My 29th year was quite simply one Kilimanjaro of a year! I had my first baby and launched my business. To celebrate the milestone of turning the massive 30 I decided to treat myself to a Tandem Skydive. I mean, what better way to enjoy your 30th than to face one of the biggest fears head on which is the fear of heights. For some reason that 29th year was a big year because of all the other fears I had faced to include having a baby, surviving the process and initiating and implementing a business which I had no idea may or may not work.
I invited my favourite brother and some other friends who’d been talking about the tandem skydive for some time. We made our way up the West Coat and to the drop zone situated around the Atlantis dune area. On arrival the mood is relaxed and chilled amongst the guests and to a fair extent the staff as well. One could feel an exciting buzz in the air as we all waited to enjoy our tandem skydive but it wasn’t boardering on hysteria as one can sometimes feel around motorsport activities i.e. racing…
We completed various indemnity forms and made our way to get rigged up and ready for our flight. I was amazed to see that there are professional yet part time riggers who spend their weekends and free time earning money from packing the tandem skydive packs. To me this is a very important job and one would have to have high levels of responsibility and conscience in order to do this properly. The tandem skydive rig is fairly simple but those to whom you are entrusted take their responsibility very seriously. It seemed to take hours for the harnesses to be just right and the rigger would constantly check and recheck to ensure that the clips etc. were in perfect working order.
After we were ready we spent more time just relaxing and talking to the other tandem skydive patrons. It was full steam ahead and total loss of facial colour as soon as we saw our Cessna waiting for us to board and take flight. We all ran to the aircraft and loaded into the aircraft positioned perfectly based on how our tandem skydive jump masters would leave the plane and in which order. We shared our Cessna with one other skydiver who was fully qualified. I was amazed as we reached a certain altitude only to see him perform a few last minute checks and then bail out the plane as though it was a completely normal thing to do. Totally outrageous really.
Our flight climbed to roughly 10,000 feet and during the flight we made humorous conversation but as we neared our tandem skydive jump altitude the mood became subdued as we knew what was imminent. My tandem skydive jump master started fidgeting behind me and performed various checks to ensure that we were correctly attached to each other’s harness/rig contraption. I watched as my brother jumped out and almost died when I was signalled to make my way to open entrance of the plane in readiness to jump to what felt like my death. I didn’t really have any time to dwell on the moment too much. If I had, I am certain it would feel similar to your nails being removed one by one. All I can say is that it was agonising yet at the same time it is a climax of what can be a turning point in your life from fear to no fear. I found myself gently nudged out the aircraft and as the tandem skydive freefall proceeded heaven knows where my stomach went, in fact I think it could still be somewhere in the dunes of Atlantis.
I have to admit that I screamed like a baby for what felt like hours. The poor tandem skydive jump master may never hear again…. I must have been in a state because all I can remember are his hands closing over my hands as placed over my eyes and he literally ripped my hands off my face and shouted at me humorously saying that I was missing the best part. Once I stopped the hysterical yelps I suddenly saw the breath taking view and somehow snapped out of whatever planet I was on and plugged into enjoying the adrenaline and view.
Once the parachute opened it gave a tremendous tug and we flew up into the air and then started to float. All the rushing wind and turbulence ceased and it became a very peaceful, quiet moment as we drifted and softly floated to the earth below. As we made our way to the drop zone we could see all the bystanders waving and taking pictures. I was asked to lift my legs in preparation for landing and before I knew it we were safely on the ground.
As soon as my feet touched the ground I just couldn’t stop smiling. It really felt as though something had snapped and changed. I had seriously pushed my limits to another level and felt as though the tandem skydive had empowered me in some way. It was a truly momentous way to celebrate and start my 30th year. The tandem skydive is a milestone achievement for anyone looking to really celebrate something special or to face a really big fear which is usually heights. It is such a safe activity if executed by professionals. There really is no need to embarrass yourself as I did screaming from the heavens. If there were any angels around at the time I’m sure they left with burst eardrums.
Written and experienced in person by Odette Butcher, Chief Experience Officer, Celestial Gift Experiences
Learn more and book a Tandem Skydive online via http://www.celestialgifts.co.za
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