It is a real privilege to share our paddling places with creatures of all shapes and sizes. Close encounters with birds, animals, and fish are all moments of speechless wonder. However there are some meetings that are best avoided. Biting insects like mosquitos, midges (sand flies), and March flies are also drawn to the world’s waterways, and they don’t mind adding a little bit of you to the menu, with results ranging from irritatingly itchy red spots, to debilitating illnesses like Ross River virus and Barmah Forest virus, and even deadly diseases like dengue fever and Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE).
Like many paddlers, most biting insects are dormant over winter and then reappear in Spring just as the weather warms up. This means that they are out and about when you are. It is pretty much impossible to dodge them completely, but there are steps you can take to limit your chances of being bitten.
Long loose fitting shirts and trousers, and mesh hoods (sometimes attached to wide brimmed hats) go a long way to solving the problem, but these aren’t that practical on a kayak and there is invariably some flesh left exposed. Nothing seems to work quite as well as a liberal application of insect repellent in cream, spray, or even roll-on form. Some people understandably prefer not to cover themselves in chemicals like DEET, and instead wear wrist bands or skin patches containing ingredients designed to discourage bugs. Others have tried using ultrasonic waves to shoo the insects away. However most have found that repellent applied to the skin is still the best solution. So the question has to be asked… is there a chemical free lotion or apray that is effective in deterring mosquitos, midges, and March flies?
Several years ago I was browsing the shelves of my local camping store and I came across a product from the Love Oil Company called called YaMate. It said on the label that it was all natural and organic, and completely non-toxic. It also claimed to protect against mozzies, midges, and other biting insects. Two versions were available – standard and tropical strength. As I had upcoming trips planned to Hinchinbrook Island in tropical Queensland and the Gordon River in Tasmania, and biting insects are an issue in both of those places, I was excited to give the tropical strength formula a try. I am delighted to say that I have found YaMate Tropical Strength lotion to be 100% effective in repelling all biting insects that I have seen on my adventures around Australia. The combination of citronella, lavender, and lemon myrtle oil that the Love Oil Company have used smells great too. I have no hesitation in recommending YaMate as an essential item in every paddler’s dry bag.
The YaMate range also includes:
Standard strength lotion – For kids and sensitive souls.
Tropical strength spray – For people who prefer sprays to lotions. This is also easier to apply to hair, clothing, and tent screens.
Beeswax burners – YaMate infused wax melts for use in oil burners. These are a great alternative to mozzie coils. They last for 15-20 hours and can be recharged using YaMate oil (sold separately).
Fly spray – For protection against flies, moths, and silverfish.
YaMate is available now from the Love Oil Company and selected retailers. For more information, please call Ray Anderson on 0406 671 359.