11 April 2017

Getting Our Sea Legs

9 April 2017 - Aboard Petronella, anchored off Dominica

In Arthur Ransom's "Peter Duck", Captain Nancy -- Chief of the Amazon Pirates and Scourge of the Seas -- suddenly get sea sick when the weather turns bad and the seas rise. What shame! Not Captain Nancy!

I've never actually been seasick, but today I came close. It was in the gap between Martinique and Dominica. The seas in the wind shadow of Martinique had been calm and the sailing great. But now, in the middle of the gap, with no island between us and the coast of Africa, the wind whipped up a confused sea that tossed us -- or at least the contents of my stomach -- like fruit in a blender.

I found myself staring at the waves, trying to keep my eyes on the horizon, breathing deeply.

"No!" I thought in horror. "Not me. Not on our first day out!"

I tried to pretend I wasn't feeling sick, but I was. I was sitting to windward. Captain Gill was between me and the lee rail. What to do? The boat was heeling away from the wind, the deck slanting towards the ocean blue. Could I even get to the lee rail?

After a moments indecision, my head getting woozier by the second, I made a decision.

"I need to get horizontal. Immediately," I announced to the surprising crew. Not waiting for a response, I scrambled down the companionway, kicked off my shoes, and hurried onto the port side settee.

After a few gulps and several deep breaths, I wasn't in imminent danger of being sick, but didn't trust myself to sit up again.

"Just lie still," I told myself. "You'll be fine in a minute..."

Four hour later, I climbed back into the cockpit. I'd missed a watch, dinner, and what Helena described as one of the most beautiful things she'd ever seen ( but I will let her tell that story.)

The seas were calmer, and I felt better, if humbled. No, I hadn't been sea sick, but only just. How long would it take to get my sea legs?

"Three days," I predicted confidently.

I hope I was right.



Next Up:  Out Of Our Comfort Zones



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