A banana, a boat and a ride

If you think that being a non-swimmer in a small island like Saipan is enough to make your life miserable and boring, you’re quite wrong. The island abounds with interesting water activities that gives you access to experience all the thrills and excitement of getting wet.

If you have been here for sometime, you won’t have missed seeing inflatable yellow or pink banana-shaped raft being pulled by a boat around the island. You won’t have missed seeing up to six people garbed in life jackets and helmets and holding on to a piece of plastic arm grip for dear life as the boat makes huge waves on the water.

Getting up very early last Saturday didn’t faze me like ordinary days because I was looking forward to a day of adventure at the Managaha Island. After a hearty lunch, Tasi Tours supervisor for Managaha Yuka Saito told us that she can book us for a ride at the banana boat. Five minutes before 1 p.m. I was already at the area designated for passengers of the banana boat, clumsily tying the knots of my lifejacket and my helmet.

“If the banana boat flips over, let go. Don’t hold on,” the boat captain instructed just before we pushed away from the shore. I fought the fear that was starting to build up inside me and instead started to pray that my life jacket can hold me if we indeed flip over. I chose the rear seat and it was a good decision because the five people in front of me warded off much of the water. We started off smoothly, but when we were some meters away from Managaha, the boat picked up speed and we rode above high waves, crashing through the breakers into the blue waters.

A thrilling ride indeed, with me saying my prayers so fast and waiting for the signal to abandon the banana boat whenever the boat made quick twists and turns.

As I held on for life on the small handgrip, my imagination went wild. If there was a leak or a small hole in the inflatable balloon, that would be my end, but of course it was just my imagination. I feared yet at the same time was excited at the thought of being forced to jump into the blue waters.

I clung to the assurance Saito gave us earlier that Tasi Tours has always put the safety of their customers in all the marine sports as their top priority.

The ride was brief, and before we knew it, we were heading back to shore. The memory of those 20 minutes of wet, thrilling adventure is something I will treasure.

Another option to the banana boat is the Banana Split. Unlike the banana boat where you have to balance your body, you can comfortably sit on the banana split but the thrill lies on the incredibly dizzying speed as you skim over the water.

Saito said they also refer to the banana split as water jet. She said the banana boat ride is available for children and adults for $30.

Other thrilling marine sports are available at the Managaha Island like scuba diving, bubble maker, sasy, parasailing, aqua naut, and snorkeling tour. For more information, please call Tasi Tours & Transportation Inc. at (670) 234-7148, fax (670) 235-7141, email [email protected] or visit www.tasi-tours.com.

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