Attack of the flying ants!
“THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!” Jess screamed as she came flying back through the companionway. What was a few insects just minutes earlier had become a dense cloud of flying ants, swarming the boat. They were now a growing dark mass carpeting the boat’s crevices, windows, and nightlights, attracted to any hint of light.
Upon realizing that the ants were crawling through the tiny gaps around the mosquito nets (something the mosquitos were never able to do), Jess & I instinctively flew into lockdown mode. It was a routine we had practiced dozens of times to keep water out when tropical squalls popped up, and that practice served us well as we scrambled around the boat closing up hatches, sealing ourselves in.
With the boat sealed up tight, Jess was able to take a breather. “It’s relieving to know the boat seals up so well when we need it to,” she commented. Meanwhile, I was swinging our battery-powered tennis-racket fly-swatter at the few ants that made it inside before we had closed all the hatches. The swatter made a satisfying “Pop!” as I simultaneously increased my kill count and decreased their population.
Soon the only thing left of the indoor ants was a slight smell of burnt hair, wafting through the cabin. I decided to check in and see how our Welsh friends John & Susie had fared; they were anchored only 50 metres away. John responded quickly to my email with jokes about how we should drink some rum and forget about the ants until morning - it seemed they were less emotionally scarred from the experience than we were. Too soon Jonn, too soon. This was not (yet) a funny situation.
We did eventually manage to fall asleep, although I woke up early to survey the boat. Thankfully the ants had not survived the night, although there were a few thousand tiny carcasses that needed to be washed off. By late morning I had scrubbed the boat cleaner than it had been in years, and I hoped Jess would not wake up and tell me that the cruising life was not for her.
My fears were unfounded as she woke up jovial about surviving the experience. Her spirits were buoyed further when we were told it is NOT a common occurrence; this was the worst swarm that our friends had seen in over five years of cruising down here. We just happened to experience it two weeks into the trip. Chalk this one up on the crazy experiences list!