Sunday 18 August 2013

Memories of the Skydive

To view the full skydive video click here!

Two photos prior to the Skydive and I am smiling in both. Amazing how happy you can feel when you have no knowledge of what is about to happen. Well I suppose I had an inkling... however it is nothing like the real thing. You know... the reality of  falling from a plane at a great height!  

The following is a picture story of the event as it unfolded. A record of my thoughts and feelings wonderfully etched on my face for all to see.

Each participant gets "bussed" out to the runway and the sun is shining and all is well with the world. Once out on the runway, we wait for the plane to arrive and I am anticipating all that the scrambling into the small plane will entail. I have had a practise run so I know that my knees are up to the various positions and although I am aware of my heart beat, it isn't pounding excessively.  Strange to say I am eager to be up and oft. Or is that glad to be getting it over with... how does one know how to explain one's feelings in words. 
Excited just doesn't do justice to the moment! The plane arrives and in we go... hand in hand! 
I am full of confidence in my instructor. I am smiling and grateful that so far my knees are up to the scrambling and cramped seated position on the tiny plane. Steve, my instructor is reassuring and keeps the banter going and my mind fully focussed on the delights of the views and the joy of the flight. He has done this jump literally thousands of times and with many people from the whole age spectrum.

I can't stop smiling! why? to be honest I don't know why. I think nerves have a lot to do with it although there is a lot of banter going on. Chik, the photographer and Steve are past masters at putting you at ease and this is after all a once in a lifetime experience for me. I remind myself  over and over again that I am doing this to raise funds for the Canine Partners charity as otherwise I would not be risking life and limb just for the thrill.

There were other charity skydivers in our group. I had met Alicia the previous week and she was raising money for Help for Heroes. Kayleigh was raising money for a local Cancer charity. Another for the Roy Castle Lung Foundation and someone else was skydiving for  Diabetes UK. I was in good company both on and off the ground... and here is the ground we are flying over.

The view is stupendous. I can see the whole of the estuary and the river flowing through the fields. There are a few clouds in the sky but not many.  The wind is perfect ... everything is as it should be.
We have got the best of the day. Amazingly, I am still smiling, even the sun is smiling!

However as I get ready to go, as seen below, I am definitely not smiling now eh! You can tell what I am feeling by the look on my face. However I am sure you cannot read my thoughts as I realise that the door is opening, the sign that the die is cast ... Steve is still smiling though, you can tell that he loves his job. I am having to move from fear into feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Now I really don't think that Skydiving was what Susan Jeffers had in mind when she wrote the famous book! I remember reading it and as I recall it worked wonders for my public speaking events! At this moment I am having difficulty speaking at all...


And keep going!

So here we are in flight and I find myself enjoying it! Who knew that the fear would go so quickly and that exhilaration would arrive with the acceleration!

The view was amazing, the feeling of flight phenomenal, however being under the canopy was the best part for me. There was general elation going on that I had made an excellent exit from the plane. Steve's words not mine. To be honest I can't really remember the exit too clearly.

Viewed from above...
Viewed from below...

Here I am safely landed and very, very grateful. My hands are acknowledging Namaste... the sanskrit word for "I salute the divine" and you can be sure at that moment in time I was most definitely living in gratitude for all that is holy!

I made a perfect landing as in standing upright! Brilliant is how I described the experience at the time. Now I would use the words borrowed from our friends from over the pond and say "Outstanding - Awesome". These adjectives describe both my experience and the people who made the Skydive possible...

Thank you soooo much Steve and Chik! How can I ever thank you enough for the safe journey through the sky... those memories etched forever in my mind and recorded on film to be revisited whenever I want to take flight!

Our strap line of "Life's a journey - Enjoy!" has never been more apt...

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