Posted by: adventuressetravels | June 30, 2010

How to Prevent Seasickness

The squall came from out of nowhere, the weather shifting faster than I could possibly have imagined.  There had been advisories all week, but how could you believe them?  The sea was flat as glass, the air hung heavy, and the motors of the boat were close to overheating we were using them so much. 

“There’s that weather they were talking about.  It’s heading right for us.” B pursed his lips, pointing to the horizon.  I scrutinized the sky, turning my head this way and that, trying to see what he did.  It looked like the same blue sky we had seen for days. But he clearly knew what he was talking about.  Half an hour later the squall line was plain as day, even to me. 

By the time shift change came around the waves were rocking the little catamaran from one side to the other with increasing force.  Captain X emerged from the hold ready for battle.  Taking his place at the wheel he reminded us to close all the hatches.

Now I know where batten down the hatches comes from, I chuckled to myself, making sure all the windows were closed and kitchen cupboards latched.  “Ooof!” a wave hit the boat with a loud crash, knocking me to one side.  I staggered grabbing the edge of the countertop and holding on for dear life.  Suddenly, the cabin air was stifling; warm and thick it pressed in on me oppressively.  I had to get out of there.  I had to get out of there.

I made a lunge for the door and moments later I was sitting at the little table on the deck. 

“How are you feeling?” the Captain asked in a slightly concerned voice.

“Oh I’m fine,” I replied, doing my best to muster the easy breezy voice in my repertoire.  I attempted a smile, unfortunately, from the look on the Captain’s face, my blanched face had produced some horrific parody of one.

“Is there any way you could go inside and make me some coffee?”

I didn’t want to go back in there, staying outside helped prevent seasickness, and I was not going to get seasick on my first voyage.  But I was a deckhand; I had to help the captain.  Anyway, I was tough.  I could do it.

“Sure! No problem.”  I sat for a few minutes getting up the nerve, and went back in to brave the cabin.  Fighting to stay on my feet as the boat bucked like the meanest bronco at a rodeo, I managed to get the coffee maker open.  Clutching the counter’s edge and bracing as another wave dashed itself on the side of the boat.  Between rocking, I was somehow able to shake the dark Ethopian grounds from the Starbucks’ bag only a few missing the filter.  In one deft swoop I stuffed it into the top of the coffee maker and… No.  I needed to get outside.  A minute longer and I would be past my limit. 

I made it to the door in the nick of time.  Sucking in the clean ocean air as if my life depended on it, I filled my lungs to the bursting point again and again.  Lurching to the table, I collapsed onto the white plastic bench.  I’d made it.

“Don’t worry about the coffee.  I can do it myself,” the Captain said offhandedly.

“Thanks,” I said, not even pretending I was up to finishing the task myself. 

I sat silently, hands clutching the table, eyes glued to the horizon line.  Just focus on the line, focus on the horizon.  No land in sight, the horizon is the only thing that wasn’t moving.  That would stave off the seasickness.

Suddenly, in the middle of my “focus on the horizon” mantra, a splash of sea water smacked me in the face.  Like a watery reminder, suddenly I realized just how worn out I was.  Maybe it was my brain trying to compensate for the constantly changing equilibrium on the ocean, it could have been that I ‘d had a long day, or it might have been any number of factors, but I was exhausted.

There are a couple of tricks to fending off seasickness:

–          Stay outside

–          Focus on something stationary like land or the horizon

–          Keep yourself hydrated

–          Snack, don’t let  your stomach get empty

–          Keep warm

–          Don’t let yourself get tired

But what should I do?  If I wanted to lay down I would have to go inside.  I already knew what happened when I did that. I put my head down on the table for a moment.  Oh, no.  That wasn’t any better; I need to keep my eyes on the horizon.

“You should go lay down.  Laying down always helps me,”  The captain kindly suggested.

I didn’t have the experience or energy not to take his word for it.  I headed for bed, rest, and respite from the storm.

An hour and a half later I woke up from my nap feeling all shiny and new.  The tail end of the storm was just passing.  I had weathered my first squall, and was no worse for wear.  I felt saltier already….

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