When we started this site it was supposed to be a way of keeping us – as a family – inspired to get out there and do more things; to live more in the hours outside of work/school.
Things took a bit of a back seat on the run up to our wedding last year, and to be honest, once the holiday was done and all the excitement of the wedding was over, posting really wasn’t something I looked forward to. Snow, our adorable Beagle, kept us insanely busy and, well, I was up and down, and writing wasn’t something I was interested in for quite some time.
But, now I’m back, and what better way to start recording our adventures than this…as tandem skydive!
Not knowing what to get me for Christmas, Shelli decided to gift me a tandem skydive (through the London Parachute School) knowing that this was something I’d always wanted to do; sort of a bucket list kind of thing, not that I’ve got a list though.
We waited until the weather was getting better, after a rather rubbish start to the year. and booked the dive in. Unfortunately, the weather had a different idea and the jump was cancelled. And then again, and again. We began to wonder whether or not we would actually get a date booked that had good enough weather for me to jump!
Finally the weather at the weekend looked like it was going to be good enough for the jump to go ahead, and calling the number on Saturday night to check whether it was on or not I was greeted with a recorded message saying that it was on and that we needed to be at the Chiltern Airsports Centre, just down the road, for our designated start time…gulp!
The Big Day
We needed to be there for 8am in the morning so I was up early to take Snow for a longer than normal first walk of the day, seeing as she was going to be home alone for a few hours at least. Breakfast eaten we headed out the door, me still waiting for the nerves to hit.
When we arrived, there were already quite a few people there. We checked in, took a seat, and waited for the briefing to begin. It was a bit of a wait though while everyone eventually arrived and checked in.
We were called to a matted area for the briefing, where Dillon (one of the instructors) went through the kit, what we would need to do at various points in the jump, and then we were told which group we were going to be in and the order we’d be jumping: I was in the first group, and I’d be second out of the door!
From what I can remember, we would be flying to an altitude of around 10,000ft, hitting around 120 MPH during the free fall part of the jump, which would last somewhere between 30 and 40 seconds, and then about 5 or so minutes to come down on the parachute. From what I overheard we would be deploying the parachute around 5,000ft – 5,000ft in 30 to 40 seconds? Mental!
I got myself into one of their jump suits – a very fetching(?!) purple jump suit – and met up with my instructor, Becky. She put my harness on me while we had a little chat and before I knew it I was walking over to the plane for my jump.
As this was [more than likely] to be a once in a lifetime experience, I paid extra to have my jump filmed – why not? Becky and I waited for my cameraman – Mikey – who was a bit delayed as he had to replace the rather ingenious camera shutter release, one you use with your mouth! We shook hands and had a little chat (on camera unfortunately) and then we headed over to the plane – a Cessna Caravan so we were told – to get things going.
Before I knew it, we were moving and off the ground! This was by far the smallest plane I’d ever been on, but still no nerves. In fact, I was loving it!
The views out of the window were stunning, and the 20 minutes to get to altitude flew by, no pun intended. Red lights on, the door opened and the first pair made their way to the door…and then they were gone, which meant only one thing: my turn!
I took a couple of deep breaths as we shuffled along the bench to the door and then I was hanging out of the plane with Mikey holding onto the side of the plane filming me. As I sat there thinking “I wonder how long we’ll sit…” we were gone and I was tumbling through the sky – a serious, serious rush I can tell you!
Trying to concentrate on the camera meant the free fall went by in the blink of an eye, and then the parachute was deploying. The funniest(?) part of it all was seeing Mikey disappear beneath us as we were slowed down by the parachute. Normally – due to the wonder that is cinema – you always see the person shoot upwards (obviously not) when they deploy their parachute. It was just so weird to see it from the other perspective, and it’ll certainly be something I’ll always remember.
Parachute deployed, and us swinging about a bit, I got a little bit queasy and was a bit sick. I guess I maybe shouldn’t have kept my eyes open as we tumbled through the sky as we came out of the plane? I don’t know?
Becky got me to take the parachute controls for a little bit while she loosened off some of the straps, which was awesome, turning us to the right a bit to make sure we were on course for the landing zone. That was cool!
Again, much like the free fall, it seemed like literally no time at all and Becky was asking me to get into my landing position (legs up) and we were on the ground, safe and sound, much to Shelli’s relief!
It truly was an amazing experience and I cannot thank Shelli enough for making it happen, and for giving me the inspiration to start posting again about all of the wonderful things we do as a family!
I wonder what we’ll get up to next?
Here’s the video they put together of my jump.
Below you’ll find the photos Shelli took on the day and also a load of photos Mikey took: there were 112 in total!