Today I did something I have never done before in my 45 years.
I dived off the side of a boat into the Aegean Sea. In fact I need not be that specific. I have never dived off a boat into any sea or even ocean before.
You may be imagining a quite glamorous scene as you visualise me diving athletically yet gracefully into the pleasantly warm azure waters of the Aegean sea off the beautiful coast of mainland Greece. I would hate to disabuse you of that vision. But the reality was probably not as glamorous as your imaginings.
I did have on a quite flattering bikini it is true, but also my bright pink rash vast. I was also trying to keep an eye on three kids flinging themselves haphazardly off various railings. And avoid other people’s children doing the same, and the Russian in budgie smugglers. My husband still has sea water streaming out of his nose whenever he bends down around three hours and lunch later. And I ate my pita and chicken souvlaki in a state of stickiness from the sea salt. But still, it was quite a rush.
There is one main reason why I have never ‘dove’ off a boat. And that is that I hate boats. Specifically I hate sea faring boats. I have, in fact, enjoyed a number of boat based inland holidays on canals, lakes and broads. But I don’t do the sea. Because I get very sea sick. Indeed.
This cruise came complementary with our holiday package. I was prepared to persuade my offspring and spouse onto the other option, the romantic 30 minute sunset cruise which never leaves the bay, but the lure of the three hour trip which, we discovered, included an hour of swimming off the boat was too much of a temptation for them. So I reluctantly agreed. To the relief of any couples heading out at 8.30pm tonight a deux.
I had been told by the holiday rep that the Aegean was often very calm. I think her exact words were mill pond.
That isn’t exactly how it turned out. It was actually quite rough. So I sat on the deck for the first hour or so concentrating on the horizon in a bid not to vomit. I succeeded. Luckily.
I don’t have many successful boat experiences. Once on a ferry from Dover to Calais with a very old friend I was sick eleven times. Count them, eleven.
My mother is the same. We always sit on the deck. In silence. Concentrating. Regardless of the weather. We took the train to Holland when I was twelve. We sat on the deck of the ferry that this entailed in the pissing down rain. Or it might have been spray it was difficult to tell. I was still sick. Copiously.
We can be travel sick anywhere. In fact we were both sick on a boat trip from Sorrento to Capri. It was rough though honest. And I have found that once one person ‘goes’ the floodgates tend to open. There was quite a queue for the solitary loo.
Luckily my fellow passengers this morning were stalwarts. There was one little boy who started to feel dodgy right at the end. I contemplated parting with my air sickness bag which is permanently in my hand luggage rucksack. Thankfully I didn’t need to as just as he turned green we got near enough to shore for the swell to subside. I find that having an appropriate vessel to be sick into goes a long way to making sure I do not actually vomit.
Reminder to self to stock up on those bags on our flight back to the UK in a few days. I am down to my last one courtesy of some Milton Keynes roundabouts and a Disney World roller coaster overdose.
Travel sickness is horrible. I get it not only on boats but also in the back seats of cars and on pendolino trains.
Historically trains have been a safe haven for me, I spent my childhood on them and they have conveniently positioned lavatories in extremis. Based on this fact and my refusal to ever go on a ferry again we decided about three years ago to go to Biarritz on the train. Suffice to say the SNCF pendolinos were not great for my sickness. And they were so full with the French going on holiday that those lavs involved a clamber over many bodies and haphazardly piled luggage… I got out my bag on numerous occasions. Eldest’s Croque Monsieur was a particular crunch point.
So anyway I braved the boat for my kids. I wasn’t sick. And the thrill of diving into that sea made it all worth while. And their faces when they surfaced each time too.
Fabulous. There are worse things to risk vomiting into a bag for.