Getting really, really high

It’s 11:15 a.m. I’m strapped to a bar, attached to a parachute. I’m sitting patiently on the back of the boat with my legs out in front of me. The straps on my shoulders are taut. My heart is racing. My friend James doesn’t look the least bit nervous. In fact, he seems pretty relaxed, which is strange, considering that we’re only seconds away from our first parasailing experience.

The driver accelerates and we both grab onto our straps. Bryan, our operator, gives us a thumbs-up. We just smile and nod, too scared to take our hands off the straps. Bryan presses a green button and our rope begins to unwind. We’re lifted off the boat.

The takeoff was smoother than I thought it would be, which was a relief.? Instead of being rough, it was like sitting down in a swing.

What an amazing view. Before I knew it, we were nearly 200 feet above the water. We could see the entire beach. James and I were trying to count how many hotels and restaurants we recognized. We looked for favorite beach spots and tried to find our friends. I could look down past my dangling feet and see how high we were.

I think heights are exhilarating, but my breath still caught when I looked down. I loved it. After all, they call it “flying” for a reason.

Our first flight was only 600 feet – that’s how much rope they unwound while we were flying. I would love to say that’s because I’m cheap, but I have to admit it was because I was scared.

The truth is, I don’t think it makes much difference how much rope you pay to have extended. The boat’s moving quickly enough that you stay behind it and not above it. The height at which you fly all depends on the wind that day.

The couple who flew before us paid for the whole nine yards. 1,200 feet of rope for 10 minutes – that’s not cheap. But I don’t think they flew much higher than James and I did. Where it counted was “in-air” time. It seems like they let the rope fully extend before they start timing your flight. And remember, there’s also the descent.

Our descent was much shorter, but it was my favorite part. I could have stayed in the sky for hours.

I was upset that the water was approaching fast. I started getting nervous and couldn’t help but scream.

Then I heard the driver say, “We call this trolling!”

I knew what trolling was. That’s how you catch fish – driving the boat slowly through the water, dragging your bait behind you.

That meant we were the bait.

Splash!

I must admit, getting dunked was a lot of fun, as well as refreshing. Bryan snapped picture after picture every time we plunged into the water.

Before I knew it, we were a couple of feet above the boat. Bryan told us to bend our knees when we landed. As he took our hands, the driver cut the engine.

I couldn’t help but think parachuters wish their landings were this smooth, although my balance probably wasn’t as good on the boat as it would be on land.

The boat sped back to the dock and we finally stepped onto dry land, where we received the pictures from our day’s adventure.

A word of advice: Don’t buy the $20 picture CD. Most of our pictures were of poor quality – either blurry or taken too far away. Bring a friend to take pictures or ask the other parasailers to do so. Chances are they’ll ask you to return the favor. The quality will probably be comparable to the pictures we paid for.

All in all, parasailing for two was well worth the $96.30. However, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t have worn shorts over my swimsuit -?there’s no need to soak your clothes. Also, I would have made reservations to avoid waking up so early, and I would have gone for the full 1200 feet of rope.

When we were leaving, I saw a shirt that read “there’s nothing like flying.” I have to agree.

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