MY pallor veers precariously between ghostly grey and pistachio green, a clammy sweat spreading across my body.
Gripping onto a hand rail with chalk-white knuckles, stomach lurching, I pray that I won't be sick as the room begins to sway. Never mind that the ship hadn't even left the dock yet.
I've always envied those with the robust constitution that makes a good sailor. To date, I have been seasick on the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, as well as the Adriatic, Coral, South China, Red, Mediterranean, Tasman and North seas. As one friend noted: I would get seasick stepping over a puddle.
Among my more embarrassing incidents was on a shark-diving expedition in South Africa when I misjudged the direction of the wind and inadvertently acquainted a poor German man dozing on the deck with the remnants of my breakfast. The smell from his sodden fleece pervaded the minibus all the way back to Cape Town. Over the years I have tried all the traditional remedies: focusing on the distant horizon, eating green apples, sipping on a ginger drink but nothing seems to work.
Someone once told me that seasickness is merely mind over matter. But that sage has clearly never sailed the North Atlantic in force 10 storm, a wretched experience which saw me spend the best part of two days hugging the toilet like I was Kate Winslet and it Leonardo DiCaprio.
Which is why I have made it my mission to get my sea legs. I even have a programme of events. I'm going to start with a pedalo on Loch Lomond and gradually build myself up to a gentle sail doon the watter on the Waverley.
Who knows? One day I might even master a choppy ferry crossing on the Pentland Firth. Baby steps ...
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