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SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air

Posted By: Amanda Syme

SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 04:00 AM

BOOGIE IN BELIZE II
TANDEM SKYDIVE EXPERIENCE

Well, it has been a whole week, and I still can’t wipe the grin off my face that I received during my first tandem skydive jump with the Tsunami Skydivers Boogie In Belize II adventure!

What can I say – it was like no experience I have ever encountered before. Almost indescribable. When I talk with fellow tandem jumpers, no two accounts are the same.

Of course, I booked a week in advance to accommodate my daughter’s schedule, and had an excruciating wait until the day was upon us. Many of the days that passed by comprised of lousy weather, cold, low cloud cover, gusty winds and even rain. What a bummer for the 120+ skydivers that had descended on Belize for a trip of a lifetime. We locals just hate it when the weather is crummy for our visitors. A terrible skydiving tragedy occurred during my wait – and I held my breath while the group decided whether or not to continue with the Boogie.

In memory of their fallen comrade, the group decided to continue with the game plan. God played a little favourable hand in the weather and a beautiful and poignant memorial jump was performed the morning after the sad incident.

In the meantime, yours truly, fearful and yet willing to be defiant of the laws of gravity, picked up the “waiver form” for full analysis. “Do you really want to jump…. Yada yada yada, have you provided for your family in case of the unthinkable, yada, yada, yada, have you imbibed alcohol in the past 12 hours…. WAIT, what’s that??? No liquid courage?? Hmmm….

So, foolish me, went out the night before the big jump, and true to the waiver form I was to sign in the morning, stopped drinking at 10pm in preparation for an 11 am tandem appointment.

A word of the wise to those folks that, like me, are cursed with the plight and indignity of travel sickness – take Dramamine, both the night before and the morning of your tandem jump!! More about this little tidbit of information later in the narrative….

Did I remember to mention that along the way I have picked up a few fellow first time jumpers. My eldest daughter, Rosie and my close friend (considered my sister) Jamila. During the week you could often hear us on the phone together – “You only live once!”, “When your time is up, God will whisk you away,” “They’re professionals – they do this for a living.”

After a night of a wonderful dinner, toasts to good health (and good luck), promises to get together after the jump etc. I was pleased to be able to go home and fall asleep without too many thoughts of the danger we would be facing come the ‘morrow.

Rosie and I were up and raring to go, my other youngsters were quite apprehensive but getting into the whole nervous spirit of the morning. Cal, my wonderful husband was quite reticent – bear in mind his eldest daughter and beloved wife had recently taken leave of their normal senses.

Out we went, just me and Rosie, on the bumpy road in our little golf cart buggy. We picked up Jamila along the way. Her husband Jim, after many a military jump in his recent past, simply stated he would meet us at the drop zone…

Tensions were high, but we managed to shore up our bravado as we headed off to our current destiny.

Long story short, we arrived at the Sunbreeze Hotel, watched in awe as experienced skydivers arrived by boat from the drop zone and began the process of repacking chutes for the next available opportunity. We watched 10 chutes being packed, then another 10. We watched practice “dirt dives” - Skydivers performing their daredevil free fall formations on the ground. What wonderful dances. We were informed that even if we were at the drop zone, we would not be able to see them enacting these movements since they would be so high above the ground.

Every skydiver we met was friendly, encouraging, and just plain down-to-earth. What an oxymoron. The entire staff was accommodating, understanding and patient – hey they’ve all had a “first time” experience.

Were we the only nervous people in the complex? Our trio managed about 4 “panic pees” a piece. You know, you are too nervous to drink water and yet you gotta go every 5 minutes!

Most of the Sunbreeze staff had tandem jumped the year before – they kept us enthralled with their own jump stories as we awaited our turn.

Finally our names were called and it was time to meet our instructors/tandem partners and their jovial counterparts – the wonderful photographers/film-makers.

Wow, the instruction was short and sweet. We didn’t have time to be shy or scared. The professionals took over. This is what we are going to do, this is what I expect you to do, you will have fun, you will smile for the camera, you will not try and pull the rip cord without prior permission. I’ve never actually been in the military but I began to have an inkling of what life and death instruction was all about. In a scant 15 minute course my instructor and I had been through the motions twice and then I was trussed up like a chicken in my tandem safety harness. And away we went… waddling like ducks, to our appointment with the hands of fate.

Okay, it was more like a quick stroll through the hotel lobby, across the cobblestoned street via Tropic Air’s terminal, skirting the airport apron and runway to our eventual rendezvous with the jump plane.
Standing next to the plane, props whirling around and whipping up the breeze felt like the “do or die” moment to me – this is it baby, are you going for it? We all looked at one another, large smirks on our faces – and we boarded the plane. There were no seats in the cabin, just two fold down benches on either side of the fuselage. We actually strapped on the seatbelts for take off – I had to wonder why – aren’t we going to jump out of this perfectly sound aircraft in 15 minutes?

The flight was uneventful, the view phenomenal and the atmosphere was extremely calm. One of the camera men told us that when the houses looked half as small again, it would be time to jump. About 10 minutes into the flight the instructors galvanized into gear and began attaching themselves to us. In other circumstances they could have been considered quite fresh! But as it was, we all visibly grateful to have somebody else taking control. When the door opened we couldn’t initially see much going on, but all of a sudden bodies began hurtling out of the door – ever, ever so quickly. Before I knew what was happening we had scooted half way down the bench towards the gaping doorway – and then whoosh – Jamila was gone. Almost immediately the door was closed and …. Jamila was gone!

It was explained to us that we had to circle one more time before it was our turn. I was thinking – Jamila’s gonna kill us when we land – how could we have left her like that. Would she wonder if we had changed our minds?

Within minutes the door reopened, Rosie was in the doorway, “Goodbye Mom” she said, and whoosh, she was gone to. All too quickly I was placed into the opening. With barely a chance to catch my breath I was out of the door, tumbling through the air. How absolutely EXHILARATING. What can I say, this was probably the most amazing, mind-boggling things I have ever done. It was almost surreal. Your brain knows you are traveling at 125 mph attached to a complete stranger – another fellow has a camera pointed right at you, and your heart is in your throat. This is the moment that I realized that I should have eaten a lot more Dramamine. For a person that doesn’t travel well, I don’t know what I was thinking when I boarded the plane with only ½ a pill in my tummy. I guess I didn’t expect the spinning, the swirling, the tumbling… it was wonderful but the nausea kind of put a little damper on things for me. We were moving so fast, the deep blue sea was far below, a tiny little island was to the west, the earth and sky were curved – wow. The free fall experience was over way too quickly. The camera man waved good bye, my instructor – John pulled something and all of a sudden it seemed as if we came to complete stop, for just a second, and then it felt as if we were in a fast elevator climbing up. Moments later everything went quiet – a little flapping of the canopy above –and then John was asking me questions – what did I think of the ride so far, wasn’t it just incredible! After we loosened up the harness and I managed to take my bearings John passed the reins over to me. This wasn’t something I had expected. If you pulled the rig to the left, you turned left and the opposite was true too. Cool. He offered to show me how to spin and do 360’s. This is when I told him that it wouldn’t be too wise, what with the nausea and all! I was also given instructions on how to throw up at 5,000 ft – thankfully I didn’t have to use this new found knowledge. John slowed the ride way down and we gently began descending to earth. My stomach calmed down and I began to really enjoy the show.

Right about then I spotted my Rosie, high above us, waving away. I shouted to her and she swooped right in, I could see the whites of her eyes. She was having way more fun than me.

Much too soon we were arriving at our final destination – the landing zone. I could see little people running around, waving and smiling. I recognized my camera man Mike immediately, then I spotted Rich Grimm – the fellow that had finally piqued my curiosity into this whole mad event – we landed smoothly, no broken bones. I tried to stand up my legs had turned to jelly. After a second I managed to find my feet and I waved to the camera, gave Rich and John big hugs, looked around for my fellow daredevils and finally realized my loved ones were all waiting to greet me.

I guess skydiving is an experience that you either love or hate. I absolutely loved it. We will be signing up for Boogie in Belize III – along with many of our friends and family.

Thanks to everybody that made the experience such a delight – I couldn’t have done it without you.

Photos will follow next week...
Posted By: Marty

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 04:12 AM

what a great story Amanda, thats awesome. goodbye mom...

fantastic. thanks for writing this....
Posted By: reaper

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 04:29 AM

Thanks Amanda! It was a joy for me to watch you jump. It took some courage for you girls to leap after what happened to Chad. Thanks. We have taken 190 people on tandem skydives in the past two years in Belize. Safety is our #1 priority, FUN is #2!!! Great leap report! Hugs from my family to yours. laugh
Posted By: Chloe

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 05:35 AM

Amanda, you're the Gal. Thanks for sharing, loved your writing. Yes, you are brave.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 06:12 AM

Thanks for putting it into words.
Posted By: Pam&Dave

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 08:48 AM

Amanda,
Now you've gone and done it... That awesome accounting of your flight experience has convinced me that my daughter and I MUST JUMP next year. Our casita up north should be built by then and I can't think of a better way to step (leap) out of my "comfort zone." Dramamine will be a must for this wimp.
Reaper,
It sounds like you have this whole skydiving adventure down to a fine art. What inspired you to come to AC for this event? It must take loads of planning to pull it off in such an organized fashion. Well, thanks to Amanda's wonderful story - you will have two more jumpers next year! What better way to celebrate turning 50 laugh
Pam
Posted By: reaper

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 02:43 PM

Pam,
I went to SP on vacation 5 Easter's ago to impress my girlfriend. Saw the layout and it's perfect for a "boogie". Married the girlfriend in SP and 14 trips later I'm getting it organized the right way. It takes 3 months of planning to take 130 people on vacation! Next year will be February 10-19! What makes this event work so well is the great support of everyone in the business community and the residents of San Pedro. Without that help it would be impossible to organize. See you in the plane!!! cool
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 03:05 PM

Amanda - thanks soooo much for the account - what fun to read about your fun!
reaper - your enthusiasm is contagious!
Posted By: klcman

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 04:32 PM

Contagious enough that you're gonna jump??? laugh
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 04:45 PM

hafta think bout that one :p
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 05:54 PM

Yeah, are ya, huh, are ya, huh,huh, are ya, are ya??
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 06:29 PM

whoa there E - slow down laugh
are u? wink
Posted By: klcman

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 06:42 PM

I'd PAY to see that! Hey - another fundraiser with autographed prints!
Posted By: snorkelgirl

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 07:53 PM

Wow Amanda! Congratulations!

Thanks for an enthusiastic account of your jump, looking forward to the photos : )
Posted By: Island Iguana

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/26/06 08:35 PM

Sounds like great fun. What's the cost for a tandem jump?
Might want to try it next year.
Posted By: reaper

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 02:59 AM

$225usd for a tandem and $110usd for the video and stills. Check out Simon's jump for SAGA and Ron's jump on video at the San Pedro Sun site. amanda and windjammer will be posting photos also.
Posted By: travelqueen

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 03:06 AM

Amanda, great story! I felt like I was skydiving with you!

It's great that you posted your experience. I think when people read this, it will give them courage to do it too - next trip! I'm thinking about it and may bring Mom!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 03:08 AM

TQ! - Check your PM!
Posted By: seashell

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 03:30 AM

Yeesh! For that kinda money, I usually get 3 dives.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 03:51 AM

still - might be worth it if I could watch E go first

K - you ready - or just looking to buy tics?
Posted By: klcman

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 03:59 AM

gonna fly AND sell pic's of E!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 04:15 AM

think there's a market for that?

(E - besides me of course laugh )
Posted By: seashell

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 04:33 AM

It might be fun to see a flying PITA.
Posted By: reaper

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 04:43 AM

Saeshell...you can jump for $30...parachute and instructor extra!
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 04:44 AM

Amanda you said it all but luckily I don't/didn't need the dramamine. It was awesome, I loved every second of it and will be doing it again next year, no doubt. Sorry reaper would love to post the pics but having a problem with that. Remember I am an old computer illerate person.I might be able to jump out of de plane but posting pics is a whole other issue. No cute guys attached to my behind helpin!!!! HELP, HELP!!!! :rolleyes: confused
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 04:46 AM

hey - wj - sounds like you had a blast
keep workin on it gal - we want pics!!!!!
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 04:46 AM

OOPS THAT WAS ILLITERATE AS IN DUMB WHEN IT COMES TO COMPUTERS, ETC.
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 04:51 AM

I did have a blast, I do have wonderful pics which I can & have emailed but posting is a whole other issue. The video is hysterical as I look like a troll doll with my short hair straight up! Just got home from Gay & David's for his bd party so have to excuse me!!!!!lol Bad ice :rolleyes:
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 02:30 PM

WJ - I'd love to see the pics and video - speedy recovery from the bad ice!
HB late to David!
Hi Gay laugh
who cleaned the kitchen?
Posted By: Ernie B

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 05:54 PM

I've done all the jumping outta planes & choppers I'm gonna do ! :p
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 09:06 PM

well then, if you don't have to guess I don't have to :p
K - looks like you're gonna need another fundraising plan!
Posted By: Island Iguana

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/27/06 11:20 PM

All the pics are great. Unfortunately I left before B in B got started this year. What's next years dates?
Posted By: klcman

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 01:16 AM

I'll get him up there...I know most of his weakness(es) and workingon the rest laugh
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 04:42 AM

OK, I'm going to try this & if it doesn't work I will email to Marty to post. :rolleyes: http://www.snapfish.com/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=38075423/a=45887353_45887353/t_=45887353
Posted By: klcman

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 04:53 AM

woohooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo awesome!

(troll doll hahahahaha cute)
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 05:00 AM

Could you actually see them, cause when I click on the link it says welcome back and asked for my password??? Confused! confused
Posted By: klcman

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 05:05 AM

yup - prolly cuz I have an account too
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 05:06 AM

Worked that time for me so no need Marty! All that skin you see sucked up is actually "flappin" on the video lol eek woo hoo is right!!! Can't wait till next Feb! laugh eek
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 05:08 AM

Well K we'll see if it works for everyone else!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 05:09 AM

They are great! That's the hugest grin I've ever seen laugh yea for you!
Goin again?
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 05:18 AM

Next Feb 17th for my BD. And Gay, HavinFun & me, myself & I cleaned the kitchen last night as it was David's bd party. laugh
Posted By: Pam&Dave

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 07:45 AM

jammer - Looks like it was very easy for your tandem partner to "steal" a smooch on the way down. If it were me, I'd let him smooch to his heart's content as long as he got me back down in one piece! I didn't realize the amount of g-force your body withstands during a jump. Can you feel your skin and face being pulled in all those directions? It sure must be a strange sensation.
Thanks for the pictures. I needed to open an account with a password and presto there you were!
Posted By: Amanda Syme

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 01:25 PM

Wow Wind(Skydiving)jammer - great shots. How did you manage to remember the camera was there the whole time?!?

You looked like you were having a blast.

See you there again next year?

Feb 10 - 19

Let's hope for fantastic weather.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 02/28/06 05:36 PM

And the smile never left your face. Good for you - good photographer too. I would say that along made it worth the price.
It would be nice if some others posted theirs too.
Thank you so much.
Posted By: Windjammer

Re: SP to 3 Cocos in 15 minutes - by air - 03/02/06 02:50 AM

Pam & Dave, tandem partner can steal all the smooches he wants in the air or on the ground. smile Yes you can feel your skin being pulled in all those directions. Gotta work on all that "loose" skin before next year. shocked Amanda, photographer was "messing" with me so couldn't ignore him as he was another "cutie"! wink I was having a blast & will see ya there next year and also hope for much better weather for all. laugh ScubaLdy, Once the smile was there it's hard for it to leave! Photographer was great & cute! :rolleyes: I also wish others would post pixs. wink
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