Seven seasickness remedies that work and two that are myths...
If the thought of getting seasick is holding you back from booking a whale watching tour with us, fear not! Most of us have experienced seasickness at some point in our lives and we know how unpleasant it can be. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have an incredible day out on the ocean with the humpbacks with a little help and know-how.
Seasickness is a form of motion sickness and is the body’s reaction of the inner ear balance system to the unfamiliar rocking motion of the vessel. When you are on a boat, you see walls and furniture and your brain instinctively knows from experience that they are supposed to be still. However because they are actually moving with the vessel and sea, the inner ear is placed under stress and that’s when nausea sets in.
We spoke to a few of our skippers and crew to see what they had to say about avoiding seasickness. With hundreds of sea hours logged and years of experience under their belts, these salty sea dogs know a thing or two. They’ve put together this handy list of seven remedies that work and two to avoid.
Seasickness remedies that work
1. Avoid alcohol and stay hydrated
One easy way to reduce seasickness is to avoid alcohol before and during your tour. Alcohol affects the inner-ear mechanism that senses motion, so when you’re out on the open ocean, your inner ear is highly stimulated. If you’re trying to avoid getting seasick, stay away from alcohol altogether and keep yourself hydrated with a glass of water instead
2. Avoid greasy or acidic foods
Avoid heavy, greasy, and acidic foods in the hours before you travel. These types of foods – such as coffee, orange juice/grapefruit juice, bacon, sausage, pancakes – are slow to digest, and in the case of coffee, can speed up dehydration. Better choices include bread, cereals, grains, milk, water, apple juice, apples, or bananas. Do not skip eating but do not overeat.
For centuries ginger has been known for its anti-nausea properties. Whether it’s in a ginger tea, a packet of crystalised ginger, or raw for that matter, ginger has been proven to reduce the effects of seasickness and even prevent it altogether. If the taste of ginger doesn’t appeal, you can buy ginger capsules at your local pharmacy.
4. It’s all about where you sit
Find a seat low to the water near the vessel’s centre of gravity. Try and get a seat on the lower deck as the higher up you go, the more you’re going to rock about. Make sure to also face the same way the boat is going as facing the wrong way can affect your vestibules in your inner ear. You want your eyes to relay the same movement cues as the direction of the boat.
5. Inhale that fresh ocean air
If you can get some fresh air, that’s great. Try and get as much fresh air throughout the tour as you can. We are lucky enough that all of our vessels have plenty of open decks, so while you’re out there make sure to keep your eyes on the horizon. If you’re lucky enough, you might even spot the first whale of the tour!
6. Keep it cool
You may feel the urge to rug up like you’re going to Antarctica while getting ready to go whale watching, but be careful not to overheat while out on the boat as it may bring on effects of seasickness. Wear layers of clothing so you can take a layer off if you need to.
The most tried and true method of avoiding seasickness is motion sickness medication. When taken as directed this remedy is successful for the vast majority of people. If you are considering medication we recommend consulting your pharmacist first as these medications aren’t suitable for everyone. Our preferred product is Travacalm H.O. which comes in a chewable pill form. This product is sold on onboard, but we suggest buying your own before your tour as they should be taken an hour before departure for best effect.
Seasickness myths to avoid
1. Sea bands
You may have seen people wearing them before, an elastic wristband with a plastic stud on each wrist. They’re meant to work by applying pressure on an acupressure point to each wrist. They’re safe to use and relatively cheap. However, we have tried and tested them and we’ve busted the myth. Sorry to say, but they just don’t work. More than anything they’re just a placebo effect.
2. Old wive’s tales
Several myths about curing seasickness have evolved. These include gently slapping the face of the Captain with a flounder three times, drinking a glass of iced water whilst standing on one leg and then singing Waltzing Matilda and lastly, a long-time favourite, having a wee tot of Navy Rum before bed the night before setting sail. Look in all honesty, we haven’t put these to the test, but they seem more concerned with providing entertainment for fellow passengers, rather than alleviating the person’s suffering. Stick to the above and you’ll have a great day.
So there it is ladies and gentlemen… SEVEN remedies that can prevent seasickness, and TWO that don’t. If you are concerned about the sea conditions, feel free to give our friendly reservation team a call on (07) 5539 9299. Last but not least, whatever the sea conditions are on the day, our skippers and crew are marine experts and there to help you, you are in good hands.
Hope to see you onboard a whale watching tour with Sea World Cruises soon!