• Mike Douglas

SKYDIVE


I DID IT!

Thats right, I jumped / fell out a plane! I still feel amazed by this. It was fantastic!

I wrote about why I wanted to skydive in a previous post that you can read here.

This post will be about my day at Skydive Buzz.

I phoned the day before to check in as the weather was horrid that day and wasn't looking great for the next day (my jump day). They said a decision would be made in the next 20 minutes, if I didn't hear anything I could call back when the open at 7.30am in the morning. After not hearing anything for 2 hours I was a bit worried as I planned to leave at 7.30am and still didn't know if I was going to be able to jump. But then I got a text message saying the jump was on. Fuck, it got real then.

On the day I got ready and into the car with the bits I was taking (sandwich, crisps, two drinks, phone charger), once I was driving I started to get VERY excited. This was / is an awesome thing to do, and after thinking about it a few times, I was actually doing it! While I do have a fund raising page (give money to Mind) I was mainly doing it for me. As you know, I have struggled with depression, BPD and my general mental health, so doing something just because I want to is a super victory for me. Not letting myself talk myself out of it. There will always be other things to do, pay for and think about. But saying 'I did this because I wanted too' is super empowering and rewarding.

On the way to the venue I had a few moments in the car where I just couldn't believe it was happening, I was going to do it. I had one hilarious moment while driving up a rather high hill, I thought wow this is kind of scary, it's high. Then chuckled thinking about going up in a plane and jumping out of it.

Once I arrived at the venue I signed in having booked everything about two months before. There were deals to be had on the day though, as I heard 2 people being offered slight reductions on the price on the day to jump from higher heights and to have their jumps recorded. If your happy to leave it to the day to make your final arrangements you maybe able to get £20-30 off the cost.

For me personally I was glad to have everything sorted before the day, so didn't mind missing out on last minute deals, but I would consider this next time.

As some of you may know from reading my previous post, I originally booked a 7,000 foot jump. I then started to think about having it filmed because I really wanted to have something to look back on. Particularly because its over so quickly. It was £130 for video or photos and then an extra £45 to have both. While looking at this I stared to think about having a higher hight so the video would be longer, but also to make the most of the jump. All in I think I have spend over £300 on this activity.

If I were to do this again, I wouldn't have it filmed (once is good) and if you find the right deal you can jump 7,000 feet for £100-£150 and 14-15,000 feet for £200. So it can be affordable if you shop around and don't want any recording.

On the day we received about 15 to 20 minutes of training, which included information on the equipment, plane, jump and landing. Along with running through the plane exit and landing positions we should adopt.

The weather cleared up on the day around 12.30pm when we finished our training. Fortunately our wait wasn't too long as we were suiting up at around 3.30pm. It was go time!

I had already been to the toilet about 10 times that day (I was surprised I had an urine to go the last few times hahaha), so there was no last minute visit to the toilet.

Putting the jumpsuit on was nice and easy, the helmet / hat, not so much. I had to go up 3 sizes and put my hair down #GiantHead. My instructor Pete talked me through the process as he tightened the straps. This all seemed very professional. I was told any 1 of the 4 clips we would be attached by could hold a car.

It was all good, then I remembered the filming, unfortunately, with my hair down and hat thingy on I could hardly hear normal level talking, so when the filming started I had no idea what the guy filming was saying. D'oh! So I remember saying I was nervous and that I was there on my own. The best thing was when he asked me why I was jumping. As you know I do have a fundraising page, but the main reason I was jumping was for me, and to say "I am doing this just because I want to" is so empowering! It is amazing. I can't quite believe how much that hit me. Like I wanted to do this, so I'm doing it. As someone that has struggled with their mental health, particularly depression, this was a massive moment for me.

So we walk out and up to the plane that sits about 20 people sat ass to crotch. The door is a pull up / down door, like you my see in a dumbwaiter. We take off, this is too cool!

The ground gets further away, its still cool, but errm this is scary.

Remember the breathing we practiced in training, deep breaths.

This is high. At around 5,000 feet maybe 4 stunt jumpers leave the plane. That was a moment! They moved over to the door, and jumped out the plane, like WTF!

As we got higher I felt more at ease. Im not sure why, maybe from this height I know I'm dyeing not getting injured? hahaha, Who knows.

Looking out the window I could see us passing through the clouds, the view was beautiful, we were surrounded by so much green.

The instructor was talking to me and mentioned he was making the final adjustments to our straps, the time was near.

We ran through the exit from the plane again and the hand signals. In the corner of my eye I saw the red light. This meant we would be leaving the plane in less than 2 minutes!

The door opened and the 2 people in front of me quickly left the plane. I shuffled down the bench as they left. Moving towards the door, you move on your knees, up to the edge of the plane, head poking outside. I look over to the camera guy hanging to the side of the plane like he's Tom Cruise. I feel the instructor starting the rock, 1, 2, 3 and we are out, falling from the plane. After half a second we flipped a couple of times before shoot one was released. This is a small line that helps steady you, you usually see the line (but not the little shoot) in photos and film. This was amazing. I threw out some silly faces and tried to get a bit of a look around. It was a sensory overload, there is so much to take in.

This part of the jump was my favourite. Leaving the plane and the free falling was great.

When the parachute is opened there is quite a big jolt, then your decent slows stupendously. I had a go at steering, which was very cool. Pete (instructor) asked if I wanted to try a spiral, I was like yer, lets do it! This did not agree with me, hahaha! The almost horizontal spin made me feel a bit vomity. Pete said don't worry about it, if it happens it happens. Fortunately two dry heaves and I was... improved.

The remained of the time in the desert, notably not as good as paragliding (which I did in Tenerife). It really is all about the leaving the plane / free fall.

The landing was funny too, I couldn't lift my legs very high, clearly need more yoga. But the landing was calm smooth and cushioned by my bum.

After the jump I de-suited and was pointed to the photo viewing area. I really liked about 4 of the 200 odd photos. However the at the cost of £45 I wasn't prepared to pay the extra. You have to wait 10 days for the video in the post, mainly I think to push you to buy the photos on the day.

You do have to be careful, there is a lot of up-selling.

I had a bit of water and half a sandwich, still not exactly hungry, haha, and started my drive home.

The skydive was amazing and I'm super excited to see the video when it comes in the post (heres a link to my video!). I would recommend it to anyone.

I would say, be clear on what your spending limit is before hand. Be aware of any additional costs, like if you're over the weight limit (fortunately I had a change of shoes, otherwise I would have had to pay £20 for being one and a half pounds over the limit). Make sure you take your own food and drink. You could be there all day, that could get expensive, especially if you have a family with you.

Enjoy it, take it in. For most of us its likely the only time you will do this so live it to the max, soak it in.

Would you, or have you skydived? I would do it again, but I'd want to experience it somewhere else I think. Somewhere where theres lots of sea would be awesome. Can you recommend anywhere?

Read more about why I booked my skydive in my previous post.

#Lifestyle #Skydive #Charity #Depression

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