An activity where one jumps out of a plane with a parachute on their back and falls thousands of feet before opening their chute (most of the time without any “aggravations”) and land back on the ground just as if they had jumped down from a 5MPH moving truck (again, results vary.)
If you have kept up to date with my radio show
and Facebook updates, you’ll know that I have recently taken up the hobby of sky diving.
I will be honest, I did sign up with the intention of enjoying a relaxing tandem jump, where I could just casually enjoy the journey down and leave the lovely instructor to do all the hard work. This was proven not to be the case when I was introduced to sky diving as a sport not just a one-off treat.
Tempted to run out of the first meeting, I decided that I would man up
and sign my name down permanently. At this time I was in a blissful bubble where I could boast about being part of the BUFF club
(Bournemouth University Free Fallers), and not think about the consequences until I was in the aircraft.
The good thing is that this dreamy state lasted till the moment I started queuing to board the wafer like plane at the Neveravon drop zone
. My stubborn pride, and the fact I had handed over £130, made me press on, but the tears began to fall and probably created one the most terrifying moments of my life. On board, I was squeezed in around 6th place in a 12 man plane, and continued the ascent with sporadic floods of tears as I dared to look out the window.
The plane came to flatten out between 3,500 – 4,000 feet in the sky, and people began to launch themselves out. Being as comforted as possible by friends who were as equally scared but not losing all credibility with hot drips rolling down their faces, I was called to the door.
I shuffled over, hung my legs out the side door which were immediately blown right back with the wind, and did my best to adopt the door position. “Look up!” shouted the instructor, as I made eye contact I whimper “I’m scared.”
“GO!” and out I pushed myself.
I didn’t remember a lot of the first few seconds, until I felt the pull of the parachute releasing itself from the static line. Looking around and coming back to reality, I realised that for what I thought I was losing my life over seconds ago was actually fine and I had survived my petrifying experience.
Now with three jumps in my record book, I can say that I no longer blub like an infant when I get in the plane, in the door or on the way down. But I will also say technique
wise – I wouldn’t say I am a natural jumper. I have spent all my jump tickets for now, and considering all of these have been in severely cold weather, including my last jump in the snow, I will not be jumping until the warmer weather show’s its face.
I signed up to BUFF club
for the experience, and I have certainly had that. I have loved the feeling of survival as soon as I am out of the door, yet my nerves to progress further with the sport are still shaking. Perhaps I’ll get better, learn to pull my parachute, or even attempt the free-falling and formations direction of the sport.
All I know, is that it took all my nerve to do it, and I’m pleased I have.
In the meantime, I think I’ll stay on the ground wrapped up with a hot cup of tea.
If you feel like enjoying witnessing my sheer terror. I’m getting ready to jump from around 7,30.