It’s undisputed that the fishing and scuba diving here in Cozumel is some of the best in the world! For most fishermen, fishing is best on a boat. Sometimes that boat is in rough waters. No matter how strong you think you are or how much passion you have for the sport of fishing, scuba diving, or just being on a boat, rough waters can bring down the strongest of men and women. It’s not your fault you can't focus, and you feel like feeding the fish. It’s your brain’s fault for getting confused by the motion of the ocean. Your feet are telling your brain you are on solid ground, but your brain is sensing the rock and roll of the waves.
As a famous green frog once said, "It’s not easy being green." So what can you do to prevent and treat the symptoms of feeling seasick? Step one, stay calm and don't abandon the ship! Step two is to take the proper measures to prevent that feeling to begin with. Heading out in the morning to go fishing on a boat after a night of too much fun in the club may not be the best idea. Even a mild hangover may cause the strongest to fall. This is not to say that you shouldn't enjoy the nightlife, just a little planning and arranging your schedule should help. Having a light breakfast of breads, pancakes or bagels will lessen the acid in your stomach which in turn will help to keep your stomach calm, unlike the sea. Taking over-the-counter medication such as Marazine, Bonine, Dramamine and some antihistamines such as Benadryl have proven to be effective. They work by interrupting the information transmission from the inner ear (the part of the body related to balance) to the brain. These types of pills are for prevention rather than treatment, so once you start feeling ill chances are it’s too late. For optimum results, it is best to start taking the meds 12 to 24 hours before you head out so that your body has time to stock up and prepare for war. For centuries Chinese medicine has used acupuncture to relieve a variety of illnesses and uncomfortable symptoms. There are some who swear by wearing anti-nausea bands, which are a drug-free option, such as "Sea Bands" and "Acuband". These bands are designed to put pressure in the right places. You can also find the battery-operated bands called “Reliefband” which send electrical pulses instead of pressure that can suppress the feelings of nausea related to seasickness. Another drug that has proven effective is Scopolamine which is delivered by means of wearing a small Band-Aid-like patch behind the ear. Some have said this works the best because it provides continuous medication to the body. If you prefer the drug-free approach get some ginger pills back home before you come and take a couple 2 hours before heading out and a couple more on the boat. They won't make you drowsy, and it’s all-natural.
Avoid going into the cabin or washroom if you're prone to seasickness. Being below deck worsens nausea. So what happens if you did all of that, and it didn't work? Now you are starting to feel the churn, what can you do? First things first, relax. Anxiety and fear of the motion of the boat will intensify the symptoms. Instead, try to position yourself in the middle of the boat. This is the best place to be since that is where the boat is the most stable, and focus your eyes on the horizon which “appears” to be the most stable. You have to trick your brain into thinking that you are more stable than you actually are. Don’t try to focus on something near you that will only make it worse. Another way to trick your brain is to find a place to lie down and close your eyes. If there happens to be a cooler of beverages, nooo don’t grab another beer, grab a Coke. Coke contains the same types of acids and sugars that are found in over-the-counter anti-nausea medication.
Now you feel the swell rising. You become dizzy, queasy, uneasy, and green around the gills. You try to hold it back. Why? Avoiding the inevitable will only prolong the pain. If you feel the urge to surge, ask one of the crew members to point you to a suitable area of the boat where you can lean over the side and feed the fish. For some, it takes a few hours to a few days to get over the feeling of being seasick. Once you've arrived back on solid ground after being out on rough seas don’t be surprised if you still feel like you are on the boat. Just remember that sooner than later all the symptoms will subside.
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Also, be sure to check out our scuba diving and fishing trips here in Cozumel!