27 November 2007

Mal de Mer

A friend of mine posted on my "other blog" that he got seasick after a day of crabbing. In his follow-up comments, he mentioned that he was sick for 8 hours afterwards, occasionally falling down. I can't even imagine getting that sick, how much it must suck.

Time for a disclaimer here, I have gotten seasick before. On my Trans-Atlantic Crossing, every time that we had canned hamburger for a meal and rough seas the next day, oooommmmfffpph up it came.

My best puking story is being in a near-gale right off the coast of Bermuda, something or another on the staysail broke, the entire crew of 60-somethings' heads immediately turned in my direction with that look of "he's young, send him out there." Of course, it had been canned hamburger the night before and we were in the middle of gazillion foot seas. So, ooommmmmffffpph, up it came.

But it got even better because the staysail still needed fixing, I was up on the foredeck dealing with an absolute ton of water coming on deck with every wave. I got into a rhythm, puke, hold my breath, big splash of water cleans me and the deck, work really fast, puke, hold my breath, big splash of water, work really fast. This went on for about 30 minutes until I lost 10 pounds and fixed the staysail.

But, I still don't understand how it happens in the absence of canned hamburger. Without that crucial ingredient I just don't get how people get sick when they have a horizon to look at (meaning I get it if you're stuck below-decks). Please vote in the poll to the right to help illuminate how this happens to you.


Pat said...

(1) Eating way too much makes me more vulnerable; once when I was a teenager I must have had about a pound of pasta before going out into the Gulf of Mexico. The results weren't too bad, but it was something I remembered.

(2) Doing a long trick at the wheel coming back from Santa Cruz Island to Santa Barbara in bouncing wind waves on top of a moderate swell left me cold and tired. Then, giving up the helm after sighting some large oil platforms, I decided it would be fun to take some bearings and pencil them in on the chart, for nav practice. Going below and trying to pencil in bearings in a bouncing boat wasn't a great idea.

Brendhan said...

Just talking about being seasick makes me seasick. Oddly, I take the ferry to work every day with no problems. But any small size boat, or any color teacup at Disneyland throws me over the edge.

That is the sad truth of why I don't go out sailing with you...

Anonymous said...

I almost got seasick on a trip recently when a fellow cruising pal brought a curried lamb stew for dinner. The heartburn was insane, and started to fuel what seemed to be vomit city. We had had whiskey, beer, wine and rum earlier in the day, so it wasn't completely clear who the actual culprit was, but at the time I was convinced that it was the stew

Zen said...

Nothing in the poll fit!

bonnie said...

oof. what timing for a throwing-up post, when I'm currently on a flat ginger ale & baked potato diet recovering from either food poisoning or a stomach virus.

I can only remember one instance where I might have been seasick. It was on a ferry in Italy; there was a plane strike & I was trying to get back to school after summer vacation. I ended up sharing a stateroom with a nice old Italian lady who was wearing a great deal of perfume. The stateroom was tiny & not well ventilated. I woke up with a migraine, and sick to my stomach.

I think that had more to do with being in a closed stuffy space with a lot of perfume than being at sea, though. I immediately felt better when I went for a walk.

Other than that, never been seasick, but also never done serious open-ocean sailing so not going to say "I don't get seasick", just "I haven't really, yet".

Dealt with plenty of seasick passengers working on the schooner, though. The high probability that you'd end up cleaning up a total stranger's ejecta at least a couple of times over the summer was part of why I did actually consider it a job, not just fun I got paid for.

Funny thing was that so many people made a beeline for the salon the minute they started feeling a little green around the gills. The skippers all had a certain LOOK they'd give a crew member when one of us didn't spot the disappearance. Our job, when we saw that look, was to go below & convince the person that they really needed to come back up on deck.

Poor folks were usually just so embarrassed - here they were on this nice outing with their friends, on a beautiful schooner flying along past the Statue of Liberty, and then...

EVK4 said...

All this talk about food and seasickness reminds me of my brother's cure for it. He's a longtime merchant marine and when he'd spot a newbie getting seasick, he'd tell them he has a cure, take them to the galley, get a long piece of bacon and tell them to try to swallow it whole.

He'd then leave the room right before the threw up. Quite an initiation. Now that I think about it, it probably isn't true based on how many merchant ship galleys just have bacon sitting around?

EVK4 said...

email from my Father this morning:

"PS ... in your story of foredeck barfing on our ocean crossing, you failed to mention that some of the barf went into Max Howell's seaboots ... he was a few feet behind you! He remembers that to this day!"

I generally have my foulies tightened over my boots (that's what the velcro is for) so I can't really take the blame for this.