Photos courtesy of Dan Westphal
THE sight of multi-colored parachutes floating hundreds of feet above the ocean while being towed by a speeding boat has caught my interest for a long time, and I vowed I would not leave the island without trying this amusement ride that had tourists coming back for more. My chance at parasailing finally came early this month when my officemates planned a trip to Managaha Island.
Tasi Tours supervisor for Managaha Yuka Saito booked me and our advertising in-charge Jeanette for a parasailing trip and warned us not to take any alcohol.
At 2 p.m., we were already onboard a boat and speeding toward the middle of the ocean. A couple, then a mother and daughter were ahead of us to go up. We were to be the last. I watched with fascination as the huge parachute unfurled and those ahead of us flew into the skies by two’s.
I watched them as the boat captain, Dan Westphal lowered them into the water a few minutes later to get their feet wet then released them back into the air.
Before we knew it, our turn came. I examined the contraption tied around my body and struggled to drive away the fear that started to gnaw at my guts. I don’t have fear of heights but I don’t know how to swim.
I decided to think of the hereafter later if something happens and we get disconnected from the boat. Tightening my lifejacket, I looked down and saw the warning on the harness which says “the use of the device puts life and limb to risk. Use at your own risk” or something to that effect!
Uh-uh, some assurance indeed!
Before long, we were soaring high above the clouds. Capt. Dan set off at an average speed and I began to enjoy parasailing.
It was exhilarating to float over 150 feet above the clouds and enjoy the view of the islands which looked like tiny globs and the clear blue waters below. Suddenly we were plummeting down at full speed! I nervously looked down to check if we were disconnected from the boat.
I was expecting Capt. Dan to dip our feet slowly in the water but everything was going so fast before I knew it water was up to my neck and I took my first, second and third gulp of sea water.
Before I could think again take my fourth gulp of the ocean, we were soaring up and away again at such a speed I could only hold my breath as I held on for life. Soon it was over and we were gently lowered back to the boat. What I expected to be an ordeal I have to survive turned out to be a very enjoyable yet safe adrenaline-pumping activity.
Although not for the weak of heart or for those who suffer from acrophobia, parasailing is an addictive form of recreation once you get the hang of it.
Capt. Dan said that they get an average of 20 clients who go parasailing in one day, and up to 40 during the peak season.