The Beginning

Whereas back home we were kept from flying by all the preparations we had to do before leaving, it was now the landscape who killed our hopes to fly.

Our first stop, Miami, is not much of a flying site. It’s so flat everywhere and the whole coast is in private hands, or if not you can be sure that someone plantet palms on it. We distracted ourselves by visiting the Keys and doing some watersports. Finally on the campground in the Everglades National park we unpacked our gliders and did some grondhandling on a nice big field at the sea shore. Later that day we got to know that in the Everglades the most agressive animals were not the alligators but the moskitoes. As soon as the sun had set, they startet their merciless hunt after human blood. We fled into our tent and did not dare to sneak out the whole night.

DCIM103GOPRO
Groundhandling in the Everglades National Park

After our next flight to Buenos Aires and some days to get to know the city, we were overdue for some nice flying sessions. We boarded a 11 hours overnight bus to La Cumbre, the nearest flying site we knew about. But as it often is in life, it would not be so easy for us to finally get some airtime.

When we arrived in La Cumbre, we learned that we just missed a nice flyable day where some pilots did distances up to 100 km. The weather forecast promissed us windy and wet weather for the next days. Instead of flying we checked out the region on foot and by bike. Heading up a valley alongside a little river was quite fun and made us feel like adventurers.
We really learned the art of parawaiting, but it never even got boring because of the good company and the big Asados, argentinian grill parties, we had in the evenings.
Finally the cold weather went away and the wind turned in the right direction. So off we drove to the flying site Cuchi Corral, that is located on the edge of a big plateau overlooking a big strech of wild land where the Rio Tionto flows trough.

 

 

It felt nice being lifted by the wind although the conditions were more like a rough sea than a plain lake. There were several birds of prey turning their circles with us. One was much bigger than the others. It floatet majestetically through the air. As I do not know to name all these birds, I did not realise, that we were flying with a Condor until the locals told me after landing.
By the way, landing is a pain here. From above it looks as if you could land everywhere. But after a closer look you will recognise that it is best when you stick rather to brown tinted surface than to juicy green. Like Allan the Australian Guy said: “If it’s green, it’s a thornbush. You’d probably bleed to death if you would land there”. So we try to go for brown surfaces or the green strips next to the road which are usually well maintained.

If the thermals are not strong enough, or for people who do not like to push their luck, there is alway the nice, big landing site on the board of the Rio Tinto, where it’s possible to pack ones wing on a lush green carpet of grass, then jump into the river or take a landing beer to fight against the heat, while waiting for the bus that brings you back up.

 

Preparations

We are sitting in the middle of a big mess. Clothes, electronic devices and paragliding gear are spread out all around us. In the last few weeks we sold a big part of our belongings, moved out of our appartement and completed heaps of paperwork. All this while still working on our jobs. We even found some time to test our brand new paragliding equipment.

These things around us, are everything we will carry with us during the next year.
In only six days we will embark on a one year long paragliding adventure around the world.
For a long time we dreamt of travelling the world. And as we both do paragliding it was obvious that we’ll take our paragliding gear with us. How nice it would be to see the wild beauty of the world from above, then land on a riverside, pitch our tent where we like, sleep and do it all over again in another place the next day. Travelling slowly and getting to know the people and the culture of each country we visit.
First stop is Buenos Aires, Argentina. From there we will move down further south. After that we go back up through the Andes and visit Chile, Bolivia and Peru. In summer 2015 we’ll be touring trough Europe and thereafter move on to Asia. There’s no fixed itinerary and no return date, but we plan to come back to Switzerland after 10 to 14 months.
Our goal is not to achieve new records in any discipile. We don’t want to fly the furthest or the highest. We are just two guys who want to fly in new places and marvel at the landscape with a bird’s eye view.
But we’re not there yet. First we need to pack all these things around us into our backpack systems.
We have 90 liters space available each. This may sound like much, but when you mind the volume of a normal paraglider there’s not much else you could pack. Fortunately the KEA and the GII 2 from Sky pack easily into a 50 liter drybag. That even includes essentials like a rescue, GoPro and a Skytraxx variometer.
That leaves 40 liters of space for all the other things we want to take with us.
Now the endless hours of playing TETRIS as kids are finally paying out. We only need four tries until everything is packed.
We are ready, let’s go fly.