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Going to extremes . . . for fun

From left, Ray Maynard, owner of Skydive Long

From left, Ray Maynard, owner of Skydive Long Island; Donovan Maynard (Ray's grandson) with tandem instructor Rich Winstock, and videographer Shaun Tierney go airborne during a tandem skydive in Calverton. Photo Credit: Skydive Long Island

Adrenaline junkies will have no problem getting their fix on Long Island. They can soar through the sky in a glider, jump out of a plane from 3,500 feet, or get up close and personal with sharks beneath the ocean surface, 20 miles from shore.

Here are three examples - from the least intense to the most extreme.


Sky Sailors Glider School: 313 Rust Ave., Gabreski Airport, Westhampton Beach, 631-288-5858, Cost: $199-$250

Extreme factor: Tranquil to soul-stirring

Escape in a leisurely ride over the Hamptons or grab the gears and steer. Sky Sailors offers packages that put you 5,000 feet above ground with a Federal Aviation Administration-certified pilot at the controls. For $250, you and another passenger can glide side-by-side over the East End with views of the Atlantic Ocean, vineyards, Shinnecock Inlet and the Hamptons. A $199 hands-on package lets you help steer the glider with instruction from the pilot.

"It's a nice ride and graceful landing," says owner-operator Tony Falanga.


Skydive Long Island: 4062 Grumman Blvd., Building 24, Calverton, 631-208-3900, Cost: $210-$225 for the first tandem skydive; plus $110 for a video-photo package of dive.

Extreme factor: Adrenaline rush

Skydivers jump from more than 13,500 feet in tandem with an instructor. The average tandem passenger "is absolutely going to have a feeling of apprehension and nervousness, and that is going to build when they get to the edge of the door," says owner and pilot Raymond Maynard, who's been skydiving for 40 years. "Once you leave the airplane, no matter what might be wrong in your life, no matter what problems you have . . . your mind can't think of it. All you can do is smile."

Should you summon the courage to jump, you'll be rewarded during a 60-second free fall, as you take in views on the way down of Hamptons shoreline and, on an especially clear day, the Manhattan skyline, ending with a four- to five-minute canopy ride to earth. "It's just breathtaking," says Maynard.

Long Island Skydiving Center: Spadaro's Airport, 91 Montauk Hwy., East Moriches, 631-235-9968. Cost: $209-$219

Long Island Skydiving Center offers tandem skydives ($209, weekdays; $219, weekends), with views of the Atlantic coastline, South Shore beaches, Fire Island and Hamptons.


Sea Turtle Charters: Westlake Marina, 352 W. Lake Dr., Montauk, 631-335-6323, Cost: $200-$250

Extreme factor: Intense

Owner Chuck Wade will ferry you out from Montauk aboard his 36-foot dive boat, The Sea Turtle, for shark dives in the Atlantic Ocean. Divers are enclosed inside an aluminum cage and immersed as sharks encircle them. The most common are blue sharks, but divers also may catch a glimpse of a few mako, thresher, basking and dusky sharks.

"Sharks have so much myth surrounding them about being attack animals," says Wade. "When you're face-to-face with that, it creates a lot of adrenaline."

Divers must know how to swim, have snorkeling experience and be able to climb in and out of the cage.

Atlantis Marine World: 431 E. Main St., Riverhead, 631-208-9200, ext. 426, Cost: $155.

Ready to swim with the sharks but don't have diving certification? Head to Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead for a dip in its 120,000-gallon tank containing sand tiger sharks, nurse sharks, a moray eel and a 300-plus-pound loggerhead turtle named Jaws.

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