Florida Guide > Other Activities
Hot Air Ballooning
The idea of floating over the Florida countryside was not one that appealed to us, but having two sons who enjoy anything exhilarating, and not taking no for an answer, they booked and paid for a flight in a hot air balloon. Not one to waste money we contacted Fantasy Flights who assured us that the trip would be breathtaking and not at all scary.
On the pre arranged day we were picked up by our pilot Bob at the crack of dawn (in fact a long way before dawn). Bob was in contact with several other pilots and eventually a launch site was agreed upon and the race was on to get there first to secure the best take off spot.
Seven trucks with their balloons in trailers arrived and everyone was encouraged to help unpack and prepare for the gas to be lit. Daybreak was a wonderful site with all the balloons gradually lifting skywards. The different colours and sizes all with one aim, take of just as the sun rose.
Eventually all was ready and we were invited to climb aboard, just two of us and our pilot, and suddenly we were airbourne, very gently we ascended for the start our journey. We watched all the other balloons take off, what a spectacle. The air was very still and we seemed to hover but still managed to travel several miles.
There is an odd sensation of floating in silence, broken only by people on the ground who you can hear clearly discussing the balloon that you are in. (Just remember if you are on the ground every word you say can be heard clearly).
The views are stunning and make you realise just how much of Florida is still natural vegetation and swamp. Birds seem to take no notice of you and fly close by, just to give you a great view of them from above.
Eventually the landing site was in view and slowly we descended, we were amazed at how easily the pilot manoeuvred the balloon to get within feet of our preferred landing spot. A feather could not have landed more gently, the basket did not tip or turn, just rested on the grass for us to step onto terra firma again.
A relaxing glass of champagne and discussions between all the other passengers about what we had seen and heard. The overwhelming opinion was that it was an experience not to miss.
The trucks arrived and help was on hand with the loading of the balloons. We were delivered back to our pick up point and still it was only 8am, a wonderful way to start a day. Time to say goodbye to Bob our pilot, but hopefully in the future we will repeat the adventure.
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Page added on: 11 March 2007
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