A couple of months ago when Wes’ family was visiting his sister (my sister(-in-law)!) said that she really wanted to go para sailing. So, of course, we stuck Sierra with Grandma and found a place with a decent price and signed up for it. Wendy suffers from motion sickness and was a little wary of going up there, but she recently started her own Life List and this was a chance to cross something off.
It was pretty windy the day that we went out and, I admit, a bit choppy. Wendy looked a little green on the way out and I felt a bit queasy at a couple of points on the trip. Our guides for the trip told us a story of a group of girls they took out. They were all fancied up for the event – painted nails and makeup and teeny tiny bikinis. Four were in a row on one side and opposite them sat the friend who neglected to tell everyone that she gets motion sickness. And, of course, that one friend threw up on all the rest of them. It made for a quiet ride back.
Luckily, nothing like that happened to us.
Because it was so windy, we didn’t have to go too far out before they put us in the air. We each got in our harnesses on and took our seat in the on-deck seats. And then we moved on to the back deck where they strapped us in and took the above picture.
We were up for about 30 minutes. The views from up there were amazing but when we got on the boat we were told that we might be getting wet so, unfortunately, we didn’t have a camera.
I will admit to feeling a little nauseous while were in the air, as there was a lot of twisting from side to side. Happily, no one puked the entire time. They dipped us on the way back in – twice, in fact, because we were local.
Wes and I have always celebrated our birthdays in a big way. The first year I took him to Six Flags for the weekend (he was like a kid in a candy shop) and then he took me to Yosemite for camping, hiking and horseback (mules) riding. We’ve had surprise parties and scavenger hunts and SCUBA diving. This year for his birthday, though, we stayed super low key. Tsunami was still too young to go outside and it was difficult to leave her at home for any length of time because she still didn’t understand that she shouldn’t pee in her kennel. We were both fine with it, but a couple of days later Wes said that we should get back to making our birthdays special, and he knew just what to do.
Now, usually when Wes knows of the perfect gift or surprise, he’ll dangle it in front of my face for days. He’ll play 20 questions and laugh when I inevitably can’t figure it out. He loves to hold it over my head. And I hate it. But this year he didn’t do any of that. I figured it was because his family was in town and there wasn’t much time for teasing me about a birthday when there was a wedding just four days after.
The Saturday before my birthday we woke up early to get started on this Big thing Wes had planned. He asked me if I had any idea what we were we doing and when I told him that of course I didn’t know, he hadn’t said anything, he told me that he hadn’t said anything because it would be easy to figure out. By the time we got to our destination, I still had no clue. It wasn’t until we passed our turn that I finally looked at the signs and realized that we were about to go sky diving.
Sky diving is something that we’ve talked about for a long time. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do and it’s something that I added to my Life List. But, truthfully, it’s not something that I ever thought I would do. A couple of years ago I had a hard time jumping off a rock into the water, so the thought of pushing myself out of a plane seemed pretty improbably. Luckily, I had a great diver to help with that. We arrived early, but still had to wait over an hour for our dive to take place, which means I got to see a lot of people go up and float down without a problem. It actually made me more calm and I needed that after reading the waiver which basically was 8 pages of “You will probably die or be seriously injured and we are not at fault for that, even if our crew packs the parachute incorrectly and that’s why you die or are seriously injured. Still not our fault.”
My diver’s name was Jim and one of the first things he said to me was, “My name’s Jim. If you have to scream, just yell, ‘Oh dear God, Jim!'” and I liked him instantly. We all piled in to this tiny plane and I was sitting on Jim’s lap as we made our ascent. The plane takes you up slowly and does a couple of loops so that you can see the island, and it was a clear day so we got to see a lot of the island – Pearly Harbor, Diamond Head, North Shore and Waimea Bay.
When the doors opened I wanted to scream a little bit, but I held it in. Now clipped into Jim, he moved us to the door and said that when we got there we would look around and then tell me to bring my arms in and head back and we would jump. I thought I would have a minute or so to gather myself at the door, but almost as soon as we go there he were out, with the simple phrase, “Here we go!” Here we go indeed. And yes, I screamed. The first part is complete free fall and I’m pretty sure I screamed the entire time. I wish I could say that I did scream, “Oh, dear God, Jim!” but I wasn’t even thinking about trying to be funny. I was too busy staring at the ocean below us and wondering how the hell we were going to make our way to land. Once the chute opened up, though, I was able to relax a little bit and enjoy the ride. We did a couple of loops and it felt like being on a roller coaster. Jim pointed out Wes and I got to see him land. I took the reins for a little while, but I didn’t help steer anything. I could feel Jim take the rope above the hand loops and help me maneuver us to our destination.
And then, quite suddenly, we landed. The jump couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes and for the rest of the day we kept saying to each other, “It doesn’t feel like we went skydiving this morning.” It was probably the most scared I’ve been in a long time. But I loved every minute of it and am so glad that Wes planned it without me. Given the chance to hem and haw over it I probably would have kept coming up with reasons why skydiving wouldn’t work this weekend (although, skydiving the week before your wedding doesn’t sound like the greatest idea, either. I kept picturing one of us breaking a leg on the landing.) until pretty soon the topic of discussion just faded. It was kind of an awesome note to leave behind my life of singledom.