This sunshine is divine! Made all the more sweeter by the fact that I'm finally in the right place at the right time to enjoy it :D Catching up on gardening after two weeks of full time training for my part time job, reading about Clouded Leopards which have never been photographed in the wild (makes me want to go back on safari), and identifying bees and submitting reports to Bee Conservation (we now have five bees nesting (is that the right word?) in our bee house. Oh, and I did a skydive too!
That's what I'm going to talk about today. The accomplishment still hasn't properly sunk in. I can't quite believe it was me jumping out of a plane even though I have a whole roll of film and a video to prove it. Mine was a hormonal dive complete with an off camera tear or two once we'd parachuted safely back to earth. That was the pressure of the last 12 hours releasing. We got up at 4:30am and didn't jump until 4:30pm. Sea mist - when the rest of the country was in beautiful sunshine (story of my year really, isn't it) - and re-bookers held us up, but when we were spiralling upwards in the plane to reach 12,000 feet, I knew there was no turning back and I just wanted to do it. We had someone diving from 3,000 feet, then three or four other people jumping alone or with each other just before us at 12,000 feet, and finally it was our turn. I wanted to be last out of the plane (some kind of superstition thing going on there) so Mike my brother went first, then my sister Hev and then it was my turn. When you sit on the edge of the doorway looking out over the clouds and knowing you're diving no matter what (largely because the bloke on your back will push you anyway), many different thoughts race through your mind. There are the obvious ones like Will I die? Will I break a limb? Gosh, that's a long way down... Wow, isn't it beautiful... I feel like I'm on top of the world... etc etc And then I was thinking about my shoes flying off and having to land in my socks... A kind of distraction I guess!
When you fall before the first mini parachute opens, it goes so quickly you don't really have time to think about anything. It's just a matter of seconds and because I never have trouble trusting in the equipment or provider of that equipment, would it sound believable if I said I just took it in my stride? I really did though. I'm good at relaxing in a situation when I know there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. Then came the 40 seconds of 120mph free fall. I never let enough air into my lungs before we jumped so I hyperventilated just a little and thought I was a goner but still miraculously managed to smile for the camera and video shoot. When the second, larger chute opens, you get flung back high into the air. I was so looking forward to being able to relax my breathing, this bit for me was a godsend so I didn't freak out when it happened and actually found myself screaming weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Parachuting at a lovely, calmer 30mph back to earth was the most enjoyable part for me (aside from the ear ache and harness cutting off the circulation to my right leg). I like to "sit back" and take it all in rather than be adrenaline pumped to near death and hands on. Yet, I didn't know it until this point - which is why I try out new experiences to discover these things. And landing was hilarious. I was damned if I was going to ruin my shoes so made sure the softest part of my anatomy touched ground first. Yep, my butt cushioned me a treat!
Would I do it again? I said "no way" on my video but I was hormonal and I always say things I don't mean when I'm hormonal. You know, I think I would if only because I'm a perfectionist and I would like to experience the free fall without hyperventilating (and experience the whole thing without being up and down emotionally). The fact I have BPA membership (British Parachute Association) for a whole year which entitles me to 30% discount on the next dive is also quite a tasty proposition, so, we shall see...
Check out my soon to be uploaded video on my Home Page!
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.