Its about halfway through my visit to Turkey and my mate Jack and some of his family have booked paragliding off Babadag mountain. Now this mountain is 6.5 kilometers high and world famous for some of the best paragliding in the world. They even have international competitions here every October.
Now I have done this a couple of times so wasn’t even going to bother, but with only a bit of pushing from Jacks son John I changed my mind and it was up the mountain we went. There was 6 in the group all together but only 4 paragliders to do the tandem jump, so me and Jack volunteered to stay behind on the mountain and wait to jump when two of the tandem drivers could come back up and am I glad we did.
Now anyone who has done this jump before will tell you that the really scary part is not the jump off the mountain (really you don’t jump you run down a gradual slope until your feet leave the ground and your gliding), but the ride up the mountain side. With shear drops to the side of you and the road being little more then a dirt track anyone has a right to be nervous. The 3 girls with us bless them, they were terrified and did the last 15 minutes of the journey huddled in the gap between the seats on the Dolmus.
We finally reached the top and the one good thing about the ride up was the girls who had been very doubtful about the paragliding decided that they would rather jump off the mountain without a parachute then go down with that driver again. The four paragliding pilots hitched up there passengers and left the mountain leaving me and Jack with over an hour to kill. Luckily new this year they have built a new restaurant on the cliff edge with amazing views down the mountain and across the sea. So we decided to park our butts and enjoy the view and watching others taking the run off the mountain.
Finally our rides came back and it was our turn to jump off the mountain. For those who have not done this before this is how it works. The parachute is spread out behind you with the pilot attached to the chute and you attached to the front of the pilot with a sling seat in between you. When the wind is right the pilot pulls on the cords the wind catches the chute and it rises into the air until it is above and just slightly in front of you. This is when the pilot shouts at you to run. You run as fast as you can and don’t stop even when your feet leave the ground in case you come back down again. The next thing you know you are slowly gliding 6.5km above the earth with the most fantastic views. So there we were gliding through the skys. Osgu my pilot and Jacks pilot are brothers have been doing this for 16 yrs and have a great rapport. They managed to get us close enough that we could shout across to each other. Amazing.
After a few stunts (which you don’t have to do) it was time to land. Along the front of Oldeniz between the bars and the beach is an area section for you to land with marshals keeping an eye on everything. You come in low and slow and at the last minute with a pull on the cords the pilot brings it to a stop with a slight rise and you land like jumping off the second rung of a ladder. And that’s it. The girls who had started off terrified all said it was one of the most brilliant things they have done. If you get chance and you in the area just do it you won’t regret it.