seasick1There’s not a whole lot you can do or say to convince me to go on a boat. At least not a boat where shore is not a swimmable distance away. For, somewhere between childhood and adulthood my body decided that sea legs would never be a part of my anatomy.

When I was a kid my cousin Frank had a sailboat. A couple of times he sailed into Martha’s Vineyard while we were on vacation, and he’d take us out on the sea for the afternoon. That I liked. I was young and it was exciting to be on the water.

I’m not sure when I began to feel the side effects of a rocking vessel. I never got sick on the ferry (and still don’t) but that might be because the boat is so big, or mentally I know the ride is going to be short. I’m fine in canoes, but then again I take them on a lake or river, which are rather calm.

The first time I recall getting really sick was when I went to the Jersey shore to go on my ex-boyfriend’s boat. Mark and I were toying with the idea of getting back together, and we decided to spend a day on the ocean. I felt very privileged and special to be going out on a boat…life was good and the sun was shining. We stopped at a grocery store and picked up a whole bunch of stuff to barbecue and headed for the marina.

Once we were on the boat I was fine, until we got onto the open water. Then the boat began to bob up and down and up and down. The effects were almost immediate – I was sick as a dog. Mark thought I would get used to it after a while but I didn’t. I threw up over the side of the boat and then passed out on one of the seats.

So much for getting back together.

My next adventure at sea was during a summer on Martha’s Vineyard when I was in my twenties. My cousin had separated from her husband and she and I became drinking buddies, cruising all the hot guys on the island. We had been talking to a group of very handsome young men who were going to sail in the Edgartown Regatta the following morning. They asked if we wanted to come along for ballast. While I was in the middle of saying “No Way, José,” my cousin was agreeing to go.

I explained to them both how sick I get on boats, but somehow they convinced me. Point A) I’d only gotten sick that one time; Point B) I could take Dramamine; Point C) the very cute sailor boy was going to take me out to dinner if I got sick.

The next morning we boarded the large sailboat with a bunch of other folks that I hadn’t met but was happy to be spending the day with. Even though I was nervous about being on the boat, it was pretty thrilling to be sailing in a real race! The harbor was filled with other boaters, so it took us a while to get out onto the open sea.

But it didn’t take me long to start feeling sick. As I watched the Edgartown shoreline grow smaller and smaller, my stomach grumbled louder and louder. What sucked even more, was this was no day pleasure boating. I was expected to work. I couldn’t lay down and sleep like I did on Mark’s boat. When the call came out, I had to hang over the side of the boat with the rest of the “crew.”

That was no problem – I was hanging over the side of the boat most of the day anyway. My scant breakfast of wheat toast and my dose of Dramamine came up within the first half hour.

When lunch time came, they handed out tuna salad sandwiches. Tuna? Really? Not only could I not eat it, but I threw up whatever was left in my stomach at the smell of it.

I remember hanging over the side of the boat, sick and miserable and thinking that I’d rather be almost anywhere right at that moment. I thought longingly of my desk, piled high with work that I would tackle with absolute glee, if only I could be off this boat. I was trapped, and it didn’t feel good.

The day wore on, and I went from one side of the boat to the other when the captain commanded. By 2 pm or so I began to feel better. Someone offered me a beer, and I took it. It tasted good. I felt even better. By the time we crossed the finish line I was tired, but pretty much my old self.

When we docked, I reminded my cute little sailor dude about our agreement – I’d gotten sea sick, so he owed me dinner.

I’m still waiting for the call.

I managed to stay off boats for the next 25+ years. Then two summers ago we took a trip to Virginia Beach where we rented wave runners one afternoon. My husband drove one with my youngest daughter, and I drove the other with our oldest. I was fine for the first 15 minutes. My girl and I cruised back and forth in the designated area, feeling the splash of the ocean and jumping the waves. But then the constant bobbing of the wave runner on the ocean began to take its affect on me, and I started feeling very nauseous.

I was super relieved when I saw the flag go up signaling that it was time to head back to the marina. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it back without hurling. I just kept my attention on the pilot boat and the idea that I would be on terra firma again very soon.

And that was it – the last time I will ever go on a boat/watercraft out in the ocean again. Hubby broke my balls for getting sea sick on a wave runner, and I have to admit, it’s pretty lame. But lame or not, my body does not like the motion of the ocean.

So my feet will remain permanently bound to the ground – unless I’m on a ferry to the Vineyard.

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