Sea sickness is the worst. I get sea sick. And car sick. And motion sick when I watch the boys bouncing on a trampoline. When I first met Ric and he raved on and on about sailing and how wonderful it was and how the stars at night bla bla – I could only think about one thing: me hanging over the railing and feeding the fish.So have I fed the fish? Yes! And it was terrible (even more to my brother-in-law who one time stood next to me and got an unwelcome close-up of my breakfast). But (believe it nor not there is a but) I have learned a lot about my sea sickness and I’m still learning more every time. Like what?
- I get sea sick when I feel insecure and the more I feel insecure the more sea sick I get. Unlike the skipper who is practically a fish I didn’t grow up with the sea and on boats. I don’t feel particular safe on a choppy sea (yet). My nerves get very weak and I become extremely sensitive to noise. With a rough sea there is inevitably lots of sounds in the rigg. And there are always things inside the boat you haven’t stored securely enough, drawers that open, banging doors and so on. Ear plugs can be a relief.
- I get sea sick when I can’t lie down. Before I feel sick there is a fatigue so powerful I can barely keep my eyes open. Whenever I try to fight it and pull myself together for some reason the effect is sea sickness. But when I find myself a place where I can take an undisturbed nap I am fine most of the time. We are lucky enough that the boys are old enough to be of help since I’m not for obvious reasons. Hence for me it’s always of vital importance to know I have a place to retract when that tiredness hits me. Best midship where ship motions are the least perceivable.
- I get sea sick when I go below deck to do something, bad idea, very bad idea. Note to myself: Just don’t. By all means – stay outside at least until you are certain your vestibular organ has upgraded to boat status.
- I get sea sick when I didn’t get enough sleep the night before (too late to bed, bad dream, drinks the night before…) and/or had nothing/too much for breakfast. Everything has to be as normal, unobtrusive and unremarkable as possible – center of comfort zone-normal.
- Last but not least: What really helped and still helps is that I want this, that I decided I want to do this, I want to have this experience and nothing – especially not something like sea sickness – is getting in my way. Not going to stop me ha!
What about the kids? One of them is a little prone, too. But he is fine after a while. The other one could spend every trip inside the ship in a lotus pose in headstand without feeling uncomfortable. The choppier the sea the more fun he has. I am infinitely grateful I don’t have to put up with kid’s sea sickness on top of my own.
It also helps a lot that they are old and reliable enough so they can replace me at the steering wheel or in assisting Ric with sailing maneuvers or even take a look-out shift. I know a sailing family where the kids get as sea sick as their mum – and they are still quite small. That must be hard!
And of course there is medicine. And sea bands. And chewing gum. And ginger. Well, I try to come by without drugs, they make me numb and slow. Sea bands didn’t help me too much, the gum was so disgusting it made me feel sick chewing it but ginger is always a good idea anyway if you like it.