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Paragliding in Olu Deniz

sunny 36 °C
View Around the world ın 8 months on chrisvasil's travel map.

Was awesome. We were so glad to even be able to do it (see above) as the one we were supposed to do was cancelled (so we got up at 5:30AM for nothing).

It started about an hour late, but it was worth the wait. About 30 people (maybe 15 passengers, plus the same amount of pilots, plus equipment) all crammed into 2 minivans from the early 80s. After 10 minutes of driving we stopped at the side of the road and moved into one slightly larger truck.

The road up was treacherous, the driver going at about 80 km/h up a one-lane dirt road up a mountain, not slowing down for curves even though if he missed one the truck would have rolled down the mountain. On turns where the road was wider than the truck, the driver stayed toward the edge that looks down the cliff, which magnified the ambiance. Similarly disconcerting were points where there was oncoming traffic, which the truck didn't slow down to avoid. It was a total of 45 minutes of driving before we got to the expected takeoff point, 1900 meters (over 6000 ft) above where we would land. After getting our gear on they decided we couldn't go from there, so we went up to the next takeoff point, which was 1950 meters up. For that the truck needed to turn around, a three-point turn on a one-lane dirt road along a cliff. The back of the truck was past the edge of the cliff, and the tires were about half a foot away, but we got out fine.

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The takeoff involves running off a cliff and hoping to take off before falling. Actually in my case there was no running: the wind lifted us without any encouragement. Paragliding itself was awesome, though more passive than you might expect: a seat is stitched into the backpack, and the driver drives while I just sit in the front seat and watch. We never go much more than 30 km/h, so it's a pretty relaxed thing. The scenery over Olu Deniz was lovely: the sea, blue lagoon, and a couple towns. The way down was about half an hour. At a couple points we did some exciting stuff: spinning (really fast) in the air (driver was turning hard right for about 30 seconds, so we were spinning faster and faster until it felt like a roller coaster; at another point he dropped for awhile, almost in freefall, also felt like a roller coaster.

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Posted by chrisvasil 07:20 Archived in Turkey Tagged ecotourism

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