My first Skydive Adventure took place many years ago. I was still living in Kimberley at the time.
On weekends I use to always hear a small plane fly over our house, then the engines would go silent. I’d looked up and most of the time I could see people jump out of the plane.
I thought, ah that looks like fun. I told my parents about my plans. My dad wasn’t impressed and told me that I was mad.
I went for training on a Friday night. It only lasted a couple of hours. Then I went home and was back again early the next day.
The Plane Ride
We were briefed, given our parachutes and led to a small airplane. We had to “squish” in. There were no seats, except for the one the pilot was sitting in. The jumpmaster was standing on his knees over me. I was sitting right next to the open door.
On our way up, I thought to myself – am I absolutely crazy, I have no clue how to get back to the Drop Zone once I jump out of the plane, what if I end up in Kimberley’s Big Hole.
Equipment Check & Getting Out of the Plane
It felt like only a minute or two before our jumpmaster told us to do an equipment check. I did all the right moves but had no idea what I was checking.
At 3500 feet, he told me to get ready. I had to grab hold of the pole underneath the plane’s wing, step on the wheel and then flung myself out – that was by far the scariest part for me. I felt like a piece of clothing on a washing line on a very windy day.
As I looked at my jumpmaster, he shouted GO! I let go and the wind pushed me away with an enormous force.
I had no idea what was up or what was down and it felt like forever before my parachute finally opened, when in fact it was just about 5 seconds since I was only doing a static line jump.
When my chute opened, the lines were twisted, luckily not too bad, so I didn’t panic. I remembered that I just had to give a good kick with my one leg and that made me turn around and untwisted the lines.
Then I remembered, I still had to get back to the DZ. It was so high up, but as I came closer to the ground, I saw someone waving at me with orange flags. I did what he showed me, unfortunately, I flared too early and came in a little fast, so when my feet hit the ground I fell forward onto my knees, but I thought it was not too bad for my first try.
After everyone had jumped and was safely back on the ground, our jumpmaster had a quick session with us, to let us know how we all did and what we need to work on if we decided to jump again. Almost everyone had a problem with their arch. That was no surprise to me, I mean I had no idea what was up or down after I let go of that pole. What did surprise me was that according to my jumpmaster, I was the only one that managed to get it right.
I jumped a few more times after that and all my other landings were on my feet, exactly on the spot I had to land. My arches were apparently not too bad either, except for the fact that I sometimes forgot to look up. To be honest, I never thought about arching once I left the plane. The only thing I could think of was the landing.
They did, however, told me to take the climbing out of the plane a little bit slower – through all my jumps that stayed the absolute scariest part for me, followed by navigating back to the DZ after I left the plane.
I really enjoyed my first jump and the other skydivers were all really nice. I started spending most of my Saturday mornings at the DZ. After my second jump the guys wanted me to start thinking about doing dummy pulls, I didn’t feel comfortable, I was very happy just doing static jumps.
My Last Jump
After my fourth jump, I was told that I was not allowed to use the guy with the orange flags on the ground anymore, I had to try and land without any help. My fourth jump was my last jump.
It was fun though and I made some wonderful friends. I want to go skydiving again, but when I do, I want to do a tandem jump so that I can experience that free-falling feeling.
Photo by Maria Fernanda Gonzalez on Unsplash (not me and not taken in Kimberley)