‘twas a sunny Monday morning when I headed to SurfSide Beach Restaurant and Bar on Seven Mile to see what all the hubbub was about. I had heard rumours of someone sporting a jetpack out on (and above) the water, and this morning I was going to witness it with my own two eyes.
Michael Thaslasinos, owner of Jetpack Cayman, met me at SurfSide and after introducing myself I cut to the chase, straining my neck to look out over the sea. “So where is it?”
“He’s coming along just now,” Michael replied, pointing out towards George Town. Sure enough, there in the distance was a man about 20 feet above the sea with two strong jets of white water thrusting down on either side of him as he advanced towards us. He wasn’t jerking or shaking at all as one might expect if one was unfamiliar with such a machine. He simply glided in the air, moving along at a nice pace and directing himself with hand controls as he went.
I had never seen anything like it. Neither, it seemed, had anyone else who just happened to be in the water at that time. There were shouts, and yells and pointing and general exclamations of awe as Chris Thalasinos (not just a coincidence) expertly directed his craft into shore. This was definitely something new and exciting to behold.
Jetpack Cayman has only been in business since January 2013, but if the reaction of the crowd I saw that morning is anything to go by, there will be people lining up to experience flying for the very first time.
Michael was out in California and had heard of a jetpack in Newport Beach. It was October 2011, and at that time only six jetpacks existed in the world. Once he saw it he realised, like many of us, that he had to try it, and once he tried it, he was hooked.
He began talking to the manufacturer about bringing it to the Caribbean, and the Cayman Islands proved to be an excellent choice thanks to great weather year-round and calm waters courtesy of the protective reef. The dream became a reality, and now, just over a year later, anyone living in or visiting these islands can be a jetpack pilot.
So how does it all work? Well all you have to do is book with Jetpack Cayman and then head to SurfSide. You will then be picked up at the shore and spirited via jet-ski to the waiting boat, where you will be given a safety briefing and training by one of the certified flight instructors, Chris or Roxana.
You make your way to the boat’s launch platform, and from there you have lift off! It’s a quick learning process, and all precautions are taken to ensure that you have nothing less than a fantastic time. Although you are in no way tethered to anything but your pod that provides the power, there will be a flight navigator accompanying you on a jet-ski at all times, and your helmet has a built-in speaker so you are in constant contact with the instructor who will control your thrust.
It may take a little bit of time and experience to get up to the higher limits of the jetpack, but you can try “walking on water,” going underwater, and lifting feet off the sea with the sensation of real flight – no wings necessary!
The entire experience from shore to shore takes about an hour, and Jetpack Cayman offers 20 and 30-minute flights.
“Everyone who has tried this has been thrilled,” says Michael. “Even though the pod is attached to you via a tube, you have no sensation of it being there. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.”
Another great thing that I must add about Jetpack Cayman is that it allows for pilots of a heavier weight class. Up to about 330lbs. It can also accommodate heights from 4ft 9in to 6ft 5in, and ages 16 to 80. This means that pretty much everybody can participate.
You need to book a go on this today, because once you see it I guarantee you won’t be able to resist. We all dreamed of flying around with rockets when we were young, and now the opportunity actually exists to do it right here in the Cayman Islands.
To infinity, and beyond!
Ask about local discounts. ID required.