The Antarctica Files: Whales make me sick.

A Midwesterner on the Drake Passage, some of the most notoriously rough waters on the planet. Yeah. I was pretty much planning on barfing all the way there and all the way back, only daring to hope that I would have a few days of non-barfing while we were at Antarctica. So I slapped on a patch and downed a few different kinds of anti-nausea meds, and I actually did okay for most of the trip! For real guys, I had the video camera ready to blog about my barfing, but it just never happened.

But it almost did.

Okay, so one day we were cruising around an area we affectionately nicknamed the ‘iceberg graveyard’. Zipped around on zodiacs checking out cool icebergs.
(I havent added descriptions to anything yet, sry)

The entire time my head was vigorously reenacting the asteroid belt scene from ‘Empire Strikes Back’:

It was super cool.

But at one point, three humpback whales showed up. At first we just saw a mommy and her baby… but then Daddy showed up! OMFGYAY!!! They were literally right underneath us and another boat, to the point where we were actually concerned they might knock our boats over. Because of this, our tour guides cut our engines, and we just floated, watching the whales :-D

AWESOME!

Yeah… no… AWESOME! for a few minutes… See, riding some waves in a boat is like riding a horse. Bumpy, but no big deal. But when the engines were cut, we were just bobbing along… up and down…. up and down… up and down…

Me: Um guys, I need to be dropped off at the boat. Now.
Nice Tour Guide: No prob! Does anyone else want to take a break?
Everyone else: *silence*

Yeah, I got on the main boat just in time. Laid down in the mudroom for like 30 minutes. Another couple that got off with me raced to see who could get all their outdoor gear off and get me a ginger ale first (example #98264501724697145294 of how super sweet and nice everyone was on this trip).

I was within 5 seconds of barfing my guts out on three humpback whales.

Spock would not approve.

Comments

  1. #1 eyesoars
    January 6, 2011

    Guess you’re not like me — if I get motion sick:

    If I barf, I’m better within 5 minutes.

    If I don’t barf, I’m miserable the rest of the day.

    I don’t seem to be alone in this: some airsickness bags show a pair of scenes: a miserable elf with an empty bag, and a happy elf with a full bag.

  2. #2 Kulvinder Matharu
    January 6, 2011

    I can remember most people on our boat with patches for the Drake Passage. Yeah, it was scary, everyone was zoned out! I managed to survive without any medication but there was one point when I was nearly thrown of my bunk-bed; that was pretty bad, feeling a bit queasy.

    PS – I recognise those Quark jackets! I like to proudly wear one in London during the winter!

  3. #3 SimonG
    January 6, 2011

    Cool. Ice makes such beautiful shapes. I even enjoy watching it melt when I defrost the fridge.

    Getting up close to whales must be fantastic. I’ve seen Fin Whales in the Bay of Biscay but only at a distance. (Still amazing to see the second largest animal ever to live on Earth.)

    I’m extremely envious of you.

  4. #4 Kerry Liles
    January 6, 2011

    Did I miss video of the whales – is it ‘out there’?

  5. #5 Shane Killian
    January 6, 2011

    Hmmm, you know, whale puke is a very expensive and prized rarity among humans…I wonder if whales feel the same way about human puke? You may have denied them the treasure they were hoping for!

  6. #6 ERV
    January 6, 2011

    Kulvinder– The first time I put on the patch, I didnt know that it had side-effects like that! I had to stop and ask the doc “Why am I high right now????” LOL! Our Drake wasnt bad at all. I got some video of the ‘worst’ of it, and its just nothing. I am one lucky Okie!

    Kerry– No whale vids here (busy trying not to puke), but I promise whales will make an appearance in ‘The Antarctica Files’!

    We saw sooooo many humpback whales! It was such a weird sensation, seeing whales all the time, 3 feet away, in the wild…

  7. #7 SLC
    January 6, 2011

    Speaking of barfing, is Ms. Smith planning to comment here on her favorite writers’ recent article in Playboy, which she has commented on over at Jerry Coynes’ blog?

  8. #8 Dave
    January 6, 2011

    Seasick can affect everyone. Back when I was a young pup, I took up sport diving. On one of my first dive trips, we went out after a storm and I got sick as a dog. After the trip, the Captain said that he had never seen someone that sick after taking dramamine, and he had been doing this for 20 years. When I informed him that I hadnt taken anything, he looked at me like I had grown an extra head and informed me that on days like that, even he took something.

  9. #9 Uzza
    January 6, 2011

    Nowhere near as cool, but I actually have puked on a whale. It surfaced right next to our boat, all busy being longer than our little cruiser where I was curled in a fetal position hoping to die. My siblings were SO excited, ZOMG you HAVE TO come look and I staggered as far as the rail, to projectile vomit right onto our visitor’s back, and then back to the bunk. The whale was not impressed.

  10. #10 Jason
    January 7, 2011

    I don’t know Uzza, that is a pretty cool story. Or at least – hilarious. I just literally LOLd here in lab.

  11. #11 daedalus2u
    January 7, 2011

    Sperm Whale vomit is actually pretty valuable.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambergris