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Old 08-09-2016, 14:49   #1
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Angry Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

If it weren't bad enough dealing with cold water in the early season then the unpredictable summer weather that either roasts you or beats you half to death we get to deal with one other torment. Yes these little creatures are Satan's own. Sent to torment even the most hearty souls driving them to madness. The best torture techniques have nothing on the horrors unleashed by these beasts. Only the toughest survive their onslaughts as no known substance keeps them at bay. Think you're ready to tackle the lakes? Read on: 'Hot bite' of stable flies drives beach-goers and anglers to distraction | MLive.com
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Old 08-09-2016, 15:00   #2
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

In Minnesota the state bird is the mosquito.


S/V B'Shert
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Old 08-09-2016, 15:57   #3
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

Piffle!!

While biting flies can be annoying, they pale into insignificance when compared to the no-nos of the Marquesas, and their lesser cousins, t he sand flies of Queensland. These nearly invisible bugs are a more subtle kind of antagonist, for most folks don't even feel their bite w hen they happen, and so can acquire a multitude of them... and then later, blisters the size of half-dollar coins erupt at each site, itching relentlessly and often turning septic in the tropics.

My skin quivers at the mere memory of one walk on the beach at Hanna Moe Noe... GAHHHA!

Jim
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Old 08-09-2016, 16:06   #4
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Piffle!!

While biting flies can be annoying, they pale into insignificance when compared to the no-nos of the Marquesas, and their lesser cousins, t he sand flies of Queensland. These nearly invisible bugs are a more subtle kind of antagonist, for most folks don't even feel their bite w hen they happen, and so can acquire a multitude of them... and then later, blisters the size of half-dollar coins erupt at each site, itching relentlessly and often turning septic in the tropics.

My skin quivers at the mere memory of one walk on the beach at Hanna Moe Noe... GAHHHA!

Jim
Childs play!

Try the sand fleas on Parris Island, SC during the Spring and early Summer when you are made to stand at attention with no defense
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Old 08-09-2016, 16:13   #5
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

Tayana, Jim and thomm you will love this one 'cure' for the relentless attacks these things plot. One guy says he covers himself with, get this, Sterno. I don't know about that but if it gets too bad I suppose you can always light a cigarette and take a bunch with you. I really can't see myself slathering on the Napalm to dispatch with these flies no matter how many welts I ultimately get.

Oh by the way thomm, Hampton Roads, VA? Loved it down there. Stationed at Ft Eustis back in the mid 70s.
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Old 08-09-2016, 16:28   #6
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

Finally a Great Lakes Are Fearsome propaganda thread I can get behind!



I can recall in my youth countless windless midsummer motors across the lakes plagued by vicious flies the likes of which would cause the saltiest ocean sailors to cower.

Always seemed like just around the time we first dropped the shore behind us and were finally out of sight of land that they would make their appearance as relatively small and uninspiring hatchlings that spawned from the glassy water.

However, as the day would wear on and morning became afternoon these demons would grow in size before your eyes as they matured into menacing adulthood. They were mercilessly cruel, bloodthirsty, and fiendishly sadistic buggers not to be countered by the most motivated crews armed with flyswatters and ball caps as they swarmed from their redoubt upon the transom while our blood stained the decks with splotches of red.

I was taught by a devious crew memebr that a cup with frothy soapy water would be their demise when held up underneath them as they alighted on the cabin top headliner but even this tactic could not even be counted on to decimate their hoards.

The most learned and wisest of our party taught me that battle could never be won and the best strategy to stave off attrition was retreat into the confines of a fitted sheet and pray for wind. The elastic on the edges of the fitted sheets provided the surest bastion against their incessant probing while the lightness of the fabric was the least stifling in the dull hot stagnant air.

The sea may be a cruel mistress but she is no equal to the most wicked bane that torments the Great Lakes sailor.



Haha. Just kidding, I actually think the sand flies of the Low Country in South Carolina and Georgia are worse. Like ten times worse. Those bastards are the definition of evil. Flies on the Great Lakes got nothing on estuarian insects.
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Old 08-09-2016, 16:48   #7
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

There's a song about it:

Here for the original: Blackfly by Christopher Hinton - NFB

Here for a copy if (like me) you prefer to avoid Flash:
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Old 08-09-2016, 16:49   #8
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

I remember evenings in Parry Sound when you could set your watch by them - 8:14 pm you would be having a quiet drink in the cockpit, 8:16 everyone would be diving for the main hatch and putting up the screens.
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Old 08-09-2016, 17:02   #9
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

I thought this would turn into a fun thread. Delancy that picture is why I always wear long pants even on the hottest days. Glad you remember the little beasties. Misery loves company so they say. I have a feeling this thread is going to be hysterical much as the scene from Jaws where Quint and Richard Dreyfuss are getting drunk and comparing scars. Just please no Mary Ellen Moffat finales.
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Old 08-09-2016, 17:06   #10
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

Flies can suck just about anywhere but I am serious that the sand flies are the worst. The leg pictured are sand fly bites. They take forever to heal.
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Old 08-09-2016, 17:17   #11
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

Bah, you ain't experienced real black flies unless you've sailed northern Lake Superior. Hinton's song references my (old) turf up on the north shore of the Greatest of the Great Lakes. There's where the men are separated from the boys. Arggghhhhhh!!!

(It's partly why I'm now way down south, on Lake Ontario).
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Old 08-09-2016, 17:37   #12
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

Guatemala has a small fly that looks like a cross between a bee and a fly. Totally silent and it goes for toes and fingers. A bite will leave them numb for hours.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:35   #13
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

Found a cure......use Vics Vapor Rub
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:47   #14
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

The difference between sand fleas, sand flies, etc and these buggers is that these biting flies are oft found in the middle of the lake!

We actually have two types of flies offshore in GL, Retard Flies and Biting Flies.

Retard Flies come by the hundreds and alight all over anything. They are fond of falling into beverages. They don't move when you swat them or sit on them. Luckily, they don't bite.

Biting Flies are the bane of lake sailing. They sneak up on you and bite. BASTARD! You will yell. However, we make great sport of it with the flyswatter to track them down and kill them. First they hide on the transom, then inside the dodger, and finally somewhere along the hull. Truthfully, it is a sad moment when only a few remain.

Off topic, the other danger of GL summers is lake turnover, when the water temp drops 20 C in a few hours. I've seen many jump into the same lake as yesterday only to scream and pant their way back to the ladder ASAP.
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:33   #15
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Re: Why are Great Lakes Sailors the Toughest in the World

Things must be slow around the blog today.
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