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 Paragliding For The First Time Olu Deniz Turkey 2006 
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Post Paragliding For The First Time Olu Deniz Turkey 2006
Paragliding For The First Time Olu Deniz Turkey 2006
by: Peter Cannon

I had just paid for my paragliding jump and stood nervously in the Turkish sunshine as the words of the holiday rep came back to haunt me. "Don't book a paraglide jump, there's already been a fatality and the seasons only a week old." I push those thoughts to the back of my mind assuring myself that I've wanted to do this for ages and I'm not going to chicken out now. I look high into the sky and watch as another paraglider comes slowly into focus floating gently through the small cloud above the mountain tops. "Look at him" I think to myself trying to muster up courage. "I bet he's having the time of his life up there". I glance over at my wife who assured me that she's glad it's me that's doing the jump and not her and asks to be reminded where my life insurance policy is kept. This brings a chuckle from the local booking agent who points to an approaching jeep. "Here comes your ride up the mountain now" he says. Then he turns to my wife and says "You'd better take a picture of him now while he's still in one piece" I laugh with him and kiss my wife goodbye. "Have a beer waiting for me when I land" I say to her jokingly as I'm led off to meet the approaching jeep.

I climb into the large open sided jeep and see three other people sitting there looking every bit as nervous as myself. Before I've even had time to introduce myself the large open air jeep pulls off at speed and rattles along its way. Four people, who I assume are the tandem pilots, sit at the front of the open air jeep just behind the driver talking and joking amongst themselves in Turkish. When we reach the base of mount "Babadag" the four pilots begin handing out flying suits for the rest of us to put on. "Put them on now" they say "It will get cold as we get higher up the mountain". This seemingly simple task is easier said than done while being tossed about in the jeep but serves to break the ice with my fellow first time paragliders as we help each other into our suits. "You must all sit down now" Shouts the driver as he points to some fallen rocks in the narrow dust track that twists and turns its way steeply up mount Babadag. The other pilots laugh as we bump our way over the the fallen rocks then begin leaning out of the jeep with cameras trying to capture the stunning snowy views that surround us. "How high?" I shout to the pilots as my heart pounds and I get an amazing adrenaline rush from the site of the sheer drop that looks to inevitably await our now speeding jeep. "How high are we going to jump from?"

One of the pilots puts his camera away and comes to sit by myself and my fellow Jumpers. "You all OK?" he asks with a grin. "It's a fine day very little cloud, we will jump from the north side today roughly 7000 feet. You are very lucky you get to jump from an extra 1000 feet higher today it's not often that we can make this jump". Not quite sure if I or any of my fellow jumpers agreed with him at the time but in retrospect I now know he was right, we were lucky. The jeep came to a sudden stop a little further up the track. The pilots and driver got out to investigate some large fallen rocks that were blocking our route. "We must walk from here" we were told when they arrived back "we can not pass in the jeep but it will only take us a few minutes to get to the jump off point" At that point a great sense of relief came over me as I climbed out of the jeep. Well, at least I'd survived the journey up here without ending up with the jeep careering off the side of the mountain.

True to the pilots word it took us no longer that two or three minutes to traverse the final part of the journey and reach the jump off point. Well, this is it! I remember thinking to myself as I stood there in awe of the sensational views all around me at least if I'm going to go i'm going to go in style. A pilot who was much the same physical build as myself only younger came and introduced himself to me as Byron the pilot I was to make the jump with. "I hope you are not nervous" he said to me with a smile and in broken english as he began checking i was wearing my flight suit properly whilst attaching hiself to both me and the parachute, "only it's my first instruction jump". Hes joking right! I thought to myself while looking down over the smaller snow capped mountain tops below but it made little difference as I'd made my mind up that I was going to do the jump anyway.

All connections and the parachute checked Byron says to me "It's our turn next". We walked over to the jump off point which was a small steep slope of about 15 feet in length leading to nothing but a sheer drop. We stood there for what seemed ages but in reality was only a few moments while final checks were made to the parachute and it was opened up to catch the air current coming off the mountain. "Are you ready?" asks Byron "When I tell you to run the driver will push us down the slope and we must run fast ". Before I had time to think about my answer our parachute swelled I was jerked backwoods and Byron shouted run. Ok this is it I, thought, as I fell forwards from the push and ran as fast as I could go on the slippery rocks below my feet. Suddenly, instead of reaching the bottom of the jump off point and falling off as I half expected to happen, both Byron and I were whisked sharply upwards and into the air.

WOW! what a feeling! By now all the fear had gone and I was loving the experience. We were flying gracefully above the snow capped mountains below and heading out towards the sea, when Byron says to me " Do you want to try a little stunt gliding?" Too right, I thought, this is great. "Yes, go for it" I said and Byron took us into a a spinning manoeuvre he called the cork screw. "Wow that was great can we go again?" I asked eagerly. "OK" replied Byron "but we have to first catch a thermal to take us back up higher " We turned effortlessly and headed back inland from the sea. It didn't take long to catch a thermal and we rose skywards once again. "This time I will go fast" laughed Byron. "first one way and then the other"

All too soon we had done our second manoeuvre and the ground began to come into focus with the designated landing area on the beach front growing larger and larger. We turned landwards again and headed for the beach. "When we get to about six feet off the ground you must begin to run" Byron informed me. By now I was close enough to recognise my wife standing waiting next to the landing area as and the ground was coming up fast. "Run now" shouted Byron. I obliged and other members of the "Focus paragliding group" ran towards us to catch and steady us on landing. That’s it we were down and had landed safely.

Well what a buzz that was, if you are considering taking a paraglide jump yourself then put all them excuses away and go for it. Its an experience that you will probably never forget. To view a picture of Byron and myself taken by my wife just after we landed hop over to or

Peter Cannon

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Peter Cannon

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Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:19 pm
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