Saturday, June 30, 2012

Best Mosquito Repellent Ever

2012 06 30
Hammamet, Tunisia

If it were a commodity discomfort in Africa would be sold in only one size: the Super Big Gulp.  As intensely averse to discomfort at any level as I am, Africa is posing a problem.  Somedays are better than others.  Take yesterday for example.

Another in an endless stream of sun filled, intensely hot days on the boat yesterday saw all the hatches and windows full open to enhance airflow.  Any wisp of air movement was critical.  

Daytime was merely uncomfortable.  Nighttime brought hazards.  As dark approached the risk of attack by marauding gangs of mosquitoes increased in inverse proportion to the rate of failing of the light.  

Mosquitoes can be a problem in Africa.  Their bites carry illness like Dengue Fever and Malaria and West Nile virus, maybe even tooth ache.  About any of that I know nothing.    However they also leave itchy residue when they bite and to that I can attest.  

In Africa after they feed on you mossies leave a small hard ball of poison under your skin.  You can actually feel it.  It itches like crazy.  Half the time the bite infects and you end up with a centimetre of watery blister  that itches worse than a simple bite.  You cannot scratch the blister.  Things get messy.  Yuck.

So as has become all too typical in the Mediterranean basin life is a matter of choosing your discomfort: sleep in an oven or suffer itch and disfigurement from mossie bites.  Ask me sometime why I think people cruise the Mediterranean.  I dare you.

Yesterday we found a high tech solution: an app for our Blackberry Playbook called "Expel Mosquito".  It cost $2.50.  This app causes your Playbook o generate a high pitched sound  repellent to mosquitoes.  Desperate for airflow we tried it.

It worked.  Last night we left every porthole and hatch and the companionway wide open with no netting to restrict airflow.  "Expel Mosquito" ran on the Playbook all night long.  

Not one mossie attacker came on the boat all night.  Not one.  Even our usual "closed window with mosquito net over the companionway" approach never achieved a zero rate of exclusion of mossies.

It is only a single night's test so the data are incomplete but it is our first night mossie free in a long time.  An impressive beginning.  

Looking further into it this morning I find the app is now available for Android phones and tablets.  

I don't really care if Apple ever gets it. 

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