This weekend I met a woman who is afraid to fly because of recent Malaysian airline tragedies. Her husband said she won a trip to Cancun but wouldn’t go. She then exclaimed she is also unwilling to take a cruise because of all those luxury liner mishaps in the news last year.
How sad to miss out on opportunities for travel because of the fear of death, I thought.
I can’t swim and I’m terrified of sharks, yet I get on ships. I certainly can’t fly, still I get on airplanes. This is not because I don’t think about the dangers and it isn’t solely because I know the statistics are in my favor. Neither is it because I’m brave. (You should see me shaking at the top of an escalator.)
My way of overcoming fear is to face it by considering the worst case scenario. I have a vivid imagination. (Which is why I can’t get on escalators–they are going to chew me up!)
This year for vacation, we are booking a cruise and one of the best parts is the excursions on shore. We are planning to try parasailing for the first time.
I was disappointed to discover our cruise line no longer offers parasailing adventures. That was my first choice because they know how to find the providers with the best equipment, insurance and a good safety record.
My husband did this once years ago, deciding on a whim when he saw a boat taking people directly from shore. One has to run toward the ocean and hope for a last-minute lift. I decided this is not best for uncoordinated people like me. I want a boat with a long deck where a guy with a winch can assist me with my awkward take-off and landing.
When I found out Dan had experience, I had questions. Do you sit in a chair or hang in a harness? What happens if you don’t run fast enough? How do you get back down? Can you unhook the parachute if you land in the water? Where do you land? Does it hurt your knees? Do you get wet? How high do you go? How much weight is allowed in a tandem flight?
He suggested I look at YouTube videos so I did. I found imaginative titles like, “Parasailing Gone Wrong,” and “What Happens When Your Boat Dies.” I watched a bunch.
I saw a kid get slammed into a hotel wall and decided for sure I don’t want to take off from the beach. It broke his nose and his ribs. I watched a man and his daughter riding in tandem when their rope broke. I was relieved they landed safely in the water; even the camera survived. I saw some young men getting sick up in the air and decided I would eat a light breakfast with no beer.
I was wondering about the boat dying and it went according to all I had imagined. The parachute fluttered and folded, the rider drifted gently into the sea where he was immediately assisted by a second boat. They got that immense chute up into the boat first, then they unhooked him, then they pulled him out of the water. He was wearing a life jacket. That was my last question. Life jackets? Yes!
Only for reinforcement of my decision, I watched a couple of people take off and land from shore. One poor fellow was dragged ten feet through the sand before lift off!
I watched a confused man who kept pulling the parachute ropes and causing the boat driver much frustration. The big American finally landed on a tiny Balinese assistant and knocked him flat. I couldn’t help laughing.
Now I know how to avoid some risky situations and what to look for when choosing a provider. I know quite a bit more about what to expect. I have considered that I might die. I am almost ready.
Check it out: Parasailing done RIGHT!