OVER THE EDGE
The peace and quiet of a valley or a trip to a tranquil beach is not what holiday is all about for some people. They like to substitute their humdrum life with extreme adrenaline rush. Arathi M explores adventure holidays that will definitely make you see your life flashing before your eyes.
Skydiving in India
Looking down on the ground and exclaiming how exquisite the world below looks, while travelling on a flight is typical. Then, what if someone asks to take a plunge after you are fitted with a parachute? No, we are not referring to a flight malfunction. We are talking about one of the most famous extreme adventure holidays, which is now taking India by storm–skydiving. Even though at a very nascent stage in India, the extreme sport is being undertaken by an increasing number of groups. The free fall to the earth, before you open your parachute, can astound as well as humble you. Participants, after some vigorous training and several safety measures, can perform a number of aerial manoeuvres before pulling on their parachute. This hair-raising activity, which is obviously not to be done during the monsoon, is available in Mysore, Dhana, Aamby Valley, Pondicherry and New Delhi. With no age barrier, this spectator-friendly discipline needs you to be fit as well as not being overweight compared to your height. Not recommended for those with chronic heart diseases, asthma or alcohol addiction, skydiving costs anything between `16,000 to `67,000. Ranging from the static line jump and tandem jump to the accelerated free fall, you will be spoilt for choices. Keep your eyes peeled and you will find yourself amidst the extreme thrill of flying on top of the cities.
Bungee-jumping in the Alps
Since normal human beings cannot produce cobwebs from the tip of their wrists or were not brought up in jungles so that they were trained in jumping from vine to vine, to feel the adrenaline rush as the blood reach their head while swinging, they came up with bungee jumping. The father of all adventure experiences, this activity just gets more extreme and crazier by the day. The excitement of jumping to the ground, while hanging from a harness is what every thrill seeker has tried. Sitting cozily among the snow-clad, tranquil Switzerland is the Swiss Alpine Valley, which can undoubtedly be called the Evel Knievel of all bungee jumping. Feel the snow come closer and closer as you plunge head down from the Niouc Bridge at the Val d’Anniviers at 190 meters. The harness, which will be attached to your chest as well as your waist, will let you swing at high speed. Also known as the spider bridge due to the presence of a cobweb of cable wires, this is the world’s highest suspension footbridge. As you get yourself harnessed before the jump, do not forget to get your fill of the vivid blue skies and pastoral view of Navizence River as well as the Alpine peaks. Not permitted for those below 16 years of age, a single jump costs around £142. Rest assured, this lofty jump that will leave you shaken and wanting for more.
Whitewater rafting in Turkey
Turkey with its sprawling rivers is without a doubt the best choice if you have a love for water sports such as rafting, canoeing, water-skiing, etc. Set amidst picturesque green valleys and stately mountains, these rivers provide the finest resources for whitewater rafting. From the Coruh river to Firtina river, rafting in these mean watersheds is no piece of cake. Neither tame, nor calm, amidst forests and mountains, these rivers flow wildly in all their majesty. The companies that arrange these tours have a guide per raft and assure you of safety only if you explicitly listen to the instructions of the guide. These whitewater rafting trips are categorised into mild and wild, for the tourist to choose from. So, choose wisely my friend! Every person will be given an oar that you are expected to use effectively, thanks to instructions from your guide, till your voyage ends. While holding on to your dear life on the raft, enjoy the pristine woodlands and wildlife pass by. Also, select a calm part of the river and take a dunk in the crystal clear water. Although travel light is the motto of the waters, you might want to wear at least a lightweight thermal cloth as these places have a tendency to get chilly and shivering while trying to row, is not exactly the epitome of fun. The entire experience has been widely called the ‘bouncy castle on a river’ and there is no argument here. So grab an oar and get rafting.
Diving with the sharks EW
Locking up predators such as lions, tigers, sharks, and watching them from a safe distance is the norm for ages. How about reversing the roles and locking yourself in a cage and lowering you into the sea while the world’s largest predators, the great white sharks swim around you, watching you out of their small eyes while baring their teeth. Yes, this is what nightmares are made of. Becoming more and more famous by the day, this adventure activity has a huge fan base in Gansbaii in South Africa, which is the most shark infested beach in the world. Enclosed in customised aluminium cages, which can hold up to 20, people are lowered into the sea. The choice to go for a cage, which will hold lesser number of people so that you get a more personalised experience, is all yours. The cages are generally left dangling on the sides of boats. There is no guarantee as to how many minutes or hours you will have to wait to catch a glimpse of this majestic beast in its natural habitat. If you are lucky, you can see the vision in the murky waters swimming towards the bait, teeth flashing, set by the tour group to lure the shark towards you. If
movies such as Jaws or Open Water scared you, get ready to have a mini heart attack. The gigantic figure in all its glory is breathtaking. The maximum of 10 minutes you will get to witness the giant closely makes the three-four hours of wait in the waters, worthwhile.
Ice climbing in Canada
Swishing down the snow on sledges has been done and dusted. Ever thought about going the other way? A 60-foot ice covered mountain terrain can make anyone go weak in their knees. The long ice climb, complete with crampons and ice axe is not everybody’s game and definitely not of the faint-hearted. Slowly setting its roots in the adventurous expedition slot, this cold expedition is just 10 years old. Surrounded by glaciers and ice formations, the climb to the top will definitely make your adrenaline shoot out of your heart. To get the best experience, head out to Banff National Park, the home of the Rocky Mountains in Canada. Dubbed as the best, this park which lies near Canmore town has plenty of beginners’ routes and will definitely hone your skills to sharpen your axes. The task is undertaken by various climber groups found in abundance in the town. Available in beginners, intermediate as well as advanced levels, you don’t have to be proficient in the art of climbing to experience this thrill. A guide is generally allotted five tourists due to obvious safety reasons and each trip will comprise four to five days, depending on the package. In the remoteness of this haven, if you are lucky, you may spot the famed Bighorn Sheep roaming around peacefully. The window for the best climb to these ice cold peaks is from July to September or maybe even early October. A once in a lifetime experience, the manner in which these remote ice fields capture your fantasy is unmatched. So grab your gears and get climbing already!