The Cure for Common Seasickness

Long ago, in a land far away, I crewed on a yacht.  She was a real beauty.  A Broward eighty-three footer, bright white hull, twenty-foot beam, silvery chrome fittings, all  topped with teak foot rails and hand rails.  Six cabins, six heads.  Ornate carpets.  Shiny surfaces.  Big ass outdoor grill up top behind the bridge.  Fifteen foot runabout.  It wasn’t too bad at all.

The year I was first mate, we moved the Essco from Lake Saint Clair near Detroit down to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the winter.  Lake St. Clair looks like an upside down Ginkgo leaf tacked on top of Lake Erie.  The only way out is on the St. Clair river through the St. Lawrence Seaway.  ( Notice the concentration of Saints?)  We passed the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.  We stopped for two nights in Atlantic City and played in Trump Castle on the Boardwalk.  We made an eery, predawn pass through the harbor at Norfolk in the thickest fog I have ever seen.  Battleships loomed over our little boat like threats.  Shapes appeared suddenly, dangerously close, sometimes straight up above us.  It was surreal.  And it was autumn.  The trip took nearly four weeks and the leaves changed along the starboard shore with our leisurely float south.  It was on this trip that I learned the only real cure for seasickness.

Our Captain’s girlfriend, Lucia, was not a seafaring girl by nature.  NO, no, friends, far from it.  She got queasy looking at a boat.  Why the poor dear decided to live on one for a month is beyond me.  She took Dramamine with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  She slept 18 hours per day as a result.  When she was awake, we tried to feed her and offer hydration.  During the first two weeks of the trip, she awakened periodically and moaned.

To make a month-long story short, we reached an inlet north of Beaufort, North Carolina on a crisp, fall day.  We tied up to a long, skinny dock on the Intercoastal Waterway paralell to a small farm field.  The dock owners were a cute little elderly couple who lived in a farmhouse next to the waterway.  They rented their dock by the day.  The back of their little old house had an enclosed porch that was a grocery store for boaters.  They had milk, bread, canned goods.  The staples of migrant boat life. 

We tied up after 4 days on the water and cheerfully hopped ashore, grateful for terra firma.  Most of us, anyway…  poor Lucia groped her way down the aluminum ramp, one hand clenched around the handrail.  She stumbled down to the lawn and collapsed, muttering in Spanish about sickness and dying.

The old farmer came out to greet us and offer his groceries and his car if we needed it for errands.  We thanked him.  It was hard to avoid talking about Lucia, there on the ground before us.  He asked if she was okay.  We explained her sickness and how she had been at it for two weeks and we all made sympathetic noises.  The farmer, 85 years wise said, “I kin help her.  All you got to do is git you a piece of pork fat and tie in on a strang.  Then you swaller it.  Let it set for two or more hours, then pull it back up.  You won’t be sick no more.”  Lucia rolled onto her side and made a sound like a sad kitten.  We bought an accupressure wristband for her that night.


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3 Comments on “The Cure for Common Seasickness”

  1. Dana Says:

    Why didn’t she try it? Was she a vegetarian or maybe didn’t like pork? Have you tried it?



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