I am an object in perpetual motion. Put me into an automobile, train, plane, boat, hot air balloon, tuk-tuk or cable car and I am in my element. I am also amphibious, equally at home in water and on land. I grew up a steady diet of ocean and boats, and my sealegs are sturdy.
I have experienced motion sickness only two times in my life: once on a rough sail around Cape Ann after a particularly festive evening the night before; and second after an unnecessarily extended Costa Rican carnival ride during Las Fiestas de Zapote in San Jose. Thankfully, I never reached the barf bag stage in either case.
But I was no match for a boat full of puking Japanese people on a recent whale watch near the Kerama Islands. I will grant them this: it was not a gentle ride. The winds can be fierce around these islands which makes for intense waves, and I caught air several times on the ride out as we crashed down with a thud onto large swells. That’s fun a few times, but thirty minutes of it can be a bit much. So it wasn’t suprising to see the rough water claim its first seasick victim, a city-dwelling teenage girl who buried her face on her mother’s lap for the duration of the trip.
From there, the whole boat went down like a bunch of dominoes and by the time we reached the island bay where the whales hang out, most of the passengers were barfing. Into bags, into the toilets, over the side of the boat. It was, at this point, comical and certainly more entertaining than the one whale we found out there. One whale or twenty seven seasick Japanese people. Take your pick.
When we finally turned around to make our way back to Okinawa, I had pukers to my left, pukers to my right, pukers in front of me and pukers across from me. It was here I succumbed to peer pressure, closed my eyes, and buried my head in my hands for the remainder of our journey.
(Thankfully, I never reached for that barf bag.)