Yesterday i was asked by a friend of mine who does freelance reporting…
“Didn’t you tell me once that you went sky diving or parachuting or something like that….?
Send me a few paragraphs on how it came about, why you did it, and what it was like…..? The feeling, emotion, the fear the exhilaration…..????”
My response was as follows:
Hi, a few paragraphs? Hope you’re kidding. Here goes…
I have a list of “to do” stuff, some call it a bucket list. The issue I have with that name is “do you empty done stuff”? then start filling it again? I always ask why? Until I get an answer (guess my analytical brain kicking in).
My life motto is… I have a few…
- live life to it’s fullest but be wise about choice.
- Never regret what you’ve done but learn from it
- Never stop improving yourself, you learn everyday
- Love what you do and have fun doing it
- Remember the past but live for now
I can go on and on, the point is there is no time like NOW.
So skydiving came about on a go-kart track. After racing conversations took place in the bar, as usual. One of the guys who is an avid jumper was saying how exhilarating it is to jump from planes and I’m thinking wtf?
Being the person I am, I jumped (no pun intended) at the opportunity. He was planning on taking a group of people to Robertson and I thought what the hell this should be easy. As the days got closer, I actually realised the reality of the situation. Too late…
I remember driving to Robertson on the Friday night, the atmosphere and energy was immense when we arrived. I then knew this is something I really wanted to do. The camp fire stories, some horror ones included just got my blood pumping.
Saturday morning was a fantastic day, clear skies, no wind, everybody there was humming “there will be jumps today”.
The training session started at 9 am and would complete around 4pm and then whoever feels ready will get to jump. I stumbled towards the hanger where the training would take place and there I see my partner Lesley shouting “I want to jump”. She then signed up to do the tandem jump (11000 ft), no training required and off she went. Wow I thought, this is not like her, guess the adrenalin was overflowing. 30 minutes later I go called out of the training to see her land. It was an awesome sight.
Hours passed and then it was time. Final test was a sort of simulation exercise but about 1m off the ground.
Then I was ready…the first group contained 5 guys and there we went. The right stuff sprung into my brain. The plane was a Cesna, not sure of the model, but really small and noisy. We squeezed in, I mean really squeezed in. 5 jumpers, the jump master and the pilot.
Take off was scary, then climbing to 3500 ft. I was 2nd to jump…when the first guy left the plane, I honestly had no thoughts, my mind went blank. All I heard was “next!”. I slowly made my way to the door, it opened and the wind, omg the wind.
Stepped out onto the step, just enough space to put a foot, hands on the wing, feet off the step. And there I was hanging on the wing James Bond style and waited for the signal… Leaving the plane was a blur, there I was floating in the sky, checking my lines, then untangling the crossed lines, making sure the parachute opened correctly.
I cannot explain the feeling.
Not a sound, the view was amazing, everything was just so clear. Then it was time to land. Guiding the chute and watching the batmen on the ground. Carefully taking note of their signals. I overshot the landing spot by about 200m but nevertheless I was back on earth and back to earth.
It felt like I conquered the world..and yes I’ll do it again…
The guy in the centre is Tim-O-T (over 10000 jumps), you might have seen him on the Discovery channel, “How I survived”. His had problems with the chute opening and plummeted to the ground, and survived.