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Forecast: Stomach turbulence

May 13, 2011

The Sea Dragon sets sail, just before we get seasick

We’re a seasick crew. Sara, Nastassja and I take turns leaning over the railing while the three surfers on board—JP, Justin and Mary—lay supine on the deck trying to move as little as possible.

When the boat jolts from side to side I grip the railing tighter, fending off images of capsizing. But being on deck is nothing compared the kitchen’s nausea-inducing vortex, which I fondly refer to as the death zone. Anyone who stands in the galley experiences immediate vertigo from the ship’s constant lurching.

Despite our debilitation, we’re a fantastic crew*. Professional surfers, a certified Divemaster and a former NASA staffer are just a few of the people on board. And our Captain, Dale Selvam, a cantankerous kiwi who lives in the Canary Islands, has spent the last 25 years sailing around the world.

Chad and Nastassja try to fend off seasickness

On our trip, he’s fond of yelling, “JEFFERY!” to get our self-professed “boat monkey” to appear and act as his right hand man—literally. Dale tore his right shoulder just before departing—he ripped a tendon from his collarbone while playing a game of rugby with some Cook Islanders in Papeete. Since Dale’s doctor insisted he avoid heavy lifting, Jeff has been taking down the sails, working in the engine room and steering the boat.

And despite a few hiccups, namely, our incapacitated crew and not enough wind to power the boat, things are going well. We’re still scheduled to arrive in Rarotonga on May 14 and we’ll be able to start trawling once we’re out of French Polynesia, we only have permits to trawl in near the Cooks, and that’s where the plastic treasure hunt begins!

*Complete bios of all the crewmembers are on Pangaea’s website.

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