To: jenny spry <>
Subject: Pelagidipphobia
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2011 11:07:52 +1000

Have you tried aversion therapy? Perhaps 3 months on one of the Bass Strait islands, in a small tent, on a diet of only pickled Mutton-bird might help :-)


Carl Clifford

On 22/07/2011, at 10:49 AM, jenny spry wrote:

Hi all,

Yesterday was cold and wet in Melbourne so I spent the afternoon in an email
conversation about birding with Kay Parkin from South Australia. She is
another pelagic tragic like myself. The following is put together from the
content of that string of emails.

We have realised that we are both afflicted with a previously un- described condition suffered by some birders. It is called Pelagidipphobia (pronounced
pelagi dip phobia). By definition it is the fear of dipping by missing a
pelagic boat trip. It also covers the associated fears of being in the
toilet or on the wrong side of the boat when the mega rarity flies past. It is a serious condition and I have actually seen a grown man nearly cry when he was in the toilet as a Cooks Petrel flew past the boat. Pelagidipphobia
is often referred to simply as Dipitus.

Dipitus symptoms increase with long periods on dry land and include heart palpitations, increased sweating, nervousness, obsessive studying of the BOM Marine and Ocean website and, in extreme cases, a craving for the taste of
salt water.

Some sufferers develop avoidance behaviors. These avoidance behaviors, like moving inland away from the ocean to Axedale in central Victoria, as Marlene did, can often have serious consequences, especially financial ones as the sufferer is forced to drive long distance to attend support meetings, and
are not recommended.

The only true hope is to receive help and temporary relief at these support
meetings. They are held around the country at places such as Port Fairy,
Eden, Eaglehawk, Southport etc. These support groups are known to work and Kay says “Yes, I used to hide in dark corners wearing wet weather gear and dark glasses. Now that I actively attend my support meetings I stand proudly
in the open [deck] wearing wet weather gear and binoculars”.

Some people also feel that they can get some temporary relief by reading a
paragraph or two of Onley or Harrison before bed. This is a contentious
theory and there are others who claim that this only inflames the

If you do not know the works of Onley and or Harrison you are lucky and will
be unlikely to suffer from full-blown Pelagidipphobia.

Oh, and in case you are wondering therapists say there is no known cure. All
that will help is extended periods of time at the edge of the shelf or
beyond with like-minded people and, of course, the care and understanding of

I hope that Kay, Marlene and my coming out like this will give some help to



A PS for non-sufferers:

Derek Onley and Paul Scofield; Albatrosses, Petrels and Shearwaters of the
Peter Harrison; A field Guide to Seabirds of the World.

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