Among all who know me, I am perceived as a very cautious risk-taker. In other words, I am not the typical friend who would voluntarily fling myself from a plane attached to a guy who claims he has been “doing this for years”. I often take pride in that I have never been seriously injured doing something that could have been prevented with a little thought. However, one Bahaman cruise with my crazy friends from my school band would change my perspective on risk-taking.
At my high school, anyone in band is offered the opportunity to go on an elaborate cruise to the Bahamas. My chance was during my junior year. Since middle school, my friends and I had talked about the big cruise trip we would take once we finally made it to high school. One can’t even imagine how enthralled we were once we took our first steps onto that luxurious ship. The trip we had been dreaming about for years had finally become reality; it took every bit of what self-discipline we had to keep our cool and not become the loud, giggly girls we thought we’d outgrown.
After our first five-course dinner, we decided to reenact the scene from Titanic on the bow of the ship. As we approached the deck in our flowy dresses, we noticed that the quick speed the boat was traveling barely allowed us to stand. Holding down our dresses, we trekked through our own personal wind tunnel to the front of the boat. We were all so slap-happy from the laughter we decided we would all let go of our dresses to see if they would have a Marilyn Monroe effect. Thankfully, when we made this goofy decision, no one was around to see that our theory did prove to be true.
On our last full day, we were left to explore the Bahamas’s capitol, Nassau. We took a once in a lifetime cab ride through the congested streets and miraculously arrived alive at a public beach beside the famous Atlantis Hotel. Everyone was somewhat disappointed the weather was not very tropical, but we decided to make the best of it. When a Bahaman Native asked us if we would like to ride a banana boat, the more adventurous bunch paid the man and swam precariously to the blow-up raft without even questioning. Despite my fear of water, I wanted to experience the fun and dog-paddled my way out to the boat. As we fastened our questionable life vests the drivers explained the safety rules with a very strong, native accent, making it difficult to understand. Being the smallest passenger, I was put at the front with only a thin strap to hold onto. Realizing the potential danger, I said a quick prayer. “Lord, please don’t let me die. My mother would never forgive me.” Within seconds of the initial acceleration, we all screamed, flipped, but enthusiastically climbed back aboard. The rope that was being used to pull us behind the motor boat snapped in half on the next go around. A major factor was four of our biggest guys were riding our raft. Five unsuccessful tries later we voted those guys off and onto the power boat as we victoriously rode back to the beach.
Overall, I couldn’t have wished for a better trip than what I experienced. I bartered quite poorly for souvenirs, ate five-star delicacies, including my first bite of duck, and relaxed with a few of my favorite people in the world. Most importantly, I learned to loosen up and have some quality fun.
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