As we headed back north we didn’t take the customary route through the gorgeous channels and straits of Neumayer and Gerlasche. This was unfortunate for a couple reasons. Not only were we not treated to the beauty of that route, but equally important, it meant we went straight out into the open waters. Open waters as in turbulent, swells, rocky, lots of movement. Which meant no time to grow our sea legs, as they are called. I don't think it helped any that the Gould, which is wonderfully seaworthy, had to have some wings added after she was built to correct some problems. She works great, but has a little extra swirl as she steams ahead.
Most of us mostly live in a relatively stationary world. So when we enter an environment that has more give or movement, our brain gets a little confused. We register movement in different ways. Remember, your brain is the control center and sorts out the messages coming in and directs what needs to happen. Your brain gets messages from what you are seeing. It gets messages from these sensors called propriocepters that are deep in your muscles and tendons that are responding to various types of stimuli. And, most importantly in this case, it’s getting signals from your inner ear. Your inner ear senses motion, gravity, speeding up and sends the message to your body. Did you know that people who don’t have a functional inner ear don’t get motion sickness? Well, this has lead most people who study and try to explain this to believe that when we get on a rocking boat, or a roller coaster, or for some a car or airplane, our brain is getting mixed signals and starts sounding the alarms. Maybe you’ve felt queasy in the movie theater sitting up close and there is a lot of movement. Same thing. Conflicting signals.
About 75% of the seafarers acclimate – grow sea legs. The other 25%, well…hope the ride is short. Given that we went straight out to sea, even the heartiest are finding it hard to feel to good. There are many ways to prevent or alleviate the symptoms. While you can psyche yourself into making seasickness worse, there are physical reasons and thankfully medications to take. Believe it not, antihistamines are an option. I’ve learned a lot about acclimating to those conflicting messages. So think about all this while I lay low and enjoy the ride. I’ll be back when the internet is more robust and my footing more sound. I still have a few more journals to share on icefish, some impressive scientists, and, of course, Fish Spy footage.
Have some fun and stare at this picture for a while and see what signals your brain receives...