Riding high: taking a parasailing trip
A knot gripped my stomach and adrenaline rushed through my veins as I watched Joe Montoya, co-owner of Get High Para-sailing, inflate the parachute. I was about to fly 400 feet above Lake Tahoe, attached to the back of a boat.
Parachute inflated, I climbed onto the platform to have my harness attached to the chute. I was told to hold on to the harness beneath the attachments and thought, “Wait! This is it? Shouldn’t we weld me in here first?”
Montoya and Robert Roderigues, the captain, began to let the tow line out with a wench and I felt the rush of being airborne. The tow boat grew smaller as I climbed higher.
Upon reaching the maximum height, I noticed the horizon had become considerably lower, allowing me to see much of South Lake Tahoe. Although I’ve lived on the South Shore all my life, I’d never seen it from this angle. Unlike the views one sees when hiking, I could see 360 degrees of the Tahoe Basin at once.
Eye-to-eye with Tahoe Mountain, I looked down on Pope Marsh stretching toward the roofs of Tahoe Keys. Sailing by at my right were Valhalla, the Tallac Historic Sites and the Valhalla Boathouse Theater.
As I looked at the toy-sized boats beneath my feet, I was amazed at the serenity. There wasn’t a sound but the breeze.
Before going up I had imagined bouncing about, wind rushing in my face, and holding on for dear life. It may have been due to that morning’s particular calmness, but I began to feel as I imagined Mary Poppins felt when she drifted over London by way of an umbrella.
By the time I descended back to the boat after my 10 minute ride, I was eager to go higher.
“I’ve had lots of different reactions from people. I took my friend’s mom up and she came down crying and smiling. I’ve even had someone else say ‘Can’t this boat go any faster?'” Roderigues said.
According to Roderigues, parasails are pulled at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, depending on the weather and stage of flight. For instance, the boat usually moves slowest during a parasailer’s landing.
Although Get High has a perfect safety record, both Montoya and Roderigues emphasize the need for precaution.”We’ve quit as early as 1 p.m. due to the wind,” Montoya said.
Get High Para-sail began its first season this June at Camp Richardson Resort. “My partner, Joe (Montoya), is retired and we were looking for something fun to do,” Mike Yagi, co-owner said.
Although there is no age limit, para-sailers must weigh between 70 and 270 pounds.
Parasailing is seasonal, running from May 15 to September 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. everyday. Single flights cost $50 and tandem cost $75. Before 10 a.m. a $10 discount is offered.
The boat takes off from Camp Richardson Marina. For more information, call (530) 542-3734.
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