Wednesday, March 01, 2017

How to avoid sea sickness even in mild sea

Before we went on the Lakshadweep cruise trip, the term ‘sea-sickness’ had meant something very vague in my head. For some reason I used to put in the league of ‘homesick’ when I should have put it with ‘motion-sickness’. So a few days before the trip, Google came to my rescue and I read about this menace.

‘Carry medicines and you should be fine,’ came the unanimous response from every web page. Even I wondered how difficult could this possibly be.

It’s one thing to think it’s going to be easy and another to actually face it.

When we set sail on-board MV Kavaratti from Kochi, initially the excitement didn’t let any other thought enter the mind. But soon enough we were to realise what being sea-sick actually meant. Our body takes time to adjust to the swaying motion of the ship. Usually while smooth sailing, the ship doesn’t move much. But in case there are winds and the weather isn’t good, the ship can sway very highly (as we experienced on the last day on board).


‘The weather is great, so it is highly unlikely to get sick. But in case you do, don’t worry. Soon enough your body will adjust to the motion and you will be fine tomorrow,’ Jafar had told us during the briefing on Day 1.

My mom was the most badly affected and we had to get her the strongest tablets from the hospital on-board. The medical staff seemed prepared for this and was distributing the tablets without much questioning.

I have huge motion-sickness, but probably the excitement of being on a ship was psychologically making sure I don’t get sea-sick. (I did feel a little nauseous though and had negligible food on-board while the ship was sailing from that day. You should have seen the huge amount of tasty food that was wasted on that first night- thanks to everyone realising that eating wasn’t easy)

Here are some of the precautions and remedies I feel would help you out in case of sea-sickness. These are all from my experience of those 5 days in the ship and so may or may not work for everyone.

  1. If you usually have motion sickness, you are more likely to get sea sick.
  2. Usually the first day would be bad; then your body would get used to the motion of the ship; there is no guarantee though. My mom remained affected on all days through the trip.
  3. If you are feeling sea-sick, eat less and avoid milk products.
  4. Take medicines, don't avoid them thinking you would be okay if you fall asleep. It just might make the situation worse. Take the doctor’s advice.
  5. A cabin in the centre of the ship is less affected than one on either the front or back ends; similarly the lower the level of the cabin, the lesser the effect of the movement of the ship.
  6. Fresh air is a big saviour, try and get out of your cabin, the fresh air hitting the face helps.
  7. So does staring out at the horizon. I think it helps in making your brain understand the relative motion which isn’t visible inside the ship.
  8. The smaller the ship, the larger the effect of motion and hence more chances of falling sea sick. Go on the Harmony of the Seas hoping no sea-sickness can affect you because it’s so huge.
  9. Don't go to sleep immediately after a meal. It might increase the tendency to throw up.
  10. Sleep with your head facing the forward direction of the ship.
  11. Keep yourself involved in activities. Sea sickness like motion sickness is to a certain level psychological. Staying distracted and not thinking about your churning stomach helps. Just enjoy the experience of being in the middle of nowhere, with water all around, the magical feeling might just keep you occupied and distracted and away from sea-sickness.

I was feeling a little nauseous and so was sitting on the stairs of the top deck of the ship on the second night. And to keep myself distracted, believe it or not, I was writing pointers for this post. My sister clicked a picture of the moment too!

Sitting on the deck of MV Kavaratti, noting down pointers for this post, to avoid getting sea sick. September 2016
And remember, sea-sickness is very normal. Since our bodies are not used to keep swaying with the sea waves, it affects us. And it affects a huge number of people out there. So there is nothing to worry. Don’t let it ruin your dream cruise vacation!

If you have some more recommendations on how to avoid sea sickness, do let me know in the comments below.

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