Two weeks before Labor Day weekend, my son Harrison and his fiancé Kasi asked to reserve space on a charter boat. I’m not a fan of ocean-voyaging (I tend to get seasick), but enjoy my kids’ company so decided to be adventurous and go. I booked us on the Telstar for Sunday afternoon of that weekend.
Somehow the reservations got messed up and I learned on Sunday morning that we’d been scheduled for the previous day’s excursion. (I could go into all kinds of explanations for why it wasn’t my fault—but it probably was.)
On Sunday morning, I spoke with Randy, the owner of the Telstar, and he suggested I call his nephew Richard, who owns the Trek II, and ask if he had any slots for that afternoon.
Richard and Harrison had gone from grade school through high school together. Richard said that the Trek II was out and would not do an afternoon trip. However, his brother Brandon would take out the smaller boat—the Ambush—if we could get six people.
Harrison called his friend Nick who was visiting from Sacramento with his wife Elizabeth and asked if they wanted to go. They agreed.
I called Richard and said we had five. He said to be at the boat by 12:30.
It was a perfect day—warm with a slight breeze. In addition to our five, three other people showed up. We glided through the jetty and marveled at the gently rolling sea. Kasi was giddy. Harrison was happy. I was glad that I’d fortified myself with Sea Bands and Bonine.
We stopped at our first site and my head began to wobble. I caught the first fish—too small, a throwback. We stayed there for a bit before moving to another spot. I caught a second—a keeper. It would be my last.
By this time, my brain had shrunk a good two inches and turned into a lead ball inside my head. With each dip of the boat, it slammed against my temples. I tried to ignore it. Mind over matter—it would go away.
Harrison was the first to lose his breakfast over the back of the boat. Kasi was next.
I continued to drop my line in the water, determined to get more fish. An hour later, the constant slamming inside my head forced me to sit. I started to cough, lurched to the side of the boat and—yes, you know what happened.
The wind picked up and the waves grew. I put my jacket on and wondered how rough it had to become before the captain called it a day. I sat, crossed my arms against the cold and imagined the comfort death might bring.
The cockpit looked warm. I stumbled inside to sit on a padded bench. Far from bringing relief, my stomach went into a tumble and I raced outside to—well, you know. Let’s just say there are certain things, like bacon, that I won’t be able to eat for a long time—if ever. I was amazed to discover that the dark green vitamin in the GNC Women’s Ultra Mega 50 Plus VitaPack stays fully intact in the stomach hours after swallowing.
The others continued to land fish and have a good time. Kasi and Harrison didn’t feel well, but kept fishing.
Throughout the trip, one passenger guzzled cans of beer from his cooler. He even ate a sandwich. I envied his lack of seasickness until he opened a bag of Doritos and then had to stifle a desire to push him overboard.
After four hours (but what seemed like a day and a half), the captain announced we were heading in. We were just outside of Mendocino. He warned that we would travel against the wind and it would get “kind of rough.”
It was the wildest roller coaster ride ever. If I hadn’t been sick, I would have been terrified.
Waves crashed against the side of the boat as it ran parallel to the coastline. I imagined what we looked like from shore—one moment visible and the next moment vanished into the valley of a wave. At one point, the captain suddenly slowed the engine to allow the boat to surf over two back-to-back gigantic waves. From the deck, I hoped he’d radioed a distress signal to the Coast Guard.
When we finally rolled through the jetty and onto the calm river, I tried to smile and claim I had a good time. When I got home, I pitched the Sea Bands and Bonine into the trash and silently vowed to never, ever go out on the ocean again.
In the future, I’ll content myself with listening to jaunty seafaring songs like this—