Archive | November, 2011

Sky Dive

21 Nov

So, I can now tick off the first challenge off of my Life List!

On Saturday I completed what I can only describe as the stupidest thing I have ever done in my life!! I sky dived!! And I can quite honestly say I hated it!

I had some nerves before hand, but on the whole I was pretty calm throughout the build up. Ollie and I arrived at the drop zone at 8:30am to find a large group of people had already arrived, and I was relieved to see that I was not the only female. The majority of those taking the plunge were of course backpackers, but unlike us, the majority of them had most definitely hammered the goon the night before, and were looking very worse for wear.

After signing in, we were directed inside to watch a DVD of a terrified girl doing a tandem jump, and then a crazy South American doing a solo jump, after which we could choose which jump we would like to do. Watching the solo jumper having to climb out of the plane and then hang off of the wing strut there was no way I was going to even think about doing that one! I needed to know that I had someone else with me, who would be in control, and who would also be able to get me out of that plane!!

Then came the long wait! An hour in and my name was called to get my jumpsuit on and it seemed as though it was all going to be happening pretty imminently, but it wasn’t until four hours after arriving that I finally got the call to get into my harness. This is when you get to meet your life saver, i.e. the person that will be strapped to your back, who will pull the parachute open and get you to the ground safely (you hope!). My tandem professional was Sam, quite a strapping man, not particularly chatty, but seemed to know his stuff. Plus I had seen him do at least two other tandems that morning, so I knew for sure he had definitely done this before!! Sam secured me into my harness, and made me hang from a couple of hooks to teach me what I needed to do while plummeting towards the ground. And it all seems relatively straightforward – arch, keep your head back, arms crossed and feet tucked up behind you, then when prompted you can uncross your arms in we’ll be doing some smiling and thumbs up to the camera before the parachute opens at just under 6,000 feet. Simple right?!

As Ollie and I were both having our jumps filmed, we needed to go in separate planes, and so with Ollie’s crew all ready he was escorted off while I was still going through my training. Then with training done, we just had to wait for the pilot to finish his sandwich and we could head off!! At the plane you go through the jump simulation once again before climbing into the tiny plane and sitting on the floor. The plane is so tiny that there is only room for four people plus the pilot, and so there were five of us in this plane, me, Sam, my cameraman, the pilot and a girl who was getting her sky diving licence, and I am suddenly very aware that I am the only person there not wearing a parachute!!

We were signed up for jumping at 14,000 feet, but there were strong thermals which meant that the plane could not get above 9,000ft, but to be honest, that was more than high enough for me!! Up at 9,000ft we had to circle for some time as another plane was in our airspace, and then along came a para-glider who got in the way a little, but finally came the time when I was told to shuffle to the front of the plane so that Sam could hook himself onto my harness. At this point you get VERY VERY close to your tandem jumper, and you can feel each other breathing, but hey, at least you knew he was definitely there!!

Then it was thumbs up all round from the pilot and the airplane door was opened, with little time to think I was shuffled forward by Sam and I was very quickly sitting on the end of the plane with my feet dangling over the edge, then it was a signal to cross my arms a count to three, and we were out!!!!!

This is where it all went from being a fairly fun day out, to the most terrifying day of my life!!! All of a sudden we are tumbling 9000ft above the ground and falling at 115mph, and I go straight into panic mode!! All that simple “arch, keep your head back, arms crossed and feet tucked up behind you” etc etc training received on the ground went totally out of the window! Instead I formed the foetal position! Only really moving out of that position slightly when the cameraman dived down to be level with me in an attempt to get me on film! It wasn’t pretty!! Finally, after what feels like a lifetime, but was in fact only 20 seconds, the cameraman waves goodbye and Sam opens our parachute. At which point the air pressure and noise around you comes to a sudden stop and there is total silence.

Sam then asks how it was! My reaction?! “It was terrible! Please just take me down as fast as possible but do it slowly and smoothly!”

Sam: – “You didn’t like it then?”

Sasha: – “I think I’m going to be sick!”

Sam: – “Time to grab your sick bag then”

Yep, that’s right, on your harness you have a little pocket that houses a nicely folded sick bag! Unfolding the sick bag I then spent the next 10 minutes of the floating down to earth reaching and heaving into the bag, but thankfully not producing any sick! Sam was fantastic and got me down as soon as he could, but with the thermal activity it meant that at times you just couldn’t lose height, but I finally hit the ground in a somewhat heap like mess, and I have never been happier to have been on solid ground. Ollie had made it down well before me and was there to meet me and just says that I was as white as a sheet!

And so would I do it again?! No bloody way!!

 

Only two more sleeps! . . . SKY DIVE!!

17 Nov

So it’s only two more sleeps left until I cross the first thing off of My List!! 

SKY DIVE!!!!!

I’m getting a little nervous now, not in a OMG I might die sort of way, but more of an excited sort of nervousness setting in!  It’s the unknown of what is going to happen most of all I think, I haven’t had any anxiety about doing the jump itself, you know, the whole sitting on the edge of the door of the plane doesn’t faze me (at the moment).  It’s knowing that there is going to be a HUGE build up to getting on the plane with all the training and safety talk that you have to go through first.

Ollie on the other hand is a nervous wreck!!

We plan to have video as well as photos of our jump, so watch this space!!