The Nautie Guide to Conquering Mal de Mer!

Most Sailors will never admit they are seasick.  They'll curl up in a ball on the floor and blame it on galley food before they admit that they're feeling a little green around the gills.  I announced to my watch that I was feeling a little queasy.  They were horrified.  AB:  Mate, I don't think you should admit that...

ME:  Why?

AB:  It might make you seem a little less....

ME:  Ummm....manly?

AB:  Yeah, manly.

ME:, will you please go down to the galley and get me some saltines?  (For the record - I only said riiiiight - I didn't make the 4-8 fetch me saltines - I had already had the 12-4 fetch them.  I thought it made the encounter sound a bit better - ha. Oh, and the numbers indicate what hours the individual stands watch and, it's how we refer to the ABs sometimes.  As in, 'did you call the 4-8?'.)

I normally bring dramamine with me to work.  It usually makes me feel better lickity split.  Remember how I got fancy new luggage for work this time?  Well, I had to pack much lighter.  I normally have a navigation bag and a ditty bag - this time I combined the two into one slightly larger bag - the ditty bag got left behind.  Big mistake, huge......the dramamine was in the front pouch.  (Aunt Pooder, this is the hot pink ditty bag you gave me when I joined my first ship.  It will never be left behind again!  Lesson learned!  Like Aunt Gene said, 'everything has a place and every place has its thing'!!)

Because I didn't have the trusty dramamine I had to take care of things the old fashioned way.  Some of my remedies are slightly 'no duh' worthy - even if its only a mental remedy it's still worth it if it makes me feel a little better! 

Here's what I do:

  • Drink lots of water.  Water feels fresh and clean as it goes down.  I avoid drinking anything that might make me feel 'sluggish'.  Go easy on that dairy!
  • Double up on vitamins.  This way, if I get sick my body is slightly less depleted.  I have no idea why I think this.
  • Saltines.  They seem to be the perfect 'stomach coater'.  They keep your belly full without over-stimulating.
  • Keep cool.  Literally.  I've never passed out but, I feel like I've been close.  You know that feeling you get where you start to feel overly warm and slightly woozy?  Avoid it.  Crack a window and let in some winter air.  Turn down the thermostat in your stateroom.  Don't over bundle.  Wash your face with cool water.  You get it.
  • Let your hair get a little wind blown.  Otter left a message that I should enjoy a little fresh air (thanks Pops!).  It gets a little tricky when it's blowing 50 knots and raining - but we'll pretend that conditions are mellow - in which case - Get some fresh air!  It will do wonders!
  • Now bring me that horizon!  Jack Sparrow was on to something.  You'll be amazed how much better you'll feel by just looking out a window - the results are even better if you can manage to be out on deck while looking at the horizon.
  • Take a little cat nap.  Laying down and closing your eyes sometimes provides instant relief.  Sadly, we can't stay in our racks all day long.  If you are at sea for pleasure (i.e. a cruise or a fishing expedition, etc.) then you really don't want to stay in your rack all day!  I find that even 20 minutes of horizontal relaxation can do the trick.
  • GINGER.  This probably should have been first on the list.  I can't stress enough the miraculous power this little root contains.  I asked the Steward (he's in charge of the galley) for two chunks of ginger.  I mostly prepare it in the tea form.  Just slice up a bit (or a large chunk) and pour hot water over it.  If you are able to bring it to a boil even better.  Lots of times I add lemon and honey just to trick it out a bit.  If I'm really feeling yucky then I chew on a bit.
  • Don't pull the trigger.  Being seasick is not the same as being hung over....although it does feel a little will not feel amazing after one good yarf.  I do my ultimate best to not throw up.  I have found that once I vomit I won't stop.  In all seriousness, this can be dangerous.  It can very, very quickly lead to dehydration and a whole slew of other issues. 

Here's what I DON'T do:

  • I don't do dairy.  It just makes me feel mucous-y and gross.  That sounds disgusting...but it's true!
  • I don't do sweets.  There seems to be a lot of downtime during rough weather - lots of 'waiting it out'.  Sweets need to be burned off and you won't be able to do'll just end up with too much energy.
  • I go easy on the coffee.  Too much caffeine on an empty belly makes you feel queesy on a normal day - why do that to yourself on a yucky day?
  • I don't take showers.  Okay, I know this sounds weird.  For some reason when I take a shower I become completely disoriented and can't tell up from down.  If the ship is rockin' and rollin' and I let water pour over my head I suddenly feel like Alice in the Rabbit Hole.  If the weather lasts for more than a day then I sit on the toilet and use the shower wand to wash my hair only.  I don't stand in the shower in rough weather - ever. 
  • I don't sit in front of the computer.  Think reading a book in a car - same thing.  It takes about two nanoseconds for your eyes to be exhausted and your stomach to be rolling.

For some reason I find it glorious that the french word for seasickness contains my initials!  Which only makes sense since my initials mean ocean in french.  Mal de Mer.  It almost sounds lovely.  Which reminds me of the quote:  'Merde.  Shit always sounds better in french.'.  Too true.

Storm photos are being sorted and edited and will be up soon!