Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: ESE 5-10 knots, occasional scattered rain showers

We continue to be stalled by rain and laziness, unwilling to go to town. The bugs have been bad the last couple of days, leaving us hiding from the heat all day and hiding from the bugs all night. We’re anchored a little too close to shore for our own good, as we tend to do because of the rowing dinghy. It makes rowing a dinghy to shore a lot easier, but it also makes it a lot easier for the mosquitoes to jaunt over here for a bite in between rainstorms.

I’m reminded of our adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail when, because of the snow, the mosquitoes were out with gestapo-style force. They make the mosquitoes here look like little baby pansies that go crying back to their mother. I can’t even begin to explain the mosquitoes in the Sierras of California. They were great black clouds that blotted out the sun. Still, just a mosquito or two on your boat is enough to make you unhappy, enough to keep you up at night. I hate their whining right around my ears almost worse than I hate their bites. I wake up in the middle of the night to hear a little high-pitched whine and I can’t go back to sleep until I’ve found the source of the noise and slaughtered it.

We really should have netting for our hatches, something which restricts air flow but may in the long-term make life on a boat more comfortable. Our problem, though, begins to be one of supply. Where are we going to find mosquito netting? If we can find a place that sells it, how are we going to get there? How much is it going to cost, and is it worth it, or is it a better idea to anchor farther offshore and use more insect repellent? Every choice now is a choice of cost, and every choice of cost is a choice of time--how long can we cruise on the money for mosquito netting? Out here they’re not called dollars. We call them cruising chips. How far can this one measly dollar carry us out here? I calculate one day’s food costs, and try to keep it under a dollar a person--that can of tuna cost us 50 cents, that can of evaporated milk a dollar, that tortilla 20 cents. It’s a fantastic way to look at money. How long can we live on nothing?

The key is to not let expense become an obstacle to our goals. On the trail, because of frugality or stupidity or laziness, we never made the effort to put netting on our tarp or even to buy Deet, and because we didn’t do that, we gave up hiking. It was a decision that both of us forbade ourselves to regret. Nevertheless, part of me regrets it. So the lesson learned is that we need to spend money on the things that are going to keep us out here, the things that are going to keep us happy enough cruising that we don’t retreat back to America with our tails between our legs. Columbus didn’t do that. Neither can we.

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