“No, I have never been seasick”

By: Capt. Sue Nerud

Famous last words, right? Let’s all be honest, how many of us have said this? I guarantee most of us have a story or two of NEVER being seasick to find it happening out of the blue.  When it hits, it hits hard, out of the blue!  Another reason why I always recommend you have a first mate to take over the helm.

I had invited several of my friends from Minnesota to enjoy Florida aboard my boat in the Florida Keys. Our plan was to go out to the lighthouse, attach to a mooring ball, scuba and snorkel. I had five people on board, and enough equipment to fill the back of the boat. The plan was to simply experience the beauty of all the coral.

Weather was nice going out but 6 miles out there was a different story.  Alpha Mare was never on a mooring ball and I had never attached her to one. I now understand a little anxiety feeds sea sickness. Fast forward to me being on the bow trying to hook the ball, after several failed attempts, I was successful. However, the two-foot swells felt a lot bigger and I started feeling sick. I had heard it’s just in your head and to use talk therapy. Really, really? Well that didn’t work. I am now very queasy, but determined to talk myself out of it and provide a fun afternoon for my group.

Without sharing my situation, I asked them to get their equipment on quickly and get in the water. I had also been told getting in the water helps too. So, of course the trooper that I am, I tried that. Really? That didn’t work either. Hmmm…. I am now a little pissed, and thinking through my next move. But, I am in the water.

Although Alpha Mare was safe on her mooring ball, I would not venture far but literally could not look at my boat. Every time I looked at her, the dive platform was going underwater. Not good. I decided the best thing to do is to swim around a little bit. I now get stung. I had inadvertently swam into jelly fish. Now I am thinking, we gotta go and did this really just happen? Yep.

I find my sister and recruit her to find everyone under the water. I hadn’t thought through how to contact my group if we had to leave. Big mistake. Quickly I get everyone on the boat first, me still in the water stabling my stomach and now worried about my foot. My first mate starts the boat and unhooks Alpha from the mooring. I wait till the last minute, and I jump in and take over the helm. Thank goodness for my first mate. Once moving, I was still sick, but I could handle my boat and got us home.

All that said, here are some tools that have worked for me.  These include The SeaBand, Relief Band and essential oils. Ginger gum is also a favorite. I never leave the dock without my arsenal, just in case. I also never leave the dock without fruit cocktail. The sugar does wonders for low sugar attacks that seem to come on with sea sickness!

Feel free to try talk therapy. Good luck with that! For me, I will have some tools for the next time the monster presents itself!

To clean water, good seas and blue skies!

Capt Sue Nerud @ Alpha Mare