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Arrived MIA and took the Super Shuttle to the condo (Miami Beach). Had about a half hour wait and then about an hour until drop off. I was the last one to get dropped off. The next day I picked up the car at Budget, very close to the condo, and I got a better class car for less money than an airport pick up. I was supposed to get a Ford Escape, but ended up with a Ford Edge. Nice SUV with lots of bells and whistles. Unfortunately the Bluetooth connection to my iPhone stopped working after a couple days.
Several weeks ago I connected with DennisW to dive BHB on the 9th, but we canceled due to high bacteria. Instead of diving BHB I made arrangements to dive in the Keys. On Tuesday the dive op called to ask if I could change my Thursday morning Spiegel Grove dive to Wednesday afternoon. I declined because I really wanted to do a shallow reef dive to make sure my weight was okay and just get used to diving salt water again. A couple hours later they called back to say they were canceling Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning dives because of weather, but I could go out Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. It wasn't until after I got off the phone that I started wondering if they had canceled for some other reason than weather, like not enough people going. I called Conch Republic Divers and asked if they had any boats going out at those times, and they did, so I booked with them.
I'm glad I switched to CRD. The owners are very friendly, and the crew was really helpful when I got seasick. Wednesday afternoon we dove the wreck of the Eagle. I dove with an instructor who had a student doing a refresher, and a DM candidate. The trip out to the site was rough, but I was okay even though I'm very prone to motion sickness. We saw a big grouper and did a couple swim throughs, and during the deep stop we saw a buddy-less remora. During the ascent we were bouncing around on the line, and when I pulled myself to the boat on the tag line I got sick. I've thrown up through my reg before, so I know I can do it, but it's not fun. I continued puking as I was climbing the ladder and had to be helped aboard. I wish there were some way of not getting sick. Besides feeling terrible physically, I feel bad that I require so much help, and it's probably fairly unpleasant to be around. It turned out that two of the other divers weren't feeling well either, so we called it a day after the one dive.
Thursday the seas were much calmer, but I took two Dramamines instead of the single one I took on Wednesday. I did better, but I threw up again right before the second dive. The first site was Pickles, and it was easy shallow reef diving. For the second dive we went to Snappers. On these two dives we saw lots of trumpetfish, a nurse shark, a scorpion fish, parrotfish, angel fish, trunk fish. We pretty much just stayed in one area and watched the sea life which is my favorite thing to do. I hope it was my buddy's favorite thing too because I hardly budged from the spot.
While diving in the Keys, I stayed at the Super 8 in Florida City. It's relatively cheap; that's all I can say about it. I had a good dinner at Toro Taco in Homestead.
On Saturday I met up with a new dive buddy I had met through a mutual friend on Facebook. We met at the Miami Beach Marina to go out on RJ Diving Ventures' boat. Saturday's first dive was a treasure hunt on the Ophelia Brian, sunk in 2009 by the Miami Reef Guard organization. You can read about our dive on this thread.
Trish didn't feel like going on the second dive; her head still hurt. So I went in with Tyler, who was joking that he wasn't certified. We had a very nice, relaxing dive, which was just what I needed after the excitement of the first. There was quite a bit of surge which was kind of fun to ride, but conditions on top had caused me to be sick again right before going in. I was subjected to good-natured kidding, tolerance of which is essential to surviving regular bouts of motion sickness!
On Sunday I met up with Trish again to do two shallow dives with RJ. We went to the Neptune Memorial Reef and the Belzona Barge wreck. Both of these dives were a lot of fun, and you can be sure that I was checking with Trish quite often on her pressure. I was getting back on the boat with a lot of air, but I wanted to play it super safe. At the Neptune reef there are a lot of crevices in the structure where we saw many arrow crabs (I think). I'm still not great at sea life identification. There was also a red anemone type creature in many crevices. The current was quite strong, and I was holding on a lot of the time. Belzona was very beautiful and full of life. At times I would just sink down to the sand and watch the life around me. A couple times Trish looked over at me worried because I hadn't moved in a long time. I really enjoy watching what the fish or other creatures do.
I took off on Monday and Tuesday and was back with RJ on Wednesday to meet up with my buddy Chris from Syracuse. We went to Emerald Reef for both dives and had a nice, relaxing time. It felt really good to dive with someone I knew and had been diving with before. We saw a good sized barracuda.
Overall I was happy with RJ. They worked hard to make my experience as good as possible and helped me out on the ladder and with my gear when I was sick. On the Sunday dives they placed a line in a way that made it easier for me. I have almost nothing but good to say about Mike and Mercedes.
I don't know why diving in Miami gets such a bad rap. There is a lot of life to see, and I thoroughly enjoyed the reefs.
On Thursday I headed to Boynton Beach to meet up with Rich and his son. I had met and dove with Rich in Cozumel in 2009. He and his family were going to a family reunion, so we decided to dive together again. We reserved through Underwater Explorers, but because of a mix-up, Kevin put us on Loggerhead's boat on Thursday. There were two other people on the boat, apparently regulars, and one acted as our guide and the other as DM.
I spent the night at another Super 8. There was a sketchy guy hanging out in the parking lot, and I had a problem with my room door. I'm not sure the savings are worth it.
On Friday we were given the choice of going out with Wihelmina from UE on their boat but without a guide or going out with Starfish with Wilhelmina in the water as our guide. Rich mentioned that it might not be a good idea to go out on the UE boat with only one person acting as driver and crew, so we opted to go with Starfish. We saw a huge ray and a big old turtle. Some of the other divers saw a hammerhead, but we missed it.
I love the diving in Boynton. The reefs are beautiful and lush, teeming with life, just like everyone on SB says. Unfortunately I broke my streak of not getting sick and was I'll again. I was so desperate to kick this motion sickness in the butt that I even went to an urgent care facility and got a prescription for Scopace. I was taking almost the maximum dosage. I guess it's just hopeless for me.
I really enjoyed my diving in South Florida, but next time I'll have to try some shore dives if only to minimize my time on boats.
Glad you had some good dives, sorry about the seasickness but it is kind of a given this time of year. I am pretty much seasick if seas exceed 3 ft, so I know the feeling.
I also can get pressure-related nausea at depth and more so than others, at certain times during my female cycle. Yes, it can be embarrasing - like when I was the only one puking during an advanced class trip - but as long as you're not puking into the wind, others really don't care (couldn't resist...)
You really should try to come and dive in Florida during the summer. Gotta love those glassy seas and seasickness-free dives....
Are you taking Bonine/meclizine the night before the dive and then a couple hours before the dive. Taking it just before boarding means your going to throw up a little pill. You are a die hard when it comes to seasickness, I don't know if your boat mates appreciate that or not
JOH, I never imagined it would be as bad as it was. I thought it would be like Cozumel where I'm good with just one Dramamine a day. I've never heard of pressure-related nausea, but if I get very old in the water, I also get nauseated. I'll have to give South Florida a try in the summer, but it's hard to leave Upstate New York when it's finally warm enough to wear a wetsuit.
DennisS, I tried taking Dramamine and later Scopace both the night before and then 1 1/2 hours before diving. Then the pharmacist told me not to take more than 3 Scopace tablets in 24 hours, so I stopped taking them at night. They worked up to a point.
TSandM, you're a doctor; can't you find a cure? lol
Don't know if any of this will help but over the last 18 years I have had the opportunity to offer many options to seasick folks on the boat. Some found great relief with one or more options and some unfortunately had no relief with any. The same thing doesn't work for everyone. Anyway, here are some things some folks find helpful.
1. Skip orange juice and any daily vitamin with vitamin C on the day you are going on the boat. Don't eat oranges if offered on the boat. Vitamin C is a stomach irritant to many and can pre-dispose one or worsen ones symptoms of nausea.
2. With or without other remedies, take ginger tablets, or drink ginger tea, or eat pickled ginger if you prefer. Ginger is a natural anti-emedic (anti nausea agent) for many. Even chemo patients like myself find relief with it. I used to take a vacuum thermos of hot water on the boat I worked on in Florida. I would take hot choc packet, instant coffee, regular tea and ginger tea for whoever needed to warm up after the dive. When folks learned how much the ginger tea helped on the rough days it became bery popular (though it is best if you have any rememdy including ginger in your sytem before you board the boat. Be careful though, some ginger tea mixes are just too strong.
3. Ok, you've tried dramamine and scopace. As someone else suggested, try one that has a different active ingredient. If you were using the original formulation of Dramamine it's active ingredient is dimenhydrinate which is the same that is in Triptone and Gravol. Bonine and the newer non-drousy formula of Dramamine have teh active ingredient meclazine. In other words, if you used a meclazine product try a dimenhydrinante product next time. You may be more drousy but most prefer it to puking. Some folks find one med works better for them than another.
4. You could still try the Scopalamine patches with a Dr.'s Rx. For those that use Scopalamine, the ones I've known, have had better success with the patch. However, some people have other side effects and troubles with the patch. Most Dr.'s recommend that you use them for a couple of days when not diving to discern any negative side effects that may further complicate your diving. On one rare occassion, a diver that I know even did this but found that Scop patches brought on Nitrogen Narcosis like symptoms at very shallow depths for her. She couldn't use them.
5. I have had divers also tell me that wearing nose plugs on boats with strong exhaust fumes helped them. Some folks just carry a bottle of vicks vapo rub and put some under their nose before they board the boat. They say it blocks smelling the exhaust. We all know breathing those fumes isn't particularly great for divers anyway but the smell sets off nausea for a lot of divers.
6. Try to talk to the crew about putting your wetsuit on as near to entry time as possible without delaying the dive. Many divers find that even a ten minute wait between suiting up and entering the water will be their doom. The divers on our boat that had this trigger also found that back zip wetsuits with the higher neck collar which presses against the front of the neck were a real trigger. One diver I know completely eliminated his seasickness problem by buying a wetsuit with a front zip, no more pressure on his neck waiting for entry-no more seasickness. He sacrificed a little warmth as water dose enter more easily with a front zip v-neck suit but he was still elated.
5. Do the obvious-stay in open air as much as possible but as far from exhaust as you are able. Stay in the center of the boat in line with the keel as much as possible to reduce the motion to which you are subject. Do not lye down. Keep your eyes on the horizon. Do not read or focus on small detailed things within the boat when it is moving or at mooring. Request to be the first off the boat (without being seated closest to the exhaust). Do not eat a heavy, spicey, or greasy meal just before boarding.
6. Finally, if all else fails and you do feel nausious it often helps to hold an ice bag wrapped in a light cloth against the base of your skull at the nape of your neck. It is even more helpful if you have a good buddy who will hold it for you.
Bugbagger, thanks for the tips. Some of them I already knew, but I never tried the ice bag. I talked to a pharmacist today, and it looks like I got bad info from the pharmacist in Miami Beach. A maximum of 6 Scopace tablets can be taken in 24 hours, so I'll give it another try. I've tried both Dramamine and mezclizine.