So I decided to share the story of the great paragliding flight I was blessed with on the 9th August 2013 The forecast was saying Easterly wind which meant that it was not good for Paragliding Cape Town and unfortunately we had to cancel all our bookings for the day.
The plan was to head out to Level 5 aka Raven’s Ridge. The take-off site faces east and I knew for us to fly away from here, we would need to get there early. Jacques, Konstantin and I met up with Long Pete, Niel Marx and Ian Cowie at the shopping centre in Steenberg at around 10 and headed up towards take off fairly soon after. Conditions at take-off were perfect with a 15-20km/h ESE wind blowing up the front. Konstantin did not waste any time and he was in the air first with his porter Nicolas Majoni as a passenger on the tandem paraglider. This was for experimental purposes to see if it was possible to take off from Level5 on a Tandem Paraglider.
Within a few minutes, Konstantin was gone and away working the ridge on the left that was baking nicely in the morning sun. It was my turn to take off next and with an easy pull on the A risers of my Ozone Enzo, I was airborne. I made an immediate left turn as well and was finding it very easy to climb in the smooth ridge lift. I headed down the ridge towards Constantiaberg where I found my first good climb topping out at around 1200masl.
I found that the wind above 900masl was now a rather turbulent 15-20km/h NE, so no time to take any nice pictures. I climbed on my speed bar and headed into the wind towards Kirstenbosch, nursing my Enzo on the b-risers to keep her flying at maximum glide performance!
At Kirstenbosch, it was getting a little bit tricky as most parts of the mountain were now in the shade and lee-side on top of that, but on the other hand, where do you find the best thermals?….in the lee-side of course!! I had to work very hard to stay up on every little sunny spot I could find and was slowly making my transition towards Maclears Beacon. At Maclears I was climbing nicely again and it felt like a bit of dynamic lift going up the vertical rock faces.
The gap between Maclears Beacon and Devils Peak was now staring me right in the face so to speak and the choice to go behind Devils Peak onto Table Mountain’s front face was starting to look very appealing. I opted for the safer route, to push out front and climb on the Northern face of Devils Peak. Here I was rewarded with a mega climb back up to 1200masl, yay!
I have never had the opportunity to glide straight over the City Bowl and I was not going to let this one slip away. I pushed my bar and headed straight to the buttress of Signal Hill. I arrived at Signal Hill with plenty of height to spare but was rewarded again with probably the best thermal of the day. This thermal was drifting back towards Lions Head and I connected with the NE face of Lions Head. I ended up soaring this face for about 10-20 minutes trying to figure out what my next move will be. I was not very happy with the rather fresh NE and was not going to attempt to fly the lee-side of the Apostles towards Llandudno. I was happy with my flight and decided to call it and spiral down to land at the field in front of the Bungalow in Camps Bay. After landing I received a phone call from Konstantin, he told me that Jacques turned around and top landed back at Level5 and they were busy driving my vehicle back to come to collect me. I could not have asked for anything else……Absolute bliss!
All pictures thanks to Niel Marx
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