Extreme adventures for the holidays

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of September 17-23, 1998
Late season leaf peeping
Adventure touring in Alaska
Extreme adventures for the holidays

Extreme adventures for the holidays

By Stephanie Gregory

Question: Can you recommend some tours or tour companies that specialize in extreme holidays? Something a bit different that involves a hint of danger and maybe gets the adrenaline going? I want to organize a surprise holiday for my boyfriend and he likes doing crazy things. We live in England, but would like to travel somewhere different and money is no object, really.

Jenny Hyde
London, England

Consider looking into the burgeoning shark diving business
Adventure Adviser: If money is no object, fly a Russian MiG (a mere $20,000), sail around the world in 14 months ($66,000), or, if you don't have a year to spare, fly around the world by private jet or circumnavigate South America aboard Air France Concorde ($50,000 and $52,500 respectively). In today's global age, where the U.S. adventure travel industry alone takes in $200 million, the world is your adrenaline-inducing oyster.

For starters, you may want to get in touch with Costa Mesa, California-based Creative Adventure Club (714-545-5888), an outfit that puts together fantasy packages to indulge just about anyone's idea of a good time, including swimming with wild dugongs in the pacific and sleeping in Iban longhouses in Borneo beneath rows of human skulls. Unlike the film The Game, where a shady adventure company comes close to rubbing out Michael Douglas about a dozen times, Creative Adventure Club won't try to kill you, but they will help you find an adventure that'll push the envelope.

If you can wait a year or two, you may want to consider leaving the earthly boundaries and opting for a flight into space. Several companies are currently vying to be the first to boast of putting a layperson into the stratosphere. Currently, Zegrahm Space Voyages (800-628-8747) is one of the front runners, scheduling a flight 62 miles into the ozone layer and beyond for $98,000. Liftoff is scheduled for December 2001.

For something a little more down to earth, and with a bit more bite, consider looking into South Africa's burgeoning shark diving business. Since it's very loosely regulated, it's still relatively inexpensive to hire an outfitter who will put you in a chicken-wire cage and send you down into the depths of great white shark territory. Most of the shark diving action happens just southeast of Cape Town off the village of Gansbay near Dyer Island. Since most of these operations are currently not much more than at the mom 'n' pop stage, the best way to go about booking a trip is to show up in Gansbay and ask a local where the shark dive operators are.

Finally, if you can wait until mid-December, the 1999 version of Outside's annual Trip Finder will hit the stands and promises to feature the most unique and adventurous trips for the year to come. Some that are currently in the running include exploring Queen Maude Land in Antarctica (Geographic Expeditions, 415-922-0448), horseback riding in Rajastan (Equitour-FITS Equestrian, 307-455-3363), and mountain biking Tunisia (Bicycle Africa, 206-767-0848).

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