Tony and Grant - these two clowns never get seasick

Seasickness: The final word on ginger

I never thought I was the type to get seasick, but after taking up diving and spending a lot more time on boats than I did previously, I discovered that I can be pushed to a particular (unpleasant) limit. This next paragraph or two is going to sound as though I’m enumerating my chundering capabilities, but it provides context. Sorry in advance!

I am quite intolerant of surge, and have been ill on or after one or two particularly surgy dives such as a recent at Shark Alley. I’ve gotten sick once or twice on boat dives in Cape Town but had really bad experiences when I went to Sodwana for the first time.

Tony and Grant - these two clowns never get seasick
Tony and Grant – these two clowns never get seasick

The boat dives in Sodwana are surf launches, which I find scary but manageable. When the boat is moving and wind is in my face I feel perfectly fine. I did struggle with nausea and vomiting while putting on our kit on the boat before the dive, and quite a lot while underwater. The surge in Sodwana is often quite severe, and after a while my brain and body rebel against the back and forth motion – often at the safety stop. Fortunately I’m well practised at vomiting through a regulator – it can be done!

I wasn’t taking any preventative measures for sea- or motion sickness last time we visited Sodwana (in October 2010), but on this last trip (April 2011) I decided to conclude my trial of ginger as an anti-nausea medication. You may recall that I located some ginger capsules at my local pharmacy – two per day is the dosage, and while they smell like fresh gingerbread they seem to have a fairly irritant effect on my throat and stomach. I never took them with food because eating before a bumpy boat ride doesn’t appeal to me, but this might help!

The bad news is that, despite regular ginger dosings, I got sick on every single one of the six dives I did in Sodwana this time round. Only once or twice on the boat, but at every safety stop and on most of the repetitive dives after as little as ten minutes. The feeling of nausea persisted for an hour or two after the last dive, as well, which made me poor company until I’d had a nap! It’s physically draining and also a bit scary, even though I know I won’t drown if I keep my head and don’t panic.

So, ginger, thanks, it was fun, but I have to move on.

Future avenues of research include green apples (really?) and Stugeron – the hard stuff. I’m reluctant to go this route, but Tony and I are going shark cage diving at the end of June and there’s NO WAY I will be adding my own chum to the water instead of watching the whites breaching at Seal Island!

Published by


Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

Leave a Reply