First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Questions about how to get to the island and where to stay near points of departure.

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mjohn27603
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First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by mjohn27603 » Fri Apr 08, 2016 8:18 pm

Hi Everyone,

I have spent a lot of time in the Keweenaw but have never been to Isle Royale. I'd like to get there just once in my life as it is on my bucket list. I'm not a hardcore backpacker and camper so I'd probably just be one of the tourists staying at Rock Harbor Lodge. However, my concern is about the ferry ride over. I've read about some bad trips on the ferry from Copper Harbor. It seems the Ranger III is a little more stable and passengers are less prone to seasickness. Given that my wife may not be as inspired to travel here as I am, I would like to make her experience as enjoyable as possible. I'd like to avoid being seasick on the 6 hour ferry ride over. How smooth is the ride generally on the Ranger III? I was thinking of going in late July or early August of 2017. Is there a time that is more likely to have calmer waters than another? I'm trying to avoid the late summer or early fall as I've heard this can be a bit rougher. I'm mostly doing research to see if this concern is something to worry about or whether by taking these precautions I can put the odds in my favor. If the odds are still significant of a rough ride then I may have to reconsider my plans.

Thanks for your help.


Midwest Ed
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Re: First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by Midwest Ed » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:56 pm

Hello mjohn,

Welcome to the forums. You didn't mention if your wife has a history or you are simply being as cautious as possible. Have you considered flying over and back? I'm not sure how someone very prone to sea sickness does when flying but the flight from Houghton County airport to Tobin Harbor/Rock Harbor is quite short. They publish "less than an hour" but the actual flying time is probably closer to 30 minutes. The common thinking that the Ranger III will result in the smoothest ride I think is most typically true due to its size, but the transit time is also longer so whatever the conditions are there will be a longer time to take affect and on any given day the seas from Minnesota just might be calmer (but take longer to actually get to Rock Harbor). While the scheduled transit time is about 6 hours, over 1 hour is in the sheltered waters of the Portage ship canal and the Rock Harbor channel (Ranger III stops briefly at Mott Island) so your "exposure" time is really less than 5 hours, maybe closer to 4. I think some of the bad rep. the Isle Royale Queen has is due to her older and smaller predecessors. Its transit time is less than 4 hours. You're correct that later in the season increases the odds of rougher seas and July/August is not considered late but the weather is well, weather. Having said all that, the ride is usually quite nice, unless of course one is very prone to motion sickness. Then, even the common 1 to 2 foot swells can seem like a car ride over gentle hills.

I've never had motion sickness as an adult but my wife did. She would become ill on a cruise ship anchored at the pier, really :mrgreen: . She had very good results with the prescription patch, scopolamine. She actually made one trip on the Ranger III with me to Rock Harbor for a single night on The Island and had no problems. There is also a prescription pill that counteracts nausea. One simple and usually effective precaution is to sit and stand where one can keep their eyes on the horizon to avoid confusing the brain which can be the root of much motion sickness.

Bottom line, IMHO the risk will be well worth it.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


wmmichael20
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Re: First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by wmmichael20 » Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:34 pm

Take the ranger or sea plane ....from what I hear the Nick name for the Queen is the barf barge ..and Dramamine is your friend take an hour before departure and feel free to take a nap and arrived rested and ready to explore


treeplanter
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Re: First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by treeplanter » Sun Apr 10, 2016 4:55 pm

The old Queen (circa 1990’s, and yes, nicknamed the Barf Barge) could be terrible in bad seas. No exaggeration, people would be lined up out back barfing their guts out on the way to the island or back. I understand the newer Queen is better. The Ranger is a huge boat. Very smooth. On the way back to the mainland last May on the Ranger we dealt three to four foot following seas. We barely even noticed the waves.

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Base654
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Re: First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by Base654 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 7:47 am

If you have the bucks, take the plane, it's quick and pretty. Given that this may be your only trip, the plane will give you a lot of extra time on the island. I have taken all of the Michigan boats, the Ranger is the best, but I have seen people lined up at the back rail on the really bad days.

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DonNewcomb
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Re: First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by DonNewcomb » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:48 pm

Ask your MD for a Rx for Meclizine.


Stephen
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Re: First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by Stephen » Sat May 07, 2016 3:53 pm

Meclizine is OTC at lower doses, on the shelf at Walgreens.


bobcat
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Re: First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by bobcat » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:56 am

I've tried several different types of anti-motion sickness medications and my personal choice for effectiveness and lack of side effects is the brand "Bonine", which is meclizine. But you should try any meds at home first to see if they make you groggy, or any other unwanted side effects.


Spinnister
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Re: First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by Spinnister » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:02 pm

Four crossings on the current Queen, 2 were perfect, and 2 of them were miserable. One of those was so bad I didn't know how I was possibly going to make it through all those hours. I was sick for hours after, and would start getting queasy every time I thought about it for a month after. I am susceptible to motion sickness anyway, but this was horrible. I was wearing the prescription patch (Scop?) by the way. I've used Bonine, Dramamine, wrist thingys, ginger pills. Just depends how rough it is. I will only take the seaplane now. Even if it's rough, it's only 35 minutes, vs hours.

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Isle Royale Rob
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Re: First time visitor concerned about seasickness

Post by Isle Royale Rob » Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:14 am

I spoke to a group of that had rode the queen in Monday the 20th, the morning after the storm front moved in, and they said 50% of the riders were puking! So glad I took the seaplane!
hike 2000, hike 2001, boater in 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011, solo hike 2016
8years=71days=6days rain!!!!

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