Saturday, January 26, 2013

Seasick? Landsick.


Many people get seasick.  They leave the dock or a calm anchorage and get out the pass to the heaving, rolling ocean and the motion makes them seasick.  I've heard that it gets so bad that some people wish they were dead.  People who know that this happens to them decide to put on a patch, take a pill or some other precaution to alleviate the symptoms of mal de mer.  Of course, many people don't even bother with boats if this happens to them.  Unfortunately, they're missing out on some good experiences as well.  I have also known people who have crossed oceans or have sailed around the word, popping a pill before each long passage.  They say it goes away in a few days when they keep sailing day after day.

I'm the opposite, I have not yet been seasick.  I actually find the movement of the boat through the water, up and over the waves, heeled over and sliding along, to be very calming and relaxing.  I have been known to sit up in the cockpit on my watch and get so relaxed that I find my eyelids closing, then I shake myself awake.  When it gets to the point that the waves are crashing on the bow and tossing water over the bimini, it does get a little annoying, but it still doesn't make me seasick. 

After a passage where the waves have been active, I do have a different problem.  I get landsick.  My body gets so used to the motion of the boat sailing along that once I reach dry land - it's not moving but I feel like I still am.  I get vertigo if I go into a building and am closed in.  I once had to leave the customs office in St Lucia because I was getting nauseated and feeling dizzy.  I have trouble walking a straight line, and no, I didn't have any rum before I landed and went ashore.  One evening, we went to dinner with a few other sailors after a passage between islands.  The restaurant was nice and they put us at a corner table where the lights were low.  I sat there for about 5 minutes before my stomach was sloshing around way too much for me to eat anything.  I had to get out of there, it was getting worse the more I sat there. 

Other people have reported the same symptoms and whenever I've talked to someone about this, it's always the people who never get seasick that will feel the landsickness coming on once they get on dry land.  I always feel much better out in open air, even though I will still have some slight dizziness.  My only total cure comes when I get back to the boat and step aboard. 

Betty Karl

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Merida, Venezuela

My trip to Merida, Venezuela came about when I was talking with a cruiser friend of mine who was in the same marina at Puerto La Cruz a few years ago.   We were both having work done to our boats and decided we needed a break.  So we did some research about how to plan the trip.
The easiest (and most reasonable) way to get to Merida is to get a taxi to downtown Puerto la Cruz to the bus station.  It's best to get a ticket a day or so in advance, so you can be sure to get a seat.  Be sure to wear heavy clothing - never mind that it's 90 degrees out, trust me, you'll need them.  Also, you might want to bring a little pillow and a blanket, the bus ride is 18 hours.  The air conditioning is so cold that everyone looks like they're in cocoons during the trip.  Apparently, the air conditioning units are engine driven and there is no way to regulate the temperature - so it comes out COLD.  They stop every few hours so you can have some food or a bathroom break.  There is a head on the bus, but if you use it, go early.  Toward the end of the trip, it seems to get very unpleasant in there.  Wherever you go, take your own roll of toilet paper, or tissues.  My friend laughed at me when she saw me pack the roll, but during the trip, my roll turned into "our" roll and she never laughed at me about that again.  Even at the "truck stop" places you stop for food, you will need it.  The bus has movies, some are American ones, with Spanish subtitles, but there were a couple Spanish ones that didn't have subtitles.   Actually, none of them were worth watching. 
It was an adventure, but certainly a trip never to forget, the teleferico was an amazing trip in itself.  It felt like a bus ride, but you look down and there is no road, only a valley far below.  There wasn't much of a noticeable sound and the car is moving slowly, so it was an eerie feeling floating along.  At the top of the mountain, 32 degrees, there was so little oxygen up there, we were stumbling around, giggling and feeling drunk.  It was all I could do to take a few pictures of the area.  It was a real shock to people who have lived at sea level for years.
If anyone ever gets the chance to be in the neighborhood, I'd recommend this trip.
Betty Karl
You Tube video of Merida, Venezuela -
Island Fever book  -

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bait and switch ads?

 Baby Mangrove.
I realize that my photos sometimes (mostly) do not reflect what I'm writing about here, but they're probably better than a picture of this subject...

Last November 15, I went into Dick's Sporting Goods to purchase something that was advertised on the internet and in their local sales flier.  They didn't have any of the item left.   I went to the front counter to get a rain check and the girl commented that she knew exactly what I wanted, she had been writing those tickets all week.  I should have known then.....

It is now January, they have not called me to say that the items had arrived and I could come to pick them up.  OK, almost two months seems like enough time to get stock in.  I called the store today and was informed that they haven't had any of those items in since early November.  I asked her if they had any in at the beginning of the sale of the item.  I got what I'd call a non-answer, some mumbling about them running out of them quickly.  This was supposedly a "manager" I was speaking with. 

I then asked her if they expect any of the items in within the next month and she stated that she had no idea and the buying was all done by the corporate office.  Yes, Dick's Sporting Goods is quite a big organization, you'd think they would have fantastic buying power.  By that time, I knew I most likely was not going to be able to use that rain check at their store, the price had probably gone up dramatically and they were not willing to honor the lower price. 

I was somewhere else this morning and saw those exact items for sale at a dealer that was not a large organization.  That reminded me that Dick's never called me about those items.   Obviously, that dealer probably doesn't have the same buying power as Dick's does.  So, if that local dealer could find that product available to stock, why can't Dick's?

Anybody have that same type of experience at Dick's?  Elsewhere?

Betty Karl

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vandalism Warning

Someone in my neighborhood went around this evening, it had to be after 5:30, and taped folded notes to our doors.  I went out to the car to get something and noticed it.  It said that a few cars in the neighborhood had been vandalized the night before, and things stolen from them.  Supposedly, the police have told them that none of the vehicles were locked.  The note says the police will patrol more often.  That’s good, since they almost never patrol here unless they pull someone over on the main road and they pull in here to get their ticket.  Or they’re checking out the pedophile who used to live here, but since he died, they don’t check up on him anymore.  So, they really don’t patrol in here much at all.  Also, our “security” people will be patrolling – I’ve heard we have them, but I’ve never seen any security people around here.  I think they’re a myth.  
I was home,  lights were on, I wonder why they didn’t ring the bell or knock to let me know that there’s a problem here.  I could have found the notice tomorrow morning when I went to work.  It really doesn’t matter, since I always lock my car – ever since I saw a movie where some guy was mad at someone and opened the guy’s car door to take a leak inside.   

The message also says to report to the policy anyone who does not belong here or who is suspicious.  Half my neighbors are suspicious, so I’m just not looking. 

I’m hoping this silly message doesn’t keep me awake listening for noises in the dark.  My cat sure wouldn’t be much help with a burglar – she would just yawn and curl up again.  I’m sure it’s just kids from a few blocks over, they always shortcut through here. 

I’m not worried.   I don’t really think I am.  Well, maybe just a little, after all, I just got that “new” car a few months ago.