots, gusting above 35
Seas: 8-10 feet offshore

We found weevils today. After all my excitement about cooking on the boat yesterday I decided to dig into our noodle bin to make pad Thai. I pulled out pound after pound of pasta, each one completely infested with weevils. It was like something from a horror movie. We’d set a box of pasta on the table, thinking it was clean, only to have weevils, alive, black, and fully grown, come pouring out of the corner of the box.

We started just dumping noodles over the side, for fear the weevils would escape and infect more of the boat, but then we stopped--we paid fifty cents a pound for our pasta stock and here it’s probably three dollars or more a pound, if we can even find it. I wanted to try to salvage some of it, because I’ve always regretted not trying to eat the brown rice we threw away. We gave up, though, when we opened the packages. The corkscrew pasta had about ten bugs per noodle, crawling through each twist and turn, the inside of each macaroni elbow was full of insects chomping their mandibles, the tortellini we bought for special occasions was polka-dotted with black, the weevils breeding whole colonies in the cheese of each ring.

People who talk about just boiling the insects in with the food have either never seen an infestation like the one or a lot stronger stomachs than I do. We would’ve needed to slap them on the barbecue and chow them down by the squirming handful. I kept thinking, too, as we tried to save a few lousy pounds: what about our clean and newly purchased rice and flour? Should we risk infesting our clean food? Just two eggs and we could lose all the rest of the dry goods on the boat.

In the end we threw it all out. We double-bagged everything we have left that they didn’t get: the Liptons, ramen, instant mashed potatoes, mac-and-cheese, and all the other completely over-processed, stripped, and sealed foods that I hope they didn’t get into but that I’m not willing to break the seals of to check. The things that are left have almost no nutritional value. They always go first for the protein, the whole grains.

It’s unutterably depressing, as has this whole sojourn here been. The weather’s still not forecast to get better until next Tuesday, and Karl and I are getting on each other’s nerves in our ten square feet of living space. He wired together all the LEDs given to us by our friend Wade today, without much help from me, only to discover that he’d burned out all the blue bulbs (they’d already had the white burned out, which is why we got them for free) and they only glow red. Which is fine for our night vision, but makes the boat look like a cheap nineteenth-century French brothel or the war room of the Red October. I fear, if used long-term, they may incite one of us to violence.

Altogether we lost about twenty pounds of food: ten pounds of spaghetti, five pounds of whole-wheat couscous, and assorted fancy spinach macaronis and tortellinis. That’s on top of the twenty pounds of brown rice we lost a couple of months ago. The weevils only got one of our four bags of tortellini, so we boiled the rest for dinner, ignoring the suspiciously nibbled edges. So it’ll be tortellini salad and soup for the next couple of days, and then pasta, pasta, pasta until we use the rest of it up. So much for being able to live three months on the food we carry on the boat.

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