Submitted by Don Doman
My wife Peggy got a call from a friend. She was going to celebrate her birthday by Para-Sailing with her partner and a friend. Peg was invited to join them for lunch after the flying adventure.
“Experience the quiet, peaceful beauty of the South Puget Sound at an altitude higher than the Space Needle! Enjoy breathtaking views of Mt. Rainier, Downtown Tacoma, Mt. Baker to the north, and the Olympic Mountains to the west,” says the Pacific Parasail website. When Peg returned from lunch with her friend she was hooked. She wanted to try the new adventure.
We had dinner at Shenanigans a few days later and watched the Pacific Parasail speed-boat take out their customers onto Commencement Bay from The Ram Pub on Ruston Way. We had two granddaughters coming to stay a few nights the following week and so we asked their parents for approval to have the kids (12 and 14) fly with Peg. When we checked back, mama said, “The girls are so excited.”
Pacific Parasail, LLC is a family owned and operated business providing safe parasail flights in the South Puget Sound for over 15 years. They have flown over 20,000 flights without accidents, not even a stubbed toe! However, upon request they will lower the parasail for a toe dip. Other than the dip or a little drizzle, it’s a bone dry event. We called 253-272-3883 for reservations.
As the date approached we began to worry. The forest fire smoke from British Columbia was limiting the view and making it fairly hard to breathe. By the day of the ride the smoke had cleared a bit, so we committed. We had reservations for four in the afternoon. We needed to check in a half hour early. We were able to see the crew load twenty gallons of gas into the on board gas tank.
It was obvious that the crew had completed these flights many times. They took their job and safety seriously. Once we were on board, we each donned life jackets. A mother and her son flew before us. This let us get an up close and personal view of how things worked. The mom had flown before with her other grown-up son. This time around was just as much fun for her as it was the first time. She loved it.
When it was our turn, Corey had Peg and the girls step into their braces and then continue onto the loading platform at the rear of the runabout. All three were connected onto the bar that was connected to the cable with the para-sail. Then all three sat down on the deck with their feet out in front of them. First air was let into the para-sail and then the boat sped up until the parachute gently pulled all three into the air. Immediately they were flying and then . . . they were hundreds of feet in the air. We paid for the one thousand foot cable.
So, what is it like? Quiet and peaceful. You look down to the water or off to Maury Island, or the Tacoma waterways and the Puyallup River as it empties into Puget Sound. The ride lasts about 20-25 minutes and then as the boat begins to head back to shore the flyers are reeled back in. The boat slows as the flyers near and with two or three steps they are standing on the platform and smiling. Peg held onto her sun bonnet almost the entire trip.
We posted the trip on Facebook and soon other relatives were lining up to join Peg on another flight. Her youngest sister said, “Peg, I can’t believe you did that.” A few minutes later she was pledging to try it with Peg the next time she flew in from upstate New York. Both granddaughters said they would do it again. It’s a short season, we might not get them all flying by the end of September. If we don’t then we can start booking them next June. Their dreams of flight will have to wait for reality.