Ok…..it’s time to get back to some fun stuff! No more hospital talk! Enjoy this post about an adventure we embarked on during a trip in August!
We did something recently that you might think was a little crazy! We took Cannon parasailing! Ok, so, let me explain! I used to volunteer a week out of each summer to a camp for kids with cancer called Camp Happy Days and Special Times. During that week of amazing fun, one of the activities that the kids could choose to do is to go parasailing. And there is this one company, Tidal Wave Watersports, that comes each year to take the kiddos up. The children can participate as long as they are at least 4 years old (with parental consent, of course). So, I had seen this done and knew that a young child could be taken up safely and also could truly enjoy it. A friend of mine from that camp (Love You Melissa!) had an idea after Cannon enjoyed surfing and horseback riding so much. “Why don’t we call “Captain Mike” (his camp nickname) and see if he’ll take him up?” Well, we did and he said “sure!” So, the next day we drove to the Isle of Palms Marina on Isle of Palms, South Carolina for our special day!
Cannon had been a mess all morning! He was terribly over stimulated, bouncing off of anything he could find, stimming, scripting, and was very very emotional. We questioned over and over whether we should take him. What if it’s his tummy and we push him too hard? But, what if he is craving sensory stimulation and we don’t? We decided that since we had made the reservation, we would go and see if things would change when we got there.
When we arrived, I walked down the dock to check us in. We were a little early and I wanted Cannon to chill in the car as long as possible. That didn’t last long. Mark was getting him out as I walked back down the dock. Cannon was screaming, yelling, and kept trying to run into the marsh to “go swimming.” We tried pointlessly to explain to him what we were going to do and that we had to wait just a few more minutes. We tried tickling him, telling him his favorite joke, along with playing chase and hide and go seek. Nothing was working and we were really getting worried because there were going to be 4 other random people on the boat with us and we did not want to ruin their experience. Thankfully, soon after, the staff came and got us and we were able to wisk Cannon down the dock, into a life jacket, and onto the boat before he could protest too much. He had a sour look on his face when we greeted our new friend “Captain Mike” and his assistant, Ryan. The other 4 passengers were visiting from New York and boarded next. I was so excited as we set off! I just knew he was going to love it!
Ryan gave us some brief instructions, pumped us up for the experience, and then worked to get us all in harnesses during this time so we would be ready to go when our turns came up. We had started out in the “no wake zone” and Cannon was not impressed. He whined a bit and voiced his displeasure. BUT….as soon as we got out into the open water and started A) going really fast and B) going over a bunch of waves going really fast…..he was in HEAVEN! He laughed like crazy and squealed with delight! Another passenger was hanging on for dear life and turning green but Cannon loved every second! When we slowed down to let the first couple of people go up, Cannon laid his head in my lap. At this point, we didn’t know if he was tired or seasick. And he wouldn’t tell us or respond in any way. He had gone to bed later than he normally does the night before and was, as usual, up early that morning. So we were hoping he was just sleepy. And it was hot. So, we knew it could be a combo of the two. The first two parasailers, a couple of guys, went up to 600 feet. It was so fun to watch their faces and see how much fun they were having. I couldn’t wait for it to be our turn! There were 2 other people to go next, though and I was questioning whether going last was the right idea because Cannon was looking sleepier and sleepier. We were out in the open ocean at this point so it wasn’t choppy. Smooth sailing! It was also HOT! And he was just laying in my lap. The women’s turn came and they parasailed off the back of the boat all the way up to 800 feet! They said it was so peaceful and beautiful from up there!
FINALLY, IT WAS OUR TURN! Yippee! Mark and I put on our life jackets and since we already had on the harnesses……we were ready to go! The team changed out the equipment to allow for us to go 3 at a time. We walked to the back of the boat and they began buckling us in. Mark and I were on either side and Cannon was strapped into the middle. I kept saying to Mark……”Are we really doing this??!! Taking our 4 year old 600 feet above the ocean??!!” Cannon was still kind of droopy but had perked up a little bit from the moving around. We were then asked to sit down and did so. IT WAS TIME! Slowly and smoothly the boat began to move and our bodies eased off the back of the boat and into the air. A HUGE smile broke across Cannon’s face and he laughed out loud! “Thank goodness,” I thought to myself! He just loved the ascent to 600 feet! Mark and I talked and talked to him about all the things we could see from where we were and all the feelings we were having. Cannon just grinned and laughed! When we got to 600 feet though, it was very quiet. The previous passengers were so right. It was crazy quiet up there! So peaceful! And we were up there for almost 10 minutes. We saw beautiful blue ocean, white puffy clouds, shrimp boats, gorgeous landscapes, and the best part……a bunch of dolphins swimming and leaping into the air. Breathtaking to say the least! In fact, it was so relaxing up there……CANNON FELL ASLEEP! I kid you not! I couldn’t believe it! Sailing in the air at 600 feet above the Atlantic Ocean! We tickled him a little to wake him up and began singing some of his favorite songs. “The Alphabet Song”, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”, etc….. When our time was up, we were slowly pulled in. He perked up again….laughing and enjoying the experience. But one last fun thing was left! The Dip! We knew that Cannon would like it so before we left the boat, we had told “Captain Mike” to do it. As we got super close to the boat, instead of pulling us directly in……we were dipped in the water from the waist down! Cannon LOVED it! He cracked up! Seeing that…… “Captain Mike” decided to do it again. So, we were dipped one last time! Cannon laughed and said over and over “toes in the water.” Then, the Tidal Wave guys pulled us back into the boat! Cannon was so thrilled! We had a blast on our parasailing adventure! On our way back in to the marina, Cannon got to enjoy more choppy water, more dolphins jumping, and he even got to drive the boat for a bit! Captain Mike and his team gave us a wonderful gift and we are so very grateful!
Please check out Tidal Wave Watersports for all your parasailing, wakeboarding, tubing, water skiing, jet skiing, and charter boat needs when in the area of Isle of Palms, SC. They do a fabulous job! And have huge hearts! Like I mentioned before, they donate an entire week’s worth of time, equipment, staff, and gas money every summer to Camp Happy Days and give those kids with cancer a great time! They are just good people!
Tidal Wave Watersports
Isle of Palms Marina
69 41st Avenue
Isle of Palms, SC 29451
(843) 886-8456 (IOP)
(843) 768-3482 (Charleston)
THANK YOU TIDAL WAVE WATERSPORTS!!!!! You guys rock!