Oh, no, nonos!

Nonos (tiny little sandflies, not much bigger than 1mm) were “imported” to French Polynesia with the sand ballast tall ships carried. They are known to roam the Marquesas and make many beaches off limits–mosquito repellent doesn’t bother them and the only protection seems to be a layer of coconut own (thick enough to drown them in it…). Unfortunately they are still spreading: sand is transported between archipelagos as building material (very clever), copra workers put coconut bags down on one motu and then on the next. Each time the sand may contain eggs and voila–the next paradise ruined.
Some people ignore the biting flies, but others (like me) react badly to their filthy snouts: the initial bite stings a bit, but 2 days later an infection sets in and purple, horribly itchy blotches are the result.
When we first visited Tahanea 7 years ago, we didn’t notice any nonos. A few years later the islands of the pass area were infested, but a little islet remained safe–that’s where we used to do sundowners with other crews. No more. Two days ago we had drinks with two other boats at sunset and now I’m itchy all over. 17 bites, so going ashore is a big no-no for me from now on ;-)

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