Changing seasons

I haven’t had much time to write over the past year. When I have all my energy has been focused on theparaglider.com – a fantastic new online paragliding magazine I joined last year. I was a bit shocked, though, to realise that it had been almost a year since I’d last updated here – missing so many fantastic adventures with so many fantastic people.

I’m actually sat back in Panajachel, Guatemala now, getting ready to head off to South America again, wondering where the year’s gone! So, as much to remind myself about the fun of the last 12 months, I thought I’d compile a few of the highlights all in one post.

And there were a lot… starting and finishing the year in Guatemala, running our first trips with Fly Sussex in Madeira and Annecy, dropping base jumpers off the tandem over the sea in Turkey, a few flights and sites I’ve had my eye on for a while and, one of the best for me, flying my niece on the tandem for the first time over Lake Annecy.

 

Which brings us to today – we’ve just seen in the New Year, watching and hearing the town explode with 100 different firework displays, and we’re getting ready to head off down to Chile, Argentina and Peru to explore new mountains for a few weeks.

I’ll try and update in the meantime, but if I’m honest, it’s unlikely! We’re travelling light, so won’t have the laptop, but hopefully at least, it won’t be quite so long until the next post! In the meantime, you can enjoy our very first video!

Happy New Year one and all!

Change of plans

Two weeks ago we were stressing about what 3 months in a strange place would have in store. With my dad’s stories about travelling in Latin America, warnings in guide books and other anecdotes we’d heard, we could just as easily be heading into a nightmare as a winter escape in idyllic flying sites.

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3 months, 2 hold alls - 3 wings, 3 harnesses, 4 reserves and all our possessions

But now, just over a week after arriving in Panajachel, we never want to leave! In fact, we’ve already been talking about “when we come back next year!” We’d planned to spend a month here, a month in Colombia and a month travelling between the two. Instead we’re about to move into a beautiful apartment which we’ll call home for the next couple of months, looking out on the volcanoes on one side and takeoff on the other.

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Home from home - a beautiful lake, stunning scenery and great flying

It was a real relief to be able to escape the sprawl of Guatemala City so easily. Even the highly rated retreat of Antigua felt big and hectic. But less than 24 hours after landing in Guatemala, we were stepping off the colourful local bus (where we’d been the main attraction for the past couple of hours) in the relative peace of Panajachel. And a few hours later, having explored the town and found a place to stay, we were being dragged up the hill to take off by the incredibly welcoming gang at Real World Paragliding.

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Tuk tuks and bright colours everywhere

Well, our first flight actually had to wait until the next day. An inconveniently placed cloud in front of take off cleared just as the sun went down. But the sunset views of the lake and volcanoes more than made up for the lack of flying.

The next few days were a whirl of flying, eating, organising ourselves and fighting jet lag – not easy when you have cockerels warring to see who can crow the loudest from 4am every morning. We finally managed our first flight together on our new tandem, putting it through its paces over a couple of hours involving a little XC (reportedly giving us the tandem record on our second day flying here) and a mini SIV, although the new Magnum 2 is so collapse resistant, me hanging off the A risers with both hands and all my weight only resulted in a pathetic little tuck!

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Graham chilling out while his passenger flies over Lake Atitlan

The last few days have seen strong wind here (but still beautifully warm and sunny), so we’ve had plenty of opportunity for flat hunting and can’t wait to move into our awesome little apartment. Just in time too – the novelty of eating out wore off a few days ago and we’ve found only one place where the coffee is even approaching strong enough for our European tastes.

So with the weather set to change back to its seasonal light winds tomorrow and the prospect of moving into our apartment on Sunday, things are looking pretty peachy from what could well be out new winter home town!

Friday 13th

Since I wrote yesterday, the forecast has got worse and worse every time we’ve looked. Now we have more than 30km winds at the summit. Even lower down on the Dome de Gouter it’s similar.

Sam and Jam setting off
Sam and Jam setting off in the dawn light this morning

We’re not going to be able to fly from the summit of Mont Blanc. We’re not going to be able to fly from the Dome de Gouter and we’re not even going to be able to fly from the lower point of the Refuge de Gouter.

So late last night, we had to make a very tough decision. And at 7am this morning, Sam and Jam left without us to climb Mont Blanc.

We’ll be setting off with Irwyn tomorrow morning to meet them at the Refuge de Tete Rousse. If we can, we’ll fly down from the Glacier de Tete Rousse at 3150m.

It’s a disappointment. But it’s the best the weather will allow. This is paragliding and this time, the mountain says: “No!”.

A bit about us…

Flying tandem in Annecy
Flying tandem in Annecy

Have you ever been so focused on what you’re doing that you’ve actually forgotten to look around you and take it all in? It’s easy to do! Sometimes, you just need to take a moment to forget what you’re doing, blink, breathe and take in the world around you.

We (Jenni and Graham) spend as much of our time as possible looking for a new adventure and taking our time to enjoy the world around us. And whenever possible, we like to help others have adventures and enjoy what’s happening around them.

This is where we share our adventures, so anyone can join in the fun 😉