Of aphids and men

Trip Start Apr 29, 2011
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Trip End Sep 03, 2011


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Flag of Finland  , Western Finland,
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It was a glorious morning and the weather looked very settled. Sadly, the forecast had a different opinion and it was for a strengthening NE wind later in the day and as we wanted to travel in that direction, we decided that we couldn't stay here for the whole day, tempting though it was. Instead, we settled upon a compromise, to enjoy the morning and after lunch, travel about half the remaining distance to Turku. That way, if the wind was strong tomorrow, we’d only have a dozen or so miles to motor against it to get to the town.

Around 14:00 then, we started the engine and set off. The marked route winds its way around the rocks and islands, the principal initial ones being Peno and Pensar and then it joins the deeper route followed by larger vessels, up towards Lillmälö and Stormalö. The bay we had selected was just to the north of Stromalö. According to the chart it was relatively deep so offering good protection from any northerly winds and also deep water, so I figured a better chance for a muddy bottom and so it proved, it was another great anchorage. The bay was called Nultoviken and it faced directly south on the island of Alön, so as I said, it was a great anchorage. We arrived there at 16:30 and once again, had a swim and enjoyed the rest of the day in lovely, warm sunshine. Just one final note to alter the perception of such an idyll and that is – flies, or to be more precise, aphids. On a couple of occasions now we have passed through clouds of the things and they settle on you and they tickle. When I say clouds, you can have anything up to 200 of them on you at any one time and the air is full of the wretched beasts. It really isn’t very nice but fortunately, the experience is only transient as they appear to be localised. I never knew that they swarmed and have no explanation for it other than to speculate that it is not deliberate, rather it is to do with air currents. They are very weak fliers and as they breed profusely, each female can give birth to 10 clones a day, then the numbers can build very quickly. When the plant they are on starts to suffer and die, they take off to search for new 'pastures’ and as they can’t determine where they go, the wind will gather them and they will ultimately get concentrated in areas such as eddies and so on. That is my theory of the day.
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