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Old 07-02-2010, 14:24   #1
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10,000 Islands and Bugs...

We are hopefully going to be in southern Florida and the Keys next fall between the 1st of October and the end of December. We would like to spend some of that time around the 10,000 Island area/Everglades. We realize that the bugs can be bad in that area and are trying to prepare for them there and elsewhere with a netting that will cover the cockpit either on anchorage or while motoring.

We'd like to go to that area while the water is still warm, so we can enjoy it and some of the beaches you guys have pointed out. I guess that is also the worst time for the bugs also. Bug wise is it going to make much difference if we went there first (first part of October) vs. say the first part of November? We could wait and do that area last in December, but that side is going to cool down faster than say the Biscayne Bay area down to Key West.

I see one option for us is to put in at Flamingo and work the 10,000 Island area and then down towards Marathon and on to Key West and back up to Biscayne Bay and finally back to Flamingo. Flamingo has the advantage of not costing us to leave the vehicle/trailer while we are out. Since this is our first experience in the ocean and that area I don't think we would feel comfortable leaving Flamingo and heading down and around to Marathon. Poking around the 10,000 Island area would maybe "feel" like not quite jumping right in.

The other option would be putting in over by Biscayne Bay and either leaving the vehicle/trailer with a friend or South Dade Marina and sailing around that area for a while. Then work south towards Marathon and then go up to the 10,000 Island area. Then back towards Marathon and down to Key West and finally back up to Biscayne Bay. This would put 10,000 Islands and any bugs there in the middle of the trip (November).

The last option would be from Biscayne Bay down to Key West and then to 10,000 Islands and then back to Biscayne Bay.

So the main question are the bugs that bad the first of October vs. November and December in the 10,000 Island area?

Sorry for the long post and feel free to give us you opinions on this.

Thanks

Sum and Ruth
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Old 07-02-2010, 15:09   #2
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Even with the multiple freezes we have had down here, on a calm day or nite, the no see ums will drive you crazy. So what i guess what I'm saying is there are going to be bugs whenever you come! The netting is a good idea coupled with insect repellant. Take a look at tent hammocks with attached netting for sleeping on deck.
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Old 07-02-2010, 15:43   #3
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I noticed that it makes a big difference which way the wind is blowing. We've anchored pretty close in with the wind blowing from shore without many bugs. The other way if your scent is blown toward shore, big trouble. as far as five miles from shore we had to pack towels around the hatches to seal out the billions of skeeters. There isn't a whole lot of access to the islands without a long dinghy ride, depending on your draft. Shark island and the entrance to everglades city are a couple of the few places shallows don't run far from shore. If your draft allows it there's some awesome wildlife along shore. We spent some time around pavilion key ill never forget. Swarms of sharks were coming in like dogpacks attacking the many rays, mullet and other fish at dusk At low tide abalone and scallops were everywhere.
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Old 07-02-2010, 15:52   #4
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Keys, not so bad....10,000 Islands = bugs. I'm not saying forsailbyowner is wrong, but have had it the exact opposite...esp. the gnats and no-see-ums. Netting is OK if fine enough, I think the gnats eat repellant for snacks!
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Old 07-02-2010, 16:17   #5
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Definitely need netting rated for No See Um's. Thats a given for screens as well!
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Old 07-02-2010, 16:24   #6
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Our draft is about 16 inches with the CB up.

So am I hearing that it isn't going to make too much difference if we are in that area in October, November or December? The bug situation will be about the same?

We have gnats here, but usually only about 30-50 days in late spring and mostly around sandy areas. We would like to see that area as long as the bugs don't make it totally uncomfortable.

Are they out all day? Are the gnats (day) and mosquitoes night? If there is enough wind to sail is that enough to keep the bugs at bay if we are out a little ways? Will they be a problem motoring between 4-5 knots? In the west here if there is much wind the mosquitoes and gnats don't fly much.

Thanks guys and we appreciate the info,

Sum and Ruth
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Old 07-02-2010, 16:47   #7
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The no-see-ums can be out any time and a netting will not keep them out since it will not be fastened down in every spot and they will find a way in. To avoid them, don't anchor close to shore and try to be in a breeze as much as possible. Mosquitos are also a big problem since you will be essentially in the Everglades. The best way to combat them is with plenty of bug spray containing Deet and wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and light socks. We lived in the Keys and sailed those areas for over ten years. WG
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:03   #8
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We spent the night at Shark River anchorage about 2 weeks ago. Low 70s temperature, very few bugs but it had been colder the day before. However, the few mosquitos that did show up were big enough to have side numbers painted on them!!

Not sure I want to be there in warmer times....
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:15   #9
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I haven't tried this yet, so don't send the lawyers in if you break out in a nasty rash caused by several thousand bug-bites, but I was assured by an old wise seadog that a mixture of coconut oil and freshly ground nutmeg, lightly rubbed onto exposed skin, would work better than any commercially available insect repellent.
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Old 08-02-2010, 07:16   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sumner View Post
We'd like to go to that area while the water is still warm, so we can enjoy it and some of the beaches you guys have pointed out.

I hope you won't be too disappointed but the 10,000 island area and the keys are not really beach areas. They are basically mangrove islands where the mangrove trees come right down into the water. Sometimes at low tide a small sandy area might pass for a beach but more often than not its mud or coral rock. It's a beautiful place but not a beach. The only beach area I know in the keys is on Bahia Honda key and at Key Biscayne. There is a small manmade beach at Key west. If you want a beach I suggest the lower west coast of Florida, from Charlotte Harbor down to Marco Island.
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Old 08-02-2010, 08:01   #11
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There is not much differece in bugs activity between October and December. However, there is a difference from one year to another. Last year I anchored few tmes in 10000 islands area and was not bothered by bugs. This year is not as good. The major probleks with avoiding mosquitos is that you have to stay relatvely far from shore, at least half a mle, better a mile or so. With a Macgregor it may be uncomfortable because it may get choppy that far from shore and you will get a lot of wave action.
I would suggest that you launch in Flamingo and go to Marathon right away. It is much better there in respect to bugs. As for your other questins, mosquitos are only a roblem in the evening and at night. If you move at night they leave. Flys can bother you durigh the days. I never had a problem with no see ums on a boat, only on shore. Evening hours are the worst.
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