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, but only when we reached Oman we found a carton of soft drinks, bought is 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 pack onboard.
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, it’s very easy to offer a ride to bugs on our own clothing or aboard the dinghy, and obviously it’s even easier for them to come aboard when the boat is moored to a quay: we got the first warnings to 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 them, and it’s very easy to get one (perhaps fallen from a tree) on your clothes, and also the water-taxy boats late in the day are often infested, so it’s far from difficult to carry a few on your boat, especially after sundown.
Despite these disadventures, we must notice that none of the 30-odd Rally yachts had any un-manageable problems, besides taking the obvious precautions and chasing the occasional intruder!