Little Current couple gets engaged high over North Channel

Katarina Aleksia shows off her engagement ring following a highflying proposal on Haweater Weekend.

LITTLE CURRENT­ – Lee Taibossigai certainly had lofty aspirations with the plans he made when he decided to propose to his partner, aspirations that culminated in a successful parasail proposal which was a first for the tour operator and possibly even for Manitoulin Island.

“I had no idea it was happening. I didn’t even want to go up. Lee kept saying I had to and I was wondering what the big deal was,” said Katarina Aleksia (soon to be Taibossigai), who is now sporting a beautiful ring on one of her fingers. “At the last minute I really didn’t want to go, but I eventually went up. Thank God I did!”

“I’ve been wanting to propose for a while,” said Mr. Taibossigai. “With our busy lives and everything, it was hard to pick an actual time for it. I thought this would be the best possible time ever, being such a nice day and being up there over the water.”

Friend Andrew Corbiere was on the boat taking pictures and video of the couple in the air and upon their descent with the new hardware. They had a GoPro on a harness next to them but unfortunately, due to a malfunction, the camera only captured a few still photos on their takeoff and none from the air. 

After they gradually lifted off the back deck of the Sky-Mazing Parasail Adventures boat and ascended to their cruising height, Mr. Taibossigai began making his move.

“He starts telling me, ‘I love you so much,’ and is going on about all the reasons why. I looked to him and said ‘this is not the time, I’m just trying to enjoy myself up here!’ I thought he wanted to talk about something else. But he kept going and started tearing up so I asked him what was going on. I looked down and I could see him holding a ring,” said Ms. Aleksia.

“He asked, and I of course said yes. He was getting ready to put it on but I said ‘don’t do it, it might fall into the lake!’ He said he had to get it on now and he put it on in mid-air,” she said. Fortunately, the ring slipped on and held snug.

“It started out as a regular, casual reservation just like anybody else,” said Sky-Mazing Parasail Adventures owner and captain Craig Bowker. 

“These rides tend to be quite romantic for a lot of people. Up they went and the one fellow who I thought was wise to the whole thing started going ‘yeah! She said yes!” said Mr. Bowker. “Sure enough, she was waving this ring at us from the sky and pointing to it. When she got onto the platform she was all teeth.”

Mr. Bowker said he has never had a parasail proposal take place since he began captaining parasail trips in 1992, having served upwards of 20,000 people since that time. However, he did once attend a wedding reception at which everyone—including the bride and groom in their fancy attire—took a flight. This is the second straight year that Sky-Mazing Parasail Adventures has offered parasail flights at Haweater Weekend.

Mr. Taibossigai said he had never before been parasailing but always wanted to go. He remarked that it was neat to have been a first for everyone involved, being the couple’s first time parasailing as well as Mr. Bowker’s first passengers to get engaged in the air.

Ms. Aleksia said she was apprehensive about the idea of parasailing at first because she was worried that it would be a rough ride and she would get uncomfortably jostled by the wind. 

“I was really scared to feel the up-and-down like a roller coaster, but it was a really smooth sail. It’s beautiful up there and it was so quiet. It was a really nice moment that Lee chose to propose. It was just awesome,” said Ms. Aleksia.

Mr. Bowker said it is quite common for apprehensive passengers to worry about a rough ride high in the air. However, he said parasailing is exceptionally gentle and most of the hesitant passengers end up strapping on a harness once they see the other fliers enjoying themselves.

“Anybody who’s ever been afraid of heights will never be afraid of heights again. It’s very peaceful, quiet and exhilarating experience as opposed to a white-knuckler where you feel that you have to grab on tight,” said Mr. Bowker. “The scenery is beautiful, you can see the depth of the water and the topography is gorgeous from that height. It’s so serene, like flying like a bird.”

Mr. Taibossigai said he was totally satisfied with his experience and would recommend parasailing to any other people thinking about proposing to a partner.

“I guess I’ve set the bar pretty high. Well, I set it about 600 feet in the air,” he said with a laugh.