For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return, said Italian painter, inventor, philosopher and Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci, who observed how the birds fly and tried to engineer a flying machine.
Sailing on a parachute, paragliding, is one of the youngest aerial sports and probably one of the easiest and simplest ways to make true the dream of flying. Rapidly grown over the last 15 years, it now occupies a major place in aerial sports. I accidentally discovered paragliding 15 years ago, when I had the first chance to feel the magic of flying. When the Mythos Travel tourist agency began offering paragliding as the new entertainment I volunteered to be the first to try it out. A whole picnic was organized. The agency collaborates with ca cafe on Paradise Beach. Takeoff is from a above, with a crew waiting for you on the beach for the return.
It was exhilarating. It felt as if I was in a dream or a video game. Paragliding, you have to fight forces of several G, enough to keep you alert and excited. Paragliding equipment includes the sailing wing, seat and connecting ropes, a reserve parachute, communication and navigation instruments and protective gear – helmet, gloves, clothes and shoes, all to protect the pilot from injury and the elements. It gets cold up there, dropping 5-6 degrees each kilometer of altitude. The equipment is stored in a backpack and the next thing you need is a ride to an adequate elevation. When one is found, it takes fewer than 10 minutes to launch. A few running steps down the slope and the updraft grabs you and picks you up right off.
There is no need for airports or any prohibitively expensive equipment, infrastructure or services. The paraglider decides when and where to take off. Experienced fliers need half a meter square to land.
The life is short and it shouldn’t be spent regretting something we wanted to and could have done, but never tried. Problems are rare in this sport, especially in tandem paragliding, with an instructor.
If you want to have a most wonderful experience or to feel as light as a bird, at least for a little while, this is the real thing for you.
I wish you good winds.
Photo by Kaloudis Vasilis