Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Para Sailing at the Beach

Para Sailing at the Beach

It was Labor Day and our friends Gina and Mark invited us to go to the beach with them.  They have a membership at the Harbour Beach Marriott Beach Club.  That means we get preferential treatment at the resort and enjoy the amenities of the hotel without having to take a room.

We went to Gina and Mark’s house, bringing apple pie and ice cream for a barbecue later (coffee ice cream for him, black raspberry mint chocolate for the rest of us).

We drove to the hotel and staked out a place on the beach with complimentary lounges, umbrellas and table for drinks.

Mark and I went in the ocean while the girls read on the lounges.

While in the ocean, I was just standing there and observed the para sailing boat going by.  I had never been on one before and was somewhat curious about it. I had always wanted to try it.

Mark and I returned to the lounges and I continued to watch the para sailing.

“How much do you think that would cost?” I casually asked, pointing to the para sail boat.

“I dunno, $100, $150”, Mark answered.

Gina looked at me expectantly.  She expects me to do rash, impulsive, stupid things.I have no idea why.

“Are you really considering it?” she asked hopefully.

“Thinking about it. Where do you think they have set up?” I answered.

“Probably over by one of the Tiki Huts over there”, Mark said pointing to an area that had boats and jet ski’s for rent.  “I’ve done this before some years ago”, Mark continued and then told a story about he and a friend of his having done it previously and how the friend had gotten nauseous and vomited while up in the air (we shall leave his name out of this to protect his reputation). Fortunately Mark declined to go into detail.

Barbara started looking at me suspiciously.  “You’re not serious”, she said.

I stood up.

“Where are you going”, she demanded.

“Just want to see what the deal is”, I replied and before she could object further I was walking off in the direction of the rental Tiki Hut.

I got to the Tiki Hut, having stupidly not taken my sandals with me to walk on the hot sand.  I was greeted by two young lovely attendants who proceeded to tell me about the marvelous time I would have if I went para sailing.

“How much?” I asked.

“$95 for 15 minutes” the blonde said.

“Is there a discount if I am old?” I inquired hopefully.

“No, we charge extra for age”, one of the guys at the booth replied smiling.

The negotiation continued.  Me negotiating, they staying firm.  We settled on $95.

“I have to go back and see if I can get my wife to do it with me.  Can you write something to her telling her how safe and fun it would be?  Put in “Doctor Prescribed”, maybe that would convince her.”

The brunette looked at me like I was from Mars, but the blonde played along and wrote out what I asked for.  I trudged back to the lounges.

“How much?” Gina asked.

“About $100” I answered.

Barbara gave me the “look”. I gave her the note from the blonde.

“I’m not going; are you crazy?” she said. Barbara is not a “ride person”

“Aw come on, it’s probably safe and definitely fun.  We could do it together, no fun without you”, I said imploringly, but knowing there was no hope.

“Maybe Mark could go with you”, Gina offered.

“I’ve already done this”, Mark said.

“You’re not really going to do this” Barbara said, repeating objection from before.

“I wonder if I could take my cell phone and use it to take pictures” I mused, while studiously ignoring her.

I proceeded to call the para sail people and ask them.  I was told only if I wanted to get it wet. I declined to take it.

“What the hell” I said, “I’m doing it”, and started towards the Tiki Hut with my credit card in hand.

“Is your insurance paid up?” Barbara demanded.

“Wait up, I’ll come along and take some pictures of you from the ground” offered Mark.

We proceeded on while Barbara continued to give me the “look”.

We arrived at the hut, I paid and proceeded to the shore along with 2 guys and a couple.  We got on an inflatable and were taken out to the boat. 

I more or less successfully transferred fromn the inflatable to the boat and we took off.

The two guys went first, then the couple.  They were saving me for last.

Eventually I was strapped in and hooked up to the para sail.  The boat turned into the wind, the sail inflated and I was off. The tether extended out about 1,000 feet from the boat and I was about 400 feet up in the air. 

It wasn’t scary, I didn’t get nauseous or dizzy, and it was like sitting in a swing.  A very high up swing. 

Unfortunately the water was murky and I couldn’t see much in the way of sea life under the water.  Never the less, it was fun  It was worthwhile doing; if only for the favorable impression I made on my grandchildren when they saw the pictures of me up in the air.

I made it back to the group and we went to lunch. Surprisingly Barbara was being a good sport about it.

We ate lunch, had fun with a waitress who had a sense of humor (she wanted to charge our meal to the room, I said sure, 912.  She asked for the name on the room “see if there is a Levy” I said.  If not that room any room with Levy. It became a standing joke), and went back to the beach.

We left the beach and returned to Mark and Gina’s for the barbecue.  When it came time for dessert we all had pie and ice cream.  Turns out, Mark likes Black Raspberry and mint chocolate too, who knew?

One the way home Barbara said “$100, you had to spend a $100?”.

“Yes,” I said, “when will I ever do this again?”

Surprisingly she took it well, must have been because my insurance was paid up.

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