Up In The Air

Each day our students will blog about some of their experiences on the Brazil Travel Course.  Our second entry for Sunday, 1/22 comes from Joe Melican.

Sunday was supposed to be our day off.  We could have slept in and spent the whole day relaxing on the beach. But NOT SO FAST!  A few of us decided to try out the local hang gliding and paragliding .  We were going to jump from a local mountain and then land on the beach.  It sounded like a good idea on Saturday when we talked about it, it still sounded like a good idea when I woke up on Sunday morning, and it continued to sound like a good idea when I arrived at the 
paragliding office on the beach.   As we drove up the hill it started to creep into my head that sleeping in would not have been such a bad idea.

The Ramp

We reached the top of the mountain.  The group consisted of Mindie, Chris, James, Jess, Nick, Kim and myself.   Jess and I were going to Paraglide and the rest were going to Hang Glide.  I watched as several Hang Gliders suited up and proceeded to run of the deck and soar away….simple enough.  Jess and I were doing the paragliding.  Our set up was like those toy army men attached to parachutes that you throw up in the air and ideally the chute opens and they float back to earth.  The problem is I remember often times the chute didn’t open and the army men crash to the ground.    Jess went before me.  He suited up, received some tips from his trainer and ran off the side of the cliff no problem!!  I watched him float around and eventually land on the beach far off in the distant.      The rest of the class had all taken off with no hitches.  It was now my turn to run off the side of this mountain and hope the chute inflated.  My trainer seemed very knowledgeable and did make me feel more at ease.  This was after all my first jump.

paraglide launch site

We suited up, went through some training and then ran off the side of the mountain!!!  We dipped down a little, my feet hit the top of the trees and then we took off!!  It was quite a rush.  We proceeded to maneuver up close to mountains and then over the ocean before gently dropping down softly on the grass.  It was an amazing ride that I would do again in a second.

In retrospect it was a great idea!!  The only thing missing was having my wife with me…..that would have made it a perfect day…maybe next year.

– Joe

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