Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | December 11, 2011

Tropical Bug

N 18° 03.77′   W 63° 05.31′

Simpson Bay Lagoon, Marigot, St. Martin

Marigot Lagoon: waterfront cafes, shops and public dinghy dock

I have been feeling under the weather this week. Illness aboard – other than seasickness for me and a couple of aches and pains for Bob – has been a rarer occurrence than at home. That is not surprising, since we have much less exposure to human-transmitted diseases like colds and flu.

Before we left we made an appointment with a travel medicine clinic. They reviewed our potential destinations, provided a written report of risks and precautions for each, and supplied us with prescription medications we might need if we didn’t have quick access to medical care including the “travelers diarrhea kit” and an anti-malaria regime.  Glad to report we have not needed these supplies so far. We updated a few vaccines – including tetanus and hepatitis, and opted to be vaccinated against yellow fever. A few of our possible future destinations are yellow fever risk areas. Still other countries require proof of vaccination if one is arriving from a yellow fever risk area. We thought better to take care of that before we left instead of doing it en route.

Insect-borne illnesses present the greatest threat within our travel area, second to illnesses from contaminated food and water. Mosquito-transmitted dengue fever, a flu-like illness, is something we have been advised to watch for. Between 1% and 10% of cases can be a more severe and possibly fatal variety requiring medical intervention. The local stats, which are confusing since there are two countries intermingled here, show 15 reported cases of dengue fever so far in 2011, down from 500 annual cases a couple of years ago.

Of interest, it seems that dengue is also making an appearance in Florida, with a few locally acquired cases reported there. There is no preventive treatment for dengue fever other than mosquito control. Public education to help eradicate mosquito breeding grounds and using insect repellent is helpful but eliminating all mosquito bites in the tropics is easier said than done. I have gotten more mosquito bites here than in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where the no-see-ums were more prolific.

According to the online symptom tracker I don’t have anything serious. Since mosquitoes don’t seem to transmit stuffy noses and sore throats with fevers I guess I am safe. Probably just a cold resulting from more exposure to civilization.

The unusually rainy weather has continued. Normally at this time of year the island is transitioning into the dry season which is supposed to start in January. Friday night we had very heavy weather that was not forecast with 30 knot winds and higher gusts. It was a good test for our interesting mooring arrangement, which held us tightly in place.

We have enjoyed meeting some congenial and interesting folks. Mike and Mandi, who have now moved on to their next port of call, were great boat neighbors. He is the second pilot we have met recently who works full-time and successfully commutes from various cruising destinations – never late for work! Mandi, a braver soul than I, manages the boat by herself while he is gone. Lady worked extra hard to stand watch for both boats. Unfortunately a lot of her barking was directed at them as they came and went, but they didn’t seem to mind too much. In general we have found that cruisers value the presence of dogs for security purposes, and find it preferable to have a neighboring dog than managing their own.

We got a raincheck on the rained-out happy hour with Henri and Hilde and have enjoyed several evenings with our French-American neighbors. They will be flying to Paris to visit family for the holidays. Wow!! Also met Captain John and his crew Gregory and Raymond who arrived the night of the big winds with a catamaran they were delivering from Norfolk. They had extremely rough conditions for the 8-day trip. They lost a propeller in transit and had to use the dinghy to help steer the boat through the Lagoon. How exciting, but not my cup of tea. Delivery working conditions can be very uncomfortable. The trade-off is that they also get to enjoy some time ashore here in this lovely destination before flying home.

Bob continues to spend time researching the energy project and surprisingly has not yet reached a conclusion. Locally available products are limited and expensive. Shipping a solar panel from the states is costly and risky if the package does not arrive intact. We have experimented with running the ice maker only once a week and then bagging and storing the ice in the food freezer. That was a huge concession on Bob’s part – he really loves his icemaker. It does seem to be making a small difference in our daily energy consumption.

The French bridge is still stuck in the closed position. We are told it is an electronics problem and they are awaiting “smoke” from Guadeloupe? There seems to be no sense of urgency to get it fixed. We are counting down the days until we run out of water and then we will have to either get to a cleaner source to make water or do without and purchase bottled drinking water. We don’t want to be outside the Lagoon later next week if the winds pick up as forecast so will likely be venturing out the Dutch side shortly.

Mar Azul in the Marina Port La Royale mooring field, both bow and stern secured to mooring buoys. Boats are almost as close together as in a traditional marina. The slip on the starboard side, between us and the sailboat is currently vacant and we are on the end of a row.


We use sight gauges in the engine room to monitor fuel and water levels. The water gauge, the larger brown tube on the left, is now showing less than 1/3 tank or about 100 gallons remains. Water restrictions are no fun.



  1. Hope you are both feeling better soon! Can’t enjoy paradise while under the weather… Counting down the days til our Feb arrival! I will be seeing Doug tomorrow and will work on getting him down to SXM too!

  2. Thanks – I am feeling better and Bob luckily escaped this bug. Hope to see you both in Feb!

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