Saturday, February 6, 2010

From Dover to Calais

Every now and then I make plans to join a cruise, but nothing comes out of these plans as I am afraid of seasickness, 'mal de mer', as the French call it. This kind of fear prevents many people from taking a cruise vacation; it's no secret that seasickness can turn a pleasant trip into a miserable, embarrassing experience.

I 've been on boats and ferries for short trips, never on a big cruise ship. I'm told a big ship has huge stabilisers and so less motion. The larger the ship the less it will rock, and if you position yourself in a midcabin, that is, in the center ,where the least motion is felt, and prior to the voyage you take some precautions , then the chances of not getting seasick are very good.

I'll never ever forget the ferry voyage across the british channel or as the french call it La Manche ( the sleeve), from Dover port in south-east England to Calais port on the northern coast of France. The channel is " an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates England from northern France and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic" (Wikipedia) . The most cheap and convenient way to cross the channel was by ferry, departures occurring every thirty (30) minutes.

On the day of the voyage the sea was rough, but visibility was good and the service to Calais was running normally. On the ferry, people around me were talking, laughing, eating, having fun , and only I had terrible nausea, and loss of color in my face. Even the color of my eyes, normally green, was fade and lifeless. An english lady wanted to help and gave me something to smell, but that made things worse and I began to vomit and feel cold. At this point, I was willing to accept medical intervention. I was administered an injection which brought about quick relief.

The trip lasted for about an hour, but for me it seemed like eternity.
Looking back, I think that a bottle of soda water would have done a good job from the start in helping me get rid of the nauseous feelings, but for some unknown reason I forgot to ask for one.

They say the cause of seasickness lies in some disturbance in
the inner ear. There are lots of theories as to what could prevent it, but I knew almost nothing about that at the time. Anyway, the most mentioned tips to deal with seasickness are: accupressure wrist bands, ginger capsules, scopolamine patches behind the ear, taking deep breaths, being on the deck in the fresh air facing forwards , staring in the distance and not focusing on the moving ship etc...

By the way, WHY did the wave rush up on to the beach? IT was feeling seasick.


  1. I have also thought about how nice a cruise might be, but I have never planned one short of how fast I would have bailed off the Titanic.

    I grew up next to a large glacier lake. In all those years I boarded three water craft, a row boat, a speed boat, and a pontoon. All three sank minutes after I became a passenger.

  2. Although I admit to loving to spin around on carnival rides and rough sea trips without any issues, my husband and son are horribly seasick. I give them ginger tablets and it works as good as the doctor's medicine without any sleepiness. I took my husband and son on a very large ship and they had no troubles, so it's possible you'll be just fine. Good luck!

  3. I am sensitive to motion as well, including cars although I feel OK if sitting in the front seat. As for boats.... I once sailed in a thirty foot racing yacht and never once felt seasick possibly because I was more terrified of falling off the boat and drowning! Same ferry run as the one you mentioned, and yes! I felt seasick as well but was not as bad as you. So I go out on deck and get blown to pieces by the wind, which seems to keep my tum under control. If you do manage a cruise, then I hope you enjoy it. I am sure that seasickness would not be an issue.

  4. I didn't get seasick on that ferry (Dover to Calais) or on the one cruise I was on - but on a smaller ferry where I was standing outside watching the water behind the boat - ooh it's making me nauseous to remember! That was off the coast of North Carolina. I think I would have been fine if I'd been facing forward...

  5. I would like to try a cruise someday, but it is kind of scary. We went on a ship in Florida it was a Casino ship, not near as big as the cruises, and I did feel sick. Actually I am not sure if it was the motion or the taco salad I ate. lol. There was a small storm while we were out on the ocean. And it was rocking some. But I am thinking maybe on a big one it would not be as bad.
    I alway enjoy your post, always so imformative.

    until next time... nel

  6. A wonderful cruise with Hubby is on my 'bucket' list! It's something I've always dreamed of doing.

    You have the best Saturday just piled full of blessings!!!

  7. My mother has issues with motion sickness, but she has taken many cruises. She gets the bracelets that put pressure on the wrists and never has any trouble. She was very nervous before her first cruise.


  8. We have similar ferries that go between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, and the journey is about two hours. Fortunately, I have never been seasick.

    I did take the hovercraft between Dover and Boulogne, though, and it scared the tar out of me. It was a very strange experience.

  9. Oh, I do so get seasick. I've wanted to take a cruise but never have just because of that reason. Thanks for all the great tips and wonderful story, DUTA.

  10. I'm sorry you get seasick. Perhaps a "virtual" cruise???

  11. Yikes, I remember once while taking a 24 hour cruise to Nova Scotia that it occured after a big hurricane had passed by and I took plenty of Dramamine before hand. On the way back I had such a headache and nausea. Never again! My husband was in the Navy and spent many months on a ship and he never wants to go on a cruise either!

  12. I've been only once seasick, when I was 5 years old an traveling on a big ocean liner in a storm in the Gulf of Biscay(from Indonesia to Holland) -so also on the French coast -several hundreds of people were sick, and the restaurant on the ship was virtually empty.

  13. Aha! Nice little anecdote sprinkled with information, experience and humour.

    I liked the way you ended the post with a funny piece!

    Joy always,

  14. I'm with you...and plan to never go on a cruise, as I am sure I would spend the entire trip with my head hanging over the rails..Been there, done that, had to throw the T shirt away!

  15. @eloh

    Wow! I don't think for a second that the boats sank because of you as a passenger. Simple coincidence. But your comment is funny and I thank you for that.


    Thank you. It's encouraging that the ginger capsules work, and that your son and husband had no problems on a big ship.


    Yes, they say staying on the deck in fresh air helps a lot. I'm OK in cars and trains, but on airplane landing I get pain in both ears.

    The Bug,

    Lucky you not being seasick on the Dover-Calais ferry. Facing forwards is indeed very much recommended in preventing of seasickness.


    Stormy weather and eating are a sure recipe for seasickness. On a big ship, things are probably much better than on small ones.

  16. Nezzy,

    Terrific news! Good Luck with the upcoming cruise! I wish you no seasickness, only fun and joy.
    Have a blessed Day too!

    Sue(Someone's Mom),

    Fortunately, there's a wide range of helpful, preventive measures, one of them being the wrist band or bracelet. I'm glad to hear it worked for your mother and she didn't have any trouble on her cruises.


    Good for you that you didn't get seasick on your local ferries. As for Dover, if the weather is not favorable, and it often isn't, then may God help!

    Ronda Laveen,

    Sorry to hear you too get seasick. It's very frustrating not to be able to enjoy a sea trip once in a while. Thanks for your kind concluding words of your comment.

    Jannie B.

    Well, I've taken some virtual tours , but I want a real one. Thanks for the idea, though.

  17. Cheryl,

    I could well imagine what you went through, and yet never say never. You and your husband might decide one day that you wish to go back to experience a cruise, prior to that, taking of course all the precautions.

    jeannette stgermain,

    You've got a good memory, and it must have been a very traumatic situation, if you remember it, being only 5 years of age at that time.

    Susan Deborah,

    Thank you for your warm words. I'm glad you liked my "little anecdote." Joy and Happiness to you!


    I like your image: " head hanging over the rails". Frustrating, isn't it?
    But never say never. You might decide one day to try again.

  18. This reminded me of the class trip we took in March 2000 to London, we took the same Ferry, I was feeling ill for the full 70 minutes!

    A boy in my class, a very good friend, told me to lay my head into his lap 'facing' the ships front so to speak. I felt a tiny bit better & even dozed.

    But is was worth it, I had the best week in my live! ;)

    You have been tagged in my Blog... -> Click me for Award!

  19. Wow only an hour.. imagining being on a longer trip?? I can see your point.. (hugs).

    BTW I love that joke at the end.. cute way to end this post.

    Enjoy this week Duta.

  20. Cute riddle Duta! I too suffer with motion sickness - via bus, air, or water.
    Worst feeling in the world. Dramamine has become my "friend" when I travel!

  21. Very funny! Sea sick waves!
    Ginger works very well for motion sickness and queasiness in general. I have used it many times, usually for car sickness.

  22. Pink Panthress,

    So, you know from personal experience what I went through. Facing the ship's front is supposed to help indeed. Thanks for the award. I feel honored.

    Ms. Hen,

    That's why I'm so reluctant to go on a week's cruise although people tell me that if I take one or all the precautions available, I won't get seasick.


    Dramamine is indeed the most recommended medication. But I would prefer the natural ways. Anyway, I don't have motionsickness on other means of transport, Thank God. I do however, have pain in my ears during airplane landing which takes about 20 minutes.


    So I'm told. I'm for natural medicine and ginger falls into this category, so I'm glad it works.

  23. I remember years ago going on a ferry and being so seasick it ruined the trip.

    I did a shorter ferry trip last year and sat on the top deck in the fresh air, drank plenty of water and was fine.

    I guess it just depends on a number of things.

    You should try some of the remedies you have listed should take another trip. You never know, they might work?!

    Good luck for you next sail :)


  24. Ooh boy, can I ever relate to you Duta! I think you might be ok on a cruise - I was, and I get motion sickness often! On small boats, for me, it's game over especially if I can smell the fuel. Ick!!

  25. Speaking from someone who has been on a couple of cruises, I would say go for it! When you're onboard one of those big ships, you never feel like you're trying to take a nap in a cheap waterbed. Plus, you'll get to meet some very nice people. I say, cruise away! :)

  26. Duta,I agree with the gentleman in the above comment,GO FOR IT.
    Cruises are wonderful,the bracelet worked for me also and if the nausea does strike they have a doctor on board that will give you something to relieve the symptoms.I enjoyed reading your post and all the comments left on it.

  27. pennycones,

    'ruin' - that's the word. Seasickness could ruin the whole trip. It seems to me, though, that the remedies recommended. one or all of them may work and ensure a pleasant voyage.

    Pinecone Camp,

    From the comments, I understand that most people have some sort of seasickness, so I am not alone in this. There's hope, however, that the means to prevent it do work, and people like me could enjoy a cruise.

    Skip Simpson,

    Hi Skip! Thanks for the visit and for your encouragement to go on a cruise. It looks as if you really know what it's all about.


    Thanks for your warm comment. I'm gkad to hear from you that cruises are wonderful and that the bracelet does work.

  28. Oh Duta, I'm sorry, but this made me laugh so much. Please, let me explain! I think I've told you that I was in a fairly serious car accident years ago, and whereas I didn't break the skin on my body anywhere, I pulverized (not merely broken)...and I mention that because if you ask me about it, truly, all I can vaguely call up is, "Yes, well, it hurt and all, but I was very lucky, and I'm lucky now..." and it is this offhand sort of thing, like it happened to another person. Sure, it sucked, but it's long over.

    Ask me about the time I got seasick, and I'll probably go dead white to the roots of my hair! It's just the worst feeling, and it sticks in the memory so. It's one of those instances where it isn't just a case of "Yes, yes, didn't feel well." it tends to stand out as being a time where you weren't merely sick to the stomach, everything about you felt off, and wrong. Seasickness is basically synonymous with dysphoria!

    So that's why I'm laughing, because I don't blame you about the cruise, not one bit. My husband would like to take a cruise, and I know that there are all sorts of things to be done -- patches behind the ear, etc. etc. But then I remember, "Oh yeah, for a bit there I honestly thought I was just broken, and I'd never feel particularly well again. No thanks."

    For an inner ear disturbance? Oh my, it takes apart ones equilibrium so.

    You and I would not good sailors make :-)

  29. pulverized bones....which healed, so no big deal, but I somehow skipped the words "bones"...and heaven knows what people would think I crushed. Baby seals, maybe ;-)

  30. Hi Duta
    I've actually never been on a cruise but I'm sure that my hubby and I will someday soon!
    I have had many friends that have taken cruises and love it!
    I think you should take that cruise!

    Enjoyed this post, as I enjoy all of them!


  31. Duta
    When we went on a cruise of the Inside Passage (Alaska) the first day with the rough water I felt sick but when up as high as I could and with fresh air it soon went away. The bigger the boat the better.
    I have always have been inclined to get motion sickness. When I was small I had to ride in the front seat of the car so I could look forward and not sideways. I went deep sea fishing the first time after a hurriance and the water was so rough that the boat The Bugs Bunny Too" would go down and all you could see was the huge waves on either side. I was the first one to get sick and the I too suffered the way you described but I did not get any relief until we reached shore and as I crawled off the boat for hours afterwards the ground on which I walked moved. I am not kidding. From then on I was prepared and never got that sick again. That is the only time I would have thanked someone to put me out of my misery. The moral of this story is if I could go on two cruise after that near death experience so can you. Peace

  32. Land of Shimp,

    Anything that makes you laugh is fine with me, makes me happy. Laughter as we all know greatly contributes to Health. Once we had a bad experience such as seasickness, it's not easy to try again. Anyway, I do agree with your probably true concluding sentence: " You and I would not good sailors make".


    You would have written a lovely poem on this seasickness, wouldn't you dear Margie? Well, whenever you and your hubby will decide to go on a cruise, I wish you a very enjoyable one.

    Lady Di Tn,

    Thanks for your detailed and interesting comment. Special thanks for the moral of your story. Peace and Happiness!

  33. thank you very much. intersting blog. keep the good work! have a nice day!

  34. Ya know I have been on 3 cruises & really you aren't missing never get enough time to explore the land where you dock & really the cabins are SOOOOO small -the ones I can afford :) I would say...skip the cruise :) But still enjoy some soda water :)

  35. tu26dor,

    Hi Tudor, Welcome to my little blog! Bun Venit!
    Thanks for your kind words.


    I liked your comment, very straightforward. As for soda water, I'm a big fan of soda water and/or mineral sparkling water.

  36. thank you for dropping by my random world. glad to have you in the neighborhood! :)

    once lived in east anglia, england.. and made a long weekend trip to Dover. sky was so clear, we could see Calais. i am still regretting not hopping on that ferry to visit the other side. like you, i have horrible motion sickness. sigh. hubby and i do plan to go back however, and will definitely make a point to cross. though now, we have the idk.. something a bit romantic about taking the ferry... so who knows! ;)

    many blessing,

  37. I've never been very far out into the ocean, just brief little trips but I've always wondered if I would get seasick. I always assumed I would because I don't like heights, but I guess thats not the same thing. But Yes, I too would be frightened to get seasick.

  38. I've also been on brief, little trips only. If one gets sick on a bus or car,one can still get off and look for relief,but in the middle of the sea or ocean...oh, that's frightening.

  39. The are so many pils nowdays!! Anyway, love your writing style and I appreciate your sense of humor. Hugs.

  40. Phivos Nicolaides,

    Thank you Phivos, for your warm words. I appreciate your posts too.

  41. Being seasick can be like a hangover which my father used to say was "you think you're going to die and afraid you won't."

    I have some motion sickness. I've cruised with no real problem but a short trip can seem an eternity.

  42. This is beautiful and intereting post. I have been on boats and ferries too but never on a big cruise ship. It seems to me really beautiful, interesting, exciting and inviting. I don't afraid of seasickness because I don't think I'll ever be able to aford such a journey to myeself. :-)

  43. Well, Duta, I hope you do get to take that cruise one day, minus sea sickness. We did finally go on a cruise and I have to say, those ships are so gigantic you can't even feel them moving. About the only time I did, was at night, lying in bed. I could hear a hum and feel the slightest pressure and sway. The cabins are teeny tiny and if a person is claustrophobic, it might not work. But one is only in their cabin usually to primp for a fine dinner or sleep.

    So,where would you like to go, Ms. Duta?

  44. Sandy,

    Thanks for visiting.
    I've heard that saying of your father's before, and I said to myself that nobody really wants to die, but the feeling of seasickness is indeed awful.


    Welcome to my little blog! Thanks for your nice comment. One never knows, you may win a cruise, just like that.


    One day indeed. I don't know when that day will be, but I do have an idea where that might happen - in the Mediterranean. Thanks for the lovely comment.

  45. Tale of many cities,

    Thank you for stopping by and for telling about your experience with seasickness. Like you, I think we should go back and try overcome this obstacle of seasickness.

  46. My wife and I have undertaken a few cruises now - we began after I'd retired. She has always suffered slightly from seasickness, but a tablet the first day has always seen her through - until last October when we ran into really bad weather on the penultimate day. She was very poorly for about 36 hours. It culminated in us being hit by a freak wave at Unfortunately, it is now the most vivid of our memories from a fortnight of really good weather.

  47. Duta,

    I went to sea only once on a fishing trip off the Oregon Coast of the U.S. It was a seven hour trip and I was sick the entire time. Everyone else was having fun while I hung over the railing being sick. Several times waves actually washed over me as I hung there. It was many years ago and the memory is as clear to me today as it was that fateful day. My husband would love to take me on a cruise, but I cannot ever face that horrible experience again. FYI, my brother spent thirty years in the Navy aboard nuclear aircraft carriers (the biggest ships the Navy has), he says he spent at least the first two weeks of every trip suffering from seasickness. What a guy, to continue his career with such a malady.

    I'm staying on dry land, if I can't fly, drive or walk I won't go!

  48. Dave King,

    Sorry to hear about the last October cruise. I could well imagine what your wife went through on that penultime day.

    C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson,

    Your brother is probably very fond of his navy career if he's willing to suffer of seasickness from time to time.

    I am like you, a 'dry land' person.

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