The moment the instructor opens the door and you are about to jump out the plane – the what am I doing question hits you. Before you can answer it, you are crashing through the sky at 200 kilometres per hour. The freefall is an indescribable and sensational feeling. The rest of the descent was fantastic as well as you can steer the parachute yourself. I will tell more about my experience during my tandem skydive further on this blog.
Due to weather conditions, it was uncertain if we could jump at our current time slot at 9.30 AM. Eventually, the conditions improved, and we left our lodge, Ashanti Gardens, as soon as possible. The company communicated the possibility of the jump well. If they expect the weather not to be clear, they would tell you immediately, in case you waste a day waiting during your precious holiday.
After the 45-minute drive, we arrived at the West Coast, where the drop zone is located. There, we had to sign our contracts before we had a briefing about the process. Since the weather caused the time slots to move up, we had to wait a little bit before it was our turn. However, there is a lot to see around the hangar.
Regularly, people land in the drop zone, which is located next to the building. As the tension, excitement and, fear slowly start to increase, I was the one to go first. The jumps go with three people and their instructors at a time. The rest of my friends went on the next round.
Before you jump, you meet your instructor, and he goes through the safety procedures with you. The instructions are not difficult to follow. To be sure, he explains them one more time as you walk to the plane. After the instructions, you wait before the plane returns, and you are ready to go.
I decided that I wanted my skydive with video recording. Your guide has two cameras on his arm, one for videos, and one for photos. As you leave the hangar to the runway, the video starts rolling, which provides a great introduction to the final montage.
The plane flies almost always, picking-up people, dropping them, and getting new jumpers. Even though it is a small plane, everyone could sit comfortably. As soon as everyone was ready, we went up above the clouds.
From the plane, you can see Table Mountain rise above the Mother City as well as the Cape Point and Robben Island. Directly under you, you can see the dunes, the beaches, and the endless ocean. It takes around 20 minutes before you reach the right altitude of 9000ft. So, try to enjoy this scenic flight and temporarily forget about your fear.
As soon as we reached 9000ft, we all got ready for the jump. The instructors attached us to their safety harness, and I put on my glasses. Then the door opened, and within seconds the first went out. I was next, and he asked me to swing my legs out of the plane. There you start to feel the freezing air of the high altitude.
Consequently, I put my head in my neck, and the instructor pushed us out of the plane. When you dive out of the plane and start to fall with immense speed, it takes some time to process the insanity of it. But quickly, I began to love it. You are so high up in the sky that a fear of heights doesn’t work anymore. You only feel the rush of adrenaline.
The free fall takes around 30 seconds before the parachute pops-out, and you can enjoy the view. As we gently descended towards the ground, the instructor gave me the handles to steer the parachute. He asked me to pull the left rope. I didn’t know how hard or soft I had to pull it. So, it ended up with a soft tap. The instructor immediately gave it a yank, which made us spiral down much faster. Then, it was my turn again. Even though I pulled the rope with more force now, it did not bother, since you had to pull the line against the blowing wind in the parachute.
So, I tried again with success this time. The spiraling down feels like a mini freefall. It was a fantastic experience to operate a parachute yourself. But, of course, when we were close to landing – the instructor took over the steering to get us on the ground safely.
The landing procedure was something that I was afraid of at first. Since I didn’t know how hard you would hit the ground. Eventually, it was something I shouldn’t have worried about at all. It was a small step back to solid ground.
The drop zone is a big sandbox that catches your fall. After I had both feet on the ground and I was detached from my instructor, it was time my friends went in the plane for their jump. The company runs the skydives effectively, and even though the weather had ruined their schedule – we did not have to wait long before we all did our jumps.
While my friends were in the air, I waited for my video to be processed. Which, to my surprise, didn’t take long at all. The video is of good quality, and there are a lot of pictures, so there are always some good pictures. Or at least as good as they can be while the wind displaces your face as you crash through the sky. You will get all the footage on a USB bracelet after a short wait, and you can see it immediately in the hanger.
I would recommend skydiving in general, and if you plan to do it – do it in Cape Town due to the spectacular views. Seeing the endless ocean, Table Mountain, Robben Island, and the West Coast while flying through the sky is a fantastic experience. It’s not only the skydive but also a scenic flight along the coast. Even though you might often hear that skydiving is something you must do at least once in your life, it is certainly a one-of-a-kind experience.