Friday, July 10, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night...

Or maybe it was a beautiful sunny day with what seemed the gentlest of swells. No matter: whenever I came back from leave I almost always got seasick when the weather or seas turned. It was usually just once and then I was good for another four months.

I wasn't alone. Both our cruise director and chief engineer, with many years at sea between them, got sick when they came back from leave, as did many crewmembers. You're either prone to seasickness or you're not and it can hit in the most unpredictable ways. You can make it through a windswept, rocking storm just fine and then become positively bilious on a bright sunny day with gentle, undulating swells.

To add to its charm it can hit without warning. One minute you're fine and the next you're frantically looking for a bathroom, bin, bag - any open receptacle will do. I remember being on the bridge once in casual conversation with others. The next thing I was dashing madly down the alleyway, the first mate yelling, "First door on your left! First door on your left!"

Some are affected by it worse than others. Once in Whittier, Alaska we were tied alongside on a beautiful summer day,the water like glass. Despite this, a woman phoned our office looking for the doctor, complaining of being seasick.

When I go on cruises I always come prepared because it is something you can usually stave off. I discovered Bonine a few years ago and swear by it. I like it because you only need to take one a day. I take it before going to bed and therefore am less apt to stagger around the ship all day like an extra out of Dawn of the Dead, an unfortunate side effect of Dramamine. Unfortunately, the last time I checked my local pharmacy I discovered it is no longer available in Canada for some bizarre reason. Just one more thing I'll have to add to my shopping list next time I am State side.

This isn't a what to do or what to avoid article on seasickness. There are plenty of those available on the Internet. But if I may add one piece of advice, don't foolishly court it as my husband and I did once on the northbound portion of a Mexican Riviera cruise. For some reason we thought it was a great idea, in rough seas, to go to the very top and forward lounge, stare out to sea and watch the ship go up and down, up and down, up and down in the crashing waves. But we did and paid for it by spending the last night in our cabin. Lesson learned; don't stop the Bonine just because the voyage is almost over...

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