As I’ve mentioned in all my posts that I loved every minute I spent sailing, yet there were times when I hated being on board. That was when we got rough weather and the ship used to roll and pitch at times a bit heavily. I used to be very sea sick and hated the constant movement of the ship. I did not have much choice but to pop a few anti sea sickness pills and ride it out. Luckily for me the incidences of rough weather were far and few and I’ve enjoyed smooth sailings through out. In fact bay of Biscay is quite dreaded by sea farerers like me because the weather can get pretty rough there, but to my good luck whenever we crossed the bay, we had idyllic weather. It used to be as still as a lake and here and there you could see yachts and sailboats sailing around looking so beautiful. Most people dont belive me when i tell them I never got bad weather in that area because its quite a rarity.
One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had during sailing was crossing the Panama canal. I was so excited when I came to know that’s where we were headed and you cannot imagine my delight when we came to know that the ship’s draft ( In the simplest terms, the draft of a ship or boat is the distance between the surface of the water and the lowest point of the vessel) was too much to go sail in the canal, so we had to part discharge the cargo in Panama. So we got a coule of days in Panama City and it was lovely to explore the city and it has been one of the best and most beautiful experiences to see the Panama canal from outside as well as sail through it.
I will write in detail about that also soon but continuing here, we sailed on and taking in the breathtaking sights of the Panama Canal we entered into the Pacific. In a few days we were in Mexico and I got a chance to enjoy the local food and shopping in the town where we docked in. A couple of hours drive from there was a beautiful resort Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and I took off to visit that. Still remember the amazing food, the divine mango margaritas (literally drooling right now) and the gorgeous beaches!! It is one heavenly place and I just loved the day at the resort. Sadly soon it was time to sail on.
It was late evening as we sailed off and tired from all the activity of the last couple of days, I slept early. It was the middle of the night when I felt the ship shudder, i got up with a groan as I could make out the weather was bad. The ship was shuddering and swaying, I closed my eyes trying to go back to sleep but in no time the ship had become one giant swing. It would dip on one side and come up as the other side dipped. My head is spinning just thinking about it as I write even now, after all these years. I tried getting up to go to the washroom, but i could barely take two steps before i was flung against the bulkhead and I decided against getting up at all. I lay there groaning as the ship dipped lower and lower with each swing. Crashes could be heard and the whole ship was creeking and groaning as well. I tried lying still but it was too much for me and I knew I had to go on the bridge and get the anti sea sickness pills or I would just die. Somehow clutching and holding and clutching on to whatever i could find to keep my balance I reached the bridge. As I entered and looked out, it was bad. The weather had really become rough and i could see my husband and some crew in deep discussion about changing the course so as to minimize the damage to the ship since we were in a storm. I hardly registered much as I felt my stomach heave because of all this movement and I had to rush to the washroom which was a big struggle as I was being thrown this way and that but I somehow miraculously managed to do it barely in time. For sometime after that I was in and out almost throwing up my guts out. Somehow I managed to have the pills and just prayed they would work fast. Walking back to the cabin was again a task and I was happy to be in bed in one piece.
The weather was just getting worse and the problem was that our ship was on Ballast which basically means that it was empty since the cargo had been discharged and there was just sea water in some of the tanks. Since the ship is lighter and higher above the furious ocean it was being heaved up and down by the tumultuous waves. I really could not stand this any more but luckily the effects of the pills took over and I finally slept. When I woke up gingerly and opened my eyes hoping the worst was over, but unfortunately the weather had only got worse. Now as the ship rolled to one side all the drawers of the chest would open and as the ship rolled to the other side they would shut with a big bang. Any thing that was on the floor of our cabin especially the bottles would roll left and come back rolling right. It was like i was on one giant ride. I looked out of the porthole and it was a scary sight. At times it looked like the bridge wing would actually touch the water and we would just capsize. For the next couple of day i just slept thanks to the anti sea sickness pills. I would wake up briefly feeling sick, throw up and in between trips to the washroom see the scary effects of the bad weather and go back to sleep again. Luckily by the third day the weather started letting up. By the time we were around the Panama canal happy days were back and the water was calm and the ship was steady again.
It took another day for the effects of the pills to wear off and the next day I went for a walk on the deck and saw that the storm had done quite some damage. One of the stairs were badly bent out of shape even though they were made of such stong metal. At some place some of the pipes had also been ripped out but luckily that was all.
Thank the Good Lord that this was my only encounter with very bad weather on the ship (had something similar on a boat but that about that I will write a detailed post soon). I am not sure if I’d had many more of these I would have sailed for too long. I enjoyed my walk breathing in the fresh air and taking in the breath taking views happy that the worst was behind us and hoping the rest of my time onboard would be smooth sailing quite literally!!
See these videos to have an idea of what it was like
Videos taken from you tube