How to avoid turning a “Whiter Shade of Pale”
Picture this: All of the guests on the boat are having a wonderful time, sunning themselves on the deck and drying off after yet another delicious dip in the Adriatic Sea. It’s just after 11am, meaning that lunch preparation needs to be started down below in the galley. We are heading to Luka Vis today, a port that is notoriously hard to get a spot on the dock at due to its popularity during the hot summer months. This means that while the guests (that could be you!) are soaking up lots of vitamin D, Nick is at the helm either motoring or motor-sailing, depending on the strength and direction of any wind that may be present. If we’re really lucky, he’ll get a great angle and will be able to turn the engine off completely. That is bliss for him!
Meanwhile, I am down in the galley preparing food enough for all eight of us on board. Even if Nick rolls the sails out and we begin to heel over, lunch still needs to be made. And for anyone reading who suffers from any kind of motion sickness, you well know that the summer heat plus being down below on a sailing yacht PLUS the fiddly work that is required to cook and then the movement of being on the seas is a recipe for some major seasickness.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my work. I pride myself on being able to manage food prep even when at heel. And part of my management strategy involves managing my own seasickness. When I am working on the boat, not a day goes by when I feel seasickness to some degree. I don’t take any medication for it. Given that there are over 150 working days in our summer season, I certainly do not want to be medicated for that long if I can help it! Nick also suffers from seasickness, much to people’s disbelief. And we have decided that seasickness won’t stop us from doing what we love.
And for those of you who want to skip reading all of the wordy words below, here are the Cliff’s notes. Things that leave you WIDE OPEN for seasickness:
Being over tired
Letting yourself get dehydrated
Eating heavy sugary or fatty foods
Reading or looking at a device whilst the boat is underway!
Motion sickness is a multi-faceted affliction. Defined as a condition in which a disagreement exists between visually perceived movement and the vestibular system’s sense of movement. Depending on the cause, it can also be referred to as seasickness, car sickness or airsickness. Yes, it is a physical reaction in your body to things outside of your control, such as the sea state and how the boat is moving in relation to the water. And yet, even if you find a fantastic medical solution, your diet, surroundings and even stress can all play a huge part in undoing all the medicinal goodness. So what else can be done?!
What you eat and drink has a huge effect on how your body manages being on the sea. Heavy foods, rich creamy sauces, sugar laden snacks and fatty meats tend to weigh your body down and leave the door wide open for seasickness to sneak in. Luckily, your menu on the boat is full of light, healthy foods with locally sourced fruits and vegetables. And if there are any foods that you dislike or that just don’t agree with your stomach, let us know and we will do our absolute best to accommodate you. As a chronic seasickness sufferer myself, I am always prepared during passages with dry, salty snacks on hand up in the cockpit for everyone to snack on whenever they feel the inclination, which actually goes hand in hand with the next tip…
Stay hydrated. Dehydration and seasickness are bestest buddies. Getting dehydrated whilst on a summer sailing holiday is so easy. You might think that you always have a drink in your hand, but how often is that drink water?! We provide an ample supply of clean drinking water, both still and sparkling, so that you can match one for one if you’re worried about your hydration levels.
One of our most well-worn tricks is using music to distract guests minds (and ours too) from the nausea, and redirect attention to either creating a playlist (strictly the role of someone who does not suffer from seasickness!) or singing those classics at the top of our lungs! There is no noise control on the Adriatic Sea and we take full advantage of that!!!
Fun word games, riddles and adapted car games can also be a great way to pass the time whilst underway. We have a few games up our sleeves, and LOVE learning more! If you have any to share with us, we’re all ears.
Wisely chosen times to be underway. This is trick that skippers, like Nick, who suffer from seasickness themselves use to make the sailing holiday more comfortable for others on board. Getting up early to put some miles towards the days’ journey before breakfast not only means that our guests can breakfast in some stunning locations. Travelling earlier when the air is cooler also means that everyone on board is less susceptible to feeling woozy or uncomfortable.
Our personal experience has a taught us that getting as much sleep as possible goes a long way in being able to manage our seasickness. Being aware of how much sleep you are getting at night and possibly sleeping more if you find getting tired becomes a problem can have a huge positive effect on seasickness. Also, feel free to sleep up on deck whilst we are underway! Bringing up pillows to sleep in the cockpit, snoozing in one of our hammocks depending on the sea state or finding a comfy spot up on deck to have a siesta is a great way to shut up those seasickness voices in your head. Remember, you’re on holiday so nana naps are totally ok!
Sun protection is a biggie that many don’t realise has a HUGE affect on seasickness sufferers. Sun stroke and excessive sun exposure are in the same boat as dehydration. Don’t forget to Slip, Slop and Slap whilst on your sailing holiday. Bring plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin at the same time as protecting yourself against seasickness and make sure that you don’t spend too much time exposed to direct sunlight. Resting up in the shade can do wonders!
If you suffer from seasickness, you have probably had someone tell you get yourself into a spot on the boat where you can look ahead at the horizon. It sounds corny, and yet its bang on advice. Where you are sitting and facing on the boat can make or break your seasickness. We recommend that you stay up in the cockpit or on deck if you are feeling a bit grey. I am always happy to go downstairs to get whatever you may need. Yes, I get seasick too and yet working on the sea everyday means that I am used to managing it. Also, try being at the helm of the boat. Nick is always happy to teach anyone that wants to learn how to steer, whether under motor or sail. And many find that concentrating on helming actually causes them to forget their seasickness altogether.
There are many different medicines that people employ to help them battle and manage their seasickness. Whether you think that scopolamine patches, oral anti-histamines like meclizine (also known as Dramamine or Bonine) or oral antiemetics like dimenhydrinate (sold over the counter in some countries as Gravol) might work best for you, I cannot stress enough how important it is that you consult a GP who understands your personal medical history and who can talk over any possible side-effects and contraindications with you. If consulting a medical practitioner about medication to combat seasickness, be sure to discuss any natural or alternative methods (like pressure point bands, naturopathic ginger remedies or additional doses of vitamin C) you may be wanting to try as well, as even herbal remedies may react with anything your doctor prescribes.
Seasickness is not fun for anyone and having crew on board your boat that can empathise with you when you are feeling rotten can make a HUGE difference to managing your seasickness and not letting it ruin your sailing holiday. If you suffer from motion sickness, please lets know so that we can make sure that we are aware and doing everything we can to help make your sailing holiday a roaring success!