Bodies laid on the floor in haphazard masses outside the doctors office. There was moaning, refusal to move on, and the smell of death was in the air. These people seemed beyond help. I was one of them.
I've been on big boats; I've been on little boats. I've been in the Atlantic, the Pacific, and a few other seas the aren't worth naming – as I can't quite recall the names. Never have I been seasick. This morning, walking from my cabin to the dining room for breakfast, I thought I was going to die.
“Are you doing alright this morning,” I was asked? Rather than the simple polite brushoff answer of “Yeah, sure,” I endeavored to tell the truth. I was not o.k. For breakfast I put an egg and a sausage on my plate, then left it on a table and tried to run back to my cabin as quick a I could. Hugging the vacu-suck toilet, I prepared for the worst. But the puking which seemed only moments away never came. Back up to breakfast I tread, enjoying my one egg, and my one sausage. Well – half an egg, at any rate.
When I can not eat a breakfast buffet of bacons, and eggs, and juices, and hash browns – something is terribly wrong. After my feeble attempt at consumption, I headed straight for the the doctor's office. Certainly Julian Bashier could help me. Our doctor was a fine young lad, practicing frontier medicine, first in the Arctic, and now the Antarctic. And his boots? He had lovely – authoritarian boots. I'm told most people haven't looked at his boots, but as I could not raise my eyes above the knee of any passersby, they were most all I saw.
As I reached the office, two girls laid on the ground, looking as if their lives were over – pale death clutching at their shoulders. They moaned about how it was better on the ground. This seemed the best option, and I quickly found myself much closer to the floor. Lying down made things worse for me, but curled in a ball, arms holding the railing above my head, that was my sick pose.
All the while, the boat was rocking back and forth, being hit by twenty five foot swells. As the doctors office opened, and one passenger stepped out, our boat took a big hit, causing the mobile bed in the office to come flying across the room, out the door, nearly hitting me. The wheel locks? They do nothing. And then, of course, the next swell caused all the medicine and supplies to come flying from their cupboard covering the floor in a technicolour delight.
All this I observed, as I waited for my chance to not feel like death. One by one the girls went in, receiving giant lightning bolt shaped needles, southing them on their seasickness. In theory. I waited and waited for my turn. But as I waited staff showed up with cut hands, and people falling on stairs called the doctor away. My wait grew longer. And longer. And still I felt like my death was only moments away.
Seeing him, at last, I was given one of those ear circle sticky things. And some pills. Taking one pill, and slapping the patch on my face, I headed back to my room to pass out. Apparently I ignored many people on route, causing some of them to think me a less than delightful person. I have no memory of this, and heard it only through stories. I was still feeling as if the world was ending, being torn up into a black hole, with myself feeling every moment of it.
Two hours later I woke up once more. This time things were different. The world was a lovely happy place, and the rocking ship wasn't the worst thing imaginable, instead it was exciting. Very exciting! It was a roller coaster, or Days of Thunder simulation theme ride. A walked to Four-Forward (I wish we had a deck ten, and that's where this are was located... sadly I'll make due with Four-Forward, and watched a lecture on Antarctica historical exploration. How people sailed this in 22 meter tall ships, I've no clue. We were having a rough go at it in our MS Expedition.
Now, after the drugs, I could talk to people, feel my hyper activeness return, and enjoy the journey, rather than just hoping for an end reached, a destination discovered. I found I coud even read next to the window, as the tiny ship was tossed.
There were two seats facing a window where Katie and I sat (Katie being she who planned the Cat5 excursion) reading our books. Each time the boat his a big swell our chairs would fly across the room. The first time they took us about two meters, there may have been screaming causing staff to run to us. Oops. We reset our chairs, but they refused to stay put. The next time I would travel six meters before slamming into a wall. Katie went farther, not having a wall to stop her. I would win round three though, if this was a race to be won, and not a terrifying ill conceived interior layout. The next time I would nearly clear the hall, before coming to a stop wedged into the staircase leading down. A quarter inch, and things could have been terrible.
Clearly these chairs were not the best option for me to be sitting in. But, they were fun. I can only imagine what would have happened if people were behind us though. Much pain and injury.
As lunch beckoned I became ever so hungry – not having had much of a breakfast. Back in Four-Forward (F.F. hereafter) I saw one of the dying girls from the medic centre. Her horse needle had not cured her as well as I had been cured. And my heart went out to her – I grabbed her a pile of biscuits to nom on. Well received were they.
Lunch and Dinner were both sandwiches. The galley could not be opened. Standing nearby to watch the waves crash over the bow, you could head pans, and materials crashing and smashing to the ground. This would not be a safe place to work. It does give pause though – this is a boat designed for these waters. Why wouldn't they be designed to handle the stress of the waves? Why wasn't everything properly secured and tied down?
Not worth thinking about, I suppose.
And as for unsecured things flipping around, most beds are aligned Starboard to Port. This allows the sleeper to feel the forces of the rocking ship acting on their head and feet. Here in the Cat4 rooms the beds are aligned Bow to Stern. Staying in said bed as the boat rocks around? Now that's a true challenge.
With the decks closed due to weather, there was little left to do. I read some, I watched some Transformers, and then I headed off to bed. My main goal? Finish the Douglas Adams book so I start up on Jurassic Park. Oh yeah – and I'm excited to see land too. Antarctica – that would be good too. Can't wait for that – that's a good goal too.
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