I have been in and out of the sport now for over 27 years, having been involved in some pretty hardcore pursuits in between but always come back to skydiving “the King of sports” my life has involved travels that have taken me to many countries. I take a rig and have seen some gorgeous views from altitude.The view from above Alvor is the gift that keeps on giving. The remarkable views from altitude of Europe’s South Western peninsula at Sagres never tires the mind and rates as one of the best.
The guy who wrote the Bible's first chapter about Eden describes this place
The Algarve is an endless summer, always green with something in flower. Fish fill the sea, birds fly the sky, foods in the ground and on the trees. Nothing here’s marketed organic because everything is local and organic.
The view of Sagres, looking down from 14k ft, runs from South to North back to UK and West to East to Gibraltar. Climbing to altitude the pattern flys over the historic port of Lagos, along the beach, giving great inland panoramic views of the international race track at the foothills of the 2,300ft heights to the North, to the town of Monchique, with its Alpine feel, nestled in the ravines near the summit. Then over the small port city of Portimão.
Directly below the jump run is the natural bay of Alvor fishing village, surrounded by salt marshes and sand dunes drifted into shape by the Atlantic guarded by sculptured sandstone columns. The bay constantly shape shifts as the tide covers then reveals sand bars and oyster farms in its shallows. Every lift is a different picture as the water depths and light changes.
I have always just enjoyed fun jumping for jokes and giggles and there’s always someone coming out for a holiday with the same goal to meet on flight line to share a jump with.
When the Boogies are running I will always take advantage of the awesome free load organisers put on by the DZ to coach, mentor and inspire us
Having been lucky enough to jump with some great load organisers, my skills have now improved and I kinda know what I’m doing more which in turn makes my fun jumping an even more rewarding experience.
I can now take my fun seriously and now have some serious fun.
Jump run is either East or West parallel to the beach and runway below which makes referencing a heading easy for practicing new skills off the jump run. Tracking is normally to the North of the runway, over a huge golf course, making for simple navigating with a large and easy to see clubhouse and pool marking the half way “do not cross line” with nice manicured “outs” if your group is enjoying the track too much and prefer to walk back!
Weather is weather and all DZs have downtime. I have been holed up in some bland locations waiting on weather holds but Algarve is top for alternative pursuits. You can google the local tourist board but the wild Atlantic coastline, half an hour away to the West, has great surfing, Go-carting at the international race track, which is open to all, horse riding in the hills, miles of unfenced off-roading trails if you are into 4×4 or Enduro. Portimão has nightlife if you want to miss the first load next morning.
Stunning coastal scenery oozes history with more castles and historic sites than can possibly be visited in one trip, where you can walk amongst the ghosts of Crusaders, Moors, Privateers, Slaves, Astronomers Scholars and Explorers who were drawn to the end of the known world in search of either riches or understanding or maybe both, centuries before.
Fuel’s dearer in Portugal than Spain and we burn a bit for our sport which is reflected in jump ticket prices but with Cheap accommodation, beer starting at 90c and a pint great wine under €2 a bottle it kind of evens out! The quality of life here is hard to beat.
Local people are great, friendly and genuine. You don’t feel like a tourist that’s there to be milked.
The DZ staff are on top of their game, professional but casual and always appear happy to be there which is so welcome after seeing so many other DZ’s where staffs faces look like they’ve done 6 back to back tours of a war zone.
I have been wintering here since the DZ was added to the Swallow group’s portfolio, having been impressed with their operations altitude and suitable aircraft elsewhere. I have enjoyed watching the Alvor DZ grow. It’s great to see them spending money on improvements as it matures, it makes you feel part of something. Valued not just a punter.
If only all DZ’s followed their business model hey.