At the end of every year we head down to Wilderness for 2 weeks of glorious coastal ridge-soaring. Come for a couple of days or come for the full 3 weeks! We stay at the Ebb & Flow Wilderness National Park Campsite for 2 weeks, and then we head down to Porterville for some serious XC.
What a great trip this was! Our group consisted of Gary & Sean Whitecross, Pierre Du Plessis, Gary & Carolyn Borchard, Morne' Strauss, Wendy Richards, the 2 peewees; Gemma & Tyreece, and man's-best-friend "Nugget". We flew 18 days out of 21, either free flying or with our motors. This was the first trip away with Pierre & Morne', so it was really great to get to know them better. We had many memorable flights, but the highlight was at Porterville with the entire group achieving personal-best XC’s all around.
Gary Whitecross did 86km, Gary Borchard - 24km, Sean - 35km, Morne' - 20km and Pierre - 50km. Well done everybody!!!
Carolyn's experience of Paragliding in Paradise.
January the 1st , 2006 - the highlight of my holiday, and what a way to start a new year!
We’re in Wilderness, on the annual paragliding trip, which sees a group of avid KZN paragliders flying popular sites along the Garden Route, followed by the famous “Porterville” (look it up on a map, it’s a quaint little dorp near Citrusdal!) site. My husband is one of them, I am not, but I guess I could say I was one once too! That was some 14 years back and ended with a spectacular crash in Kloof Gorge! I’ve been a spectator and recovery driver since, but now I’m going to fly again. This time though, I’m taking the easy route – I’m to experience a tandem flight in this most beautiful part of the world with Tristam, the instructor.
It’s another day in paradise and conditions are perfect, so it’s up to the “Map’ high above Wilderness Beach we go. Paragliders are all around, laying out, taking off, flying overhead and along the ridge like a flock of strange birds. I’m strapped in, briefed, re-assured and then suddenly the wing’s inflated and I’m told to “run, run, run”. I do “run, run, run” until I’m running in mid-air as we depart the slope. We’re off, my heart skips a beat and I catch my breath. Soon we are soaring above and along the ridge, the people on the road and beach below mere specs. As we swoop over the trees, I experience a flashback to my crash and my muscles tense. The images of trees hurtling toward me, leaves coming rapidly and frighteningly into focus, hanging by my harness from a thorn tree on the side of a hot, steep gorge 14 years ago flash by! Finally though, I relax and start to take it all in. This time I can relax, I trust Tristam with my life. The words of that moving hymn “Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder” are all that come to mind as we fly high over an azure sea, the rugged beauty of the coast, the mansions below and the winding road and railway line. The Outeniqua Choo Choo puffs lazily by, people at a look-out point along the road gaze strangely upward, birds fly by unperturbed. The only sound, the wind whistling past my ears and the only feeling now, one of freedom unsurpassed – I now fully understand the addiction!
All too soon it’s over and with a royal wave to the curious onlookers (oh how important one feels!), we land softly on the beach nearby. January the 1st, 2006 - the highlight of my holiday, and what a way to start a new year!
Check out the pics below of our January 2006 Annual XC Tour.