On my trip to the coast of Turkey I was lucky enough to stay in a little beach side gem called Oludeniz. Not only is home to one of the most beautiful Blue lagoons, its Europe’s most famous beach to enjoy a paraglide experience.
If you’re daring enough to take the leap of faith, you may as well do it in the best post in the world right? Absolutely! This has to be hands down one of the most awesome things I’ve done whilst travelling and I’m so happy I got to experience it over the Blue Lagoon.
I had signed up the day before for a 3pm afternoon flight in hope for some epic photos on the way down. The wind had been too strong the past couple of days so all of the flights were cancelled. Luckily the universe was on my side the day of the ride so my trip went ahead full steam. You see, I learnt whilst staying with a paragliding pro that if the weather isn’t 100% right, they won’t let you jump. Thank goodness for safety measures! It made me that oh-so much more comfortable about riding with these guys.
I was super cool, calm and collected the whole ride up in the van to the top of the mountain. Well let’s say about half way up. Suddenly the drop over the side of the mountain started to look a whole lot scarier as we continued to ascend up the windy roads. Up and up we went, until we reached the peak of the mountain. 2020 meters above sea level to be exact.
On the ride up the mountain I was sitting next to a lovely lady who continued to tell me she was 65! “Well if she can do it, I can’t be scared can I?” was on repeat in my head. We alight the van, my legs a little shakey. It’s a freezing 12 degrees up the top compared to the 30 degrees down by the beach. We are paired up with our instructors and suited up into super sexy space jumpsuit a kin to something an 80’s ski instructor would wear. We are given about a 5- 10 minute pow wow with instructions that include “once the shute is up, keep running off the cliff.” Gotch ya. Don’t stop when you get to the edge. Riiiiiggght…. Keep running. Oooh – kay.
I’m strapped in to my harness with my instructor close behind me. The parachute is carefully laid out ready for lift off. Up, up up and its a false alarm. Our parachute gets all tangled, about as tangled as my stomach is with nerves. This is suppose to be fun right??? Ok, lets try that again. Up, up, up…. and the parachute is up. Ok now its time to run. Run like Forest Gump! “Run forest run.” I hear Jenny’s little southern accent playing through my head from the movie. My little legs cant run fast enough and my heart is thumping somewhere high up in my throat that I forget to breathe. My body weight and legs sink into the harness and we are floating.. like in the air, like a bird, or a plane or an astronaut. Weeeeeeeee my little inner child squeals with glee.
Once you get past the take off, its actually one of the most peaceful feelings you can experience. It was so surreal that I thought it was in a dream. Floating, weightlessness, I cant compare it to any other feeling I have experienced. You can see in some of the photos and the video that the view looks like it is superimposed. The wind takes you over the cliffs and out to sea with nothing below you except the deep, blue ocean.
My expert paraglider friend Dan had warned me that I may get a little bored of “floating” for the whole 30 minutes and if this was the case, I should ask my instructor to do some “acrobatic tricks.” So about 10 minutes into the flight once my nerves had settled and I had gotten use to the feeling of flying, I leant over to my instructor and asked for these so called “acrobatic tricks.” Little did I know what I was about to get myself into. He said “Ok tell me if you get too scared and I can stop.” Really? How scary could this be…. ? After a few pulls of each of the handles, we start to spiral. Round and round we go, circling around and around ourselves. Wow this is sooooo muuucccch fuuuuun! And then my eyes start to water and my nose starts to run from the G force of the maneuver. 3 G’s to be exact! Faster than most roller coaster rides you find at theme parks. Farrrrrooout this is out of controooool! I start laughing and screaming with excitement from the extreme butterflies in my belly. But I loved it! “Again! Again! I shout.”
We continued to do a few more tricks in between snapping away on the Go Pro. You think you would get a little more training before you dive into the jump but it all goes smoothly regardless. The landing is so much smoother than the take off and less nerve racking too. We circle over the town scanning over rooftops, pools and hotel sunbeds. Zooming down the main street I felt like I was about to skim the heads of the tourists. One, two, three and ka-thump. We are on the safe firm ground and run, stumble not so gracefully.
Wow, I did it. Acrobatics and all. Can we do it again?? I can see how this could get very addictive. Where will the next adventure take me? I’m open for suggestions.