"Travel tips: How to avoid carsickness, seasickness and airsickness... Be careful what you eat. And stay home."

I love that "Travel Tips" quote by Charles M. Shulz, the american cartoonist best known for his comic strip Peanuts featuring Charlie Brown. However, staying home wasn't an option that I've ever considered!

Waves off the bow of the R/V Sikuliaq.
Waves off the bow of the R/V Sikuliaq. September 6, 2017. Photo by Lisa Seff

Fortunately I don't usually get sea sick, although my dad loved to tell a story of when I was about seven years old and he took me fishing south of Nantucket. The way he told the story, he was catching Striped Bass off the stern, doormat flounder off the starboard side and tuna off the port side...and I became horribly sea sick and we had to go home. He always told this story with a smile on his face, and while I'm guessing in the actual moment he didn't find it humorous (it was a l-o-n-g boat ride to the south side of Nantucket!), as the species and number of fish grew into an even better story, he got quite a good chuckle out of telling it!

The reason I'm bringing this up is, yes you guessed it, I turned a little green the other night (Wednesday September 6th) when the barometer sank and the seas grew! I had felt pretty well for most of the day, despite the sensation of being a pinball in some kind of wild oceangoing arcade game!

No one allowed on deck! Looking through the porthole in the main lab on the R/V Sikuliaq! September 6, 2017.  Photo by Lisa Seff.
No one allowed on deck! Looking through the porthole in the main lab on the R/V Sikuliaq! September 6, 2017. Photo by Lisa Seff.

If you'd like to see the live action of the seas through the porthole, just click on the link below!

Steve and I even fit in a game of Makin' Bacon since the Tucker Trawl, Bongo net trawls and all main deck activities were temporarily suspended due to the rough sea conditions.

What do scientists do when the nets can't go in the water and the decks are off limits due to rough seas? Dr. Steve Okkonen and Lisa Seff opted for a quick game of Makin'Bacon in the main lab on the R/V Sikuliaq!  September 6, 2017.
What do scientists do when the nets can't go in the water and the decks are off limits due to rough seas? Dr. Steve Okkonen and Lisa Seff opted for a quick game of Makin'Bacon in the main lab on the R/V Sikuliaq! September 6, 2017.

Lisa's winning roll in Makin'Bacon! September 6, 2017. Photo by Lisa Seff.
Lisa's winning roll in Makin'Bacon! September 6, 2017. Photo by Lisa Seff.

The agony of defeat! Dr. Okkonen's last chance roll ends without the necessary letter "n"! September 6, 2017.
The agony of defeat! Dr. Okkonen's last chance roll in the Makin'Bacon game ends without the necessary letter "n"! September 6, 2017.

So, everything was going well, until...a group of us decided to go watch a surfing movie in the lounge before bed.

The R/V Sikuliaq "lounge" on calmer days during a meeting.  August 2017.  Photo by Lisa Seff.
The R/V Sikuliaq "lounge" on calmer days during a meeting. August 2017. Photo by Lisa Seff.

I thought that it would also be a good time to go online and answer some questions in my PolarTREC journals. I had been in the lounge area before...and the motion did seem a little problematic even on a calm day, so I packed up all of my belongings in the lab for the night, just in case. Dr. Okkonen looked up from his work and said, "done for the night?" And I replied, "maybe...I figure that between the ship heaving, going into the lounge, watching a video + reading e-mails, the odds of my coming back vs. getting sea sick are about 50%-50%!"

Everything went well for the first half-hour. We even had popcorn! And then suddenly...I just had to get out of the room! I exited immediately into the galley, where Annie, one of the awesome stewards on ship pointed me toward the ginger ale and crackers!

Ginger ale and crackers!  Perfect snack for rolling seas! September 6, 2017.  Photo by Lisa Seff.
Ginger ale and crackers! Perfect snack for rolling seas! September 6, 2017. Photo by Lisa Seff.

What a crummy feeling it was to suddenly feel my body spiral into an oddly heavy, warm, slightly dizzy, mouth watering, nauseas experience! I fought the pitching and rolling of the sea back to my cabin while carrying my crackers and ginger ale like prized possessions! As I entered my room I was able to grab my immersion suit out of my locker, while still balancing my ginger ale and crackers, just before the next big wave rolled the ship toward the side that my bunk was on. I'm still not quite sure how I was able to make it over the edge of the bunk and wedge the immersion suit next to the metal railing, but phew! I had made it!

No lee cloths? No problem! Lee cloths are often found on boats bunks.  Their a cloth attached underneath the mattress that you can tie up in bad weather to keep you from rolling out of bed.  There was no lee cloth so I used the immersion suit and bag instead.  September 6, 2017.  Photo by Lisa Seff.
No lee cloths? No problem! Lee cloths are often found on boat bunks. They're usually a cloth attached underneath the mattress that you can tie up in bad weather to keep you from rolling out of bed. There was no lee cloth so I used the immersion suit and bag instead. September 6, 2017. Photo by Lisa Seff.

Thankfully I didn't actually get physically sick (I've often heard that if it gets to that point, it's hard to recover until you get on land!) and I only felt really horrible for about 15 minutes. I did grab the acupressure wrist bands that had been sitting unopened in my desk drawer and chewed a little cinnamon gum after I finished my crackers. Not sure what worked but very thankful that something did!

So what's a sea-sick teacher at sea to do? Since my phone was in reach, and I obviously wasn't going to sleep, I decided to make an audio message to my students back in Springs! By the end of the message I started to feel much better and within an hour was back to feeling great again. If you'd like to listen to the audio just click on this link: Audio:PolarTREC teacher Lisa Seff "live" from her bunk.

Through the Porthole:Arctic Artwork!

Arctic organism artwork from Springs School Student Claire D.  Photo by Lisa Seff.  August 2017.
Arctic organism artwork from Springs School Student Claire D. Photo by Lisa Seff. August 2017.
Arctic organism artwork from Springs School Mrs. Davidson!  Photo by Lisa Seff.  August 2017.
Arctic organism artwork from Springs School Mrs. Davidson! Photo by Lisa Seff. August 2017.

Author
Date
Location
Beaufort Sea
Weather Summary
Stormy, windy and rolling seas!
Temperature
36.5 degrees Fahrenheit
Wind Speed
40+ knots
Wind Chill
22 degrees Fahrenheit
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Comments

Lisa Seff

Hi Jaye and yes! there are handles and posts all over the place.  I think there are 3 in the shower area!  Definitely helpful when the seas are rough!  (:
Lisa

From: PolarTREC
To:
Sent: 9/10/2017 4:57 PM
Subject: Re: Jaye D. commented on 9 September 2017 It's Not Easy Being Green...Like The Color Of The Leaves...

(((

Mike Minett (not verified)

Hi Mrs. Seff, About how high was the porthole that you filmed the waves going by? Any estimate by the crew how big the waves were? I can tell you from lots of experience, that if you get seasick, you absolutely can recover while still at sea!

thank you
Mike Minett

Peter R. (not verified)

Has any accidents happened on the ship so far.Thank you for your time. :)

Lisa Seff

Hi Captain Mike! The porthole was about 8 feet above sea level, and the waves were from 8-12 I believe.  And....my own experience on Jalpari that one time I was seasick was......it didn't stop until we got to Bermuda!(:
lol
(Captain Mike is a great friend and was the captain onboard the sailboats I did deliveries on, traveling back and forth from the Caribbean-Sag Harbor NY or Sag Harbor NY-Caribbean, always via a pit stop in Bermuda)
lots of love Mike and thanks for joining us!-Lisa

From: PolarTREC
To:
Sent: 9/14/2017 5:55 AM
Subject: Re: Mike Minett commented on 9 September 2017 It's Not Easy Being Green...Like The Color Of The Leaves...

(

Lisa Seff

Hi Peter!Fortunately no accidents!  I think everyone on board knows we have to be super careful in a ship thats constantly moving.  We use a lot of heavy equipment but we're all very safety conscious.
good question!
safe seas, 
Lisa

From: PolarTREC
To:
Sent: 9/14/2017 6:51 AM
Subject: Re: Peter R. commented on 9 September 2017 It's Not Easy Being Green...Like The Color Of The Leaves...

(((

Jaye D. (not verified)

Are there handles or some type of support on the inside of the ship to hold on to when the ship starts to tilt?