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  Sea sickness - my causes and control
  Posted by: old_user on Jul-20-11 5:32 PM (EST)

I enjoyed the article, well written and some great advice.
I am a fairly experienced paddler with many 12-14 day expiditions along the exposed New Zealand North Island East Coast, and many many many 1, 2 & 3 day trips.
I have been seasick on quite a few of these trips (always day two)and have traced some of it down to the following.
* Too tight a spray skirt - I have changed to a loose one with suspender straps and this has made a huge difference.
* Eating canned stew - I love the Irish stew and beef casserole and with their meat/vege contents think it makes an excellent meal - but I always seem to be sick after half an hour on the water the next morning. I have found other foods to avoid as well but the canned meat seems to be the worst culprit.
By eliminating the above two items I have almost eliminated my bad second day on the trips.
* The other critical area seems to be paddling around headlands in certain seas. The incoming swell, angle chop with rebound of headlands can upset my tummy something wicked. A friend who is a vet once commented that he thought only horses projectile vomited and as the article says you can only face forwards and clean up afterwards, that gauze pouch on the front of my paddling jacket was the pits to clean so I now have a different jacket. The difference when paddling with friends is that they don't come to your rescue unless you really need it and when being sick they hover and make those "hawking being sick noises" which only serve to make you feel worse until you feel well enough to politely tell them to go away.
On these trips I am the only one who can paddle out of the conditions causing it and so I put up with the sickness and paddle myself out of the conditions causing it... Even the food related ones.
My friends know that even in my worst state I am (and have been) there for then if they are in trouble - in fact I am usually the rescuer and got into trouble myself once and no-one else had a towrope as John never needs rescuing - Yes, a big lesson learnt that trip.
I think that hard core paddlers can keep going and do not need to return to shore, but have found with others that getting to shore is the only option and then often the trip is cancelled and a plan is formulated on how to get back. I have found without exception that everyone seems to be able to paddle back after having a break on land. I explain to them that the only option is for them to paddle back (we know it is not the only option, don't we?) and this gets them emotionally prepared to do so.
Yes, feel for those who are sick - they do not choose to be that way - and even though it can be annoying any trip is only as strong as the weakest person and they govern both speed and duration of any trip.
Enjoy and, keep up the excellent work and website.

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