Why were you inspired to do this?
In 2002 I was with my friend Charles in Australia where we both decided to do a 14,000 ft Tandem jump unto the beach. The jump was pretty amazing in spite of the fact that during my jump we needed to use the back-up parachute due to a twist in the first chute. 1 in 5,000 I was told, so feeling rather special I was keen to learn to skydive so I could pull my own ripcord and land a jump on my own.
What were 3 things you did to make this happen?
Find a course – We found a skydiving school in Vancouver that offered a learn to skydive course, strangely named the “Accelerated Freefall Program. We booked into the course and planned on doing 4 Jumps. All up I think it was going to be $150 per jump.
Travel & Accommodation – We found a great deal on airline tickets to Vancouver (approx $US 500) from Bermuda. We then booked ourselves into the HI hostel at Jericho Beach with a twin room at about $30 per night.
Courage – Perhaps I should have mentioned this first but the idea of jumping out of a plane is certainly not for everyone. With a misguided sense of adventure I certainly had to muster the courage to make the jumps.
How did you feel once you had accomplished this?
The whole deal with the solo jump training is that you do Jumps at 10,000 feet with 30 seconds freefall. You jump out the door with two instructors going out the door with you to fly on either side of you. My first jump did not go so well as at about 8,000 feet the instructors pulled my chute early. Turns out I was pretty unstable and they were having a tough time holding on to me. Thankfully on the next jump I was better trained on body position and was ready to have another go. I must have been a bit overanxious when I jumped as I dove straight down rather than out, which caused us all to flip upside down. (Imagine falling towards the earth butt first in a very comfortable sitting position). Well this was certainly not going as planned so they tried to flip me, which did not go well as I accidentally grabbed the one instructors reserve chute handle, luckily it did not engage, but he did let go of me. (Seeing him disappear was very strange and later he recalled that I did not look nervous just that I did not know what to do). Well that left me with one instructor who did an absolutely fantastic roll and got my flying front first, at that point I went through the routine, of checking altimeter etc. and I was able to release my own chute. I can only tell you the feeling of relief as the chute opened and I landed safely. I made the decision to give up the art of falling and revert to the more relaxing art of boating.
Additional notes and tips:
To contact the sky diving school check-out http://www.vancouver-skydiving.bc.ca/ To stay in one of the best hostels in Vancouver check out http://www.hihostels.ca/PM/en/vancouverhostel_jericho.aspx?sortcode=2.2