Unlike seafarers of the past, the modern visitor to New Zealand or Australia need not fear violence from the Maori natives, but like explorers from the past, there is a body of water between the two countries that remains a nasty challenge: the Tasman Sea. A cruise ship passenger might be in for the trip of a lifetime, a trip they’d rather not have taken.
The Tasman Sea was named after early Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman, who sailed to New Zealand (he named it New “Sea-land”), was attacked by the local Maori, and then fled, never to return. That was back in 1642; the island just off Australia also bears his name: Tasmania (the only place where Tasmanian Devils can still be found in the wild).
It’s no wonder the ferocious and easily riled Tasmanian Devil is not called the Indian Devil or the Pacific Devil; the creature bears all the attributes of its watery namesake. With strong winds and high waves, sailing here means (almost certainly) very rough passage. That’s due largely to the nature of the East Australian Current (EAC), especially in the summer when the current is at its strongest. The natural result for most cruise ship passengers? Seasickness. But with a little common sense and pre-planning, the Tasman Sea can be traversed with little or no discomfort.
The best defense against seasickness is a preventative defense. A wise seafarer (cruise ship passenger) will take action before motion sickness occurs, because once sick, there is really nothing to do but live with the stomach-rolling misery. And that will mean at least two to three days of misery, if your ship is making the crossing between New Zealand and Australia.
The best tip for avoiding seasickness is to wear a “sea band.” These rather tight ribbed wrist bands, complete with a small plastic button, are available at most drug stores. If worn properly (the band must be positioned the width of three fingers down from the first wrist crease, with the small plastic button pressed in between the two wrist tendons) most passengers will escape even the slightest sense of motion sickness.
Another solution is to take a motion sickness pill BEFORE feeling any nausea. This over-the-counter medication is also easily purchased at any pharmacy under the name Dramamine or Bonine. (Some formulas cause less drowsiness than others – check the label.) But again, this is a preemptive strike; the pill is useless if it’s ingested too late.
A huge caution here: Do NOT drink alcohol when taking motion sickness drugs, and be prepared for drowsiness. As a cruise ship passenger, you’ll probably be on an “at sea” day anyway, so you can sleep at your leisure.
Other tips for avoiding seasickness include NOT gazing at the rolling grey waves; in the dining room put your back to the open windows.
In addition, if you are very prone to motion sickness, choose a cabin amidships, as rolling and pitching is less extreme than what occurs fore (forward) or aft (rear). Get fresh air when you can, and breathe deeply.
Above all, especially when sailing the cantankerous Tasman Sea, treat your seasickness BEFORE it happens.