I have never been seasick in my life. There is a first time for everything, though … and today was that time.

I’ve been struggling with serious back pain all week here in the Azores, but this morning, I woke up and felt like I had turned a corner. We checked out of our hotel in Ponta Delgada, and walked to the ferry landing to catch the boat to the island of Terceira, 125 miles to the northwest. I was looking forward to the ferry ride on the open sea, which, note well, is calm today.

Twenty minutes out of port, I lost my cookies. Violently — so violently that it strained my back again, and put me back at square one. Thank heaven the ferry line left barf bags generously scattered at tables in the cabin. I filled one. And then, despite multiple Dramamine pills, in a second round of enthusiasm, I filled three more.

It was a sweet time.

I tried to go out on the deck to get fresh air and see the horizon, hoping that would steady me, but that did no good. I staggered back inside the warm, humid cabin and hunkered down in a seat against the window, trying to sleep. That worked decently well, until some sort of folk troupe headed to Terceira for a festival, broke out their accordion and their tambourines, and began singing folk songs at the top of their lungs.

I don’t speak Portuguese, but my guess is they sang old favorites like, “The Sheep and the Lonely Shepherd,” “My Baby Farts Like A Steam Vent In Furnas,” and “The Upchucking Yank Sea Shanty.” And then, I swear to you, they burst into a robust rendition of “Feliz Navidad.”

I wanna weesh you a Merry Chreesmas! I wanna weesh you a Merry Chreesmas!” Crap on a crapstick, it was brutal.

I wanted Shelley Winters to waddle over and sit on me to put me out of my misery. Odysseus never had a day like this.

But — we are here on the island now, and the ground is solid beneath my feet, and the weather is glorious, so … onward!

Below, the far edge of the singers, in yellow shirts. There were about 30 of them, and they were carrying watermelon placards on long sticks, for some reason. Bless their hearts, they were so happy, and I wanted to be happy with them. I’ll probably see them in the parade tonight in Angra. I’m going to shout at them, “Merry Christmas!”