Thursday, September 14, 2006

To Bee or not To Bee.......

It seems the obnoxiously boiling summer days are on their way out. Mornings and evenings are cooler longer with a nice breeze throughout the day. We are very ready for the change.

Scott struggles with being bored when we sit in one place for awhile. I understand it. Being on the move is the lifestyle we both seek. Studying the charts, planning where to go next, watching the weather, hoisting the sails, cruising to a new place and arriving by’s a wonderful way to travel. I miss it when we sit in one place for awhile. Come December we’ll be on the move again.

In the meantime I’m enjoying living in the back bay of Ft. Myers Beach. Everyday is unique even though the heat has been very predictable. It’s a challenge to make shade on the boat since we turn with the current and swing with the breeze but it’s worth the effort to be able to sit in the cockpit to watch the day unfold. We were able to put an awning over the boom since we took the sails off which provides significant shade as long as we’re facing the sun. So far this morning the current has been in our favor.

The sky is ever so slightly overcast which is unusual. Maybe we won’t get the 95 degree heat that’s the constant forecast. No building clouds are visible on the horizon yet. These usually arrive mid day and it’s a crap shoot decision whether or not to close up the boat when going ashore for happy hour.

No sign of dolphins as yet although the black dog that lives at the turquoise house was barking and running along the shore which usually means that he’s spotted a few. I hear them before I see them - the dolphins that is. A distinct “blphew” swish of air noise - sounding something like breathing air in and blowing your nose at the same time - let’s you know they’re nearby. I used to screech “AH!” as if I was shot or falling off the boat when I’d spot one. “What! What’s wrong!?!” “Look!.......aaaaaa Dolphin!” “Oh. I thought you were shot or falling off the boat.” I get just as excited to watch them swimming by but I’m able to control my exclamation to......”Dolphin!” which is better for the marital relationship.

This morning as I’m reading “I Sailed With Magellan” (a fantastic book, by the way, by author Stuart Dybek who is a Chicago writer) I notice a bee flying around the stern of the boat. I think, ‘Oh great now we’re going to get inundated with these critters.’ I remember how pesky they can be in the mid-west at the end of summer when you’re trying to spend as much time outside as you can possibly fit in but the damn bees are everywhere, especially in your pop or beer cans!

After a few minutes the bee leaves. As I finish up the chapter called “Breasts” (now you really do want to read this book, don’t you?) he’s back. Well a bee is buzzing around the stern above the traveler and around the main sheet. No way to tell if it’s the same one. He lands on the traveler and crawls into one hole then another. These holes are functional holes in that these are places to set the locks for the main sheet. In other words the main sheet which helps position the boom can travel the length of this track (thus the term traveler). When it’s in the desired position you lock it in place by positioning these tab like things. They work similar to a bolt on a door except they go down not sideways. As you can imagine this traveler hasn’t been moved much since we’ve arrived in Ft. Myers Beach.

The bee doesn’t stay long but now I’m watching for him to return. I’m not disappointed but surprised when he does return with a small piece of green that looks like a leaf in his legs. (Click on bee pictures for close up views.) He heads straight for a hole, climbs in and stays for several moments. When he leaves there are no leaves with him. Hmmmmmm. Apparently he’s found a new home or at least nesting place. Hmmmmmm. What to do - what to do. Everybody needs to be someplace but I decide that letting this bee do all this work of building a nest just to cover it up or throw it away isn’t fair. I cover the holes in the traveler with a screen after the bee leaves and wait for his return hoping that he’ll get discouraged and fly off to find another hidey hole for his needs.

He does return and is flying above the screen, landing on the screen, flying above the screen. He moves to the other side of the mainsheet where there are other holes and tries them out but these are not the ones (actually the one) he’s looking for. Then he starts flying around the cockpit buzzing near the canopy, looking as if he will head down into the cabin.

Ok. That’s it. Where’s the fly swatter. I guess my experiences with bees flying into my pop and beer cans has made me a bee killer. Who knew. And it’s not even noon yet!

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