I have been trying to sky dive since way back in June, and there was always something that intervened, mainly the weather. However that would all change today; I finally will be able to jump out of an airplane! And the weather couldn’t have been any more perfect, absolutely no cloud in this blue sky. It was sunny, the temperature felt great, and no sign of rain. Today was the day my friends. 🙂
I missed school again, but this time my teachers had no idea I would be absent. I wasn’t able to tell them yesterday because I was abseiling. But I’m sure they’ll be fine, maybe not Zuki. She is probably going insane right now because I’m not around to help with their computer troubles haha! I’ll be back tomorrow to set things straight. In the meantime, I took a train to Cape Town in the morning to meet up with some volunteers from the Rec House who were also going to jump: Larry, Jess (U.K), and three new volunteers I haven’t met yet who are from somewhere in Europe. Isaac was nice enough to take us to sky dive initially, but he had an important tour that came up, so instead he sent his friend Maude to take us. The drive was about 45 minutes north of Cape Town, just below the Sands of Atlantis over a scenic, almost deserted route. We pulled up to a warehouse that held two small planes, the same planes we would all be going on, three at a time. None of us has ever sky dived before and there’s no better place to do it than in this beautiful panorama of the Western Cape. I didn’t care if I went first or not, but I was asked to go with the second group of three because the first group was the lightest or something. I wasn’t too nervous yet, and I figured I wouldn’t be until the moment before I jumped.
The first group left and I watched them as they all squeezed into a tiny plane. They were extremely nervous, but brave enough to finish their task at hand. My group was next. We put on our harness and met our tandem partner. The fact that my guy showed no ounce of nervousness made me feel relaxed and not as uneasy as I thought I would be. I had more butterflies bungee jumping than I did here.
I was more excited than anything! We walked to the tiny aircraft and my tandem partner hopped in and said to me, “Come and sit between my legs.” Haha! I was laughing then, and laughing now just thinking about it. But sat between them I did. I never been on a plane so small before. We were pretty much jammed inside as we lifted off into the sky. The pilot announced that it would be a 20 minute plane ride to about 10,000 feet into the air; at least I think he said 10,000 feet, I was too excited to comprehend. On the way up, we could see all of Cape Town and then some. Table Mountain, Robben Island, all of the beaches, farmlands, vineyards, skyscrapers, the ocean, everything!
Soon our tandem partners attached themselves to us. And then the moment came – the pilot shouted, “Open the hatch!”
I watched Larry jump out first; as he was the closest to the hatch.
I think my jaw was just about on the floor the whole time as I saw him fall into the abyss. The other volunteer I was with went out next (I forget her name, but I know she’s from Luxembourg). I wish I could have seen the expression on my face as I watched them leap off! I’m sure I looked funny. I was next up, and the last to jump. I shuffled towards the hatch until my legs were dangling off the plane. Alright, NOW I was nervous haha! I clutched my harness and tilted my head back, as I was instructed to, and before I knew it, I was free-falling in the sky.
I got a tap on my shoulder, which meant I was free to let go of my harness and spread my wings. I don’t remember what I was shouting but I know they were certainly shouts of excitement pumped full of adrenaline. It looked as if the landscape below me wasn’t getting any closer, as the wind pummeled against my body. I loved every single micro-second of it. Suddenly, my partner pulled his cords and a parachute shot out of his backpack. Soon enough we were cruising in the air. And at that same moment, I didn’t feel too good.
I felt like I was going to vomit any second, in midair. Mr. Vertigo paid a visit to me (again) in the middle of the sky. I can’t say this was totally unexpected, because if you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you’d know that everything EVERYTHING that moves seems to make me feel queasy haha! I didn’t eat anything that morning because I didn’t want to risk puking. It didn’t work, my stomach was uneasy. My tandem partner had no idea I felt like crap because I was laughing and bursting shouts of joy as we were falling. I bet if he could have seen my face after he pulled the cord he would have got the hint. I didn’t want this to interfere so I pretended I was fine. He gave me the handles to the parachute and let me guide for a little bit. “Pull your right arm towards your stomach!” he shouted. I did that and found that maneuver twisted us rapidly, spinning us round and round. He was laughing behind me, but my stomach was churning even more. There was really nothing I could do. It’s not like he could pull over real quick, let me stop to vomit, and then continue parachuting down. I had to wait until we made our proper landing.
I could see the Luxembourg girl a little down below me land, but there was no sign of Larry. Eventually, we made a perfect, smooth landing in the middle of the sand target, much to my relief. But I tell you, as soon as I landed, I felt perfectly fine again. Even with that brief queasiness, that was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done in my life! Larry came down and landed right after me. I asked my tandem partner how did I land before Larry? He said it’s because I weighed more.
We met up with the first group who jumped and we were all still pumped about what we have just accomplished. I told the guides I felt like was going to vomit up there and I asked if it was normal to feel that way. He said it usually happens when people don’t eat. Go figure. I didn’t eat, to prevent just that but it turned out it worked against me. I would definitely sky dive again, but not on an empty stomach! Overall, the thrill of it overshadowed my queasiness. I love this.
After all was said and done, Maude dropped the Rec House volunteers at the train station and he was nice enough to take me home to Kayamandi. Good thing because I did not want to get on another train. When he dropped me, I saw two kids down the block playing with my soccer ball. Now was my chance to take back what’s mine! I walked toward the kids, and as I got closer, it turned out to be a girl and a boy, about nine or ten years old, playing with my ball by themselves. When I got close to them, they kicked the ball towards me and I felt how deflated and soft it was. It was definitely my ball, but it was now brown instead of white and there were cuts and scrapes all over it. I kicked the ball back towards them. Even if the ball looked like it did when I had it, I wouldn’t have the heart to take it from these two kids. It would have been a different story if it were the older kids who were playing though. So long soccer ball.
The Spanish girls time in Kayamandi was just about up, but before they departed, they wanted to make a special dish from Spain for the whole family and us volunteers. It was very tasty and I was just glad they didn’t make me cook anything or otherwise I would have ruined dinner for everyone haha! I went and laid in my bed right after that. All I kept thinking was, “Could I squeeze in another dive before I leave Africa?” Possibly…:)