Monday, November 9, 2009

The Venue

The Wilderness - near the "Map of Africa"

The Map of Africa

...and on the other side of the mountain opposite "The Map" -

the Wilderness in all it's beauty!

 From these slopes, the paragliders take off...

The Wilderness - a small town with spectacular beaches which stretch for miles and miles and miles....

Okay - enough of taking in the scenery - let's get down to business!

Being prepared for take-off!

Yes, I was apprehensive.  Yes, my face was as white as a sheet.  Yes, I have a fear of heights.  But I also believe that every opportunity that presents itself in life, you should take advantage of while you can.  You never know what tomorrow can bring.  In this case, I was able to enjoy this experience as a lovely birthday gift from my son.
I was afraid mainly of two things - the taking off and the landing.  These were alien experiences to me and I had nothing to reference them against.  So it was a bit of fear of the unknown but I was assured I was in the best hands I could be - Roland, the Tandem Pilot - and I was.  (Roland and his wife Kristy can be contacted on their website).  Besides which, this was something I really wanted to do the more I contemplated it ...

 Some last words of encouragement from Roland and his friend and Kristy his wife helps with my harness and straps around the legs

The point of no return - ha-ha!  Nicholas looks on at Mom

 Seconds from take-off - being hitched to the Tandem Pilot (Roland)

We have a lift-off!

From sheer terror to sheer peace and enjoyment.  Once your feet are off the ground, fear of heights disappears.  Roland encouraged me not to hold so tight and to relax so that I would enjoy the glide - and I did!  Best experience of my entire life!
And we are off!!!  Amazing, amazing!

 Those are my knees and down below the N2 Freeway!

The surf from this height looks like lace..

Roland tells me to look up and see what our lives are being supported by - a few strings!
Daunting?  No - by this time I could not keep the smile off my face to the extent that my mouth went dry!

The rocks and surf way below my knees
How can anyone possibly deny the existence of God looking at this beauty?
Pure pleasure.  You don't think of family problems, bills, house, pets - nothing.  You just live in the moment and the moment is sheer bliss!

Vehicles tooted their horns and I waved - Roland took this shot of our shadow below...

Roland knows exactly how to make you feel safe and secure - a very experienced tandem pilot indeed.

How to stop smiling?  You cannot!!

Bird trying to dive bomb us!  Perhaps protecting us jealously from his mate?
Awesome to see the reactions of the birds and the seagulls!

Making a few turns and later, preparing to land on the beach

Hanging about - enjoying the moment

Returning slowly to the Take-Off point 

Here we come...Roland and I playing in God's sky! 

Hi guys!  Just popping by to say hello!

But ~ we're on our way back to glide over the Wilderness, see hidden houses amongst the trees and the railway bridge over the sea.  See you later!  On the ground.
Joined by the bird again, we prepare for landing on the beach

The landing

Landing on Wilderness Beach


 On Terra Firma again - Roland, Johann, me and Kristy (Roland's wife)

Grant, ground supporter, Roland, Kristy, Nicholas and I feeling wonderful!!  A real buzz!
Let me tell you that although my feet were on the ground, I was still in the air!

All good things must come to an end - Roland and his wife Kristy with me in the middle.  

If you'd like to repeat my unforgettable experience contact:
Roland +27 (0)  72 152 6093
Kristy +27 (0) 72 725 8510
or visit their website Windmaster Paragliding

(See also details of the Garden Route)