Adeje, Tenerife, the closest place for us Scandinavians to get really nice thermal flying, they said. Weatherproof, they said. No one mentioned hectares of cactus, the calima sandstorm or coronavirus …
My idea was to start the flying season a little nicely, to carefully train the skills for the season. When the local flight guide said that today we fly Jama, and the others in our small group of paraglider pilots – of horror erupted; Oh no – the cactus landing! I knew I was in trouble.
The landing site was quite small, but that was not the problem, it was adequate in other circumstances. But it was thermal, which means that you do not fully know where / when you land. Lifting and sinking relieve each other in an unpleasant way considering all the cactus that surrounded the landing.
If you came in too low, you got to hug the cactus. If it lifted and you went to the right or left, you got to hug the cactus. If you got too far, you got stuck in power lines, before you fell down and got to hug the cactus… I refrained, did not feel like a suitable first flight for the holiday.
I talked to an experienced German pilot and we agreed that the landings were safer at home, where greenery usually meant grass and not cactus like this. I really hate cactus, he said, and that was even before he made his flight and got his knees full of cactus thugs …
Taucho and Ifonche are two fantastic takeoff at Adeje, both with several big and nice landings. From Ifonche I got a nice flight in the area around the fingers and the flat rock. Great views of mountains, canyons, Adeje and the coast down by the sea.
Another flight I unfortunately had to refuse was the flight from the area at the volcano Teide. Too bad, it would have been absolutely fantastic, but security must go first.
I had not seen the landing and had to expect at least 3 minutes of flight through dense clouds before locating it. Without a GPS that you were used to and trusted, the flight was very dangerous. I had just downloaded an app with gps-function but had not gotten to know it yet. Thought it was a badly chosen opportunity to test it for the first time. If you get lost in the clouds, the risk is obvious that you will crash somewhere in the mountains, and so much worse vacation employment is hard to imagine.
The next day it started blowing hard, then came Calima, the sandstorm that burned like a jet engine in the skin. Hard to breathe, hard to see but exciting to experience.
The rest of the holiday was spent on hiking. Not bad employment either.
When the news began to report on coronavirus at a hotel down the coast, that 1,000 people were quarantined, I began to worry a little about the return journey. Being forced to remain in the cactus kingdom for another fourteen days would be a horror. But everything went well. Come home yesterday to bare ground, today the snow is winding down, seems to be tracking again in the coming week.
End of the holiday, wolves and eagles – watch out! I will be back.