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Ginger potion cures motion on ocean

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 4 August 2007 | Views [1457] | Comments [1]

The thing about throwing up amongst 1600 ferry passengers is that its impossible to do it quietly.

Interislander ferries describe the trip from Picton in the south island to Wellington in the north as a, "breathtaking journey."  This is no lie.  Mine was squeezed from my lungs by forces only spacemen should endure.

Two days previously we'd booked on a whale watching trip in Kaikoura (which incidentally means crayfish in Maori)  Spotting a leaping humpback from Fraser island in Australia had whet our appetite for the world's biggest mammals.

Our spirits were high the evening before the trip.  A whale watching boat coming in had spotted 7 whales and a pod of over 100 bottle nosed dolphins.

Over fresh Kaikoura crayfish and a tart, locally produced Sauvignon Blanc we discussed the merits of ginger beer as a sea sickness remedy.  Could it work?

The morning of our excursion arrived and I felt deeply apprehensive.  Poor Maria was enduring my constant waves of consternation before she even boarded a boat.

The sea actually looked very calm but I knew that the swell could wreak havoc.

At 10.00 sharp we checked in and awaited the weather conditions over the tannoy. 

"Today," piped some crusty old seadog, "there is a 1-2 meter swell and a light sea sickness warning."

What did that mean?  What is "light seasickness??"

I have seen, "The perfect storm," and I know for a fact that the captains of these vessels think nothing of weaves the size of a house.

At this point I lost my nerve completely and did like the dolphins.  I bottled.

Maria wore disappointment across her face.  I could have cried.

In Picton, there were predictions of rough weather with 70 knot winds over the next few days. 

My options were to get on the ferry and take it like a man or drive 4.5 hrs back to Christchurch, pay the car rental company an excess of 160 dollars and then book 2 flights to Wellington. (I deplore flying)

On the morning of travel the sea conditions across the Cook Straights were described as, "moderate."  Moderate to whom????  Captain Birdseye?

What the hell does that mean???  How does the scale work?  At what point do they cancel ferries?  (and I know they do cancel them)  My mind fizzed like the ginger beer I was guzzling.

The lady at the ticketing desk said the trip would be ok and that it was predicted to become far rougher, so best to get on now.

Reluctantly I handed over 200 dollars for Maria, the car and myself and went in search of sea sickness remedies.

I ran round the local "New world" supermarket like someone in a trolley dash.  I purchased ginger biscuits, ginger ale, ginger chocolate, ginger tablets and hyoscine hydrobromide. (whatever that is)

At 13.45 we boarded the ferry for our 3 hr trip.

The first hour lulled everyone on board into a false sense of security.  Flanked by misty mountain islands, there had been bigger ripples in my toilet pan that morning.  What an exquisitely calm stretch I thought, my eyes gently closing as I reclined on my airline style chair.

The ship (the largest in the fleet) had at least 10 decks, a cinema, restaurants and room for 200 cars.  It was, by all accounts huge and drifted effortlessly across the waters.

That is.... until we came out of the bay areas.

Sitting at the front of the ship we were watching through massive glass windows as the green mountains ended and pure open ocean began.

Immediately there was a difference.  The ship turned into the swell and the sea spoke with angry words.  "YOU DARE TO SAIL ON MEEEEEEEEEEE"

The long thin skyline in front of us suddenly disappeared from the middle of the window to somewhere above the sun deck.  It then dropped (along with our stomachs) to below deck 4.  The horizon had vanished!!!!! OHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO - this is awful,

The ship sank deeply then rose again and agian whilst everyone sat in unusual silence.

Trapped on some huge freaky fairground ride my body was being subjected to horrific gravitational forces.  Even the rollercoaster-loving Maria went pasty faced. 

Continually I felt like a Sumo wrestler, my face bursting with pressure and then weightless as the ships huge mass was thrust upwards by the bellowing swells.  So this is moderate!!!!

At this point we heard a sound familiar to anyone who has left a nightclub after 2am.  Passengers were beginning to vomit, one by one.  It was the only sound that broke the silence.  I prayed we would be unable to smell the drifting stench. 

This was not the Cook Straights - It was Dire straights.

Over the intercom on all 10 decks came a voice.  I panicked thinking it was an instruction to abandon ship.

"Good afternoon everyone," came a soft Kiwi lady, "I'd like to inform passengers on board, that cream teas are now being served in the main restaurant."

WHAT???  Was this some kind of err "sick" joke?

The swell was unrelenting yet some of the old folk sitting near us had somehow managed to buy scones, cream and jam and began tucking in like it was a picnic.

Maria and I sat motionless.  We chatted continually about the pleasures of dry land as I clenched the headrest of my seat in a backwards embrace.

After an hour and a quarter of turmoil the relatively calm waters off Wellington were in sight.  To my relief, land was now also visible.

We had survived a moderate jouirney!

I felt a real sense of achievement though.  Out of 1600 passengers maybe 10% had thrown their stomach contents across the Cook Straights.

I however, was not one of them.

Ginger had come to the rescue.

 

 

 

Tags: planes trains & automobiles

Comments

1

I'm planning an NZ trip in late October and it was only this morning driving into work that I asked the other half... so what's this ferry crossing like? "Oh, a few hours, beautiful scenery... it just weaves it's way through some curly bit of the coast and up a river. Nothing like the Big Sea crossings" Uh, huh...
As someone who well knows that 'light seasickness' is just as bad as moderate or bloody awful seasickness, I'll heed your warnings and come prepared!

  crustyadventures Aug 6, 2007 9:08 AM

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