In keeping with my ‘Life-on-the Ocean-wave’ (or under the ocean-wave, as the case may be) theme this week, I have decided to do a blog on the pleasures of Parascending -which many people would believe is not for the fainthearted, but let me assure those of you with a little sense of adventure out there that it is completely safe -and undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating and exciting excursions on the island. I first tried my hand at this amazing experience with a handful of friends on the Balearic island of Mallorca -and the results were nothing less than hilarious! At first we were all taken out to a floating platform, a few hundred metres out to sea, where we disembarked our speed-boat, while our ‘captain’ began setting-up the winch, which would be pulling us along behind his boat, before attaching the huge zeppelin-sized umbrella, which would be lifting us into the air with the greatest of ease, before gliding us around the coastal fringes of Magaluf Bay. My great friend, David, was the first to volunteer, as he has always been the bravest of the pack -and so within minutes a very robust harness had been securely fastened around his body, along with a number of steel shackles, which in-turn attached him to the aforementioned apparatus.
Unfortunately, as our host spoke very little English -and none of us spoke a word of Spanish at the time, the language-barrier had failed to convey to my good friend that as soon as the rope became taught he was supposed to run the length of the platform, before jumping-off the edge and being lifted high into the sky! And so the outcome of this breakdown in communication was my buddy being dragged-along the platform on his hands and knees, before being hoisted into the air like a sack of potatoes being loaded into a container ship -it was hysterically funny! Within seconds David had regained his composure, and so the rest of his trip around the bay went without a hitch -and needless to say that the rest of us were like Olympic runners when it came to our turn! I had enjoyed this new-found adventure so much that when I arrived in Tenerife I couldn’t wait give my children the pleasures of seeing the fabulous southern coastline of this wonderful island -from over ‘100’ feet in the air. However, things had moved-on considerably since my teenage years, because floating platforms in the sea had long-since been replaced by large square platforms at the rear of the boat -and now the speed-boat would get up to the required speed, before releasing the parachute -and subsequently the passengers, into the air -and so running for one’s life was no-longer an issue.
Also, along with the single harness, double-harnesses had now been introduced, meaning that ‘2’ people could enjoy the ride together -which suited me fine, as there was four of us in our little troupe, who were looking-forward to ‘reaching-for-the-skies’. However, I was then duly informed that as all of my three children were still young -and therefore relrelatively light in stature, I would have to do the flight with all three of them in turn…such is life! Liam was first to go, as he was the eldest -and as the pair of us were catapulted backwards into the air, we both screamed with delight, before being whisked forward -and upward! High into the sky we climbed, the panoramic views becoming more spectacular with every passing second. Within minutes the people on the beaches became no-more than bodies on the sand, as we breezed past the penthouse suites on top of the sea-front hotels at a leisurely pace. Below us we could see the great break-water barriers -thousands of rocks all piled high above the water-line, in order to stop the imported sand from being washed-out to sea by the immensely-strong currents of the Atlantic Ocean.
The control that the captain and crew had with the winch and parachute was simply amazing, and so after completing our celebratory lap of the bay, my son and I landed safely on the platform of the boat -to rapturous applause from everyone on board. Hayley was next in line, and so our circumnavigation of the skies was nothing-more than a repeat-performance for me -but for my daughter it was yet-another notch to add to her world of exciting adventures. And then came my turn with Carl, which was likewise par-for-the-course for me, but a great new experience for my son -that is until they began winching us back to the boat for the end of our ride! As we came within a stones-throw of the platform, one of the crew-members began pointing his right thumb downwards, while at the same time asking the passengers to take a democratic vote on whether-or-not he should ‘plop’ us down into the ocean for a few seconds, before bringing us safely back onto the boat. The vote was unanimous, of course, and so before we knew it (and having totally ignored my pleas for leniency) Carl and I soon found ourselves swimming-with-the-fishes, before being hoisted back onto the boat -much to the delight of our little entourage! Actually our little ‘dip-in-the-drink’ had been very refreshing -and so neither of us were complaining -and all I can say to those of you who have not had a go at parascending as yet -well, you don’t know what you are missing.