Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Hundred Thousand Tiny Flying Things

8:45 pm. Dusk. Slowing to anchor in Fleet's Bay, just north of the Rappahannock River.

Suddenly, from the evening sky, descended a horde of a hundred thousand (or more) flying insects. No time to install screens on the harches!

At first I thought they were mosquitoes. Aiyeeeee!!! Stuck at the bow feeding out anchor line; Deep Woods Off in a cubbyhole in the cabin.

But no, they weren't biting. Pope thinks they are mayflies, ephemeroptera (ephemeral because they only live a couple of days). I can't make a positive identification--even with hundreds of tiny specimens to study, swish away, sit on, accidentally swallow. Tiny. Fragile little bodies and transparent wings. They look a lot like mosquitoes--same size--without a proboscis and with a curled-up tail.

They cover every surface on the boat, in the boat, in our cushions and clothes, in our dishes, in our tea. Speckled arms and legs.

Thank goodness I brought my trusty mosquito tent to crawl into and cower for a few brief hours of sleep--leftover from India, where there are no screens.

7:45 am. Dawn. They don't want ro leave; they love our boat. We'll be cleaning up bodies for days, when the massive die-off occurs.

Not to mention the droppings they left on every surface.

I just hope, hope, hope these are not eggs.

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