Be the kite
By Megan Malugani
I fasten my life vest and step into my harness with anticipation as a powerboat motors me smoothly out to the middle of Wisconsin Dells’ Lake Delton.
Low winds and warm weather make it the perfect day for parasailing. I haven’t left the ground yet, but I’m already flying high with excitement —I’ve been looking forward to this little adventure in the sky for weeks.
Marcus, the boat’s captain, and Rafi, his first-mate, unravel a boldly-colored parachute and allow the wind to inflate it. A moment later, I’m ready for takeoff. The boat accelerates and Rafi beckons. Without even a flicker of nervousness (there’s no need for it: the company taking me up, Lake Delton Watersports, has flown thousands of parasailers over 23 years without injury), I quickly step back onto the boat’s carpeted platform. The first-mate clips my harness to a cable attached to the powerboat’s winch, and tells me to sit down.
A moment later, with glee, I realize that my feet are off the boat and dangling free. I’m airborne, a human kite. The cable connecting me to the boat is unspooling from the winch, and I’m ascending—smoothly, spectacularly—into the cloud-covered sky.
The boat below me is whipping circles around the 300-acre lake at around 30 mph to keep me moving on this calm day, but up in the air I’m just dreamily floating along at a leisurely pace, enjoying the breeze in my hair, the gorgeous views, and the total, blessed silence. At long last I’ve found absolute peace and quiet (which for a mom of three ranks right up there with Merry Maids), and it’s located 150 to 200 feet in the air.
From my bird’s-eye view, I can see for miles in all directions. The sparkling lake below is just a puddle in the green lushness of early summer that’s radiating in every direction. Besides reveling in the silence and beauty, I’m fascinated by trying to identify all the Dells waterparks and resorts (harder than you think) and trying to make sense of some of the shoreline monstrosities that more resemble Greek mansions than summer homes.
Thankfully, parasailing is nothing like an amusement park ride. The harness is so comfy that it’s unnoticeable, and I never feel jostled or bumped — the entire sail is silky smooth. The experience is so tranquil, in fact, that I feel more like I’m communing with nature than taking a thrill ride. I also realize that my distaste of heights (I get paralyzed if forced to look down from the Space Needle, for example) isn’t an issue when I’m parasailing. Looking down at water just isn’t very scary—it is almost impossible to tell how high you really are.
I decide that parasailing is the perfect “lazy” summer adventure. If you’re in the mood for some big fun in the great outdoors but don’t want to get too cold, sweaty, or sore, then parasailing is for you. With parasailing, you get to fly (what could be more exhilarating?), but the activity requires absolutely no athleticism, no training, and no skill. Really, parasailing is so effortless that even a monkey could do it. And heck! You don’t even get wet.
After about 15 minutes in the air (a little more airtime than allowed the typical customer), I feel a jolt when the winch is turned back on and the boat below starts to reel me in. The worst moment of the journey (in fact, the only bad moment) is when I realize my fly time is coming to an end. I land back on the boat just as softly as I’d taken off, with a new envy for kites.