Thursday, August 18, 2011

Paragliding in Netanya

The other day, I saw an advertisement for something that I just couldn't peel my eyes away from. I've known that the Netanya coastline, north of Tel Aviv, is home to a spectacular stretch of unspoiled beaches and also some great water sports. Though I've driven through Netanya (technically past the freeway exits) while driving up to northern Israel, I've never actually set foot into the city which happens to also be one of Israel's largest. Since I've never been in person, I've really been wanting to visit Netanya in recent months. Yesterday, I came across an amazing ad for paragliding in Netanya, and I knew I could not wait anymore to visit this coastal city in person. Now, tell me, does this not look enticing?


Shahaf Paragliding Company is a privately run adventure company located in the city of Netanya on the Mediterranean Coastal Cliffs of Israel's western shore. Here, you can come visit for the adventure of a lifetime. How amazing are these views?


After driving into Netanya, you will be met with a friendly and eager (and highly qualified) staff who will offer you short formalities, safety instructions and a general briefing to ease your nerves. After all is said and done, it's time to take flight:


Maximum gliding altitude is about 450 feet (or 1500 meters) and your flight duration will last about 20 minutes in the air. Not only can you paraglide by parachute, but also, you can glide by a 2-seater ATV, which to me looks pretty incredible:


You have the option of gliding over the Mediterranean Sea and the shores of Netanya as well as the nearby coastal plains of the Sharon region. Depending on whether you paraglide or ATV ride-by-air, the prices and hours will vary.


If you choose to paraglide, the facility is open daily for you from 12:30 to 4:30 in the afternoon. The winds will be assessed before your gliding adventure, which will cost you around 400 shekels for a 20 minute flight.


For an ATV ride-by-air, you have the option of gliding between the hours of 4:30 pm to sunset. For a 20 minute ride, it will cost you about 420 shekels per person. From the looks of it, you'll be flying with your qualified instructor.


It looks pretty amazing to me, I'm sold! For further details, be sure to visit Shahaf Paragliding at their website here. Also, don't miss out on a coupon for Shahaf Paragliding (pay 300 shekels for 600 shekels worth of gliding). Click here for the coupon. Be quick to buy if you're interested, the coupon is only going for the next few days! A nice addition is that the coupon comes with 10 free photos of your flying adventure.


What a memorable way to see Netanya and the beautiful Mediterranean coastline. At Shahaf Paragliding, you can opt for an abundance of fun activities including not only paragliding and flying ATV, but also, cycling, horseback riding, aerial advertising, proposals and romantic activity packages.

 
Seeing these images above (courtesy of Shahaf Paragliding) reminds me of traveling with some of my best friends in New Zealand back in 2003 when we crazily convinced ourselves to go skydiving. Yes, that's right. We decided to jump out of a moving plane (and not to tell our parents until afterward). We had decided that we just needed to take full advantage of being in the adventure capital of the world: Queenstown, New Zealand. Enjoy below pictures of my skydiving adventure circa 2003:

    

Above, you see me strapped to my instructor, falling out of the plane at an altitude of 12,000 feet. My friend Erin had jumped 30 seconds before me, and I had left my other friend Kate up in the plane to follow behind me.
    

The first few seconds were a maddening free fall.  We did one somersault in the air before my instructor pulled a stability cord (not the parachute) after about 20 seconds so that we could drop to the ground without flailing all about. Here we are falling at about 220 kilometers per hour:

 
    

Imagine having a big fan blowing air in your face at 220 kilometers per hour, that is what it felt like. I remember seeing the world below at an angle, kind of like when you're flying and the plane tilts to one of its sides, making the world below look uneven.


    

The whole fall lasts about 1 minute, though it it feels like the longest minute of your life. For someone who doesn't even like roller coasters, it was a lot to stomach (though going back in time, I'd do it again in a second):

 

But, the views sure made it worth it. These pictures were taken on November 22, 2003 just before our return back home after studying abroad in Australia. I'm glad I paid the extra for these memorable photos and the accompanying video. 


How great it was to feel the ground again after jumping from a moving plane. Surprisingly, I actually felt more nauseous from the slow gliding parachute back and forth than from the free fall.  It was a great experience, and one that I'll only do once!

    


Here we are reaching the Earth below where my friend Erin had already landed, waiting to greet me. You'll also see me and my instructor in the photos below. We couldn't believe that these guys jump about 5 times a day!

   

    

What an amazing adventure! I think I'm ready to take flight once again (just not from a moving plane). The ATV by air in Netanya might just be the way to satisfy that craving.

4 comments:

  1. I can't believe you haven't been to Netanya! It is really pretty!

    Those photos of sky diving made my heart race all over gain, yikes can't believe we did that!!

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  2. I can't believe I haven't been there either! It's just so much easier to get to Tel Aviv or Herzliya. We almost went there on our anniversary for a beach day but wanted to have our lunch at a good restaurant in Tel Aviv which was totally worth it.

    I couldn't find the pictures of you, Erin and I in those funny poses before we jumped! Where are they? Who has them? Find it and I'll add it to this page!! :)

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  3. I have one photo I can send you that I some how have on my computer--I can't find any of my memory cards from Australia and it is very upsetting!

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  4. I don't know where mine are either!? So frustrating! And I remember that we all had camera issues in New Zealand. Perfect, the most amazing trip and no images to capture it. One of the most beautiful countries I've been to!

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