Monday, 15 June 2009

Choices choices everywhere and not a drop to drink

Never good at these. I often wonder if having a double would help. With it I could see the outcome of an alternative decision. Although that would then lead to deciding which had been the better choice - argh! another decision.

Had an ultra tough one on Saturday.

We were four, sailing to the Isle of Man, approximately a ten hour sail. An hour or so into the trip - the cloud beginning to break up, the wind a constant breeze - one starts to throw up. And throw up some more.

This is not unusual.

We continue to sail. Most people in my experience are sick, get sleep and doze for a few hours and often actually start to feel better. But then she starts to have diarrhea. And continues to vomit.

I am more concerned. This is not usual. I check our position on the chart. We have come about ten miles, with about thirty to go. We could turn round and be back on a nice flat anchorage in three hours, or we could continue for another seven. If we carry on for a wee while to see if she gets any better and conforms to my experience but doesn't, we'll have further to sail back.

I suggest to Richard (who is skipper for the day) we could turn round. He says nothing. He doesn't have to. I know he doesn't want to. I don't want to. It's turned into a beautiful sunny day, brilliant wind, reasonable flat sea (to the initiated) and we're actually out there heading to the Isle of Man - where neither of have been and have talked about going to for months.

She fouls her trousers. Now she is dry retching, loudly, violently. Says she wants to go home. Lee, the fourth crew, is consulted. He takes a minute to answer.

We turn round. The wind coming from behind us now means everything feels slower, flatter. I finally persuade Mim to lie down under a pile of fleeces, blankets and wet weather gear. None of us can say how disappointed we feel. We are all focused on making sure Mim is okay, feels comfortable. We anchor three hours later. She instantly feels better. This is usual.

Alone we three admit this to each other. I ask if they think, now, if it was the right decision. Richard tells me he wouldn't have considered turning around if I hadn't mentioned it. Lee says it's his experience that people sail through it.

On the short trial sail we'd made the previous day she had taken her seasickness tablets. But because they'd made her feel drowsy she was reluctant to take them for the longer trip. I suggested it'd be a good idea. But decided not to insist. I didn't want to nag. She was an adult, after all. She could make her own decisions and be responsible to them.

If we had just not decided to turn around, she would have suffered for another three hours - nothing in the scheme of things, but when you're seasick, interminable - and then we'd have been at anchor as we were now. Calm. She would've had to ferry home. Although she could have taken her tablets for that four hour trip (less if she got the super speedy catamaran).

How many decisions do we not make in the course of one day? How many decisions could we avoid making and get away with it?

We could have decided to insist she either took her seasick tablets or not allow her to come, or say if she decided not to take them then she was stuck with that decision.

Or decided not to have asker her in the first place since it was a long trip and she has a history of travel sickness.

It's all so easy in hindsight - or harder, depending on your decision

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