Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Thursday, November 21, 2019

Seesickness

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.

14 comments:

  1. Like Gilligan, I went on a three hour tour. I was OK - for 15 minutes. I understand your misery.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I lived in a coastal town all my childhood. I hated sailing. We had like 20 minutes across the water. I was seasick more than once. I was cured as a young adult crossing the Mediterranean in a humongous storm, but that's another story. I feel your misery.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm....so all I need to do is survive a humongous storm and I'm golden?! I guess the keyword is 'survive'! ;)

      Delete
  3. So funny with your husband. God, he sounds so much like mine! I would be the same way as on your first whale watching trip. I love boats, but they don't always love me back. At least the second time, you were able to enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The boat wasn't doing it's weird dance the second time. Whew!
      Our husbys sounds scarily the same! We must either get them together. Or keep them forever apart. I waffle...

      Delete
  4. The closest thing to being out on the ocean that I've done is take the ferry from Nova Scotia to PEI - pretty calm, on my trips anyhow. I admire you so much for trying the boat ride the second time, considering the misery you went through the first time!

    Pre-emptive punches are sometimes needed to keep a spouse from getting too snickery :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've never been seasick, probably got my sea legs early when we came out from Germany and I learned to walk just before we got to Australia. But I have often been carsick as a child and learned I was okay if I could sit in the front seat and see where we were going as well as having a window open so a breeze blew across my face. We have whale watching seasons here and I really should go one day to see them. I've seen plenty of dolphins in our Port River.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You sound like you must be a sailor, River!
      I was also very prone to carsickness. Spent many a trip with the potty in my lap and the window open.

      Delete
  6. My husband gets seasick. I've been begging him to try a cruise but so far nada. (Rena)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep at it. A man who will do laundry can be persuaded! ;)

      Delete
  7. Heeheehee! Not the seasick part, the hitting him anyway part.

    When we were at sea in a terrible storm, Sweetie and i were the only ones who went to the dining area to eat. We are odd ducks.

    ReplyDelete

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