shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Seasickness Remedies

February 16, 2015

If you've read much of my writings, you may know that I suffer (and I do mean SUFFER) from seasickness. I have tried every remedy I have ever read about: ginger candy, ginger ale, looking at the horizon, avoiding spicy foods, eating crackers, and just throwing up and getting it over with. For years on the Chesapeake Bay I was a huge fan of Motioneaze, a topical elixir of herbs known for easing the symptoms of seasickness. This worked very well until we sailed out of sight of land. At that point, I required more drastic measure.

I tried the wrist bands designed to apply pressure to a sweet spot on your inner wrist that I was forever incapable of finding. I understand the concept and don't doubt those who say this form of relief works for them, I simply can't seem to operate it correctly.

Then I got serious. I bought a nerve stimulation device that is designed to hit that same sweet spot that I couldn't find with the other bands. This band actually worked fairly well, and I was pleased with the results the first few days I was offshore. But I had to continually increase the "dose" and by the time I had it at the highest setting, it was affecting the strength in my hand. I couldn't grind winches or haul in the mainsheet any more. This was completely unacceptable and I resigned myself to being seasick forever.

A helicopter pilot friend gave me a few patches of scopolamine in the brand name of Transderm Scop. These patches are applied behind the ear and are effective for three days. And when I say effective I mean actually effective! I can sit below and write while we're in 8-foot seas. These are amazing and possibly even life-savers. There are a few side effects, like most drugs to help with seasickness, but when the directions are followed properly, the result is well worth a few issues like blurred vision and dry mouth.

The problem with these patches (if you live in the US) is that they are available only with a prescription and are (in our budget) prohibitively expensive at over $20 each. I have bought them in other countries (a Caribbean island, but I forget which one, and Bermuda) but never paid more than $12 each for them. In preparation for our upcoming departure, I got a prescription, asked for an estimate from the pharmacist, then tried to figure out some other way to get them. Enter the Internet and Canadian pharmacies. This is PERFECTLY LEGAL, by the way, though I would have done it even if it weren't. With a prescription, you can have medication mailed to you from a Canadian pharmacy for significantly less. In this case, the patches were under $7 each. There are a lot of companies to choose from, but the only one I have any personal experience with and can highly recommend is Universal Drug Store. They were polite, professional, and quick. We had our patches in just over a week.


I'm not usually one for promoting "stuff" and where to buy it, but when the expenditure is significantly less and the product is as life altering as scopolamine is I couldn't resist.

Even if you don't get seasick now, it might be worth investigating some different forms of relief for when the conditions worsen more than your usually compliant body can handle. Until then, wishing you favorable winds and calm seas.

When preparing for a long passage, it's only natural that you are going to buy more stuff than on a normal basis. So, at the risk of sounding like consumers, MONDAY we'll share a tool that saved us hundreds of dollars and days of aggravation. We're adding it to our recommended list of tools to have on board.

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