So here I was enjoying a well-deserved holiday on my native island, Guadeloupe...not guessing said holidays would include Paragliding!
While awaiting my turn to cash an item at a retail store, I spotted a flyer glued onto the wall, advertising Paragliding in that particular town (Le Moule). I got distracted by someone and left the store.
Then a few days later, I saw the same flyer at another retail store, stacked up in a big bunch, next to the cashier. This time, I grabbed the flyer, read it again and kept a copy. Within the next 24 hours, I had done an online search, dialed that paragliding company's phone number and arranged a booking with the instructor.
Here I am on The Day, at The SPOT, on a beautiful sunny afternoon, topped with a heavenly ocean view. We are standing mere meters away from the cliff.
Saddly, Take off time was delayed as the wind had dropped enough, not to make the session feasible. The instructor gave me the options to reschedule or to wait. Of course, I chose the latter as I couldn’t bare the thought of leaving that spot without my adrenaline “fix!” I spent that free time talking to a friend and looking on to guys (flying solo) who were waiting for the wind to pick up so they could take off. (see photo below)
TIME FOR TAKE OFF
Yay, 30-45 minutes later, the wind had picked up and it was deemed safe by my instructor to saddle up and take off.
I had somewhat pictured in my head that taking off would have being something like two people strapped together and running like crazies towards the cliff. Nope, not at all.
Now all geared up with helmet and what not, I was sitting on the ground, while my instructor was strapping me onto him and connecting us to the wide parachute-like canopy. In the meantime, he was giving me instructions on how to set my body right. So like I said I was doing absolutely nothing!!! Lol!! I know right, you were expecting something crazy!! Nope, I was just sitting and eventually I was given the GoPro stick to hold (paid an extra fee for that device to come along, of course).
About 10 minutes later, my instructor asked me to stretch my feet until he told me otherwise!! Seconds later, he was standing up straight and before I knew it my body lifted off from the ground. We slowly glided over the grounds than over the cliff and the ocean we were less than a minute later. I can now put my feet down!
Smooth take off!! Wow!! Easy peazy!! Now I can scream "woo hoo" to the delight of my instructor.
Just like that, my flight had started and I’m so looking forward to that 20 minute ride.
Imagine sitting on a swing, but 70 meters above the ground, with the ocean and the land below, stretching into the horizon. Breathtaking views of Mainland Guadeloupe and neighbouring islands/countries (Desirade, Montserrat and Dominica).
After admiring the views from different angles, in such a peaceful manner for about the first 8 minutes, my instructor asked me if he could switch things up a notch and show me how much more fun this flight could be. "Oui" !!! Of course I agreed, that’s why I came, lol!!
Then I found out what it feels like to take sharp twists and turns while paragliding!! Not knowing in which direction you're going to or how low you'll drop... Oh My! You can see what I mean in the VIDEO which ends this post.
So between flying in circles towards the ocean, as if we are falling off from the sky, or when we were flying close to the grounds, almost kicking my friend to the floor, I can safely say that I got what I came for: my Adrenaline Fix!!!
And then it was time to land and end this mind blowing paragliding session!!! My instructor asked me if I wanted to have a crazy landing or a smooth one. This time I chose the latter because my stomach was by then all knotted up from the sharp twists and turns!!! The motions you will feel would be somewhat similar to riding a waterslide in a large waterpark when sitting in a tub holding on tight to its handles (eg. Atlantis resort), maybe rougher at times.
Ooohhhh, Landing was as smooth as Taking off. We approached the grounds, I stretched my legs out and Poof, I am sitting on the floor. Yippee!
I was two things when this flight was over: Ecstatic & Thirsty. The first was because this flight was more exciting than I expected, while the latter was because I drink a lot of water and regularly. The breeze also contributed to my thirst.
I am very grateful for my dear friend who took a few videos and pictures from the grounds. It was a nice addition to the many shots and video I got from the GoPro. Merci Nadege!
A Few Tips:
So here goes some TIPS for you, should this post inspire you to treat yourself to a Paragliding session:
- Do an extensive search about your instructor/the paragliding company before booking him (number of flights, years of experience, reviews from customers, etc.)
- Ensure you have digested your last meal long before your paragliding session starting time.
- Do not drink any liquid before the session or ensure your bladder is empty before you put on your gears.
- Pack water bottles and a lip balm for after the flight.
- Wear sunblock if your skin is exposed to the sun. (Skin Cancer is not a Myth and doesn't discriminate skin color)
- In order to wear sunglasses during the flight, you must wear Sunglasses cord. Otherwise, your instructor would not allow you to take off with them.
PS: You might not feel hungry for the rest of the day. My stomach was too knotted up afterwards to even entertain the thought of having any diner or a light snack that night. I was simply not hungry! I was just craving for a nap!
There you have it Guys! I hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as I did writing it.
Paragliding is an awesome experience that I hope you get to experience. You just have to be somewhat fearless and not afraid of heights.
Will I take a course to learn to paraglide Solo? Probably not!
Will I do paragliding in due with an instructor? Most Definitely !