The One Where I Don’t Get Sea Sick On My Very First Cruise

Image by Gianluca from Pixabay

When I was about 14 years old my family went to Destin, Florida for a week. Well, technically we did that pretty much every year. When we first started going there in the early 90s there were only a handful of places to stay, even fewer things to do (you generally had to go across the bridge to Fort Walton), and that was probably for the best for my parents and their three kids. However, during this particular year, my grandmother had come to stay with us as well.

Now Nanny loved to fish. I honestly think had she lived on the coast she would have done it from sun up to sun down. So we were definitely going to do some fishing activity while we were down there, and so my parents decided to book us all on a 4 hour deep sea fishing excursion.

Side note – I get motion sick in cars. It’s not nausea though. Instead, I get bad headaches. Weirdly, I don’t get them if I’m driving, and I don’t get them if I’m in the passenger seat. Otherwise, life becomes a bit of pain. Which made family trips all sorts of fun as I couldn’t read to pass the time. At best I could listen to music with headphones on or just try to zone out.

I load up on the boat. This thing likely could hold maybe 30 people. Everyone would have a spot on the rail where they could fish until their hearts desire was full. And there I was, right beside Nanny, ready for the boat to get to the fishing spot and catch all sorts of things.

Image by gwiseman from Pixabay

The trip out there was probably 15 minutes and wasn’t too bad. Though, I felt the very beginnings of a headache, that would likely go away once the boat stopped.

Once the boat stopped moving.

On a moving ocean…

Oh, crap, the boat is never going to stop rocking, is it?

What occurred next I can only (luckily) remember through a haze of blinding pain as I spent the next 4ish hours in the middle of the boat on a cot, writhing and moaning. Because, the only thing that might make things worse would be if there was a storm out at sea. You know, where the boat gets tossed around a little bit (nothing scary, but more than I could possibly deal with).

When we finally reached land, I may have kissed the ground. And every year after, my parents would make the joke about booking another deep sea fishing excursion.


Image by Took A Snap from Pixabay

Now, I told you that story, so that I could tell you this story…

My wife and I were married back in 2002, and for our Honeymoon we were gifted a Mediterrean Cruise. We’d fly into Barcelona the morning of departure, and then it would be a week visiting various ports throughout France, Italy, and Malta. I was really looking forward to the opportunity, but my previous “boat” experience weighed on my mind. So I went and got the motion sick patch from a doctor. If you are unfamiliar, you stick it right behind your ear, and it is supposed to help with motion sickness. In addition, my dad mention a bracelet that he’d worn on a cruise which was based on pressure points along your wrist which apparently helped with the symptoms. Finally, I had old faithful, Dramamine to get me through any of the worst of it.

The flight to Barcelona was overnight, and since it was far and away the longest flight I’d ever been on, I made sure to take my Dramamine when I got on the place so that I could sleep. But, sleep on a plane is a sporatic thing for me, so I’m not sure how much rest I actually got.

Once we landed in Spain, it was early morning, and we hurried to the port in order to begin boarding. Somewhere along the way I slipped on the bracelet and put my patch on.

Getting onto the boat, the previous day’s trip, jet lag, and perhaps something else had completely wiped me out. I could barely function when we had to go to the muster stations, and by 3 or 4 when we were allowed to go back to our rooms, I pleaded with my new bride to let me sleep.

“Just give me today, and I’ll be good the rest of the week. I don’t know why I’m so tired, but I can’t…”

Luckily, she saw the poor, pitiful state I found myself in, and took pity… even though it meant missing some of the first evening activities (the big one being the first dinner). I think I finally woke up around 9ish, and when we started trying to figure out why I was so wiped and she wasn’t… we realized:


The Patch

The Bracelet

I’d over drugged myself!

I took the bracelet off. I didn’t take anymore Dramamine. I only used the patch. And the good news was that not only did I not need to sleep the trip away, I didn’t get sea sick!


I’m not sure if there is a less subtle message in all of this. Mostly, I felt like a dumbass, but I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the trip… I nearly messed up the trip in a different way. Which feels like a very “me” thing to do.


John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at

About John McGuire

Writer of comics and novels. In 2006 his first short story "The God That Failed" was published by Terminus Media in their debut comic Evolution Book 1. Since that time he has had stories published in Terminus Media's Evolution Book 2 and Evolution Special, Kenzer and Company's The Knights of the Dinner Table, and Four J Publishing's The Burner #3. Currently he is eagerly awaiting the digital publishing of his first creator-owned comic The Gilded Age #1 to be published online as well as his first novel The Dark That Follows later this year.
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  1. Thank you for this fun personal story. Ft. Walton is one of the favorite places I’ve lived and work. Also fished. Also the headache nausea boat things. I think cruise boats take into account the nausea factor.

    • Yeah, on the next cruise we did many years later (Alaska), I only did the patch and was good on it save for one evening when it got a little rough and the headache came on. Nothing unbearable, but I went back to the room and laid down in the dark room for a couple of hours.

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