I should’ve climbed out of the boat when Captain Ron’s doppelgänger had me sign my life away on that little piece of paper, but I didn’t.
“You’ll be fine,” he said. “We make sure we take you far enough out to sea.”
Far enough for what? I should’ve thought. But not a single alarm went off in my brain.
Why? I’ll blame it on the blue drink.
We were on vacation in St. Thomas, and I couldn’t just sit there on the beach and relax. NOOOO. I wanted excitement and action.
So, after our second day of lounging around on the sand, my husband and I looked into fun island activities.
“How about parasailing?” Justin asked.
“Sounds great!” I exclaimed.
Truthfully, I had no idea what parasailing was, but it sounded leisurely and fun. I thought perhaps it would include me sipping a special island cocktail on a boat, letting my hair get tousled in the salty breeze.
Boy, was I was wrong.
“Why am I signing this?” I asked. The contract mentioned things about death and injury. DEATH! What?! “Are you sure this is safe?” I asked Captain Ron.
“Dude, we do this all the time. You should be fine.”
“Should?” I asked. “Well that’s relieving.” Justin and I were new parents. We had a 4-month-old daughter at home, and all I could think about was leaving her parentless.
Despite my fear, I signed the contract. After that, Captain Ron suited us up with strappy, blue contraptions that went over our shoulders and under our butts. Then he attached some ropes to what looked like a parachute.
The only things that would be keeping me from the sharks were a thin piece of fabric, some rope and a couple of buckles.
“Crap!” I said. “Do we have to do this?”
“We’ll be fine, Danielle,” said my husband. But I think he was trying to convince himself more than me, judging by the crackle in his voice.
“Sit down, legs straight out in front,” said Captain Ron. I listened and quickly assembled myself on the boat floor. The boat accelerated and before I was ready to fly, we were airborne. At first, it was all right. We were hovering just above the boat, and the ocean sparkled like a blanket covered in loose diamonds.
“This is nice,” I said as I looked around at the green Caribbean Islands. I liked the way they sliced between the waves.
The boat accelerated again, and I felt a pang of nausea. Suddenly we went from comfortably high to OMFG. The boat wasn’t more than a dot below us. The rope seemed so impossibly thin and possibly frayed, and I was certain it would rip at any second.
Clearly, I was having the time of my life.
Actually I hated it.
I thought I was going to vomit and die from choking on my puke midair just before my rope had a chance to completely unravel and send me plummeting to the ocean below where I would, instead, be savagely ripped to death by the sharks I couldn’t see.
“Smile for the camera,” my husband said. I squinted my eyes and opened my mouth to expose my teeth, but it didn’t resemble a smile.
“Try and have a good time,” said Justin.
“But I’m terrified!” I whimpered.
“Just try,” he repeated.
I tried. And I tried. And it didn’t happen.
Instead, I closed my eyes and waited for it all to be over while I whined like a puppy dangling over a pit of hungry lions.
“Hey,” said my husband. “He’s lowering us. You can open your eyes now.”
I opened my eyes and saw that we were definitely being lowered. But we were also coming in fast and hot. The boat was getting bigger and bigger. The ocean waves were getting closer to the tips of my toes; it didn’t seem like we’d make it. I braced myself, because there was no way this would be a Southwest Airlines clap-your-hands kind of landing. No.
To. An. Abrupt. Stop.
My ass slammed against the boat floor and left bruises for days.
“Sorry about the rough landing, dudes,” said Captain Ron.
I was so happy to see solid-ish ground that I didn’t care about my sore bottom.
“No worries,” I said. I’d had enough excitement and action for the rest of the trip. “Just get me off this boat and give me another blue drink.”