Our story continues from our day of kayaking. You will recall that our group had piled into the minivan, worn and tired and happy from our day on the sea. The van gently rocked us into deep reflection as we nodded off to sleep.
Suddenly, the van stopped abruptly and I saw a police car by our side. Two men poked their heads into the van speaking in Turkish. They then turned towards me and and asked “Terry?”
Our time had come. My husband looked as shocked as I was. Then we both broke out in laughter. They had finally caught up with us. These two were not cops. It was our turn to go paragliding!
We knew we were scheduled for this. But we didn’t know exactly how and when it was going to happen. Bougainville Travel was on the ball though. The group leaders must have communicated with each other and planned this pickup. (They didn’t plan the police presence. But that did make it all the more fun!)
I was still feeling unsure about jumping off a cliff. My greatest fear of all is of falling, but for some reason, I had agreed to do this thing. They guided us into another white van. There were two other guys in the back. One of these aliens seemed to be in charge. He proceeded to tell us that this was his “team.”
Still, seemed pretty fishy. If I hadn’t prior knowledge that I would be going paragliding, I would have never believed this act. Baris and I sat there giggling like a couple of school girls. (Sorry Hon.)
The van drove down some very deserted roads. When we came to a white sign, they veered from the road and drove down a dirt path. The lawyer in me came to the front. “That sign had a parachute painted on it,” I analyzed. I quickly looked back to view the back of the sign. What was I thinking? Did I really believe this group of bandits was kidnapping us and delivering us to the woods Blair Witch style? The sign checked out. They had not temporarily turned it, nor painted the parachute themselves to deceive us. No, this was not the day that we would be left to perish in the woods, feed for for wild animals. (I have to stop watching horror films.)
The team of four were awesome well-trained professionals. They fitted us with jumpsuits, knee and elbow pads and topped us with helmets. I hadn’t done enough research and had no idea what to expect. So I was delighted to discover that this was tandem paragliding. A seat was attached to me and my pilot was securely attached behind that. He would do the work while I sat back and enjoyed my fall, er, I mean my flight.
They prepped the two of us and it was time to go. Baris went first with his pilot, Saffet. It all happened so quickly that I could not make the decision whether to grab my camera. Foolishly, I didn’t. Baris, however, was equipped with his GoPro video camera. Before I realized it, he was over the edge and flying. Here is the unedited video of his flight.
And so it was my turn.
Veske had told me 3 things. “First, walk, walk, walk.” Two and three were lost on me at this point. The fabric wing was laid out behind, checked once, twice, and three times. Arda and Yaşar were at my sides, ready to assist with the takeoff. Veske asked if I was ready. It seemed like an eternity before I responded, “Yes!”
Walk, walk, walk. That’s exactly what I did. By the time we reached the edge of the cliff, I was already in flight.
Perhaps it was the fact that I was tired from our day on the water. Or maybe I had just gone into some kind of shock. Fear had escaped me. I sat back, at ease, and flew like a bird! Veske had even commented several times on how relaxed I was.
We came dangerously close to cliffs, as Veske skillfully guided us back and forth along the small mountainside. Always on guard, he checked with me many times to see how I was doing. I was in Heaven.
Veske is also entertaining. At one point, he said, “Now we will look for animals. See if you can find a white one.” I searched, and then my eyes gazed out to the sea. I could now see my husband flying below me. It was beautiful.
Baris was going in for a landing when Veske asked whether I wanted to remain by the cliffs or go out over the sea. The sea! Fear #2 – water. I was taking them both down in one day!
Baris landed as I passed overhead, over the clear blue waters. I had never seen water so blue. On our way down, we passed over the white-washed village of Kaş . I could pinpoint our hotel as it was the only building draped in rose-colored bougainvillea. We flew over the mosque and out above the waters. Back and forth a few times, until finally, Veske’s wife Simone cleared the way and the Seaport became an Airport.
Before heading to Kaş, some folks warned that Turkey was not the place to go paragliding. That Turks lacked proper training and safety guidelines. These people were full of poop. You will never find a better and more experienced team than with BT. Safety is their primary concern. The fun factor is phenomenal!
Words can’t sufficiently describe our feelings about these flights. Awesome! Free! Exciting! They just don’t cut it. All I can say it this . . .