Thursday, November 15, 2012

My New Office...In the Sky

September-November 2012

Well first I must apologize for my blog being dormant lately, but I promise you that I won’t let it die, there just won’t be too many posts for the next while...reason being is that I am now plying my new trade of being a tandem paragliding pilot!

While up in Manali I acquired a tandem paraglider (an Ozone Magnum II) and a couple of tandem harnesses.  The wing was delivered in mid September to Goa and my first “guinea pig” was Naomi who visited me last year from Israel for a month and she was back for another holiday.  I was pleased to share this first flight with her and even more happy that it went well (although my wing did drape over a makeshift sun shelter on the beach after landing on our butts but no big deal).  Thanks Naomi!

Hiking up to launch:

Getting Naomi ready to take off:

The first flight with the new wing:

Before taking my first paying customer I wanted to build up some more experience and confidence with the new wing.  It definitely is a nice paraglider and launches, flies and lands superbly.  I first took a number of foreigners that I had befriended in the Cock’s Town restaurant but was then happy to take some local people including Laxmi, a 16 year old girl who goes to school but also sells sarongs and jewellery on Sweet Lake Beach when she’s not studying.  She had never flown before, not even in a plane (which is quite common here) so it was a joy to share the sky with her and her beaming smile.

Happy Laxmi:

Julie from Quebec gives her seal of approval:

As did Aaron a Texan who now lives in Israel:

Naomi back up for another flight...hmm, perhaps this helmet's a bit big for her...

On the main takeoff:

 Looking down on my Goan friend Sanjay:

Charlotte who I met last year in Manali came for a visit and a flight:

Flying my Finnish friend Sakke:

Martin, my Swedish neighbor from last year is back too:

Touching down on Sweet Lake:

Eventually I felt ready for a real customer and it happened to be a Sikh fellow from the Punjab.  Ironically, although I feel I’m super safety conscious my first paying passenger didn’t wear a helmet as he had a turban on!  What to do?

My first customer:

Thumbs up from Rata from Slovakia:

Don't need any words here:

My plan is to continue flying here in Arambol for the tourist season in order to continue to build my flying experience.  It is fun sharing free flight in the sky with many different types of people, both Indian and foreign.  I’ve taken two actual pilots now, one a Canadian who flies big commercial jets for Cathay Pacific and another guy who is an Indian fighter was fun to show a different type of flying to those guys.

So now that I have a “job”, my days are Groundhog Days.  I wander over to Sweet Lake Beach when the wind is blowing in from the sea (usually around 2pm) and fly any willing customers until sunset around 6pm.  It’s a short work day but often requires climbing up the hill 3 to 4 times with my wing which is a good workout.  I must admit I do love my new “office”!

In light of this, there may not be too many blog entries over the next few months since my days will be quite repetitive in nature but please check back once in a never know what might transpire here...