You know, I like to think of myself as somewhat adventurous. I have taken a propeller plane over the Grand Canyon, taken a helicopter over waterfalls in Maui and I even parasailed in the Gulf of Mexico. So when I saw the sign advertising the “Dolphin Adventure” I knew it was the perfect way to end my summer vacation. Little did I know that “Dolphin Adventure” was a euphemism for “Terror at Sea.”
We gathered early on Saturday morning a few doors down from where I was staying. There was a couple from Kansas City and a family of four staycationing in the area. We were given our safety and operation instructions and outfitted with life vests. As I turned and waved goodbye to my baby, it never occurred to me that it might be the last time I ever saw her.
As soon as I got on my Waverunner, I knew it was going to be more than I expected. I had visions of me casually cruising down the Gulf, but I didn’t realize what a huge piece of machinery it actually was. And I was expected to drive it?
As I waited for everyone else to get on their waverunners I practiced riding mine. I was scared, but I figured I’d get the hang of it. When Jake gave us the signal to go, I took off, but the others took off faster so I was last in line. No biggie, I just watched my speedometer and tried to focus on staying within the 40-50 MPH that Jake had told me. Quickly, I realized 40-50 MPH wasn’t gonna cut it. My group was zooming away from me!
My hands began to hurt from gripped the steering wheel so tight. I was okay (mostly) as long as the water was smooth, but when waves came (and they did) it totally freaked me out. I did nothing but focus on not tipping over while calling out to Jesus.
As we neared the end of the island, I saw my group slow down. Then I blinked and my group disappeared. I came to a stop and just stared. Where were they? I looked around and all I saw were a couple of boats. No jetskis. I started to cry. Then I called out Jake’s name. No Jake.
I knew I only had one choice and that was to get my ass back to dry land. I was NOT going to end up on the evening news. So I turned around and slowly started heading back to the site. I figured it had take me about 10 minutes to get to the end of the island and would probably take double to get back. Next thing I know, here comes Jake zooming past me and waving. I stopped and started screaming at him, “you left me!!!” He apologized and said I was never out of his site until he went around the bend. YRB. He asked if I was okay and told me everyone was just around the corner. I followed him and we continued the tour. Once we got to a place where he wanted to give us instructions, I asked him to explain why I couldn’t keep up even though I was doing 40-50 MPH like he said. He told me my gauge was probably set for kilometers. Bastard. So, like, I’m expected to do math while fighting for my life in the open seas?!?
At this point we made our way to the bay where I saw dolphins blah blah blah they were pretty blah blah blah and they swam right next to me blah blah blah. Honestly, I was still so traumatized that it took away from my enjoyment of seeing the creatures.
Once we finished hanging with the wildlife, it was time to head back. I did my best to stay in line with the group and I did fine in the bay. The water was smooth and I was zooming right along. But once we got to the Gulf and the waves came I became timid again. And so the other people zoomed past me and I was left behind. But I was determined to get the hell on back and get off that damn waver runner. I gunned it as fast I could while trying not to think about it. As the water was hitting my face, I found myself yelling out things like “Jake is a mutherfucker!!” and “Jake doesn’t care about you!!“ I’m sure if anyone was close enough to hear me they would have thought I was a nutcase.
Once we got near the pier I began to calm down. I knew if I tipped over at that point I was close enough to swim to shore and walk back to our beach house. Thankfully, I didn’t have to do that because we were back to our site shortly thereafter.
I was the first one to get off. The guy helping me asked how it was and I simply said, “Jake left me. He came back for me but he left me.”
In the end, I’m glad I did it. I have always wanted to ride a jet ski and now I know what it’s like. Also, it was pretty awesome seeing the dolphins like that. It was definitely an adventure, but next time, I’ll do it from a boat.