Wow. Its all over. We jumped out of a plane at 13,000ft and shouted Tildas name to the world. And now its over for another year. For that I am very sad. But the planning is already happening for next year!!! But in the meantime I will share with you what an amazing experience Saturday was.
Friday evening we went out for dinner with most of the skydive team and it was fab to meet those I hadn’t already met such as Lucy, Clare and Claire along with their families. But it was soon time for an early night and an attempt at sleep. Which didn’t go well for me. I hadn’t expected to sleep well as I’d been struggling for a few nights with the nerves and the what ifs whizzing around my head. I managed a few patchy hours but woke up a bit of an emotional wreck on Saturday morning for many reasons. Being awake half the night isn’t ideal as you think alot. I’d worked myself right up and had a good cry in bed whilst my friend was in the shower, then cried on her shoulder and then cried on poor Kip when I saw him in reception. I managed to pull it together though and we were soon on our way to the airfield. Rather than muck around trying to follow people like we did last year we were able to all jump into one car thanks to Kips 7 seater! We didn’t get lost which was another bonus!
We arrived and got registered shortly after 8:20am and were told to wait to be called for our briefing. I had eaten a cereal bar in the car and was feeling very queasy. I decided water was going to be the way to go until we jumped! Shortly after we got called in for our briefing but sadly the ground crew weren’t able to join us as they had been last year. Most of what was said was exactly the same as last years. And then the wait begun.
The waiting is by far the worst. I found myself really missing having Jennie, Susanne and Rachel with us at that stage and tweeted them to tell them so, I’d known I was going to miss them but at that point it really hit me hard. We were all trying to gather our thoughts and not completely freak out I think! We had a good natter and the ground crew and some jumpers were tweeting furiously. As with last year I struggled to find the words to tweet much myself. A bit like the marathon I found the amount of support across twitter and facebook overwhelming and needed to zone out a bit. The team did an amazing job and by 1130am we were trending in the UK which we all got massively excited about! Thank you to every single person who got involved on twitter at the weekend. Weather you tweeted, RT’d or donated in any way shape or form, you helped! Thank you!
A little while after the first team members were called to get ready, that included me, along with Kip and Claire. We went and got suited up and ready to go and met with our instructors. According to mine it was his first jump ;-) we had a right giggle together and he put me at ease. I’d been massively nervous the whole morning but once I got into the suit and the harness was on the excitement started to creep in more! Then it was time for the emotional goodbye hugs and to say see you later to the rest of the team before heading off to jump aboard the plane and fly to the clouds!
Unfortunately for me we were to be last off the plane. I have to admit I wasn’t such a fan of this idea at first. I remembered last year and seeing Michelle go out first and me starting to swear my head off as we approached the door second. The thought of watching the whole plane leave before us wasn’t appealing! But I had Claire climb aboard and sit next to me and her big excited grin was infectious! I watched out the window as we took off seeing the rest of the team waving at us and the ground get further away, I was feeling oddly calm. A bit like last year I felt like Tilda was with us making sure we were going to be safe, all the nerves of the week were starting to fade and the excitement was building, I was just worrying a bit about breathing on free-fall again. Claires instructor offered us a sweet on the way up which I gladly took as my ears were starting to build quite a lot of pressure and I knew it would help ease that. The journey felt like it went on forever and I was trying to distract myself with pretty scenery and enjoy the views and the clouds as I had last year as well as chatting with the instructors about what its like to jump in rain.
Finally we reached 13,000ft and it was time to go! The plane door went up and the solo jumpers we had on board went out. Our cameramen got into position and we were soon shuffling towards the door. I watched as Kip went out the door and vanished, then Claire went, and as we approached the door I could see the ground, all the fields in their patchwork colours of greens and yellows, I tried not to register much about seeing that and put my head as far back as I could and tried to smile for the camera and suddenly we were out, the wind was rushing past at a ridiculous speed and I could breathe. I had listened to my instructor and tried to breathe normally so was taking short shallow breaths and I felt ok. It was amazing. I was loving it! I gave the camera a thumbs up and just loved the feeling of floating. It is such an absolutely amazing feeling, one you really cant describe. Unlike last year where I found myself panicing because I couldn’t breathe properly I just adored the feeling this time. I made the effort to keep in the right position and head right back and at one point we caught the air flow awkwardly and it was a bit hard to breathe but we soon righted again and it felt fine. I was so disappointed when the parachute opened, although relieved it had opened safely too! I was so hyper and enjoying every second. I made a few comments that my instructor took totally out of context and found ourselves floating above the ground in absolute hysterics. He really helped to make it a fab experience. He asked if I wanted to do some spins as we headed to the ground to which I responded “Hell bloody yes” and we were soon spinning in insanely tight circles, the pressure on my legs feeling so extreme. The parachute part this time felt so much longer and I have absolutely no doubt that it was, he took his time getting us down unlike my instructor last year and I loved every second.
Then it was time to land, sadly, he told me to pop my feet onto his and helped me lift my legs up so I could grab them, its really sodding hard to lift them when gravity is trying to pull you down. I grabbed hold and we were soon above the airfield ready to land. Its a strange feeling as he pretty much stopped and the air kind of stopped flowing through the chute and it went quiet as we kind of lowered to the ground landing just off the place we were supposed to causing the tandem catchers and cameraman to have to dash over! A quick interview with my camera man and then a chat with my instructor about why it had been so much better and it was all over and I was riding an absolute high! I walked over to the team and gave my best friend the biggest hug ever along with the rest of the team and turned around to Clare and Kip both smiling! The rest of the team who hadn’t gone up were inside getting themselves ready so I went in to give them all hugs and wish them luck. I found I suddenly had an appetite so once we had waved them off I managed to eat some sweets without the worry of ‘what if I throw this up in the plane’ lol! Waiting for the team was agonising as we could see the rain clouds moving in. Unfortunately they had to jump through the rain and came down rather wet bless them! I was very relieved when everyone had landed safely!
L: Pre Jump team photo C: Team photo with ground crew R: After jump team photo!
Overall it was the most fantastic day. The instructors had said they didn’t think we would be able to jump that day due to the weather and were surprised by how clear it wasn’t. I wasn’t, Tilda had an influence on it I am sure of it, she ensured we could jump and that we all jumped safely. 18 months seems like such a long time and yet it seems no time at all. So far we have raised over £4800 as a team and individually I have raised over £1100 so thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored us as a team, or sponsored me, your all AMAZING.
A massive thank you to my fellow jumpers for agreeing to do this with me again this year. And also to our awesome family and friends who came to support us. The ground crew play just as much of an important role on the day providing hugs and support that is much needed when your as nervous as hell! As well as providing some awesome photographs for us to remember the day with, thank you ground crew!
The great thing about skydiving is everyone experiences it differently. Clare has written about her experience here.
I now have the wait for my DVD and photos to arrive! When they do I may share with you the cringeworthy video! If I deem it not too embarrassing ;-)