The bane of would-be oceanographers

Apr 20 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

When I was growing up I knew a girl who wanted to be a marine biologist.  (Alas, we lost touch after high school, so I’m not sure if she ever did attain that goal.)  When we were kids she was the only person I knew with that dream, but as I got older I discovered an awful lot of people whose childhood goal had been to become oceanographers of some sort.  It seems it isn’t as unusual of a dream as I thought.


And, I’ve discovered, there’s a common thread amongst people who wanted to be oceanographers as kids and ended up doing something else instead:


They get seasick.


Not just puke-up-the-dinner-once-and-then-you’re-okay seasick, like me.  I mean terribly, violently ill.


I have a friend who used to be a marine tech at a Famous Institute of Oceanography.  It was her dream.  She did stuff with submersibles.  As long as she was down below the surface of the water, she was fine; but when she was on the ship, she was so busy puking up her guts that she literally could not function.  Needless to say, she’s now doing freshwater environmental chemistry.


Of all the things that could derail a childhood dream, it’s kinda sad to be stopped by an issue as mundane as seasickness.

4 responses so far

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    That is why I studied freshwater fish, often in water only ankle deep. It is interesting that when getting seasick in a small boat, going over the side with mask and flippers is an immediate cure.

    • unlikelygrad says:

      Just out of curiosity, do people ask you if you snorkel for a living? It's amazing how many people think I "go out on cruises" (in a sub-tropical setting, no less) to enjoy myself. They're always amazed how not-tan I am after two weeks on board ship. I explain that I spent most of those two weeks inside a lab, but it never quite sinks in.

  • Ah. Yes. I'm generally ok if I can see the horizon, but in a lab... There's a drug called scopolamine for motion sickness which is the business, but I'm not sure about taking it non-stop for 2 weeks. You might have to count me out for that DNA work...

    • unlikelygrad says:

      I use Bonine (meclazine) for the first couple of days; after that I'm generally fine. I was definitely not on it for two weeks straight; that would sort of negate the purpose of doing a research cruise. (Despite its being "non-drowsy" medication it does make me sleepy enough that getting work done is hard.)