We’ve discussed seasickness, and its causes and cures, before here at Triple P. As it turns out, almost all animals can succumb to seasickness and humans are not often spared. That includes, it seems, literary lions from days gone by. Here is a little insight into the miseries suffered by none other than Harriet Beecher Stowe of Uncle Tom’s Cabin fame:
That disgust of existence, which, in half an hour of sailing, begins to come upon you; that strange, mysterious ineffable sensation which steals slowly and inexplicably upon you; which makes every heaving billow, every white-capped wave, the ship, the people, the sight, taste, sound and smell of everything a matter of inexpressible loathing!
An excellent summation, no doubt. The great Charles Dickens, however, chose to see the bright side, if you will:
I lay there, all the day long, quite coolly and contentedly; with no sense of weariness, with no desire to get up, or to get better, or take the air; with no curiosity, or care, or regret of any sort or degree, saving that I think I can remember, in the universal indifference, having a kind of lazy joy – of fiendish delight, if anything so lethargic can be dignified with the title – in the fact of my wife being too ill to talk to me.
That’s one way to get the old ball and chain to shut up, no matter how extreme. Ernest Shackleton wrote of some of his comrades in Antarctic exploration being “appallingly seasick.” In particular, the ponies he had brought along on the expedition suffered interminably in high seas. Creatures of the equine persuasion cannot vomit, so their misery was doubled by a constant nausea that had no release.
Perhaps Hippocrates put it most succinctly when he quipped “Sailing on the sea proves that motion disturbs the body.” One wonders if it got his wife to clam up for a while as well.
Header: Sunrise on the Bay of Fundi by William Bradford