At the start of the year, I made an interesting new year’s resolution: I would say “yes” to anything and everything.
This was, surprisingly, very good fun! I ended up doing a lot of thing outside my comfort zone: I cycled to Cambridge, took German lessons and have just agreed to go on a sailing holiday!
Most recently, I agreed to become a Trustee for WAVE Trust, a charity that aims to reduce child maltreatment through preventative measures. At one of the Trustee meetings, I even (somewhat naively) agreed to go skydiving to help raise funds for WAVE!
The skydive was to be held at The London Parachute School in Icknield on 06 September 2014.
Having got the all clear from the organisers the night before (skydiving is very weather dependent and requires almost perfect weather for it to go ahead!), I mentally prepared myself before getting a good nights sleep.
The site itself is only a 15 minute drive from Reading, so proved to be very conveniently located.
We arrived at 10.30am and quickly signed our waiver forms before paying up the remainder of the fee (you need a £50 deposit to secure the dive, then another £180 on the day, with photos and videos costing another £110).
As I walked to the viewing deck, I caught a glimpse of some air-crafts. Luckily for me, these were for flying and not sky-diving!
Given that our dive was not until 1pm, we sat outside watching the groups before us drop from the heavens……
To be fair, they seemed to enjoy it!
Before long, it was our turn to undergo the training. Here, they explain the equipment that will save your life (there are 4 latches to ensure you remain attached to your tandem diver; there are THREE parachutes in case two don’t work; they give you a leather hat so that you don’t knock-out your tandem diver via a headbutt), the different positions that you need to be in (kneel, cross your legs behind you, turn your head to the left and lean back) and also at what altitude you will be leaping from (10,000 ft!).
After getting changed into a purple jumpsuit (LK was raving on about how stylish these looked!), we met our instructors (Graeme was my instructor). As I had paid for a video as well, an experienced diver – Garrett – followed me around, interviewing me and taking photos for me to help me remember the day.
Once I had piled on the gear, we headed off towards the plane with both anticipation and dread……
At this point, all I could think of was “why am I doing this!?”, “Will the parachute open?” and suprisingly, “what should I eat tonight”…..
During the climb to 10,000 ft, Graeme and Garrett showed me their pre-dive rituals (a special handshake and alot of death jokes!) and also talked about how they got into sky-diving.
Before long, we had reached 9,000 feet and Graeme was making last minute safety checks and reminding me of the positions I needed to be in.
Can you see the fear/excitement?
And then, we edged towards to the edge of the plane…..
The first feeling you have is the air pushing against your face, forcing you to breath through your mouth. Then, before your brain starts to comprehend what is happening, you have a moment of pure clarity. This, however, only lasts a few seconds as the adrenaline kicks in!
Suddenly, I got a tap on the shoulder – a sign that I could now pose for the camera.
Typical Asian pose!
Before I knew it, Graeme had pulled the cord and (thank god!) my parachute opened. As we drifted around in mid-air, flying through a few clouds, I realised that it was eerily quiet! And so very beautiful. I was pretty gutted that I didn’t have a selfie stick attached to me!
We soon approached the landing and Graeme told me to lift up my legs by pushing my hands underneath my thighs. This was so that Graeme could take all the impact of the landing!
After posing for a quick victory photo with Graeme, I watched as Kay and LK descended from the air, both giddy with adrenaline!
We all agreed that it was one of the best feelings ever – you feel so alive and are absolutely buzzing from the adrenaline. I can see why people do this for fun (one girl at the airfield did 500 jumps in the last year!).
Thinking back, the scariest part happened to be the wait (both on and off land). The jump itself was extremely fun and kind of reminded me of some of the rides at six-flags. If the opportunity presented itself, I would definitely do another skydive!
Thank you once again to all those who donated to WAVE Trust. And thank you LK for making me go along with my promise to do the skydive!