Friday, April 6, 2018

Parasail The Keys

Everything has a way of working itself out. Everything happens for a reason. Those two statements run true to my life and once I breath, have faith in each statement, and let go, things really do seem ok and work out. That couldn't have been more true for March 15th, 2018, day 9 of our epic road trip. We had made reservations on a ferry to go to Dry Tortugas National Park. Something we were all looking forward to. While in Miami, I received notification that our reservation had been cancelled because of overbooking (and when you're a large group who were one of the last bookings for that day, you're the first to get kicked off). I was really disappointed and I broke this news lightly to my travel partners.

We didn't really have a plan for that day, other than we had thought parasailing sounded really fun. We had spoken about it and the boys said they "really really want to do it!" I had assumed the Elizabeth wouldn't want in on the action and would be an observer in the whole adventure (or a rider as the parasailing places call it). But once Dry Tortugas was canceled and parasailing was moved to the top of the list, Lil Miss was convinced she would be flying too. I was none too eager to pay $100+ per person for parasailing, so I shopped around a bit for the best prices. On day 8 of our trip, on our drive down to Key West, we stopped at Robbie's to feed the tarpon and a brochure for parasailing caught our eye.

Not only did we instantly like the atmosphere at Robbie's, but the parasailing prices were tough to beat. $69 per person seemed more than reasonable to me (plus an extra $43 for our guide to take pictures, but that's optional. We went for the picture package so we could fully enjoy ourselves).

The next morning we arrived back at Robbie's and given the chilly temps of the morning (hello 50 degrees as we sailed over the ocean), we were promptly lead to a boat and taken out onto the great Atlantic ocean. Our captain and guide were WONDERFUL! They were helpful, knowledgeable, and more importantly great with the minis.

The oldest mini was terrified going up. Before the parasailing began and we were riding on the boat, our guide started hooking everything up and getting Harrison into his life jacket and gear. Panic set in and Max started saying, "no, I don't want to." We knew he would have regrets about not going, so we sent him up anyways. Wouldn't you know it, he LOVED it! The middle mini was ready from the get go. He was extremely disappointed that it wasn't warmer out because they had wanted to "dunk our butts in the ocean" (when the captain lowers them into the ocean). However, since it was so chilly out and the water was cold, the captain and guide didn't think it was a good idea to get the kids wet, but they did lower them enough to dip their toes.

She looks terrified, but I swear she was laughing and talking the entire time. She was REALLY cold (right before we went she was wrapped up in our guide's warm coat because she was shivering) and not scared at all! In fact, all she can talk about is going parasailing again so she can "dunk my butt this time!"

A few things to keep in mind about parasailing (especially with kids):

  • Check age and wait minimums and maximums
  • Find a place that will do tandum or triple flyers. I wouldn't have felt comfortable with my kids going by themselves. 
  • Depending on location and time of year, book your parasailing trip in advance. A lot of places (especially in the Keys) have excellent deals on parasailing, snorkeling, jet skis, and scuba diving if you book it all together.
  • Wear swimming suits, but also dress in layers and bring towels to cover up with.
  • Things to bring: towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, waterproof camera, GoPro (we failed to bring the correct attachments so Hubs could wear it while parasailing, so we missed out on that one)
  • Even if kids don't want to fly, most places have a riders fee, so they can still come along and watch.
  • Take cash and tip your captain and guide at the end.

One of the places we looked into was Fury Ultimate Adventure. It looked awesome, but we decided the minis weren't quite ready for something like that. Parasail The Keys was AMAZING and I can't recommend them enough!

Ironically, for initially being disappointed about day 9, it wound up being our very favorite day of vacation. A day that truly seemed unbelievable from start to finish.