Testing Wave Energy ... and My Seasick Limits

• E-mail Maggie Lineback

Our crew in Dallas covers a lot of different stories. There’s NASA, immigration, even the occasional hurricane. But once in a while you catch a break. When we went to cover the “SEADOG,” a new device that’s supposed to harness wave energy, I was excited. We’d be out in water off Galveston all day, catch some rays and have some fun.

And it started out that way. We had an exhilarating boat ride out through the channel. Huge tankers shared our space, sending out big rollers our 21-foot bay boat seemed to jump up and over. When I spotted dolphins frolicking in a tanker’s wake, I thought, how much better could this get?

Then we got to the SEADOG and tied up to it. It looks sort of like an overgrown tinker toy. Our photographer needed to get some shots from it and I enjoyed seeing him carefully maneuver his way onto it. I even had the camera ready in case he accidentally fell in the drink. Everything was going grandly, right up until about when we started our second interview. I started to feel woozy. My head fogged up like a San Francisco morning. And the turkey burger I had for lunch? It wanted to free itself from my stomach. By the time the second interview was over, I was in bad shape. Not wanting to embarrass myself by hurling in front of our interviews (much less my coworkers — they’d never let me hear the end of it) I asked the ship’s captain to kindly drop me off somewhere, anywhere, that was dry land. He looked at me sympathetically. There was no place to drop me off. We’d have to make the hour-long trip back through the channel.

The SEADOG is about a half mile offshore. I am by no means in my high school swim shape, when hours long a.m. and p.m. practices were routine, but at that point I was thinking — half-mile swim or hour-long boat ride? Just as I was about to jettison my shoes, the inventor of SEADOG assured me that once we got moving, I’d be fine. Sure he may have invented a way to tap the ocean’s energy, but could I trust him on seasickness?

Fortunately, I could. Once we were heading back to the dock, I felt better after about five or ten minutes. Our story ended up airing on the FOX Report. I am so thankful we didn’t have a day full of live shots on this story — or I may have had to make that swim.

Maggie Lineback is a Dallas bureau producer.