The Human Kite (152nd new thing).
September 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
On Day One Hundred Fifty-Two I went parasailing for the first time. I was nervous at first, loading onto a boat with two other groups of people, three young siblings and a family of five. We headed out to the open ocean as the first mate readied everyone. I stepped into a harness and was clipped into various criss-crosses of thick nylon banding. The nerves really picked up when I was chosen to go first. At least some of the other people had done the sky dance before and knew what to expect; I was completely lost.
Captain Sean and his right-hand man attached me to the metal bar behind which the parachute ballooned in the wind. I had visions of being sucked out to sea as the rope magically disintegrated. My heart dropped to my stomach. And then I kind of sat down, hovering a few inches off the floor of the boat as the experts slowly unwound the spool of nylon that attached me to the floating vessel.
I climbed higher and higher, slowly and steadily, until the boat was just a small speck between the waves. Captain Sean told us we would be raised about five hundred feet into the air. It didn’t feel too high, until I looked down at the size of the twenty plus foot boat and shivered. What really put the height into perspective was actually checking out the white caps of the waves under my dangling legs. They looked like little ripples across the sea. The shoreline, several miles away, was filled with miniature houses and hotels. And it was quiet up there, serene and peaceful. I felt like a human kite.
Before I was floated into the air, the first mate pointed out a school of dolphins swimming near by. By the time I was raised into the sky, the herd was swimming right underneath my swinging legs. They didn’t jump or anything (how cool would that have been?!), but I still thought it was pretty great. Even if they did only look like tiny flecks of gray amongst the brownish green water.
After what felt like an appropriately lengthy amount of relaxing in the sky, the boat reversed its pull of the rope and I began to come back to earth. I felt like my flight was much longer than anyone else, but it could also have been the fact that I was absorbing so many new experiences that time seemed to actually slow.
The remainder of the journey found me mainly chilling out on the boat as the other three groups took their turns. I was especially glad I went first when the hungover father in the family of five leaned over the side of his harness while in the air and expunged the contents of his stomach. Mostly I felt for his son strapped together with the puking dad. Apart from his wife who remained embarrassed on the boat, some of us shared a little chuckle. He provided a sound piece of advice: don’t drink and parasail.