Saturday, March 17, 2007


Day 16. I am a menace on a boat. For the sake of those around me, I should never be allowed on one. I frequently have to crawl aboard and skootch around on my backside to position myself, since one good pitch sends me flying into whoever is there –generally clutching whatever I can grab hold of to steady myself, which is lethal if you and your target are both fully kitted-out scuba divers. When I come up after a dive, it is generally safer for everyone if I take off my gear in the water and hand it up, since I will invariably overbalance and fall back onto my back into the sea if I have to climb a ladder with fifty pounds of kit on my back. I think the boat boys secretly cringe when they see me coming, since they know at least one of them is going to be assigned to keeping me from doing any damage. At least I tip well.

Oh, and on top of having the sea legs of a giraffe on roller skates, I get horrendously seasick.

I come by that honestly, at least. My father, who spent twenty five years in the Navy, once told me that every time he was deployed he was green as a toad for the first three days. I used to wonder how anyone who spent so much time seasick ever managed to stay in a profession that required ocean voyages. Little did I know that the one sport I would take up would put me in the same boat. So to speak.

I’ve always been motion sick. I was that ‘lucky’ kid who got to sit in the front (unheard of!) because otherwise I would puke all over the back seat. In grad school, a group of us went to Hershey Park, where they went on the monster roller coasters and I merely watched the four year olds enjoying the Merry Go Round and had to woof into the trash can next to the bench. I could go on, but you get my point.

So why take up scuba, which was guaranteed to make me queasy? Why indeed. My instructor nearly had to carry me from the boat the first ten or so dives I did with him. My club thought I was insane. I ‘fed the fish’ every time I went diving, and mastered the fine art of puking into a regulator. And trust me – retching underwater when you have to keep your teeth clamped around your only air source while knowing if you let go of it you will drown is a fine art.

Lately, though, the seasickness thing is mostly at bay. I guess lots of practice and Dramamine settles your stomach over time. However, there are still things that will set me off. One is being over-tired. Another is fumes or strong smells, such as the diesel fuel they use in the boats.

So here I am, in Thailand, on a very expensive section of my trip, where I have to be on a boat for three solid days. Normally I avoid live-aboards, but some of the best diving in the world can only be reached by a long journey out from the mainland, and the only sensible and sometimes possible thing to do is to live on a boat for several days: eating, sleeping and diving. Or in my case, trying not to toss my cookies. Between not having slept the night before and the smell of very spicy Thai cooking coming from the galley… well, let’s just say I dived one out of three on the first day.



Blogger nzm said...

Next time we see you, remind us to give you some Sea Legs tablets.

J also used to get horribly sick, but after I gave these to her, no more!

We even cured a seasick diver on the Great Barrier Reef who was already sick. One tablet and within 20 mins he was fine again.

Don't know what's in them - I haven't looked because I don't have to take them! But they do work, and we've only found them in NZ and Australia.

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are genetically seasick challenged on both sides of your family. However, you are also genetically enhanced on both sides -- if you really want to do something, no obstacles deter. T.M.

3:29 AM  
Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

Horatio "I hate the French" Nelson suffered appallingly from seasickness. You are in very good company.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

'You tip well'. ROTFLMAO!

8:03 PM  

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