sea sickness

If possible…
fix your eyes on something that is NOT moving (land, an anchored tower, the horizon if nothing else). There is one particular spot in Newport, R.I., where often waves are coming in from 3 different directions, causing confusing conditions. A few times, while spearfishing here, I started to feel the nasea come on. I would fix my gaze upon a large, nearby stone mansion. Soon, the feeling would pass.


Trim that sasket good sister
no reason to be uncomforatble

Join the Navy
Some people are more effected by motion sickness or sea sickness than others. When I was in the Navy it took 17 foot swells off the coast of Florida to make me sea sick. My wife felt sick in a kayak from 1 foot boat wake. I never got sea sick after the first 17 footers and I went through much rougher seas off the coast of Norway. Whatever you do don’t close your eyes, I usually had no problems if I were outside, but inside it was much worse.

Ocean /bay paddling
I can’t take the ocean swells.I can handle almost

anything in the bay’s…Growing up, my father would

take me fishing off Cape May every summer.Always

sick, he would say its in your mind, watch the

horizon, yea that worked…I’ve been so sick that

I now avoid the ocean, which kills me since I

would love to kayak offshore, as well as fish…

Oh yeah…
…growing up in Oregon - I learned early on what being seasick could be! Ask the Coast Guard folks, who test their craft off the Oregon coast due to the severe conditions there! I used to “feed the salmon” every time I went out deep sea fishing.

Now, retired from the Navy after experiencing 30’ seas during hurricanes and really enjoy the ocean movement. But, I don’t get foolish by filling my stomach with lots of liquids (except water) or coffee or chocolate. Feeling that stuff washing around inside of you during a paddle guarantees you to join the ranks of us “fish feeders”.

Last word: If you think it looks yummy on the way down - just wait till it comes up to see how ugly it really gets!


Tight Neck Gasket
Unfortunately the darned thing is trimmed, at least some. It’s on the Stohlquist top, which has a heavier gasket than the Kokatat suit. I maybe could loosen it up one ring more, and would if it was a constant problem. But the last time I wore the top days in succession, the summer before last on our 3 weeks in Maine, it was only maybe every fourth day that I even noticed anything. So I am not sure how much of it is the gasket and how much is what I ate for breakfast, conditions, that kind of thing.

My personal and unproven theory is that there is some spot or level on my neck that, if everything else is just right, is more likely to cause an issue. But I’d like to have figured out what is going on before I take away more latex. Though, if I was a long trip and had a serious bout of sea sickness, the scissors (I usually have a pr of manicure scissors in the bulkhead stuff on big water) would be out the first time we hit a beach.

Sea Sick
I will admit that most of the problem is in the stomach but some is in the head. I was in the Navy and I saw fellow sailors with 10+ years in the Navy get seasick when the boat had moved only one foot from the pier. I admit I have never gotten seasick but I do feel sorry for those who do.


OT - whitewater rafting and sickness
On the second day of my vacation in New Mexico this summer, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling horrible, like I was hung over, even thought I hadn’t had that much to drink the night before. I’m pretty sure I had the combination of altitude sickness (I was staying at 10,000 feet) and dehydration. I was supposed to go white water rafting. I could barely get out of bed, but I didn’t want to disappoint my wife. When we got down out of the mountains and into the Rio Grande gorge, I felt better almost immediately. It was the most abrupt recuperation I ever had. That’s why I’m pretty sure it was mostly altitude sickness.

Mental vs. Physical
In my first couple of summers of paddling I would sometimes get a queasy / nauseous feeling in my stomach – especially in fog, swells, or rough sea conditions. I was also aware that my legs and my whole body would be really tight as I struggled to maintain equilibrium.

I haven’t had that feeling in years – though I now go out in considerably more challenging conditions. I can only surmise that much of it was mental or mental/ physical. I’ve learned to keep my body, especially hips and legs relaxed, to let my hips roll with the swells, and to keep my eyes on the horizon or some distant reference point when possible. Not to say that all sea-sickness is “mental” but perhaps it’s effects can be modified/reduced if a person modifies their mental state and controls any sense of anxiety. Has anyone else found this to be true?

A side note, I had never really thought about the word “nausea” and its rootedness in all things nautical:


[Middle English, from Latin, from Greek nautiā, nausiē, seasickness, from nautēs, sailor, from naus, ship.]

I think it is actually
not a mental think as much as a neurological thing, that your inner ear and your brain become desensitized to the feeling.

Neck Gasket and Rolling
I have found the same issue with the neck gasket in a dry suit.

I have gotten very sea sick twice - once after my first attempts at rolling in a class (wearing a drysuit) and another in a surf class, gettin knocked over and swimming several times (again, wearing a drysuit).

Not sure if it is a symptom or a cause, but I feel like my breathing is constricted when I get sea sick. Thus, the tight neck gasket made the sea sick feeling much worse. Also, a tight PFD, again feeling like it even slightly constraining free breathing, made me feel much more sick.

Just one of the reasons that - despite the utility - I would never be able to live with a neck gasket on a drysuit or drytop.

ginger or coke syrup

What makes me very queasy is watching the ice pieces in the channels into Lake Michigan as they rise and fall. My departed mother got a big kick out of it, sa she got to eat the rest of my dinner from a seafood place in South Haven. She never let me forget it either.

Even now just remembering how the ice looks swelling up and down in the channel - upsets my stomach.

I’ve never been seasick while actually in the water or in a boat and I don’t much care for bigger boats or ferry rides - I have this thing about actually being down near the water or actually in it. Which is probably why once I saw a kayak I wanted one. It took a long time to get one and I’m still learning. I miss MI where the lakes are plentiful and usually clean.

Coke syrup does work on stomach queasies though.

Here’s a link covering seasickness.

Seasickness in my head
My seasickness only comes on when I can’t see something stationary. I usually don’t go below where I can’t see out when it’s rough. The only time I felt queasy kayaking is when I had gone out a couple of hours after taking a Vicoden - big mistake. Got into a bay with heaving slow swells and almost lost it. Got into calmer water and ate and drank something, then was OK. I live where we travel by ferry a lot, and when it gets really rough, I either look out the window, or lay down with my eyes closed. Can’t close my eyes sitting upright though. When lying, it just rocks me to sleep. I’m fortunate that I can pretty much control seasickness well before it becomes bad. When I notice a loss of equilibrium I immediately take steps to control it before it progresses to fullblown nausea.