Monday, February 7, 2011

Parasailing: It's Not as Easy As it Looks (with 33% more swears)

I didn't realize I wasn't entirely serious about going parasailing until it was too late.
It looked like fun, at least, it did when you were sitting on the beach, drinking a daiquiri and watching other people do it.
"That would really be something," I said.
"Yeah, I'd like to try it," my dad said.
"Me too," I said, absently
"I think I'll do it," my dad said, standing up.
"What? Right now?"
"Yeah," he said, as he stalked off towards the hut.
"Right now?" I asked again, trailing after him with camera in hand.
"You going up, too?"
I looked up at the person 200 feet in the sky, tethered to a speed boat by a rope.
"Uhh, I think I'll wait a bit."
"Nah, just do it," he urged me.
"I'll do it on Friday," I said, this being Saturday.
Because Friday was practically forever away.

Except that it wasn't.
I blinked and it was Thursday.
"That'll be you tomorrow," my mom said that morning, pointing at a parasailor.
My stomach clenched. "Yeah," I said. "Assuming, of course, that the conditions are good tomorrow."

Which, of course, they were.
"I'm not feeling so good,"I told my husband on Friday morning. "I think I'll just stay in bed today."
"Oh no you don't," he replied, dragging me up. "You've been putting this off all week. Let's just do it and get it done."
Reluctantly, I got of bed.

I'm not afraid of heights.
At least, not per se.
But the idea of being tethered to a speed boat and dragged around the ocean at great height with only a rope anchoring me was fast losing it's appeal to me.
But- I had given my word. And my word is my word. And I knew that I would probably regret NOT doing it. So I thought, I'm just going to do it. Even I feel like puking. Even if I do puke.

Besides- you could get a free T shirt if you go. And that sort of made me feel happy about it. Of course, I wasn't really sure where I would wear an over sized T Shirt with a giant, cartoon parachute on the back that says "Yo Yo's Parasailing. Since 1968."
But that wasn't the point. The point was, it was free.
OK it wasn't exactly free.
 You could it for the low price of ten dollars. And according to my logic: the sixty forty rule, that is free, because at that price-- they're practically giving it away!
Besides, what exactly, could go wrong?
It was a good thing that I didn't get the chance to google this or this.
Because, as it turns out, a lot could go wrong.

Truly, I probably would have backed out of it. I wanted to.
What kept me from backing out? I don't know. Stubborn determination. The onlookers. The force of inertia. The fact that Pedro already had me harnessed into that thing and had already taken my money and I probably wasn't going to to get it back.  The boat pulled away from the shore, trailing with it the rope that I was now tethered to.
My stomach was turning, churning.

"Has anyone ever gone in?" I asked the guy, pointing at the ocean.
He laughed in response.
But this was no joke.
"Has anyone ever gone in?" I asked again, now terrified and beginning to suspect that the answer was obviously yes if he wasn't going to give me a straight answer about it.
"Seniorita," he said, putting a hand on my shoulder. "Relax, breathe."
"Has anyone gone in?" I asked again, more intently.
The rope before was fast uncoiling and I knew I would be airborne soon. I was beginning to think that I would puke. I imagined chunks fallilng as I ascended. Then I would be shark chum for sure.
And still the guy refused to answer my question.
"Don't worry," he said. "We have very calm day."

Oh Fuck, I thought as I began to walk forward, the rope getting shorter, tauter.
My feet were on the ground one second, and the next second, not.
I squeezed my eyes shut.
Fuck fuck fuck, I thought, tightening my grip on the rope that tethered me to the balloon.
I was told that I could let go, but there was no way I would do that, no way I could. I held tight, afraid that the thing would come undone and I would float away, just like the movie UP, but deadlier.

I peeked open one eye. And then the other.

And it was beautiful. Breathtaking. Soaring above the ocean, with the mountains off in the distance.

That is actually me. You really can't make it out, because my husband doesn't know how to work the zoom button. Hey, what can I say. I'm still working on getting him to put the toilet seat back down. I was nervous and tense the whole time, but I survived! And I hve the pictures, and the T shirt, to prove it.

And would I do it again? Hell No.


Cheeseboy said...

I've always wanted to do this. But I can tell you right now, I could never write about it so well, Seniorita.

Lorrie said...

What a great memory for you...I gotta do you land???????

Joann Mannix said...

My college girl is looking at living in a new apartment next year for school. It's a nicer, fancier place and since we foot the bill, she was trying to convince us the other day why she should move in there. She told us about the flat screen tv's in the bedrooms, the larger square footage, the pools, all the amenities and then she says, "Oh, I forgot to add when you sign you get a free mug!" And we of course, were like, "A free mug! Where do we sign?"

Okay, as for the parasailing: I'm really glad you got to experience the coolness of it. But don't EVER DO IT AGAIN! I live in Florida very near the Gulf of Mexico. The parasailing industry for whatever unfathomable reason, is not licensed. There are no regulations for parasailing. And I'm sure in Mexico, there's DEFINITELY none. Anyone with a parachute and a boat can probably take people parasailing. We have at least 2-3 people a year killed while parasailing. Next vacation, think horseback riding or even better, I like your idea of a daiquiri on the beach.

Katie Mills said...

LOL. Too funny, loved the build up and so glad to hear that it went smoothly and you enjoyed it!

Bruce said...

Fantastic!! Would you do it again?? I sky dived in Cuba form 12000 FT, best experience EVER! That's another one off the bucket list for you:)

Stacy said...

I agree with Joann!! I recently took my son and nephews parasailing in Florida. It was our first time. 2 little girls that were unknown to us were on our boat and were suppose to go up together. 3 rounds of 2 at a time. When we got out there the boat operator said the winds had picked up and we needed to go 3 at a time so I took the first trip w/the little girls. We were sitting tandem and I was above the girls. After the 1st dip the girl infront of me slipped from her harness. Her life vest was coming over her face and she was panicking. Good thing I am a fast thinking MOM cause I might have lost it myself if I wasnt. I slipped my arms under hers and folded my legs to act as a seat. I am far from inshape and eventually my legs had fallen but I was not letting her go. My body was shaking from using all of me not to let her fall WHICH I had promised I wouldn't!!! We still had about a mile to go and of course at what was suppose to be 1200 feet in the air they weren't hearing our cries for help. When we finally came down to dip again they realized we were actually screaming for help and brought us in. The guy said there was no way she would have fallen cause the strap that runs between her legs would have caught her. Later reviewing those pictures I noticed there was one 1inch strap that was still about 6inches from her body. I dont know how that would have kept her from falling but there was no way I would have taken that chance EVEN if they had told us that prior to going up.

I have been researching since this incident and I have found what Joann said.. there are NO laws or regulations for the operators OR the equipment. There was recently a death in FL where someone's harness broke. I believe in my heart they strapped that little girl in wrong that day and didn't want to admit to it and of course what is done is done but something needs to change so these folks have more training and REALLY know what they are doing!!

Stacy said...

Let me please add there are no ways of notifying those still on the boat that you are in trouble!! Who can hear you while you are that high in the air and the hand signals we attempted made them think we were waving and having a good time!! Not a good situation to be in ...