sea sickness issues

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olddirtydoggy
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sea sickness issues

Post by olddirtydoggy »

Hi all,

We've just started paddling on the sea after spending a lot of time on canals, rivers and lakes. In the sea today I suffered really badly with sea sickness. I've had a look at some of the natural preventions such as ginger but there are sea sickness tablets and patches. We were just wondering what experience members here might have had with various remedies. All feedback is welcome. Many thanks.

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In Amber Clad
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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by In Amber Clad »

Having a horizon to look at, especially land, helps. I find I get most disorientated on very calm days where the water's very featureless.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Geoffroid »

I have found Buccastem to be very effective. You don't need to take it in advance of a trip, just let a tablet dissolve between your upper lip and gum if you start to feel seasick.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Tricky Ricky »

A similar thing happened to myself a long time ago. It was just a matter of reorientation so to speak. The next time I went out, no problems. I guess the hard drive needed rebooting.

idp
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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by idp »

I have kayaked for about 40 years and have come across sea sickness in paddling partners twice in that time. Once was paddling into a 2m+ swell in a F4-5 headwind about a mile offshore from cliffs - not much horizon other than lumps of sea. The other time was paddling to Lundy in a glassy calm with an underlying swell - more classic conditions for kayaking sea sickness.

I have never felt sea sick in a sea kayak but do take sea sickness medication when sailing on a 33 ft yacht - the movement is different and affects me more. I don't always take them but if I think conditions are likely to make me unwell or if we a sailing shorthanded and I need to be relied on then I do take them. I take Kwells (hyoscine-hydrobromide) which are available over the counter, apart from a dry mouth I don't experience any side effects - all medication has side effects see https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/hyoscine-hydrobromide/

Looking at the horizon helps, I find feeling apprehensive does not help (but some bits of coastline are scarier than others), other than that learn which conditions affect you most and when appropriate take whatever remedy suits you - this can generally be managed so you can enjoy your sport.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by seawolf856 »

The sea is a constantly moving environment and the water has 'texture' not seen on inland waterways (wind driven waves on lakes are not the same as ocean swell). As you are new to sea kayaking maybe you just need to get adjusted to the continual movement, it can take some getting used to. A very good coach I paddled with when I was starting out pulled me aside within a few minutes of me launching with him for the first time and asked me about my contact with the boat. At that time I was more used to paddling rivers and I was strapped in to my sea boat quite tight with foot pegs hard up against my feet, thigh braces permanently engaged and the seat back adjusted tight. He advised me to loosen the contact points and get used to letting the boat move under me. Initially it was a bit disconcerting but the huge reduction in feedback from the waves was amazing and my ride was immediately more comfortable and not as 'buck-a-roo'.
It might be worth a try before hitting the medication button.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by charleston14 »

Wish I understood the physiology of seasickness my biggest issue is What I’d call “inverse seasickness“: I’ll explain.

I’m really not sure why, but if I think about how my kayak, or a boat I am on, will move before it’s actually happened (reading the sea I suppose) my brain somehow anticipates that motion and I think that helps keep the nausea at bay..just need to see a horizon and what’s coming to be able to do that. I guess it’s about the signals from the motion sensors in your head matching what your eyes can see.

So you may find Deliberately and consciously reading the sea and a horizon to relate it to helpful.


The wierd bit;
When I used to work at sea I found looking at the surface and Conscious anticipation of the motion very helpful whenever too much time looking at a monitor got my head spinning. On longer jobs at sea I’d often find myself weirdly landsick at the end of the job. I’d almost say my brain had adapted somewhat and was struggling with the now overly solid immovable feeling of land: instead of sickness though it always seems to be a headache and a muggy kind of sensation.

On one particular occasion after several hard days Working on a rough sea, with off periods sleeping in the bow of a boat that had a lot of heave, Boat constantly steaming for several days and nights we moored up and I found myself tripping up and semi staggering around gt Yarmouth Harbour at 10am like I was a bit drunk and It took a while to wear off. Several grannies tutted. I was unable to drive home until it wore off.

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Jim
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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Jim »

Congratulations, seasickness in kayaks is pretty rare.

Unfortunately I can't help, I have only ever known one person become sea sick in a kayak, and part of the problem may have been that he had got car sick on the way to the launch point.

I get seasick on yachts, ginger is of limited use but has the advantage that you can eat/drink it without restriction (but beware of your sugar/calorie intake if using cake and fizzy pop). The only pills I use are Stugeron which usually works for me. When nothing else works, vomiting seems to solve it, but does leave one feeling weakened for a while so perhaps not viable in a kayak.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by ARP »

Not so rare it seems! I used to get really queasy on dive boats (always a relief to get out!). Felt mildly rough in the sea kayak In a swell last week. I thought I was just imagining it as I’m still fairly new to kayaking. Joked about it in my blog, but maybe it’s a real thing after all.
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olddirtydoggy
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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by olddirtydoggy »

Thanks very much for the comments so far, direct chatter from paddlers is much more useful than most of the more general info I've found online.
The focusing on the horizon I did try but sadly didn't help. This idea of loosening the kayak and moving with the sea sounds worth a try, this sounds a little bit like riding a horse, moving with it rather than riding stiff. My father in law suggested throwing up and feeling better straight after but like a poster above mentioned, the feeling of weakness is no fun. Interestingly a poster above mentioned that he feels worse on calmer days, one of my partners also said this.
Yesterday was around half a metre of swell.

MJTWA
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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by MJTWA »

I find sucking a Chuppa chup helps if I start feeling queezy

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by nickcrowhurst »

Severe seasickness is an an absolutely appalling sensation. Those who are immune are very lucky. I have suffered on long night passages in sailing yachts, and have lain in the bilges all night, not caring if i lived or died. It can be that serious.
I have felt a few seconds of incipient seasickness in a sea kayak when looking down at a GPS on my spray-deck. I agree with Seawolf about letting the kayak move under me. I have a routine I use every time I go afloat. As soon as I am clear of the launch site and any surf I lift the paddle well clear of the water, and, keeping my torso strictly vertical, my head up and my eyes on the horizon I vigorously rock the kayak from side, building up the oscillation at the natural frequency of the kayak until the edge of the deck is at water level on each side. That is how I deal with rough water, allowing waves to oscillate my hips, but leaving the torso vertical. One way to practice this is to find a spot where some short estuary choppy waves are perhaps 30cm high, and remain stationary with the kayak at 90 degrees to the waves. Don't anticipate the movement of the kayak, but keep the hips "floppy" and relaxed, and allow the kayak to move in sympathy with the waves, but keeping the upper body vertical. When confident, try this with gradually increasing wave size.
This has worked for me as a means of being able to relax in a seaway, minimising head movement, and I believe this helps me avoid seasickness.
Nick.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by andynormancx »

nickcrowhurst wrote:
Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:55 am
Severe seasickness is an an absolutely appalling sensation. Those who are immune are very lucky. I have suffered on long night passages in sailing yachts, and have lain in the bilges all night, not caring if i lived or died. It can be that serious.
Agreed 100%

I've never been seasick in a kayak, but the one time I was seasick on a large boat it was completely debilitating. If you can handed me a gun and I could have mustered the strength to put it to my head I would have killed myself. There is no exaggeration there, I really felt (and thought through) that that is what I'd do.

If that happened when I was offshore in a kayak that would be very serious. Thankfully I've never felt any sign of anything even resembling queasyness when I've been in a kayak.

My please-kill-me-now incident was on the Bark Endeavour, a replica of Cook's ship. It is a flat bottomed vessel, originally designed to be beached to load/unload its cargo of coal.

We were on a day trip on it, out from Falmouth with the wind gusting force 6. As soon as we left the calm of the harbour I knew I was in trouble. The boat had a constant tilted rotating motion around the centre. We were out for a couple of hours and I just about held it together. However as we were about to head back into the harbour the captain said "everyone want to go out again for a bit more ?". And back out we went for another couple of hours.

At that point my world disintegrated and I spent the next 90 minutes curled up round a capstan on the desk, completely unable to function. Weirdly at the end of the 90 minutes it was as if the seasickness just switched off and even though we were still in the same conditions I was fine for the last bit of the trip (I even had some food, though going below to get the food was a bad experience).

While I was busy feeling like I was dying, my friends where having great fun 20 metres up in the rigging !

*shudder* not a good memory.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by SJD »

In my previous life I spent 21 years at sea and have more than my share of sea sickness stories. I am fortunate to not have experienced incapacitating sea sickness that others have mentioned. Many of my old shipmates have tried the little tricks like looking at the horizon, becoming one with the sea, throwing up and getting over it, etc. Never really worked for the chronic sea sick. Inevitably their greatest hope was medication, like the little tricks some meds work some don't. There are numerous products you can try; Dramamine, or other similar medication, there is a wrist band, and a behind the ear patch. If you decide on the product/medication route, some trial and error with different products may be required.

Good luck

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by ike »

Sea sickness in kayaks is a thing and has nothing to do with how many years you’ve been kayaking. I had a bad experience in a kayak with it, which was starting to make things dangerous by the end, so I won’t go out on a sea trip without taking a Kwells, plus a spare one in a ziplock bag in the buoyancy aid’s front pocket. I’ve found a couple of other small things make a difference:

- Try not to look straight down (at your spray deck). I’m fine if looking and around ahead in the normal way, but can feel a twinge in the stomach in most sea conditions if I look down. Even catching a glance at the watch on the front of my buoyancy aid can do it.

- Try to keep hydrated and well fed.

- On longer trips, keep lunch simple / bland. It’s probably not a coincidence that my bad experience also involved a tuna sandwich, eaten while at sea. Just writing about it is making me ill again!

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by ian.miller »

The OP and others may find a review of sea sickness studies in this weeks new scientist magazine useful. The conclusion was that lack of visual reference to compare with the movement being experienced by the body’s balance system led to a signal from the brain which generated the nausea. The problem a lot of people experience if they try to read in a moving car is caused by this. The driver of the car is hopefully looking out of the car and has no problem.
Paddling at sea with a group I would often advise a sufferer to move to the font of the group, keep their eyes fixed on the horizon and also avoid using their own bow as a visual reference. This was often effective. My reasoning was that in rough water the confusing visual signals from the movements of other boats nearby did not tie in with the movements experienced in the sufferers own boat.
The worst situation I ever experienced led to a comatose paddler being towed and supported through heavy seas. Interestingly some thirty minutes after a welcome landing the sufferer was able to get back in the boat and paddle away as if nothing had been wrong so I suspect best response is to get ashore if possible.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by SJD »

You can also research sea sickness/motion sickness and the inner ear for more information.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Beryl »

If a little bit of sea is running are people more likely to get seasick in fog? Movement with no visual reference I’m thinking.

As an aside, there is a post in the archives where someone found he had to concentrate on his compass base to stop himself slowly tipping to one side in fog. Caught between a rock and a hard place comes to mind!
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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Ken_T »

Sea sickness is part of the bodies protection system against poisoning, if your brain can't make sense of the balance information from the ears, visual information from eyes & touch from the rest of the body on land the most likely cause is poison so your brain empties the stomach in case there is still poison there. If you can keep your eyes on the horizon to provide strong information it sometimes helps. I have had a number of people in groups I have run who have suffered seasickness in a kayak even in benign conditions.
Ken

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Spikeedog »

I actually feel slightly nauseous just reading all these posts and thinking about erratic waves and swell. I have suffered a sick feeling when trying to roll in a swimming pool! I now take mild tablets before most trips - peace of mind.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by nickcrowhurst »

I was once dumb enough to see how many continuous rolls I could do in a swimming pool. After about a dozen in half a minute I suddenly felt absolutely awful. I baled out and hung on the side of the pool for a few minutes, until I could crawl to safety. My balance sense had gone. I was taken
to see my G.P, who fondly announced "Ummmmmm, you really screwed up your balance. It should get better." It did, after about six weeks.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Jim »

Nick's story made me think laterally, because sea sicknesses is related to balance, an inner ear infection or something like a perforated ear drum could make you more susceptible.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by P4ddy »

I've been sick on a boat once when I was 8. I went fishing off the needles when I was already feeling sick. I ended up with a face full of it lol. Lesson learned much to the amusement of the others on the boat. Thankfully I don't suffer any I'll effects from a rolling sea.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by andynormancx »

In my debilitating sea sickness incident, I wasn't sick or even thinking I would be sick. It was just a general feeling of awfulness and wanting to die to end it.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Sean_soup »

Jim wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:41 pm
Nick's story made me think laterally, because sea sicknesses is related to balance, an inner ear infection or something like a perforated ear drum could make you more susceptible.
Nausea and vomiting are quite common symptoms associated with vertigo. (Meaning dizziness or a sensation of movement caused by inner ear problems, not a fear of heights.) It's essentially the same thing as sea sickness and absolutely no fun at all.
andynormancx wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:42 pm
It was just a general feeling of awfulness and wanting to die to end it.
There's a quote attributed to Mark Twain about that. Apparently he said sea sickness is where you get so sick that you're afraid you might die, and then you get so sick that you're afraid you might not. ;-)

I've been seasick while paddling before, and I'll generally pop a precautionary pill if I'm heading out and expecting a bumpy ride.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by olddirtydoggy »

Thanks again, great replies here. My main concern is the feeling of weakness that came with feeling sick. Throwing up is all well and good and a degree of discomfort I can cope with. The feeling weak left me with a paddle that might as well have been a weight lifting bar loaded with dumbells. We're supposed to be up in Skye in 2 weeks so I have to find a fix. I will try the tablets, fixating on the horizon, keeping moving and trying to let the boat move rather than my upper body so much. Carbs will also be the food of choice the morning we push off.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by adventureagent »

seawolf856 wrote:
Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:28 pm
A very good coach I paddled with when I was starting out pulled me aside within a few minutes of me launching with him for the first time and asked me about my contact with the boat. At that time I was more used to paddling rivers and I was strapped in to my sea boat quite tight with foot pegs hard up against my feet, thigh braces permanently engaged and the seat back adjusted tight. He advised me to loosen the contact points and get used to letting the boat move under me. Initially it was a bit disconcerting but the huge reduction in feedback from the waves was amazing and my ride was immediately more comfortable and not as 'buck-a-roo'.
It might be worth a try before hitting the medication button.
By golly, I think my experience is similar. Old ww paddler, want to react to every twitch of the boat, instantly. Makes me nervous. I've only been seasick once in many years, slalom kayak, into big chop. Never since. I like your advice "before hitting the medication button".
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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Pedro75 »

Had some coaching recently and the one bit of advice that has transformed how I feel in my boat is to drop my legs away from the thigh braces when I don’t need them. I’m now more relaxed and much more flexible in the boat. Never managed to get into my day hatch in the water before.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by olddirtydoggy »

Pedro75 wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:24 pm
Had some coaching recently and the one bit of advice that has transformed how I feel in my boat is to drop my legs away from the thigh braces when I don’t need them. I’m now more relaxed and much more flexible in the boat. Never managed to get into my day hatch in the water before.
I tried that but got back ache, I wondered if taking my legs out of the braces caused my back to do more of the work.

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Re: sea sickness issues

Post by Chris Bolton »

Yes, people with a whitewater background often like to be tight in the boat, while those who have paddled racing K1 balance in the boat with legs free and let the boat move. That also allows better rotation. If you have tight hamstrings, sitting with knees down increases tension in your lower back. Boats with a higher deck in front of the cockpit, like Rockpool or Tiderace, allow raising alternate knees, K1 style, which may help. I now paddle without a backband, but can raise both knees into the braces to lock into the boat for rolling etc. No back support and rotation both improve my core strength, and I also do Pilates. My aim is to get my lower back stronger so that I can do hamstring stretches without damaging it.

Sorry to stray from the seasickness topic, but it is connected. If you can sit loose in the boat and look at the horizon you're less likely to feel sick.

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