For years, my dream was to go parasailing. Whenever I got asked, “What item do you most want to cross off your bucket list?” I often answered, “It’s a bit hedonistic, but I really want to go parasailing!” Ever since I first saw a family we met on vacation in St. Martin over a decade ago gliding through the air as a boat helped them fly, I knew I wanted to try it too. I could not think of anything more freeing than flying over the water and taking in the scenery as warm breezes pass me. The past few summers, I have tried to get a group together to go parasailing at a beach near my house and also tried to go in Australia, but I always waited until the last minute at the end of the summer/trip and plans fell through. Although I have been traveling to St. Martin every year with my family since I was one year old, this year was the first time I traveled to the island with five friends for our spring break. I love spending time with my parents, so going on vacation with them, as well as a group of friends, was a blast. And finally, I got to go parasailing!
Before my friends and I left for the trip, I told them that I didn’t care whatever else we did as long as we went parasailing. I was thrilled when a few of them said they would definitely be interested in going. On the taxi ride from the airport to our resort, I asked our taxi driver where the best place to go parasailing would be and she suggested Orient Beach, a beautiful beach on the French side of St. Maarten (as it is spelled on that side) that is also known for being a nude beach! Of course, there are only a few topless beach goers and I have rarely seen someone in his or her birthday suit.
A few days into the trip, I called Hot Wheels aka Rohan, a taxi driver who has become my family’s friend and trusty taxi driver over the past six years or so. Without fail, we run into him at the local casino a few times each trip too. His nickname comes from the red van he used to drive around in; the van was decked out with flames painted on the sides, acting as an advertisement for Pineapple Petes, a local restaurant. However, Hot Wheels informed us he sold that van for the more sleek white van he now drives that has a big VIP sticker on the front. In VIP style, with reggae music and music videos blaring/playing from the screen that sits at the front of his car, Hot Wheels escorted us to Orient Beach.
At first, I was disappointed when we walked up to the first water sports shed where we had been dropped off and they informed us that they had closed from the day, but was relieved when they said the next stand might offer parasailing. The next stand didn’t offer it either, but directed us to the final booth, where they said we could sign up for the activity. Finally, Ruby, Alyssa, and I signed the release form and were set to take off. Audrey, another friend stayed back at the resort with my parents that day, while Sonia, who had already been parasailing, planned on staying on the beach and acting as our photographer.
When it was time to take off, a young French worker drove Ruby and Alyssa out to the boat on his jet ski. As usual, I was running behind, trying to explain to Sonia how to use the zoom feature on my camera, so the worker came back for me.
On the boat, the Frenchmen helped us put on our gear and the “photographer” took a few photos before the launch. The workers had us in stitches when they asked us each for our individual weights. Ruby and I gave him ours, but Alyssa didn’t realize the worker was adding Ruby’s weights and mine together when he pointed at Alyssa and said, “Ok, so 240.” “I don’t weigh 240!” she said laughing She was reassured after we said he was just adding our weights. “I’m going to go home and develop an eating disorder after going on vacation with the Barbas!” she joked. As the boat took off, we were lifted into the air and sailing above the sea. The photographer motioned at us to wave at him and I couldn’t stop smiling.
After hearing my mother’s parasailing nightmare story in Mexico when she was about our age, I was a little wary. She said that there, the parasail even went over cliffs, and at the last minute, when she told the workers she didn’t want to go anymore, they refused to listen and took off as she screamed that she didn’t want to do it. I also remember the family we knew that went years ago describing how when the parasail went too close to the water, they were dunked in the ocean and the water went up their noses.
Still, while my friends and I all agreed that we thought parasailing would be a little scary, I thought that even those experiences would be a blast. However, we all decided it was such a peaceful experience and how we wished we could sit up there all day, eating lunch and having cocktails. Unfortunately, the ride was only about eight minutes. Still, it was worth the fairly pricey cost. As my friend Alyssa said, who knows when we might do something like that again? Although most of them were far away, I was glad I purchased the photos the photographer took of us from that day. He even left us with a few great selfies!
So does anyone else want to cross parasailing off his or her bucket list or has been parasailing before? I’d love to hear about your experiences!