NCL Breakaway to Bermuda | Obviously, I lost my mind when I decided to step into the Free Fall Slide…

I’ve already taken you through the episode of the Ropes Course.  Let’s call it: Coursegate.

Now, let’s move on, because you know, why stop at the Ropes Course when there are possibly more things to make you lose your life?

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I had the safety harness removed, gathered the bag holding my towel and whatever else, and headed to the Aqua Park.  I promptly shed my shorts, tee, sneakers and socks and headed up the stairs to the Aqua Park attendant.  I was told to step on a scale. Okay. If the cut off is about 300 pounds, why am I being weighed?  Clearly I am nowhere near your cut off number.  But, whatever.

I saw several people coming from another set of stairs and handing in what looked like hard flotation devices strapped to their backs with a snap around the waist.  One was quickly taken from the attendant and handed to me.  In went my arms, the snap around the waist, and then I was climbing what could have been two or three flights of stairs.  I found myself on a landing with another attendant.  I walked towards one of the receptacles of the dual Water Slides.  I was nervous, but ready.

“Oh, you can’t wear that here. That’s for the Free Fall,” said the Aqua Park attendant.

Um, what?

He motioned to another set of stairs.

I turned around, looked up and there it was: The Free Fall.

I walked towards it and climbed the stairs. Another attendant was waiting.  (Now, I’m thinking back…’Where there really stairs or am I imagining things?’)

I asked: “How does this work?” looking at the clear capsule-like thing in front of me.

He tells me,  “Just relax, step in. It’s no big deal. It’s easy.”

I ask if I should crisscross my arms over my chest.

“Yes,” he said.

I step in, I feel a floor beneath my feet but it appears thin and hollow. I tell him I need a minute.  He tells me to relax, there will be a countdown and to “smile for the camera.”

No sooner did he utter the words, the capsule door was closed, I began shaking and thought: ‘I change my mind…I want to get out of this thing….I need more time to think.’

3…2…1…

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I don’t know if it was “1” and then the floor disappeared, or if the floor disappeared as the capsule announcement said “1”.  All I know is, the floor shifted away, I remember being lucid enough to realize I’d begun to fall and my crossed arms were shaking and I had loosened them uncontrollably.  I was panicking.  I kept falling.  And falling.  And falling.

I had no control of my body.  I felt I was falling to my death.  It was like one of those bad dreams where you’re falling down a canyon or off a cliff and you just keep falling — leaving your body behind.  I thought my heart was going to stop.

I kid you not. That’s how I felt.

The next thing I knew, I was dumped harshly and unceremoniously in a semi-seated position in a pool of shallow water creating a huge splash and water gushed up my nose, immediately producing a burning sensation.

I slowly got my bearings, sat up and crawled over and out of the receptacle.

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Obviously, I lost my mind when I decided to step into the Free Fall Slide…

Why?

Because although I clearly felt I had just escaped death, a few minutes later, I was climbing the stairs again to the Water Slides.  After several minutes of hesitation, allowing fearless little boys go before me, I stepped in, sat down, placed my hands overhead to the handle bar, and pushed off.

I was whipping, whipping, whipping down an enclosed and dark slide with such force — G-force, maybe, at the corners — that was never-ending.  All I remember thinking — yes, I was thinking — were things like:

Oh my God! Oh my God! Jesus Christ, help me! Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Oh. Sh*t.

(Hopefully, all is forgiven for taking so many names in vain.  Shoot, I could have called for the anti-Christ at that point. I was so desperate for this nightmare to be over.)

There was a huge splash, and I ended up semi-seated in a pool of shallow water.

I got my bearings, slowly getting myself to an upright position and crawled out of the receptacle — shaking.

No sooner did I get out, a little boy, maybe about 8 or 9, was dumped in the shallow receptacle next to mine. He jumped up and asked, “Was it dark in your slide???”

What kid?  Are you seriously talking to me right now???!!!

“No, not very,” I said, shrugging my shoulders (as my knee knocked and I barely caught my breath).  I played it cool.

*motions in my head three fingers blowing finger tips like gun barrel — and placement in make-believe holster*

BOSS.

I promptly made my way to my bag, retrieved my towel, put on my flip flops, and got the h*ll off the d*mn deck still shaking. I went straight to our cabin and called for The Mother — and announced, I need a drink, a shower and to use the bathroom…Although not necessarily in that order.

First time. Last time. I’m never doing those again.  I’m too old for that craziness to be repeated.

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NCL Breakaway to Bermuda | I thought: ‘I have insurance but I’m not sure it covers this (sh*t).’

Hello, Bermuda! Our home for three days.

Hello, Bermuda! Our home for three days.

Let’s take a step back to a week ago, shall we?  I mean, I’m among friends, right?

Soooooo, a week ago Sunday, The West Indian Mother and I stepped on board the Norwegian Breakaway, yep, the newest cruise ship sailing on the high seas right now. There we were at Pier 88 in New York City, two large and one small brimmed hat in hand, two suitcases in tow, two large carry on canvas bags, one of them with my shoes for the week.  (What? I needed to bring shoes. Don’t give me that side eye.)  Anyway, we were there early and zipped through Homeland Security and then were stuck on the long line to check in. We were filled with positive anticipation. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we were going on vacay, so no problem, right?  We could handle a wait.  But really, 40 minutes?  Didn’t they know I desperately needed to get away–and fast?

FINALLY, we get through the check in process, woo hoo!…Cue the Norwegian Cruise Line commercial theme music!  We practically sprint to the NCL security desk to swipe ourselves in for the first time.  (The Mother and I are fast walkers, so perhaps it wasn’t a sprint, but to the normal, average person, it probably looked like Norwegian was dangling a full plate of lobster with melted butter and garlic in front of us.)  Up the gangway and our first step on the Breakaway we were greeted by several members of the crew dancing away at the entrance.  That’s right, folks:  We. Had. Arrived.

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By now, you’ve viewed the photo galleries I shared on this little-blog-that-could. If you didn’t, check here and here and here — the first is the food and, you know, the drinks I really enjoy from time to time, the second is the ship and the third is the Bermudian landscape and other miscellaneous sights.

Okay, I need one of these before I share this story…

Drink No. 1...Caipirinha with "extra sugar"

Drink No. 1…Caipirinha with “extra sugar”

Let’s fast forward to Bermuda, shall we?

We arrive in Bermuda on Day 4.  We decide we must be off the ship by 10 a.m. every day.  On our last day, we had to make it to the capital — St. George’s.

After an early morning rise, a round trip ferry ride from the Royal Naval Dockyard, hours of walking around the Bermudian capital that included a torrential downpour lasting about 45 minutes keeping us trapped in a local souvenir shop that I was all to eager to escape while it continued to rain, and no lunch, we returned to the ship weary. Somehow, however, the sea air went to my head because I promptly changed within seconds of entering our cabin and I was off to 3-story sports complex.  There’s an adventurous spirit within me. Sure, it was seemingly thousands of feet in the air, but I’ve lived this long and haven’t died (yet) — no problem.  If I can go on the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, I can do this.

The Brainy Pint Sizer would conquer the Ropes Course.

Norwegian Breakaway - A view of the 3-Story Sports Complex

Norwegian Breakaway – A view of the 3-Story Sports Complex

That’s the Ropes Course clearly visible at the top of the photograph above.  Looks harmless, doesn’t it?  Well, after getting strapped into a safety harness and instructed to “hold on”.  As I climbed the stairs (holding on, of course) to the landing or the starting point of the Ropes Course, nervous excitement began to consume me.

Then I got to the landing.

Get the *&$@ out of here. Oh H*ll No.

Just picture this. You get up there and you are so high (and I’m pretty tolerant of heights and always considered myself fearless) and then you look around and realize you could probably see New York City from where you were standing. Yeah, it was that high and below you was water. And the only thing between you and meeting your maker?  A harness, a single hand-held over-the-head security grasp and netting running alongside the ship.  O_O

I thought: ‘I have insurance but I’m not sure it covers this (sh*t).’

And although the ship was not moving (remember, we were still docked), those ropes were moving. There was wind. After all, it was high — mountain high.  Oh, and every kid who had zero fear was practically running through the course, shaking every rope and connecting rope their little feet could touch. smh.

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I tried. I really tried.  Not once, but twice, I attempted to do the Ropes Course. I climbed the stairs to the landing two separate times, and both times I stood, almost paralyzed, at the thought of taking the first step on the first rope.  Both times, I left a frightened mother on the landing where she had been for about an hour.  (I think she may be still be there.)

At the end of the second time, there would not be a third. I’d gave up. The Ropes Course was now a personal failure.  I will forever feel cheated at not being able to complete the course and miss out on using the Zip Line and walking The Plank.  Yes, they have a plank that extends off the side of the ship at the other side of the Ropes Course — on the other opposite side of the ship. sigh.  It just kills me.

I was beaten by the Norwegian Breakaway Ropes Course.

*fights the air*

At least I’ll have the memories of getting to the landing and attempting to walk the Ropes Course.

*fights the air even more*