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Jan 8, 2017

I went Paragliding at Shachaf Paragliding this summer in Netanya, Israel. Paragliding was the most exhilarating activity I have done in Netanya. I thought I would be afraid because of how high up you are in the sky but once you’re up there it feels like you’re floating. I went up for 20 minutes with Ofer, the man who took me up. Ofer had 30 years of experience doing paragliding. We went as high as a 20 story building. The wind has a lot to do with how well the experience will go. I went up on a pretty windy day and it was harder to land and steer the paraglider than on a normal day. Being so high up off the ground it was easy to see everything. The view was extremely beautiful with the Mediterranean   Sea on one side of me and the cliffs on the other. My apartment in Netanya is very close to where the paragliding start off point is so when we went up in the air and started on our route we passed by my apartment which is on the fourth floor of the building. I was actually able to see my mother in the window talking on the phone. The majority of the ride was slow moving and relaxing but at the very end Ofer asked if I wanted to go fast and when I said yes he spiralled down fast as if we were going to crash into the cliffs but I would have to say that it was my favourite part of the ride. We took a go pro up with us to document the ride. It was an amazing experience that I highly recommend if you aren't afraid of heights. 
Another favourite activity of mine that I did in Netanya was surfing on Sironit beach. I had previously surfed once before in Australia but this time was a completely different experience. It was almost like I was relearning how to surf. The difference between my experience in Australia to my experience in Israel was that I actually managed to stand up many times while surfing on Sironit beach. It was a one hour beginner session and I went with a friend who had never gone surfing before. Our instructors name was Ariel and he was very clear and helpful to the both of us. It wasn’t a particularly windy day so the waves weren’t that big but we still managed to catch some of the bigger waves that day. The water was very pleasant, it wasn’t to warm or too cold but weather wise it was a very hot day.The majority of the year there are no jellyfish in the area of Sironit beach but usually most of July the Sea in that area is full of them. I went surfing July 7th and there were only a couple jellyfish sightings but I did get stung a few times. I didn’t notice until I got out of the water because a lot of the time the stings are relatively painless, they just leave a little red mark for a little that ends up being itchy.  The experience was really fun and I would love to do it every day if I could. 
My third adventure I took was horseback riding at Cactus Ranch in Hadera. I was put in a large group of about 30 people, we all were put on horses selected for us by the guides who were going to take us on the ride. I was chosen to ride on a white horse named Afory, the word afor in hebrew translates to the word grey in english. Even before they opened the gate to let all the horses roam around my horse Afory galloped right to the front of the gate in front of all the other horses. He seemed very aggressive, I was a little worried he was a horse that didn’t get along well with the others. As soon as the gate was opened all the horses piled out, I assumed since Afory was aggressive to move to the front by the gate that he would be fast and aggressive and stay a leader of the group behind us but as we moved through the trail we slowly fell to the back of the group. The trail was beautiful! We started out on a sand trail where all you could see was just large hills of sand and as we got farther we reached the beach where we were able to look out and see the sea. The ride went very smoothly, my horse wasn’t too slow and he also didn’t go too fast. This experience was extremely calming because of the scenery on the trail. In all it was one of my favourite memorable moments on my trip. 
The last and final exciting activity I did in Israel was when I went to Caesarea to go scuba diving. I had never scuba dived before so this was the first time I had gone and it was a beginners lesson. I had to put all the gear on including the large oxygen tank that I would have to carry on my back. I wasn’t aware of how heavy the equipment was so when I put it on my back I nearly fell over. The scuba diving lesson was a one on one lesson so it was just my instructor and I. We started off by walking down a flight of stairs straight into the water. My instructor then asked if I was ready to be pulled down into the water, I said I was ready and we sunk down. Under the surface I was able to see schools of tiny grey fish, small little crab like creatures and some larger white fish swimming by themselves. Since we were in Caesarea there were all kinds of stone pillars and tiles of sorts on the bottom of the Sea covered in algae and sea grass. As we were swimming farther and farther we saw many different artifacts from thousands of years ago but the one that stuck out to me the most was the anchor that had probably been there for hundreds of years just covered in algae. It was such an incredible moment for me because looking at that anchor I realized how amazing a place Caesarea is and how they had uncovered all of these different ruins that had been around for hundreds and thousands of years. It was such a strange feeling being able to stay under the water for that long not having to worry about my breathing or anything. It was just such an amazing experience, I would love to take more lessons and maybe actually try diving deeper and discover cooler things deeper down in the water.
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.