A few years ago when we were living in Guernsey, Shaun and I attempted to do the package holiday thing for a week. After hearing so many recommendations we decided to go to Olu Deniz (Ölüdeniz) in Turkey. Olu deniz is a postcard-perfect beach town in the center of a deep valley on the coast of Turkey. The beach on Olu Deniz is one of the most photographed in the Med and looks like absolute paradise.
Ölüdeniz is located on the coast of Turkey
On first arriving in Olu Deniz we could see a dozen figures hanging in the air. We took a walk down to the beach and one of the figures nearly landed on our heads. They were paragliders. Being in Turkey, we instantly thought no way were we going to do this it would be too dangerous.
Paragliding uses a similar-looking parachute to skydiving but is launched by foot off a high ledge. The pilot uses thermals to get aloft. Wikipedia tells me that Oludeniz is actually one of the best places in the world to paraglide due to the amazing views and the impressive height of Mount Babadag.
After a week relaxing by the pool we were losing our minds. We needed some excitement so we though f### it you only live once and booked the paraglide!
The very next morning we were picked up by a truck and wound round and round a sketchy mountain road. Our destination was the top of Mount Babadag which towers high above the town below. We arrived at the top among the clouds to see a concrete slope planted at the top of the cliff … this was our platform (or so we thought). We witnessed a few hair raising moments where the pilots tried to get their shoots up and almost got dragged off the cliff as the wind had died down and they couldn’t launch. There was no way we were going back down that sketchy road so we had to bite the bullet and jump off the ledge.
A guy pointed to each of us and we were told to walk to the left to the side platform. There was no ‘platform’ just a cliff edge. We got strapped up to our pilot and our shoots laid out and told to run. “Run lady, run!”. Before I could even get my legs moving down the cliff we were up in the air. Thank God for that as there wasn’t any running room before we would plummet off the cliff face.
Woo hoo we were airborne and gaining height travelling through the valley. The view was incredible as promised. The feeling of floating high above earth is pretty awesome.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone
As we hovered over the turquoise ocean my pilot asked me ‘Do you like G-force?’. I don’t know, yeah?! Before I knew it we were spiraling around in circles and I could feel that G-force as I was struggling to keep my breakfast down. After he stopped messing around he let me take control for a while and cruise up and down the beach. It was so peaceful soaring high among the clouds. Watching the birds fly around us.
We continued over the Blue Lagoon nature reserve which is insanely beautiful from the air. After a good half an hour cruising around it was time to land. We swooped in towards the beach and just about cleared some buildings and landed perfectly on the esplanade just as we had seen so many others do.
What a thrill. I am so glad we ballsed up to do it. It was an awesome experience.
But remember that G-force … once we landed the pilot showed me a video and said this is what had happened last week. He did the same trick … and the strings snapped! The pilot and the his passenger landed straight in the ocean and had to be rescued!
Would I recommend Olu Deniz … if you want to chill out and do absolutely nothing than yes, but if you like adventure and culture then I would give it a miss. However, it is totally worth it just to jump off the cliff with a paraglider!
Have you been to Olu Deniz and taken to the skies? What did you think?