As we’ll be out there before you know it, I just wanted to give you a few final notes.
By this time all of you should have completed and returned your “personal details sheet” (if not, please do asap) and also you should have had a set of theory notes. You will probably find it easiest if you print out your theory notes and bring them with you. If you haven’t had either of these, please let me know.
You will need to be a member of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA) and can either do this when you join us or you can save yourself a little time and do it on line before joining us. We expect and will be working towards getting you fully qualified and for the BHPA to register your rating you’ll need to be an annual member. Anyhow, here’s the link
If you’re driving, you will be heading from Bordeaux to Arcachon then taking the exit for “Dune de Pyla”. You will arrive at a roundabout at the back of the dune where you’ll turn left. We stay at Camping de la Dune (also known as La Flotte Blu) which is the second campsite along (if you get to Pyla Camping you have gone one campsite too far). If you’re arriving late (after 7pm) and have a mobile home or safari tent booked, you’ll be able to collect your key from the bar.
I’m not sure which mobile home I’ll be in but I have a large white boxer dog (very friendly) and will have a pirate flag in front (Gaaaaarrr).
If you don’t have a car and arrive at Bordeaux airport, you’ll need to get the shuttle bus from the airport to the main Bordeaux train station (St Jean). From there you’ll get a local train to Arcachon and the journey takes about an hour on the train (very pretty). Please phone, SMS, or WhatsApp me with your arrival time in Arcachon before you leave Bordeaux and I’ll be waiting at the station to pick you up.
Whatever you rent at the campsite, they don’t supply sheets, towels or tea towels. You can buy paper sheets from reception but they are truly awful. You’ll either need to bring them with you or I’ll take a set of cotton sheets out for you (fitted bottom sheet, top sheet and pillow case) but will charge you 15 euros which is what it costs to get them laundered. As far as towels go, a travel towel is a great idea if you don’t have one already (something like this: https://www.tog24.com/travel-towel-large-blue.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3OLb4M2T2gIVz7_tCh2EKgEyEAYYCCABEgJfmfD_BwE#fo_c=284&fo_k=b4edcb03242e82fb2f8290bd41fc85ff&fo_s=gplauk ).
The normal daily routine is to meet at our van at 10 am and we’ll let you have the daily plan. When it’s flyable we’ll be flying and at this time of year it’s light until 9 in the evening so when we go out you need to take everything that you’re likely to need. Depending on the wind direction we may be on the dune directly in front of the campsite or at another site a few miles down the coast.
The things you need to take when we go flying are:
Sunblock (essential or you will burn even if it doesn’t seem that warm or sunny, and even if you think you never burn!).
Clothing in layers as temperatures can change quite significantly during the course of the day. In the morning you’ll probably want a jacket and something to cover your legs but by the middle of the day I’ll usually be in shorts and a T-shirt.
Water. You can buy a bottle at the campsite shop and just keep re-filling it (water is safe to drink everywhere on the site) or bring a Camelbak if you have one.
If you normally eat during the day and are prone to energy slumps if you don’t, you should bring food out with you. There is a small but well stocked shop on site.
If it isn’t flyable we will work on theory but also we’ll try to visit some of the great local sights. We will probably visit a huge, shallow freshwater lake so bring swimming things (there’s also a pool at the campsite).
Other things you might consider bringing are tea towel to dry up your dishes, tea bags (the local Lipton tea bags are unspeakably awful), torch, basic 1st aid kit including plasters that actually stick (unlike the rubbish local ones), paracetamol, Ibuprofen, and a non-drowsy antihistamine (for allergies). All Flight Culture staff are trained in basic 1st Aid.
There is free wifi up at the bar, otherwise you can buy a wifi pass that works throughout the campsite.
We’ll cook you dinner on your first night and eat it outside our caravan but if the weather isn’t very good we might have to roll it over to the next night. On the other nights we’ll have a dinner plan and if you’d like to join us you’d be very welcome.
If you have any questions regarding any of the above (or anything else!) then please just let me know.