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December 28th 2006
Published: January 4th 2007
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Stuart and Nicola had kindly bought us a skydiving experience for Christmas - we can say kindly with hindsight - so we were pleased to drive up north of Cape Town for about an hour in glorious sunshine and clear skies. Obviously we had little idea of what to expect but after we'd signed a form each Ed was put in a harness and told to head towards a little plane. It took 6 people besides the pilot, 3 staff and 3 'victims', and was very cramped. The views were just incredible as the plane limped up to 9,000ft (we think) circling out over the crashing waves of the ocean and with Table Mountain clearly further south. The instructor for the tandem skydive clipped himself to Ed's harness and then gave the 15-second safety briefing, and before he knew it Ed was sitting on the open doorway wondering what the hell he was doing. There wasn't much time for thinking though and very soon we were dropping earthwards at 120mph. This is not a feeling that can really be described in words, but suffice to say once the first 3 seconds or so were out of the way it was absolutely amazing. Weird, but amazing all the same. Then after 30 secs of freefall there was an almighty yank as the parachute opened and suddenly the most peaceful sensation imaginable. The instructors let you steer the parachute, which is surprisingly responsive. And then it was all over with a semi-crash landing in some bushes. Apparently there was a last minute gust of wind but only the instructor - who was at the controls - felt it. Back on the ground just in time to wave goodbye to Gemma, Ed then watched the plane climb with Gren and Sally but inexplicably ended up watching the wrong plane. There were 2 planes, Gemma's took off 2nd, but it climbed much quicker and unloaded its cargo first. Then suddenly there was a load Helloooo from up above and Gemma came in to land, taking everyone by surprise. If anyone wants to know what someone who really enjoys a skydive looks and sounds like, we have a DVD of Gemma's jump. Finally Stuart and Nicola went up and thankfully came safely down again, and then we were able to discuss it all properly. One thing is for sure - we all want to do it again.

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