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#1 allan



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Posted 14 January 2012 - 02:37 PM


I tried a search and I couldn't find anything posted

I've dived the Carribean for many years mainly because it was relatively close to the East coast and a short flight. I realize now that if I don't plan a trip to the south pacific or Indonesia, or Wakatobi soon, I may never get there.

I'm worried about jet lag and setting up a large camera rig without making stupid mistakes because of fatigue. (been there done that!)

What do you folks do to combat jet lag after a 20+hour trip?


#2 drako


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Posted 14 January 2012 - 03:12 PM

Hi Allan,

It helps me to try and get used to the hours at the location, so from the east coast to the pacific its a 12 hour difference (give or take). I try to stay up the night before the flight and sleep little in the first flight to the west coast. Watching movies that you have held out on seeing and are generally interested in helps. I also pack a small toiletry bag with eye shades, ear plugs, soap etc. A friend of mine has the Bose QC15's and swears by them.
On the long haul flight I pop a sleeping pill and sleep through most of the flight.

When you get to your destination, its very important to not go to sleep. Plan an activity (preferably diving) and get to it. Even with plenty of rest the flight wears on people. So stay awake and active.

As for the camera, I pre-grease the o-rings and set them in ziplock bags. Also carry q-tips, paper etc. I make a checklist with a step by step set up process and follow it to the letter. Give yourself enough time and space during set up. Most importantly, do not preoccupy yourself by talking with someone or stopping midway.

This is my usual ritual and its worked on several transcontinental trips.

Hope this helps,


Edited by drako, 14 January 2012 - 03:12 PM.

#3 cor


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Posted 14 January 2012 - 05:24 PM

I realize this is not for everyone, but I combat fatigue by arriving some days earlier. Anywhere from 4 to 7. I personally am not comfortable diving heavily jetlagged, especially cause it generally hits me hard.
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#4 Aquapaul


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Posted 14 January 2012 - 08:20 PM

I have a harder time when I get home for some reason, can take weeks to get back to normal. But on the way there Ambien helps, and getting there a couple days before helps too. We went to Wakatobi last year and spent 3 days in Bali doing land stuff, very well worth it, amazing people. We were a little groggy in Bali but by the time we got to Wakatobi we were adjusted well.
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#5 okuma


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Posted 14 January 2012 - 08:43 PM

Don't assemble your camera the first day. This is where mistakes happen. Do a shallow dive and relax.

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#6 Kilili


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Posted 15 January 2012 - 12:23 PM

You want to address two things, work out how to combat fatigue plus how to mininise potential for failure.

I try to adjust to the destination time zone, at least partially, before flying out. My trips are normally 9 time zones west, to I attempt to adjust my sleeping patterns 4-5 hours. On the flight, I wear noise cancelling headphones, ones that cover the ear, as they are more effective. Sometimes I play music, sometimes not. I take two benadryl before the plane takes off, an anti-histamine, but also helps to sleep, which I try to do on the first leg, about 12-14 hr flight. I wear a nice sleep mask I got at REI. I tend to be awake on the second leg, 2-5 hrs. When I get to my destination [say Bali], I allow for 1-2 days down time, eat, sleep, walk around, etc. I don't touch my camera. Often, it's an other short trip to where I'll be staying and diving, [like Tulamben, Manado, Wakatobi, Ambon]. When I get there, it's camera assembly time.

I've a fairly big system, over-sized housing, 2 strobes, 2 large lights for illumination, plus a few extra things. I make sure everything is checked, cleaned and prepped before the trip. If o-rings have to be removed, like for the housing and strobes, I put in plastic bags and stick in the housing/strobe. I keep a checklist for everything I need to do to complete setup. The housing also has labels inside to remind me of settings and what to check, like o-rings. I assume I'll be half brain dead, and try to leave nothing to chance. Before diving, I check the setup in the pool or rinse tank. A salt-water environment is not the place to find a leak. The first dive, I pay special attention to the setup, looking for leaks. I also carry a spare camera and lens, just in case. As my diving is oriented towards photography, a malfunction is a disaster.

If your system is relatively new, practice disassembly, reassembly before the trip. Pack any tools you use, plus extra key o-rings, like for the housing. Assuming digital, make sure you make at least 2 copies of everything you shoot. Use separate drives.

I tend to be a bit obsessive about all this, and have encountered numerous camera problems on trips, including a camera that simply quit working, but nothing that has caused me to lose a full day of shooting. I'm also 60+ and the flights and time change sometimes hit me pretty hard, and I pace things accordingly. Some people adjust easily to the trips, off the plane and ready to dive. Not me.
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#7 diver dave1

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:30 PM

I did the same as Aquapaul and was glad I did. Started well rested, did not give up sleep in advance. Used Ambien to sleep on the plane and once at Bali. Delayed diving for 2 days to gain concentration then dove from shore first. For me, Ambien lasts 4 hours with no after effects but my wife avoids it. I tried Ambien CR to sleep longer but I just slept 4 hours then felt bad for 4 more. Better for me take standard ambien and take another one if 4 hrs if needed.
I change the clock to the new location and start eating/sleeping on that schedule as soon as possible.

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#8 Giles


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Posted 15 January 2012 - 04:28 PM

Fatigue is one thing Jet Lag is another.

Fatigue you will create by missing sleep. JetLag occirs as you transfer time zones. For most people the general rule of recovery is it will take a day per time zone .. so 12 hours difference technically will take you 12 days .. spending time before travel adapting to the new time zone can help, ie altering sleep and eating patterns.

I personally cannot sleep on airplanes .. so I tend to arrive tired. I stay awake until the local time brings me to night time. I also still like to hydrate as much as possible during travel but then have some nice drinks that evening to ensure a good nights sleep.

My worst symptoms are often first stomach orientated and then insomnia .. which is odd as I get more tired.

Dive Nitrox the o2 will help .. and f you can bribe the dive staff to let you take some hits of o2 when you do a morning dive that will perk you up for sure :D

I think everyone comes up with their own solution. I always travel with eye drops which at least makes my eyes look good when i land !

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#9 davehicks


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:21 AM

I don't sleep on planes very well. A couple of years ago on a trip to Wakatobi, a friend offered me some Ambien. This is a presciption sleeping pill and it worked really well for me. I got a small presciption for a dozen pills or so and just use it for international travel. Try using it to get extra sleep on the planes and if you need to, to get to sleep at the right time in your destination.

My standard strategy is to stay active and awake in the local time zone of my destination when I first arrive. Don't do anything that is going to lull you to sleep. No museums, big lunches, dinners, or drinking. Instead go for a hike or walking tour of the area. As long as I keep moving I don't get sleepy or tired. Once it is a respectable evening hour then you can crash. I usually am just fine for the rest of the trip.


#10 allan



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Posted 29 January 2012 - 07:34 AM

Thank you everyone for all of the valuable info.


#11 Drew


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Posted 29 January 2012 - 08:52 AM

My formula is melatonin supplements about a week before timezone change at the hour I plan to sleep @ if it's a immediate departure thing. The body gets sleepy at that time slowly and you just adjust much faster than forced sleep through drugs.
Otherwise, if I can, I do a Cor and arrive earlier and acclimatize.

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#12 E_viking


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Posted 30 January 2012 - 01:23 PM

My basic rules:
* on the Plane:
1) Try to sleep. Whatever works for you! I prefer Beer :-)
2) Don't watch that extra movie, rent it at home instead!
* on arrival:
1) Stay awake until the evening.
2) Some sort of moderate physical activity gets my body back-on-track, after a long haul.


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#13 Alastair


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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:54 AM

i travel a lot.... and i find that sleeping on the plane helps. I tried sleeping pills but i don't like the idea of being out cold or feeling groggy when i wake up. i normally watch a movie and adjust my watch to the destination time zone and try and sleep and eat around that. I also where possible try and plan my flights so that i either arrive in time to wake up and stay up till location bedtime or in time to go to sleep. arrving midday or late afternoon destroys me.

For assembilng cameras i do it in time before the dive and take my time and have peace and quiet... if i miss the first dive then so be it.

and then it is dive-dive-dive-dinner-beer-sleep...(repeat!)

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#14 johnjvv


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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:59 AM

and then it is dive-dive-dive-dinner-beer-sleep...(repeat!)

Stop hiding the truth!!!

it is more like dive-dive-dive-dinner-beer - beer - beer- beer- beer- beer- beer- beer- beer- beer -sleep :)

#15 eyu


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Posted 01 February 2012 - 05:28 AM

Use Modafinil to augment wakefulness during the day for a day or two when adjusting to jet lag.

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#16 scorpio_fish



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Posted 01 February 2012 - 08:02 AM

This is more of a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of answer.

1) Get your sleep schedule to your destination time zone as quickly as possible. This usually means staying awake an extra half day on the way there.

2) Melatonin. Here's a cut a paste of the routine:

Here's the melatonin regime. About 5 days before departure take 3 mg melatonin at the time you want to sleep at your destination. If you're going to Bali from TX that means you'd take it 9-10AM to sleep 9-10 PM in Indo. Do this for 5 days before and 5 days after arrival. Then about 5 days before departure, start the melatonin again, taking it at the time you want to sleep at your home destination.

3) Assemble your camera when you are well rested, regardless of what time of day it is (preferably during daylight).

I usually have no problem once I begin the dive routine.

The melatonin regimen was given to me because I struggle with jet lag. It's always worse coming back. I have trouble sleeping on planes, even with drugs like Ambien, Advil PM, or Lunesta.
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#17 loftus


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:16 PM

I hate Melatonin! Gives me the weirdest dreams.
I find the old standby Halcion to be far more effective for a good 6-8 hour sleep than Ambien or the others. Also not associated with weird sleepwalking behavior. :)
Book long flights overnight, so not traveling long distances during the day, pop a Halcion, lots of fluids, maybe sneak a glass of red wine, and I'm golden.
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#18 johnjvv


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Posted 02 February 2012 - 02:47 PM

All these herbal sleeping aides are horrible in my opinion as they only make you sleepy but dont knock you out and takes a long time to work out of your system, so when you have to get up you still have residual medicine in you and you wont feel rested. Prescription sleeping pills work much better as they knock you out and designed to work out of your system in a given time thus you wake up fresh...too bad I cant get my hands on them!!

I've done a few trips across time zones and I think you get used to it after a while. When you get to your destination just force yourself to adjust to the time zone. Go to bed at your normal time and get up at your normal time, just fight the craving to sleep during the day as it is a temporary feeling and will go away... if you cant sleep at night, you obviously did not drink enough!!!

Edited by johnjvv, 02 February 2012 - 02:50 PM.