Sea (motion) Sickness

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Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Jason » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:19 pm

Wondering if anyone has some advice upon Sea Sickness (or Motion sickness) :?:

With utter frustration I failed to go down on Annie Miller (Wreck 46metres) upon Sunday due to Sea Sickness. Now I don't hop upon Carnival rides due to knowing (and past experiences) I will be sick, I even feel queasy watching people go around n' round. Video games also give me a sense of nausea and I just last a minute when watching 'Home Videos' with that bad focus and shakey handi-work.
I feel that I am getting better with each Boat Dive but in a way I am still getting sick 2 out of 3 attempts. People state that the more I persevere with Boats (n' swell) and the more often I do a Boat Dive, the more accustomed I will get. This may be true but I don't have the opportunity to get on a boat often. My brother on the other hand skippered boats around the Greek Islands and has just joined the Aust Navy - he loves boats, but Diving freaks him out.
Medication like Kwells, Travelcalm etc are strong considerations and I take x2 Travelcalm Original the night before and x1 in the morning but I do dislike the lethargy and sleepiness of such medications. So far this is the best aid against sea sickness I found.
Middle-Ear problems? Well I've considered this and am on the verge of seeing (bothering) a Doctor about the possibility of me having something wrong.
My Top 5 recent chicken-noodle soups are as follows:
Wollongong: First time out on a boat in 10 years and I was so rotten I think Leon (United Divers) called the Divers up ealy to get me back to shore. It took 6 hours for me to drive home (50minutes away).
Poor Knights: After having some great dives (Knight Divers) I found myself heaving upon the trip back with much embarressment. My partner drove back to Whangarei with me rolling in the back, head in a bucket and feeling as if we were going off the side of the road with every bend. Very scary.
Stewart Island: Yep, I raised my hands in victory to a few people who clapped as I headed to the toilet first after just 5 minutes towards Stewart island.
Ulladulla: Dive buddy and skipper persuaded me to do the 2nd dive and I found myself underwater doing some fish feeding. wonder if this was a dive specialty?
Wolloingong: Another day another dollar spent over the side in my local area.

Question: If I never 'get used to' Boat Dives - does it restrict a good diving future :?:

Cheers
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Ali Perkins » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:43 am

When I travelled to Antarctica across the roughest ocean on the planet I saw seasickness in every shape and form. A ship doctor told me that there is a small number of people who are never able to adjust to seasickness (I hope that's not you VS), the rest of us can. Also, the vast majority of seasickness cases are 'of the mind'. If you think you're going to get seasick, then odds are you will. Forget ginger, no scientific evidence that this does anything to prevent seasickness, although if you think it's going to work, then it well might. There's loads of brilliant diving to be done around the planet even if you can't boat dive and I know of quite a few divers who avoid boats at all costs.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby justsimon » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:20 am

Might be worth getting your eyes tested. If they're saying the world is a bit out of focus...
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Michelle » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:00 am

I have always suffered from seasickness on about half my trips, so now I take sealegs, which does seem to help. Fortunately I don't get the sleepy side effects but I know of a couple of people who follow it down with caffine tablets to counteract that (maybe I just drink enough coffee) I am also very careful to ensure that I take plenty of liquid (usually ginger beer) and try and stay in the fresh air for the trip out and back, focusing on the horizon rather than anything on the boat. There is a temptation to interact with other divers, which keeps your focus on the boat, which is moving, rather than the horizon. I believe that this tends to confuse the brain and ears, as the ears can feel the movement, but the brain isn't getting the same message. It is this confusion that casues the nausea.
The good news is that after three years of diving, primarily off boats, it has got better.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby taylerr » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:17 am

I always got sick on one particular boat in Wellington but I think that was more to do with the petrol fumes than "sea" sickness. I've been on a couple of liveaboards with no adverse effects. I also think for me it was the fact that I had to set my gear up in some decent swells and not being able to keep my eye on the horizon.

I've tried ginger (didn't work and burns coming back up - don't go there), a homeopathic spray that you sprayed under your tounge (was probably the best out of everything I tried but still hit and miss) and sea legs (by far the worst - the only time I have been physically sick under water).

Now I'm very reluctant to do boat dives in Wellington but I'm happy to do liveaboards.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby DiveDiva » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:50 am

I suffer from seasickness, though quite randomly it seems. It appears to be related to well....being in a boat sometimes. As a result I sometimes remember to take two ginger tablets a hour before I board. If I forget, I'm sometimes unwell but sometimes not. What definitely turns me queasy is someone else being seasick!! I have only twice been sick - the rest of the time, I just feel terrible. I usually feel better once I'm in the water and on the way back from the trip I can usually sleep.

It is a pain in the **** and I totally sympathise. I'm not sure whether the ginger thing is more placebo for me personally but I would be reluctant to take anything else due to to the drowsiness element although on a livaboard once, I took Quells and felt immediate relief.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby NEMES1S » Tue Feb 10, 2009 9:52 am

taylerr wrote:I always got sick on one particular boat in Wellington but I think that was more to do with the petrol fumes than "sea" sickness. I've been on a couple of liveaboards with no adverse effects. I also think for me it was the fact that I had to set my gear up in some decent swells and not being able to keep my eye on the horizon.

I've tried ginger (didn't work and burns coming back up - don't go there), a homeopathic spray that you sprayed under your tounge (was probably the best out of everything I tried but still hit and miss) and sea legs (by far the worst - the only time I have been physically sick under water).

Now I'm very reluctant to do boat dives in Wellington but I'm happy to do liveaboards.

Yeah the fumes on that boat were terrible,the fumes are almost piped right into the sitting area...I always wondered if it was the shape of the boat and how the wind wrapped it in motion..??

Two interesting things for me with Sea sickness:

1) I remember a very very rough Ferry crossing and I started to feel ill...but hungry at the same time...like really hungry,so went to the Galley and at this time it actually served food worth eating,so I grabbed 4 slices of buttered bread and drowned it in spaghetti and wolfed the lot...after that I was right as rain..I realised then that I had had nothing all day..for me its better not to travel rough seas with an empty stomach.

2) Now this is the really interesting one,my Father was a Chief Engineer on a British Naval ship and spent months at sea,I cant remember how many times he has circled the Globe.
Anyway I used this as a mental weapon against seasickness,telling myself that its in the DNA,my Dad was a legend at sea so I will be fine.
Anyway,last year over a few beers with my Dad I brought up how much of a debt that was I owed him...to have such strong sea-legs.
He literally spat his beer out "Bloody hell you must be f@#kin' joking!!" he blurted.... "I must have been the worst Sailor on the seas,Bloody hell I could be sick an entire trip....it was bloody miserable,so you sure as hell didnt inherit that from me!!" :D :D (Classic)
It was then that I realised that seasickness for me was mostly in the mind...I had deceived it and there was no going back.

I have spent 3 days once rocking around in Cook Strait,two of the days were absolutely incredible seas and howling gales combined with driving rain.
The only motive power the boat had over the sails were oars and and there was no way we were putting them into the water as they would never be seen again.
The rain and spray was so strong it was hard to have your eyes open.(the boat was like a large lifeboat with a mast,no cabin or any form of protection.)
After a while Toma and two others were getting really sick,the rest of the crew started as well and got progressively worse as the seas were relentless.
The entire crew 10 out of 11 was down with seasickness,I was the only one that was fine... and three of them were totally incapacitated and getting rapidly worse,I was the only one who could steer the rudder as ther rest were either violently retching over the sides or now dormant and unmoving as the cold was slowly taking them away.
Things got to the absolute disaster level so I popped a flare and stopped the exercise and it took 2 hours for the Navy ship to come and tow us to shore while rescuing Toma and two others who were in the early stages of Hypothermia...(Toma was completely unresponsive to any stimulus by the time they got there.)
They fed us hot Raro....it felt like heaven!!

Once we hit the shoreline and had a goodnights sleep they towed us back out there the next day....it was the coldest weather recorded in 60 years they nicknamed us "The chosen frozen" ...
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby taylerr » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:44 am

I'm out of Wellington that day so can't make that boat trip.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Xman » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:41 pm

Different context, but may be helpful. A good friend of mine suffered like you do. Could not take the Devonport ferry (Auckland harbour crossing) on a flat calm day without feeling overwhelmingly unwell.
He found a combination of Sea-Legs, and an electrical shock bracelet did the trick for him. Strange, I know, but it definately worked for him.
http://www.aeromedix.com/product-exec/parent_id/22/category_id/29/product_id/1198/nm/ReliefBand_Electronic_Band_For_Motion_Sickness_Relief?gclid=COKS9qKs0ZgCFRFMagodJG9E0g
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Andy » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:29 pm

I can't recommend my last novel sea sickness cure, which was to just toughen the f**k up.

A fairly choppy day, and I opted for the Hueveros Racheros at Schnappa Rock - a spicy breakfast burrito, with fried egg on top.

I was doing ok, until Bright Arrow slammed down the back of one wave and one of the other divers slipped of his seat, hit the deck with a crunch and started shouting "my back!". Fearing a snapped spine, the skipper stopped dead and we rolled around for 10 minutes (it seemed about two hours to me) before the spicy burrito made a re-appearance.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby sfish » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:06 pm

A couple of things that might help other than just "grin and bear it" or in Andy's words "just toughen the f**k up.".... :D :D :D

Motion sickness simplistically comes from imbalance within your ears. When the boat starts moving the balance can not be maintained and some people are mot susceptible to it than others.
A pilot friend of mine explained to me that whilst they do pilot training they go through lots of data on motion sickness. He said that the key to avoid motion sickness in any situation is to keep your feet up. I.e. away from the floor or any surface to avoid motion sickness. That way no imbalance is created within your body/ears. This is why laying down does help, if you can find the space.

That said trying to keep your feet not touching anything on a long boat or plane journey might not be the most comfortable thing.

I also very highly recommend "Scopoderm" patches, however please read the label (no joking here) as it's not for everyone. Scopoderm is that little "plaster" you stick behind your ear, a few hours before the trip. It works wonder!!!
The drawback for divers is that if you wear a hood and will be doing many dives on that day, the plaster can come detached (keep your fingers on the patch whilst taking your hood off if you can), if not you will need another one....and sadly Scopoderm patches are expensive and not available in all chemist (check out the web before heading out to your usual chemist).
Also Scopoderm makes you very, very thirsty. And as we all know the dangers of dehydration whilst diving, if you intend to use Scopoderm, it's paramount that you drink even more water. It is not recommended to use Scopoderm over 72 hours. I have done it over a longer period on a really rough trip where I was ademon that nothing (well not sea sickness anyway) would come between me and my diving. I did not feel any further side effects whilst doing this but did not feel 100% the following week, though I can't say for certain what it was.

Another cure I have used a few years back whilst traveling for an extended period were the acue-wrist strap. It was a gift from a fellow traveler who was concerned that motion sickness would ruin my adventures. These did work extremely well whether overland in the air or at sea. That said you do need to keep the notice so you fit them exactly where they need fitting. Although they are not tight around the wrist they are not loose either, so am not sure if it is something you would want to take down diving with you either though.

Hopefully the above will help a bit.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Jason » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:53 am

Sorry for the late repsonse, have been at Jindabyne (1000m elevation) and diving in the Lake - which I must add was my first 'freshwater' dive and it was great!
Went on a boat and didn't get sick, but then again - zilch swell. Viz was 5meters and the sight of trees, fences, ruins and an old Buick was eerie and surreal. Sadly my Buddy and I forgot to take our cameras in with us, but I doubt I will forget what I saw. I won't say much more as this is a NZ Forum, not an OZ one.

I think a few of you who mentioned 'Mind over Matter' are right and I believe this is what is helping me with each Boat trip as I tell myself "I'm getting better at this." It might be a Eyesight problem as although I have great peripheral vision - I am slow upon anything that moves close/far in focus. But in all I think its like Michelle said in that when I drop my gaze down from the horizon, which is usually to put my gear on or watch I don't tread on someone else's gear that is crammed upon the boat, it hits me all of a sudden (I feel it now as I am thinking this). Like Nem, I remember once across the Cook Strait how I was mostly inside with no horizon to stay focused on and I was so sick. I believe I have improved my condition in that I stay clear of dehydrators leading up to a Boat trip (alcohol, coffee) but it looks like it might be a slow progression. The various devices and medications I believe do work to some extent and whenever I can, I take the advice of a DM from the Poor Knights who told me to put my finger in my ear, which again, I think helps. All in all, something to take my mind off the possibility of being focused about being/not being sick as well as physically getting used to it.

My plan is to stay away from 'offshore' boat trips as much as possible with just boating in Bays or Harbours for now. Hopefully I will become better at coping with at least one form of motion sickness. Thankyou everyone for your input - it has helped. :D
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby gingerninja » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:13 pm

sfish wrote:Motion sickness simplistically comes from imbalance within your ears. When the boat starts moving the balance can not be maintained and some people are mot susceptible to it than others.
A pilot friend of mine explained to me that whilst they do pilot training they go through lots of data on motion sickness. He said that the key to avoid motion sickness in any situation is to keep your feet up. I.e. away from the floor or any surface to avoid motion sickness. That way no imbalance is created within your body/ears. This is why laying down does help, if you can find the space.


But your ears still feel the imbalance regardless of where your feet are. You can still get sick if your legs are dangling down. The lying down thing would help because you are lower down in the boat, and there is less movement.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Jason » Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:47 pm

Strange you say that GingerNinja as I found that the preferred place for me is as close to the person steering the boat. I mean, these people I never see get sick and the usual advice is to sit at the back of the boat where there is 'less motion'. But the back I find is usually (Oh boy, i feel nauseous just thinking of all this) a whole lotta fumes and motion just the same, if not crowded for everyone else thinking not to be sick. It is hard to get a place right near the skipper of the boat/ship though. I think Taylerr has it in that it is when my head goes down to put on gear and fins, "BANG", it hits like a rogue wave. I do believe I need to toughen the 'efin' up and this is why I perpetually put myself upon another boat as if I haven't learn't by my first mistake but this toughening is trying my patience considering I've probably been sick 80% of boat trips. Nitrox does help lessen the impact of the sickness and sometimes prevent being sick upon the 2nd dive compared to air (like sucking through a straw in comparison). Electro wrist zappers sound neat, but can they be taken down to 30+metres for a dive?

Does anyone know any tricks to doning gear on without loosing it? I usually just jump in the water quickly to put fins on but sometimes putting even a BCD as well in the water can't be done, like when there is a strong current or its rougher than usual.
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Re: Sea (motion) Sickness

Postby Scuba Sam » Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:06 pm

I do almost all of my diving on boats. A couple of sea-sickness tips I have gleaned other than those above, which might be worth trying -

Small frequent meals so the stomach acid has something to churn on other than itself - up to every hour, and as little as a couple of crackers.

Paihia Bombers - magic sea sickness preventative. Combination antihistamine, caffeine to combat drowsiness, and an anti nausea additive. They seem to be far superior to Sea Legs and other tablet remedies. I have used them on offshore liveaboards in the Coral Sea and to Three Kings. I have buddies who are far more prone to sea sickness than me who use them on every boat trip, but still survived the Coral Sea journey without sickness. I recommend taking them for a day on shore first, and trying them on a familiar dive first before using them on a liveaboard in extreme conditions, and there are also medical questions which the place selling them asks to see if you are a suitable candidate for them. PM me for details on how to get them.

Not sure how that helps you in Oz sorry Vampire, but maybe next time you are over diving at the Knights...

Cheers,

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