Oludeniz is a massive clash between two very different worlds. Despite being only a very small town, the population is almost entirely 2 types: Brits abroad looking for the all inclusive beach package, and those who get bored really easily and are trying to get as many runs as possible throwing themselves off the top of Babadag, the nearest mountain.
I came to Oludeniz because I had signed up to do my SIV, an advanced control and wing handeling course to make sure you can control your paraglider in all situations. Oludeniz is one of the foremost locations on the planet to do this type of course, as you can fly out to the box with the maximum amount of height in Europe and compared to Lake Garda, its pretty cheap at £15-£20pp/pn. At the moment the transport up the mountain is by bus and there are various companies willing to transport solo pilots alongside their tandem business for 20 lira-ish, but in 2019 there should be a gondola opening. A lot of work and money has gone into the mountain this year as the local authorities want to increase the season to full year. At the moment the limiting factor in the winter is the ice making it unsafe to drive up the mountain, so by installing a lift in theory you should be able to fly there all year round. We were flying over the pylons in October, and rumour has it it will be ready for May 2019, but we shall wait and see. The cafe at the 1700m launch is really nice though with public toilets and a great view out over the bay and lagoon and front row seat to sunset.
As I had covered the beginner stuff with my friend Dave in Austria, I was here to do my first full stalls and spins. It was incredibly scarey as I have already written about in here. But I feel much more confident flying now because I have gone to the very worst situation my wing can be in, I sorted it out, and I landed safely. This is also my first tentative steps into acrobatics.
I stayed for a whole month, so after my course I managed to get properly comfortable with these manoevers, as well as trying some variations, including controlling the number of rotations and managed to do a helicopter! I was so happy as this is the one and only trick I ever really wanted to achieve. It was super wobbly and will need a bit more work, but still: I’m claiming it!
The timing also meant I was there for the Air Games, which was pretty insane! While my mother may think that I’m doing silly things, at least I’m not bailing out of a tandem mid flight, squirrel suiting to the beach and pulling their base ‘chute within a few metres of the ground. As a spectator on landing often the first you would know about it is the noise it makes on opening. I found it terrifying! It was super cool that the rest of the British Acro Team (BAPA) came out, so I was getting loads of advice and pointers which was really helpful, they are really nice guys and willing to help out anyone who asks.
My birthday was during the air games so Adam came out to visit and we spent some time doing other things too. One benefit of the touristy stuff is that there are plenty of options that include transport so you’re not stuck in that little town. We took a trip to the Mud baths in Dalyan which included a boat trip to Turtle beach, where we did actually see massive seas turtles, it was so good! I really enjoyed being a bit silly at the mud baths too, although the professional photographer that came on the trip had variable results. The posing was not for us, but some of the other pictures came out pretty well!
It was so good to be in a hotel after so long in the van, it gave me the oppotunity to get my stuff out and reorganised and was nice to have constant access to a shower, toilet and aircon. Unfortunately on my way in, I lost boost power which was a bit of a problem getting over the mountains into Fethiye, but the hotel manager managed to get a local garage to sort it out for me at a quite reasonable price. When it was returned though there was an issue with the gear selection, so Adam and I spent a whole morning trying to get it better. Turns out there was a plug in the way, but we still had to realign the gear stick. It took us way too long to figure out the problem really. I thought that the plug (to charge the leisure batteries) had been removed ages ago, but turns out it had just fallen in a weird place. After all that I was so glad to make it back to the UK in one piece, but when I took it for servicing, it turns out the clutch and flywheel both needed replacing, which in addition to the rear brake pads and disks, made it a very expensive trip to the garage.