Seasick Ain’t Pretty


January 30, 2012: I get seasick. Chris, much to my amazement and maybe even a little to my chagrin, seems to be utterly immune. Nukaat, on the other hand, is the most affected by the rolling motion of the ocean. I keep telling him to keep his eyes on the horizon, but he just doesn’t seem to listen. Or care. All he wants to do is sleep. In my books, that’s about the worst of all available options, right up there with reading.

If there’s one thing I worry most aboutwhen we eventually head offshore, it’s being debilitated by seasickness to the point of not being a contributing crew member. That, and wondering how kitty will manage on a long passage.

Luckily for me, my seasickness is usually pretty mild. A little queasiness that’s overcome by keeping busy, getting fresh air, watching the horizon (i.e. not going below decks), snacking on dry crackers, drinking plenty of water or ginger ale and sucking on ginger candies. Or returning back to land. Not a biggie if you’re only out for a day trip.

The best cure for sea sickness, is to sit under a tree.
~ Spike Milligan, comedian

Most of my boating experience has been in the protected inshore waters of Georgia Straight. Chop is generally the worst of it there, and chop isn’t a problem. It’s in the bigger rollers, like you find off the coast, where I seem to be most affected. Like on dive boats overseas. The best cure then is jumping in the water and going for a dive. Once I’m underwater, everything is good again.

The best article about Mal de Mer I’ve come across online (so far) has disappeared from the Internet. Quel dommage! But I found this other site, put up by a long suffering sailor, which also provides some good advice.

Unfortunately, once you start to feel the effects of seasickness, it’s usually too late to do much about it other than hurl. So early prevention is the key! Which means take something before you leave the dock or before you start to feel off and avoid spicy, heavy, greasy foods.

Here are some of the preventative remedies we have stocked on board MOKEN:

  • fresh water
  • dry crackers
  • ginger (fresh ginger, ginger tea, ginger ale, ginger candies, crystallized ginger and ginger snaps)
  • travel wrist bands
  • cinnarazine (brand name Stugeron)

We’re also planning to add a few more to our seasickness prevention kit:

  • ginger capsules, ginger powder and ginger gum
  • dimenhydrinate (brand name Gravol)
  • meclozine (brand name Dramamine, Sea Legs or Bonamine)
  • Motion Eaze (natural oil blend)

Hopefully we won’t need to resort to even more prescriptive remedies like the scopolamine skin patch.

And apparently, some remedies work better for some people than others. So I expect there will be a period of trial and error to see what works best for us. If only we knew what to do for the cat!

Let us know if you have any other suggestions of items to add to our kit or what works best for you.

11 responses to “Seasick Ain’t Pretty

  1. Hey Sandra…missed this one and just found it now. Same thing in our family…I seem to be the only one that’s significantly afflicted. It sucks. I appreciate your worries about being off shore for a longer crossing…I wonder about that myself. You’ve pretty much covered it in terms of the list I know of and more, except that Gravol also markets a “natural” product that is basically super concentrated ginger in a little pill. I use it instead of gravol because it doesn’t knock you out. Tea made with freshly grated ginger also works and tastes nice if you put some honey in it. I suppose you could make a cold drink of it as well…just to mix it up. I think the options you have should cover it.
    As for scopolomine…its also been recommended to me. You can get it over the counter in the US rather than by prescription, but I don’t know if its oral or a patch, or what the dosing is…not sure about the side effects, but having been there, I’d be willing to give it a try to find out.
    Take care friend…we still miss ya. Hi to Chris and your Dad.

    • Thanks Shelley. Dad’s coming for a visit later this month and I’ve already got the Gravol Natural pills on his shopping list of things to bring us 🙂
      My mom was really afflicted with motion sickness, so bad she wouldn’t ride on a bus or fly. But she was a trooper and would go out with Dad in the boat. Dad was the total opposite and felt no ill effects. I seem to fall somewhere in between. Hi right back to Rob and the kids!

  2. Wow, I admired your gumption at selling all your belongings and heading off to sea when you started this adventure. Knowing now that you suffer seasickness and still chose to live on a boat – well, that’s just a little beyond words (and comprehension, but I’m a Prairie girl). You are a wild woman!

    • Thanks for dropping by Tamara! Since most of the time is spent at dock or in protected little anchorages, I didn’t think too much of it. And I’ve never been flat out sick, at least not yet. Maybe I’ve still got my rose tinted glasses firmly in place, but I understand most people do get seasick, so I reckon it’s just all part of the adventure. Pass the bucket!

  3. I get seasickness and it is one of my worries about us getting a boat! I don’t usually get as far as actually being sick but the queasy feeling is awful. I find bitter lemon is quite good as are polos. Hope you find something that works!

      • Bitter lemon is a fizzy drink (fever tree do a particularly fine one if you can find it! But the schweps one is ok) and polos are round mints with a hole. You could get them in Singapore and here so you might be able to get in the Philippines.

    • Hi Marie-Andree. I’ve been reading about side affects like blurry vision, which wouldn’t be good if I was at the helm and couldn’t read the chart plotter. Did that happen to you?

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