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

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