Re: birding-aus Seasickness - the pelagic disease

Subject: Re: birding-aus Seasickness - the pelagic disease
From: andrew stafford <>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 20:26:05 -0800 (PST)
Hi all,

An overdue thread, this one.

Having vomited just the once after 12 years of regular
pelagic going, by most standards I don't suffer badly
from seasickness. Indeed, when I started I didn't
think I suffered at all, and saw no need for tablets
or medication of any kind. Years of watching people
puking all around me has undoubtedly played its part.

As the years went by, I began to suffer more markedly,
and boat trips became something of a battle. This was
especially the case in Brisbane, when trips on the
Murphy Star set off at 4am, hardly conducive to a
solid night's sleep. Kwells only exacerbated the
problem, making me sleepier than ever. I am in full
agreement with Tony Palliser that the more sleep you
can get the night before, the fresher (and better) you
will feel on the day.

I have to say that some of the suggestions that have
been aired here in the last few days seem rather
extreme, but of course they are for the more extreme
cases. Here is a slightly less scientific approach,
and it will be a familiar refrain to many:

* Eat a decent meal the night before (I've never found
fat or protein a problem, as long as it's solid,
nourishing and not too high on the grease factor);

* Try to eat a solid breakfast. I never get much past
cereal myself because I rarely have time - it's too
much of a struggle getting out of bed early to waste
time eating, but, a case of don't do as I do, do as I

* One tablet before bed, another AT LEAST half an hour
before boarding. I have found travacalm works wonders,
and it seems to help me stay awake - maybe even a bit
speedy, so if I look unnaturally chirpy...

* Dry food on board. Chips, nuts, biscuits etc might
not sound that good for you, but they soak up all
those nasty stomach acids;

* NO CITRUS! For the opposite reason. I always shake
my head when I see people eating oranges/drinking
juice. Their heads usually end up over the side for
the rest of the day.

* Plenty of water. Seasickness tablets and patches dry
you out and chips, biscuits etc don't help in that
regard. Plus, if you are sick, you become quickly

* Anthea Fleming made an excellent point about keeping
warm and dry. A boat can be an incredibly
uncomfortable place even when you're not feeling ill.
If you get wet, it's very hard to get warm again, and
you're out there all day. Focusing on your own
discomfort does nothing for your stomach. I have
managed to get by on the most inappropriate kind of
non-waterproof clothing myself, but these days I
always at least keep thermals handy.

* Stay active. This should in fact be easier for the
less experienced - when the chances of seeing a new
bird are rather slim, boredom can set in. Birds are a
great distraction and the best way to get the most out
of a trip.

I think these tips should be adequate for most people,
and hopefully a bit less scary than poor Michael
Hunter's (which sound to me like a torture test before
the main event, but I sympathise with his plight).

Remember, almost everybody is subject to some level of
seasickness at various times. It is quite normal. Most
people, however, seem to me to become sick because
they are inexperienced and simply don't know what to
expect or how to cope. The transformation of Trevor
"hero" Quested shows that even intractable cases can
become The King of the World.

To deny yourself the pleasure of pelagic trips out of
fear would be to miss out on what is, to me, the most
challenging, rewarding and exciting birding of all.

Now, if only I can get my binoculars back...

All the best

Andrew S

--- Brian Fleming <> wrote:
> > Not everyone will need to be so extreme of course,
> but avoiding fat,
> > heavy  protein and alcohol from the night before,
> taking the pills for
> > twentyfour hours before, and maintaining an empty
> stomach on the trip will make a big difference to
> the average punter.
> > 
> Michael and all other sufferers have my sincere
> sympathy.
> I am glad to say that I myself very seldom suffer
> from travel sickness
> but my son suffers quite badly. He was worse when he
> was a little kid.
> We found that issuing an Arnott's Gingernut biscuit
> worked very well-
> just nibbling the edges seemed to nip travelsickness
> in the bud.
> Crystallized ginger in small pieces can also be
> almost miraculous.  If
> you dislike
> ginger as a flavour, you can buy it in capsules from
> healthfood shops.
> Being wet, cold, miserable, bored and frightened can
> make one
> susceptible to
> seasickness. Moral: wear warm gear and waterproofs.
> Landlubbers never
> realise how horribly cold you can be on a boat.  
> I have been given anti-travel sickness tablets on
> occasion but they
> usually make me pass out, so I prefer to tell myself
> firmly that I wont
> need them anyway, and then stay in fresh air as much
> as possible. I find
> ginger biscuit adequate as a rule (I enjoy them in
> any case).
> When we were kids crossing between Sorrento/Portsea
> and Queenscliffe on
> a converted fishingboat, we soon learnt that it was
> best to avoid the
> cabin, which contained the engine.  It was always
> full of diesel fumes
> and the kind of parent which asks its offspring "Are
> you sure you dont
> feel sick yet?" while the boat is still tied up to
> the pier! Of course
> such kids were sick as soon as the ferry met any
> chop at all. Out in the
> cockpit we were completely unaffected, if sometimes
> rather wet - and I
> could see muttonbirds and gannets. 
> I certainly agree that alcohol, fat and protein are
> best avoided
> pre-trip.  Likewise fizzy drinks of any kind.  It is
> very important not
> to get dehydrated, so increased water consumption is
> a good idea.
>   Hope this helps.
>   Anthea Fleming in Melbourne
Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU