Growing up in Maine I spent a lot of time on sailboats. My family has always owned one, even now. When I was little we had an ensign, and we occasionally chartered a larger boat for family vacations. My dad is an experienced sailor, having done a transatlantic voyage, and in fact it was when he was a sailing instructor in the Bahamas where he met my mother, also of the nautically inclined.
I grew up spending a lot of time on boats and have always loved them and felt comfortable on them--yes, you could say I have my sea legs.
Or so I thought.
Sunday a bunch of us joined our other friend who lives out here on a boat. It's a beautiful 50 foot Jenneau and I've been out with him a few times before, always for a pleasant sail--really a great way to spend a leisurely afternoon.
We'd been planning on this sail for quite some time, and despite the somewhat dreary weather, we headed to the Marina on Sunday prepared for a lovely time in the sun, enjoying a nice cruise in the harbor.
What we didn't think of was that the high winds made for choppy seas (yeah, so when I said I grew up on boats I never said anything about being some sort of nautical genius) and by choppy seas I really mean HUGE swells. I love heeling (for those who aren't nautically inclined, that's essentially when the boat is tilting one way or the other due to wind pressure on the sails) and the boat was practically at a 45 degree angle which makes it really fun when you are sitting on the side that's up. Less fun for my friend who decided that sitting in the bow was a smart idea, because he ended up with a lot of water in his face. More entertaining for those of us watching, however.
So there we were, having a bit of a roller coaster ride in the uneven waves when we came about after maybe a half hour. This changed everything. All of a sudden we were traveling in a different motion with the waves and my tendency for motion sickness kicked in. Poor Annie had already been ill--she was the first one down and out--and was greener than you could imagine (or as we all noted, the palest we'd ever seen, because she's normally quite tan) and then I just knew it--I knew I was going to blow.
Did I mention we'd stopped at McDonald's before the trip? I had french fries. Huge mistake.
I am a pro at vomiting due to motion sickness. Strange, but true. I've been doing it my whole life. Once we were flying from Maine to Colorado and I threw up six times on the flight. I've thrown up on planes, trains, cars, ferries, and even once came close to getting ill on an elevator (don't ask), but I have never vomited due to sailing. I have also never missed a bag. Yep, I am so comfortable vomiting that I am not one of those people who makes a bee line for the airplane lavatory to vom--I just go straight for the motion sickness bag. No regard for my neighbors, but when you are sick you are sick--and I make the bag every time. I'm batting a thousand here, folks.
So here we are, on a boat with about 9 of us and I very calmly warned everyone my vomiting was imminent, and then I just went for it. At least Annie was nice enough to lean over the stern--I knew that wouldn't work and just vommed away into a transparent plastic bag. Disgusting. I felt great afterward--but that immediate relief was definitely temporary and I knew from experience that for however long the remainder of the sail would be, I was most likely going to get sick every half hour, regardless of the contents of my stomach (sure enough, Vom #2 followed suit). Fortunately, our generous captain took pity on us and we made way back to the marina. It wasn't until we were safely back in the slip that I was in the clear. There wouldn't be a number three. Bless our souls.
We stumbled onto the dock, our stomachs in shambles--all of us exhausted; like we'd survived a war zone or something. My body felt wrecked--we all were pretty wiped. Sure, we rallied for Chinese food later that night, but falling asleep last night was quite difficult, memories of disgusting vomiting and rocky seas preventing any rest. All in all--it was one of those "you had to be there" days, and I will say, despite (or in spite of?) the vomiting, it was sufficiently entertaining.
I have a feeling I won't be eating at McDonald's again anytime soon. Probably a good thing.