Two Coasts and No Army, 11: Altitude Adjustment, 4 December 2023

March 13, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

         HL, Ava and I agreed on our desire for a relaxing day, without tours or formal activities.  It was noon before we ambled to the beach behind our hotel.  We had not gone far before the heat overwhelmed us, despite our leisurely pace.  We craved a swim, and the ocean looked inviting.          I was planning to swim, but first wanted to enquire about the cost of parasailing.  Several beachfront entrepreneurs were selling boat rides, surfing lessons, and sundry marine amusements.  I had been parasailing once, at the Red Sea, in Eilat, and was eager to try it again.  Neither Ava nor HL had any interest in joining me.  They were kind enough, however, to postpone our swim while I indulged in a semblance of flight.

 

Being strapped into my safety harness

My ground crew  

       HL endured the Sun’s relentless rays for over 20 minutes in order to take pictures of every stage of my journey.  After I was buckled into a life jacket and harness, I was attached to a tow cable.  Two young men helped me walk forward in a crouch until I felt the line grow taut.  Then I was airborne, held aloft under a tricolor sail.

 

Taking to the sky

      As I rose above the beach and the rocky, forested offshore islets, the air cooled.  I could hear nothing but the wind. An incessant whisper.  I was seated on a strap, rocking slightly as if on a child’s swing, with no need to grasp any part of the harness to feel secure.  It is difficult to describe the sensation of floating in utter tranquility, outwardly in motion while internally at rest, to anyone who has not experienced it.  For me, it was blissful.  The clarity of the air enhanced the mingled blue hues of the ocean.  I saw every leaf on every branch as I sailed above the trees, even though I just glanced at them in passing.

        After the boat curved back towards the beach, I did give a thought to my landing.  I would not be collected by the boat as I was during my previous foray into parasailing.  This time, I would be deposited into the surf and retrieved by someone on a jet ski.  I tightened the cord on my sunhat in preparation, lest I lose it if I sank to any depth at the rendezvous point.  

        The descent was gentle.  I was submerged for only a moment and the jet ski was there, as promised, when I surfaced.  The hardest part of my return was climbing onto the back of the jet ski as it bobbed in the waves.  The boy operating the jet ski assisted me while another boy swam beside, unclipping my harness.  It was my first ride on a jet ski, and, though brief, it was long enough for me to understand jet skiing’s appeal.

 

The retrieval
 


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