I woke up Thursday morning very early in a cold sweat. I knew My Man and his oldest son, Nick, were going to go jet skiing. I knew they were going to ask me to go and I was terrified. I had only been on a jet ski once (in the Mediterranean Sea) and it reminded me of the only time I rode a motorcycle (in Germany). I was scared to death both times.
I decided I would tell them I had too much laundry to do or too much work or needed to clean out my bedroom closet — anything really, just so I didn’t have to go. After our Orange Theory Fitness workout, we jumped in the pool to cool off and talked about the day. The guys planned to go jet skiing in Tampa Bay, but after some conversation, we also decided to go to the beach. Somehow, I heard myself agreeing to go jet skiing as well.
I was so anxious to control my fears that I went online, found a place that Yelped out well, and signed all three of us up quickly. I even signed all of our waivers and checked us in.
We opted to go with Fly-N-High in John’s Pass in Madeira Beach, Florida. It was the best decision of the day! Pat and Nate took great care of us, including free parking right out front. Nick had one jet ski and My Man and I took the other one. For $65 for an hour, we all three hit a bucket list item!
Prior to jumping on, I was filled with fear. I don’t know why I built up riding a jet ski as something to fear, but I was scared. But, I smiled as we climbed on and began to ride out to the Gulf of Mexico. Somehow, I started to smile bigger and bigger.
Nick’s son had never ridden a jet ski. He was patient as we rode by the many bars and restaurants that led us out to the gulf. He was really excited to let it rip once we got out of the no wake zone. We rode up and down the coast for awhile, stopping to take a lot of pictures at first. We were all really excited to be on the jet skis, including me. There was such a sense of joy and freedom as the wind hit our faces in the sunshine. We spotted a few dolphins which made the ride even better!
We raced up and down and up and down. We then shot a few funny videos. I couldn’t help myself, I was laughing and laughing. I was smiling so hard I thought my dimples would pop off my face.
Nick loved the open air feeling of zooming across the gulf. It made us all smile.
Nick also shot a video of My Man and I. I couldn’t stop laughing. It wasn’t a scared laugh. It was a laughter that said “What were you so scared of!?”
Towards the end, I begged My Man to let me drive. He couldn’t believe his ears! We figured out how to switch places without tipping the jet ski and off I went. Now the dimples were really popping!
Driving the jet ski was a big step for me. I have tried hard to embrace the growth mindset in the last couple of years. This felt like a big step in that direction again. I didn’t panic. I didn’t cry. I was herky jerky at times with the speed, but it was a blast. It was so much fun going fast! After a couple of turns on the jet ski, I had that down too.
I was so proud of myself! Just by riding a jet ski for an hour, I proved I can tackle my fears. I now feel like I am ready for the next big step, if moving across the country a couple of months ago wasn’t big enough! Look out Tampa Bay – here I come!
After an hour, we rode back in to Fly-N-High and chatted for a bit with Pat, the front desk attendee . He said around spring break, they raise the rates to $70 an hour after 12 pm. Prior to that, it’s $60 (10 am) and $65 (11 am). I really liked Pat and Nate – super friendly, super fun. They didn’t act scared for you, they acted excited and confident. I highly recommend you go there if looking to ride a jet ski in the Tampa Bay Area!
We walked around for awhile, watching some fishermen cut up the day’s catch. Madeira Beach is the Grouper Capital of the world, but I didn’t know if these were Grouper! Read more about Madeira Beach here.
After eating wings at Hooter’s (yes, that Hooter’s), we went down to the beach and hung out in the water, talking about how much fun it was to ride the jet skis. Prior to leaving, we shot a couple more pictures of Father and Son. What a great day for the two Nicks and the one Michelle!
Why Travel, Cooking and DIY? A creative type, I have always loved painting and decorating as a hobby. Upcycling is a real passion. My mom was a Home Ec teacher when we were growing up. I learned a lot from her and because I love hosting get-togethers, I had to step up my game in the kitchen as well. And lastly, my love of travel comes from my Grandma Schmitt.
An Illinois native, I worked in the White House Communications Agency early in my career (President Reagan), prior to returning to Illinois State University to finish my undergraduate and Master's. After a couple of post-graduate internships (minor league baseball and Big Ten Conference), I then worked in college athletics full-time for more than 22 years -- first at the University of South Carolina for 15 years and then at Santa Clara University for the last seven years. We moved to Tampa, Florida in Dec., 2016 after spending 8.5 years in Northern California.