I so very much love to stand out under the expansive sky at night, looking at the countless stars and the beauty of the night sky. The unique globe we live on, the bubble of air we live in, totally astound me. The curve of the atmosphere above and around us … the vastness of God’s creation … that serves to sustain life, almost takes my breath away. I am in awe over and over again.
All month I’ve been planning to tell you about something I was able to do this summer. As my title suggests, I made a change to my bucket list — you can refer to my bucket list post HERE — because I completed one adventure I’ve been wanting to do for about seven years now. It was time to go …
On August 1st my four daughters, my grandson, and I went to the little local airport where I had reserved time for myself and my youngest daughter to tandem skydive. It was a gorgeous, sunny, hot day with a few fluffy clouds in the wide blue sky and a little breeze. An ideal day for jumping out of a plane.
After filling out and signing those just-in-case legal release forms …
We selected the jump with video, which, at the time of this writing, we have not yet seen. I dread mine and later I’ll tell you why. After that we got a short instruction of what to do, what not to do, and what to expect.
Because there were enough jumpmasters (experienced skydivers) available, my daughter and I were able to go up in the same plane together and jump about a minute apart. So cool!
My jumpmaster and I boarded the plane first, as you see in the above photo, followed by my daughter and hers – who happens to be the owner/operator of the business. I sat behind the pilot and faced my jump partner, while my daughter – in order to exit first – sat by the door, her jump partner behind her.
The flight up to 10,000 feet over the beautiful Annapolis Valley was exquisite and I loved it! The Valley is very beautiful and rich with colour and amazing landscape divided up with lakes, the Bay of Fundy, many plots of farmlands, the towns and little communities, and the hilly and forested regions. It was a great opportunity to see in a different way the part of the world God made for me (us) to live in, and it was such a thrill.
The photo below is a small sampling, so imagine this view from completely above the Valley:
I do love to fly! In a little Cessna it’s even more thrilling. During the flight I found that I was nervous and excited, more excited than nervous, and not the least bit afraid. You might argue that being nervous is fear, but for me it was just concern about whether I’d remember what to do. As it turned out, I didn’t remember everything and I survived anyway. :)
Nearing jump time we were securely clipped together, newbies in front of and to our jumpmasters, and at the right elevation the first couple rolled forward out the door and disappeared. We followed. It was astounding! Strangely, I think that was my favourite part of the jump. No fear. It was not terrifying in the smallest way, just plunging out into wide open air space and rolling two or three times in midair. Oh. My. Goodness. Now I can hardly believe I DID IT!
The freefall was so fast, dropping for about 40 seconds before the ‘chute was released. I found the freefall to be very loud with the air beating against us as we plummeted (as one daughter on the ground called it) toward the earth. I had no bearings and found the straps uncomfortably tight – but that’s a good thing, really. It was when the parachute was released that the discomfort hit me. The tight straps, the feeling of motion sickness, the problems I had because of not remembering to keep myself positioned correctly, all took away from what was otherwise an amazing experience. Yet, I don’t regret it. Not at all. And most people aren’t affected the way I was; my daughter wasn’t.
The view is amazing from up there. What I noticed was the difference in air temperature; the closer we got to the ground the warmer the air became. A bonus for me is that as we neared our landing my jumpmaster surprised me by giving me temporary control of the steering! Pulling the left cord moved us left, pulling the right one … you guessed it … steered us right. Then he took over to guide us safely into our landing.
It seemed quite awhile, but was not long at all, before I could make sense of what was beneath us. I could see the landing strip, my family standing watching and taking pictures, and the ground getting closer quickly. My daughter landed neatly with us coming in moments after, landing beside them. It was a thrill to be able to do that, and she was immediately determined it would not be her only jump. :)
As you can see above, the clouds were filling in more of the sky after we landed, which made me glad we jumped when we did. Before we left for home we each were given a First Jump certificate as proof and recognition of our accomplishment. :)
And how do I feel about the experience? I can say “I did it!” I won’t solo, although I might tandem jump a second time; right now I’m not sure. It was exciting. It was something I have wanted to do for several years, even though most people think I’m crazy even to have considered it. That’s okay. I DID IT. And I’m glad I did. I know what to expect now so a second jump should be even better.
Oh, and why do I dread seeing the video? Well, it was a close-up of my less-than-enthusiastic facial expressions as I was trying to take in everything while feeling a little queasy, and it’s not pretty when the wind forces hard against one’s face. Yes, I know … vanity. (smile) I was told the first jump is an experience of all that’s happening, and that’s true enough; the second and later jumps are when one can enjoy the experience more fully and be able to appreciate it better. Maybe so. Perhaps one day I will test that theory.
I doubt I would ever discourage anyone from tandem skydiving. What I would do is urge them to relax and remember to do all that is instructed. It will make it much more fun. It’s an amazing experience! I am so glad I DID IT!
Have you ever skydived? What crazy adventure have you done that you would love to do again, or why would you never repeat it?
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! :)