Jumping (and Puking on) The Shark

Last week I had the opportunity to go shark fishing off the coast of Rhode Island with my future brother-in-law (it was his bachelor party), my brother-in-law, and a dozen other guys I didn’t know.

Though I’m not a big fan of water, the outdoors, fishing, paying $100 to do things I don’t like to do, and partaking in any activity for 10 straight hours, I said “yes”.

Here’s how it went down:

4:30am – What is that noise? My alarm clock? Why? Oh yeah…shark fishing. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and my lunch.

5:00am – Meet up with all the guys and we inform David of the surprise plans for the day. We’re taking him shark fishing. He’s ecstatic. “Everyone brought their lunch, right?” Oops. We drive back to get mine because I will be hungry later on today. #PredictionFAIL.

5:15am – Chugging a Dunkin Iced Coffee to wash down the 2 donuts I just ate. Popped a Dramamine even though I’m confident I won’t be getting sick. #PredictionFAIL again.

6:00am – We take off on our 46-foot fishing boat from Point Judith, RI. It’s chilly and overcast, but everyone is confident the sun will burn through in a couple of hours. #PredictionFAIL yet again.

6:36am – I make the mistake of twittering a picture from the boat’s cabin, which makes me start to feel motion sickness. I put on my Sea Bands, but it’s probably too late.

7:15am – I’ve been nauseous and fighting it for the past 45 minutes. I’m cold and soaked from the rain and the spray of the boat. I’m hugging a pole for dear life and trying to keep my eyes on the horizon, but the seas are incredibly choppy. We’re heading 30 miles out, by the way, which takes almost 90 minutes. I ask Michael to take a picture of me so I remember what it looks like to feel like death. (see right)

7:16am – Puke #1. (goodbye iced coffee and donuts)

7:20am – Okay, I feel better now, and someone gave me a dry T-shirt and sweatshirt.

7:21am – Scratch that. Feeling sick again.

8:00am – Vomit #2. (and there’s the last of the coffee and donuts)

9:00am – Barf #3. (aren’t dry heaves fun?)

10:00am – Throwup #4. (no, dry heaves are not fun.)

10:30am – I’m barely staying awake from exhaustion, lack of sleep, dramamine, and being a girl. My brother-in-law Michael has been my wingman for the past 4 hours, which has been huge. Feeling sick is bad enough. But feeling sick on choppy seas, knowing you have another 6 hours out there is about as close to unbearable as it gets for me. I feel like a hostage of the Atlantic Ocean. Michael gets me some triscuits and water, and I slowly eat those for the next 20 minutes. God bless him.

11:00am – Upchuck #5. (and there goes the triscuits and water)

11:15am – Coworker who knows about the trip sends me a text that simply says “Barf.” I text back “5 times already” in hopes that she feels bad.

11:45pm – It’s been over a half hour since my last puke and I don’t want to jinx it, but I think I am feeling a bit better. Block Island is barely visible in the distance and my gaze is locked on that piece of land like a heat seeking missile. I’m actually talking to people now, but still not making eye contact with anything except the horizon.

12:00pm – We just caught our first shark. My future bro-in-law David has been reeling it in for 20 minutes. I get out of my chair to snap a picture of it with my phone (see right). Right after doing so, the pocket of my sweatshirt gets caught on the throttle and sends the boat into reverse. Captain Charlie starts cussing at me (like a sailor) “What the hell are you doing?? Who the @&!# stands next to the controls!!! Get the BLEEP out of the way”. Not only am I the guy who’s been puking, but I nearly cause a catastrophe by screwing with the boat’s controls. I’m convinced this stuff only happens to me.

12:15pm – After 45 minutes, David reels the 8-foot blue shark up to the boat and we release it. I am sitting in the corner of the boat after the verbal beating I took from Captain Charlie. I will not come within 15 feet of the boat’s controls for the rest of the day.

1:00pm – We caught another blue shark, this time Michael (my hero) and another guy reeled it in. I should also mention that 2 other guys have puked. Pretty sure they just didn’t want me to feel bad. Let it be known that I was the first though…I carried that burden for everyone else. That’s what Jon Acuff calls “giving the gift of going second”.

2:00pm – We decide to ditch the shark fishing and go catch some blue fish. I’m still feeling queasy, but not in danger of puking. It’s pouring outside but I can’t go in the cabin because it will instantly make me sick. So much for the sun burning through the clouds. “You guys picked a helluva day to come out here,” Captain Charlie says, “roughest day of the summer so far.” Of course it is.

2:30pm – My socks and sneakers have been soaked for 8 hours now. I’ve been up since 4:30am. My stomach is beyond empty and I’m dehydrated, and we still have 2 hours on this boat. But I’m suddenly not feeling sick anymore! 8 hours in and I have my sea legs!

3:30pm – I reel in a blue fish decent sized blue fish. We’ll catch about 20 of them before heading back to shore. While I’m nowhere near the point of regaining my dignity, at least I can say I caught something other than a cold.

4:30pm – Dry land. My first (and last) deep sea fishing trip has come to an end. I need a hug from my wife.

Thanks to David for getting married to my sister and making this bachelor party (and blog post) possible. Thanks to Michael for making sure I didn’t lose my mind for the first 6 hours of that trip. Thanks to Captain Charlie for the cussing out.

I love you all…except maybe for Charlie.

(anyone else have a rough seasickness story to share? I’d love to hear about it.)