Barely a good title for a blog post, I admit, but I thought that it was somewhat appropriate, because it is true! We all made it without any major injuries and all of us loved every bit of it.
On Sunday 21st March at 5.30 am we met in the The Cavendish London driveway and drove off to the North London Parachute Centre, in Cambridgeshire. We could feel the expectation and excitement in the group, especially because, except for Sylvia, all of us were complete newbies in the matter, and didn't really know what to expect.
After a couple of hours we got to the Parachute Centre. I was surprised to see so many cars in the airfield, skydiving seems to be more popular than I thought. The opening line from the trainer was "Parachuting is risky, if you can't accept that, there's the door... and also there's another door there in the back." Fortunately everyone stayed in and we had a 20-minute training and filled in the necessary papers.
A few minutes later the first batch of skydivers jumped in the plane to do what skydivers do. Our group was the last in line, so we had to wait about 6 hours in the centre's café, which wasn't particularly atmospheric, but wasn't bad either, at least we were in good company and the excitement grew more and more. Richard's idea of fun was to find Youtube videos of skydiving gone wrong... Thanks, Richard!
Finally, at around 3.30pm we were called to change and jump in the plane. Everyone met their tandem partner, and I was happy to know that I was jumping with Mike, a very friendly chap. A few minutes later we were the passengers in the smallest plane I've ever been speeding upwards into the sky, which at that time, was crystal clear.
When we reached 10,000 feet, the little side door of the plane opened, and that was the only slightly scary moment of the day for me. Seeing the couple of people jump before me was certainly a bit scary. One moment they are there, and a second later they are completely gone! It was my turn though, and there was no way back then. I remember thinking "Nothing can go wrong, get out there and enjoy it!". So we crawled up to the plane door and I tried to remember all the little pieces of advice from the training, of course, unsuccessfully. Looking down was amazing, you could see the huge flat land at one glance, trees, roads and canals looking like points and lines on a map, very surreal and beautiful. We jump off. The feeling was like being suspended in the air under the largest and most powerful fan in the world, and for some reason, I couldn't stop screaming how beautiful the whole experience was.
This lasted a few seconds, which felt like hours for some reason, and then my tandem partner deployed the parachute. This wasn't pleasant. The rate at which you fall is greatly reduced and it's not pretty, but once you get used to the speed, it's fine, as long as you don't mind the spins and turns.
The landing was uncomplicated, and the feeling was that of having achieved something incredible.
A few minutes later we were handed our certificates and made our ways back home, wiser, happier and, some of us, slightly dizzy.
Besides having a great experience we have so far raised £2,875.00 for COSMIC. We are still accepting donations and if you would like to donate, please click here.