Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Seesick

We are visiting out son on the west coast.
We just finished a huge dinner of fresh halibut and fires.
Yum.
Now we are sitting on our deck, ejoying our view of the bay.
Mmmmm . . .
It reminde me of another - less pleasant - ocean experince.
Somewhere out there are whales . . . and nausea.
Water and I have a thing.
We love each other.
Alright, alright, so I love water. I really don't know how it feels about me.
Moving on . . .
My family was going whale watching off the west coast of California.
I was excited. Because (remember?) I loved water. And things in the water. And boats.
I should maybe point out here that this child-of-the-prairies' sum total of water experience consisted of my river and Chin lake. Not necessarily in that order.
We put on our life jackets and climbed aboard.
So far so good.
The engine started.
My heart rate increased.
We pulled smoothly away from the dock.
Still fine.
We skimmed lightly across the bay.
Okay, so, it was a fat, clumsy boat loaded to the gunwales with tourists. But I chose the word 'skimmed' and I'm sticking with it.
My more daring family members were already hanging out over the rails, looking down into the amazingly blue water as it slipped past.
I had managed to find a seat inside the little 'house' part.
Because yes, I was a little trepidatious (real word - really!).
We cleared the bay and moved out into open water.
And then the boat started . . . for want of a better term . . . bucking.
Now, I should point out here that I'm used to bucking. In fact, bucking has been a daily ritual in the horse corral since forever.
Just not this kind of bucking.
The deck under my feet rose up. Then, that same deck fell.
And I mean fell.
Worse than an elevator. (And elevators and I do have a history . . .)
Worse than when I fell off the barn roof.
In fact, most of my inner parts were rapidly in danger of becoming . . . outer.
And just like that, I was sick.
Really sick.
I had been instructed to stare at the horizon.
I tried.
But the horizon was going up and down along with the boat, the tourists and me.
Maybe it shouldn't be called 'seasick'. Maybe it should be 'seesick'. Because there sure is a lot to see.
Okay, so horizon staring wasn't going to work.
I began to count the steps. Four to the doorway. Four more across the deck.
Could I make it?
I mean, before something . . . icky . . . happened.
Another 'heave' of the deck.
Okay, so the choice was taken from me.
It was sprint or die.
I sprinted.
I needn't go into the details of what happened next. I suppose you can furnish your own particulars. Suffice it to say that I lost everything I had ever eaten.
Or even thought of eating.
Funny thing about being sick on a tourist boat.
Everyone suddenly has something else to look at.
Somewhere else.
I was abruptly, gratefully, alone where my humiliation and I could happily enjoy our time together.
I don't remember much about the rest of the trip. We saw some whales. I was hauled off of my bench in the cabin in time to see a whole herd (erm . . . pod) of them.
They were neat.
And wet.
And . . . splashy.
And never in my whole life was I so relieved to stand later on real, solid ground.
I didn't kiss it. I didn't dare shift that much. Suffice it to say the two of us were very happy to see one another . . .

There is a sort-of codicil.
My husband took me whale-watching off the coast of Maine.
I stayed outside on deck and kept my face into the wind and miraculously managed to keep my lunch where it had been placed.
All was well.
We came upon a cow/calf pair of  whales.
I'm ashamed to admit that I can't remember what kind of whale.
They were neat.
And wet.
And . . . splashy.
The mother left her baby and dove. The calf stayed where it was, lolling in the waves and the sun. Occasionally batting at the water with a flipper.
Every few minutes, our guide would say something informative.
Finally, she said, "I bet none of you can say that you've sat beside a sleeping whale!"
Okay I admit that, when hugely pregnant, I have described myself thusly (another real word).
My husband glanced at me, but wisely said nothing.
I hit him anyways.

7 comments:

  1. Okay, one more reason not to like large bodies of water ...

    Smart husby :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. A great story and I especially loved the ending~ Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love it. And went I went to Antarctica I was painfully sick. On the worst day it took four injections to stop me puking (much). And it was worth it.
    And I am jealous that you saw a sleeping whale, and would have hit your husband for that sidelong look.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If only you'd stayed on deck, faced into the wind the first time, it might have been a much more enjoyable trip. Maybe. One of those "we'll never really know" things.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Being seasick is the worst. Both my husband and older son suffer from it, unfortunately. But seeing whales kind of makes up for it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I feel your discomfort and embarrassment. I have done the same. It really puts an end to conversation when suddenly the person you are chatting with is rolfing over the side. My husband gets seasick too as did my father.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am a pretty good sailor, but have experienced sea-sickness on occasion. At the time, death can seem like a better alternative.
    I have been whale watching twice. No sightings on the first excursion, and (years later) an amazing number of whales everywhere we looked.

    ReplyDelete

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