Stories of Seasickness

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whitecap
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Stories of Seasickness

Postby whitecap » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:55 am

When i was around 10 years old and had just started working on my fathers commercial fishing tug I learned quickly just how tough a job fishing could be especially when seasick. I got seasick bad. So bad my dad would have to stop the truck on the way home to let me out, so I could finish throwing up in the ditch. Then he’d say “I bet you feel better now” and laugh! It struck me as odd, seeing as my older brother, father or other crewmen never got sick. They gave me encouragement by saying things like "Just hang in there." and "you'll get over it". Hard words to take as a 10 year old just trying to keep from shitting his own pants, in front of men he respected I'll tell you.

Luckily I did get over it many miserable months later, the whole time wishing I could just land a normal job like delivering newspapers or something. Since those early days and my own bout with that wretched affliction, I have seen countless men ,women, children and even pets get seasick.

For some reason nowadays I find it highly amusing ! And often hilarious. As when our 70 year old neighbor came along for a "ride" and ended up losing his false teeth in twenty fathoms of water, from hurling so hard over the side . Or when a childhood friend and schoolmate came out ,got seasick ,started puking, then, shitting and couldn't stop. He burnt through the only roll a toilet paper aboard, then any scraps of newspaper he could find. Then he turned to the old oily hand rags we had on ship. Finally his own skivvies were the last toilet paper alternative he could find and use. Those he promptly threw overboard, not even bothering to take home and launder.

The affliction of seasickness has been blamed for causing as many unplanned pregnancies as broken condoms. Women get seasick, then unknowingly, barf their birth control pills out. Over the centuries seasickness has caused loss of countless untold man work hours. As in many cases, seasickness, renders the afflicted to almost a helpless state, until they can be removed from the environment causing the illness. And as quick as the sickness appeared , it disappears. Unfortunately for those that get sick on a fish tug, the slow moving vessels only prolong the agony.

I have seen a small percentage of people who never get over seasickness. Some damn good crewmen, until the weather turns bad. Years ago my father hired a laid off shipyard worker on as a crewman. A strong and extremely hard working individual. That is, til small beads of sweat would start to form on his forehead. Then we knew it was possibly only a few minutes before we would be short one man the rest of the day. For many years now, he has had a good job in construction.

Some people seemingly have their sea legs in open boats but not in an enclosed fishing tug. An old fellow who fished nets out of a rowboat for years rode along with us one day in the early 1990‘s.He arrived on the dock with his small dog in tow, early that morning. We went out to lift our chub nets. A few hours into the trip , the weather started to turn foul . A little while later the old fellow got sick and started upchucking, shortly thereafter he fell asleep in a old wooden net box. Then ,to my surprise, his little dog also got sick ,and was gagging and throwing up on the wooden deck. The dog start walking in small circles with a weird sway in his step, almost like a drunken man. We kept working trying to get the nets in and reset. I looked aft about 5 minutes later and that little dog was sound asleep on the old fellows chest. Neither one could be waken till we hit the dock.ha.

Sickness on the water can be set off by many things like, what and how much you ate recently, your ability to handle unusual smells like say diesel fuel mixed with rotten fish guts and not get queasy or drinking a few to many the night before. Like the time around 10 years ago .Two of my fathers hunting buddies picked him up and took him out to have a “few”. The next morning before we got to the buoy, the vomit was flying. He was still sick when we got back to the dock so I drove the truck back to the shed. A mile down the road he signaled me to pull over. When he came out of the weeds wiping hurl from his chin I said “ I bet you feel better now” and just laughed and laughed.
Whitecap