Thursday, February 16, 2012

South Africa 2012 - Day Seven

Day 7 - Free falling

It was an early start this morning as the sky-diving group left for the small airstrip about 40 minutes north of Cape Town. We had to be there for a 9 a.m. start and left at 7 a.m. to allow for rush hour traffic. That really is an oxymoron and especially in Cape Town. There is no way anyone can rush anywhere with the state of the traffic. What would prove to be the hardest thing to do all day was to get to the sky diving place. The two cars got split half way along the way, went two completely different ways and somehow managed to arrive within a minute of each other, albeit 20 minutes late. Having completed the short disclaimer form and paying, we were put into our three groups - Group 1: Julian, Guy and Sam; Group 2: Hunter and Savannah; and Group 3: Matt. Then began the intensive training - “Ok - you have a harness on. When you are going up your tandem partner will tell you what to do. Oh and have fun.” In the States this would have been an hour long course in how to breath and what to do in every conceivable situation. The first group went up and 20 minutes later they were out of the plane at 9,000 feet. After a 30 second free fall the chutes opened and then a 4 or 5 minute drop with the chute open. Guy left the plane last but came down first followed by Julian and finally Sam who had left the plane first. Apparently weight does has something to do with the speed you drop.

All three of them were raving about the exhilaration of the sky dive. Despite the raving about the jump Matt was still a little nervous. Being the kind person I am I decided to join Matt on the third jump. The only issue was my weight. They weighed me and miraculously I had lost 10 kilos over night and came in right at 105 kg. I am convinced that the scales were rigged because it just seemed to stick on 105 kg. Also on the board which listed all of the jumpers I was the only one who had 105 written by my name. So apparently the small child I needed to be my tandem partner existed.

But first Hunter and Savannah had their jump. For them it was again a routine jump but I must admit I was holding my breath until I saw both chutes open properly. There is something about having both of your children jumping out of a plane. But to see them on the ground afterwards made it all worthwhile as they both had been able to experience something truly rare - sky diving in South Africa. Savannah also had the lightest landing of everyone and seemed just to float down like a feather.
It was now time for group three to go up and Matt and I got our very simple instructions and got onto the plane. For me this was the part I was not looking forward to me as I suffer from motion sickness. However the flight up was great except for being cramped into a tiny compartment with 5 other people. This was definitely not the situation to be in if you are claustrophobic or need your space from other people. Then came the jump. The free-fall was truly an amazing experience and even with a tandem partner you really did feel like you were flying. When the parachute opened the jolt was pretty significant but I am sure that was because of my slimmed down 105 kg came to a dramatic halt. The rest of the fall was very peaceful except for the conversation with the tandem partner which seemed like a really strange place to strike up a conversation. I apparently was the only one of our group that landed on their bum but it was very soft.

The most fun part was then watching the video they had made of your drop. I cannot do justice to these videos nut the three best bits were 1. Savannah having to have her legs pulled back by the tandem partner; 2. Guy, Julian, and Giles’ faces looking like they were made of plastic as they wobbled all the way down; and 3. Matt’s amazing tumbling exit from the plane and the tandem partner literally having to use both hands to pull Matt’s head back so the camera man could video him.

After this there really wasn’t much else to write about and at the end of the day we all ended up at Sloppy Sam’s for a great dinner. Tomorrow we will head to the School of Hope to run the school for the morning. I am not sure what they are expecting but having the Britton’s run a school for a morning could scar kids forever. We have all reminded Mark that his jokes are not funny and laughing at them yourself doesn’t make them funnier.

Exodus 19:4 - “... and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself”

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