A Hundred Feet Too Many
Lost in a deep sleep, I woke suddenly to a sharp sting on my back. I sat up quickly, wondering what the heck would be in my bed? The day prior I’d been stung by a bee hiding in a hand towel. Could it have been a bee? I’d noticed there were an odd amount of bees finding their way out to Swell…
“Must have been a bee,” I concluded. I rolled over on my side and drifted back to sleep.
I hadn’t found rest long when I felt another odd sting on my stomach. Despite my sleepy delirium, I realized something was not right. I leapt out of bed shaking that pillow that I’d been clutching in my arms, and out fell a 6-inch centipede!!
“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” I must have screamed loud enough to wake the entire island at the horror of discovering what I’d just been cuddling.
Raiarii nearly fell down the companionway stairs, thinking I was being murdered! He’d been sleeping outside after our meal ashore over the fire…
“Centipede!!” I cried, pointing to where it had crawled among the onions and grapefruits in the netting below my bunk.
He grabbed a piece of wood, lifted the net and there he was. But the centipede was clearly more alert than the two of us. He faked left, then scurried right and disappeared behind the fuel tank below my bunk. My jaw agape, I struggled to piece together what had just happened.
“What? But how? Oh NO!” I knew the hundred-footer was safe and sound within the impossible-to-access crevices of Swell.
I hauled my blanket out side, and curled up in the farthest corner of the cockpit, rubbing my stung belly now quite awake…
“He must have crawled into the backpack while we were ashore…” I determined.
The next day Raiarii went off to hunt for a few days with some friends, leaving me with my unsolicited new company. Centipedes are extraordinary creatures and important for regulating insect populations tropical island ecosystems, but a centipede as a crewmate? Suffice to say, I think were equally unhappy about the situation. I refused to sleep on my bunk, and knowing they seek warm places in the night, I decided the only safe bet was to pitch my tent…
I pitched the tent in the cockpit, maniacally shaking each pillows and blanket before it entered the zippered-in world of quietude.
On the fourth night in the tent, I heard a rustling from below. Raiarii, having returned from the hunt, had decided to sleep on my berth and see what would happen. I unzipped the tent to witness a battle between the two. He’d been stung on the leg! He was chasing the culprit around the underside of the galley step amongst an assortment of scrap wood and random parts. He crawled into a piece of stainless tubing where Raiarii trapped him and flung him overboard…
In the morning, I put away my tent, smberly hoping he had made it ashore to carry on his centipede life…
David S WheatleySeptember 27, 2012
I hope you are feeling better?
Hugs David x
RachelSeptember 27, 2012
Aaaagggggghhhh, centipedes are my least favorite things in the ENTIRE WORLD! Once, I was going to the bathroom (in my house in Minnesota, no less), and I tugged at the toilet paper roll and a centipede came FLYING off of it and landed on my leg and scurried down. I have not been the same since. I can’t even imagine being trapped on a sailboat with one. I have goosebumps even thinking about this at all…must. go. cleanse. my. mind.
Captain lizzySeptember 27, 2012
Oh!! I feel you Rachel! i felt oddly traumatized by that night!! David, i think i was more shocked than in pain…it really didnt hurt THAT bad…I put lime on it which apparently helps to neutralize the poison…
AddySeptember 28, 2012
I think I would be afraid to go back to bed EVER if this happened…ugh! Actually the other morning I had the good sense to shake out my suit before going swimming (I leave them to dry outside), and out fell a silverfish! Glad I caught that one, would have made for an interesting scene….
MarkOctober 2, 2012
Glad you’re OK…Was bitten on my foot in Hawaii…Also while sleeping…Swelling, pain, fever, urgent care. Probably not the end of the world if I couldn’t seek treatment but was thankful I had the option. Lovin’ your blog since I’ve been following…Please keep the stories coming & thanks for sharing them!