From North London to Moruya
3 long waits. 3 cloudy days and 6 long drives. That was my introduction to skydiving.
At 18 I started a bucket list with ‘backflip out of an aeroplane’ and told my parents about it. 6 years later Father Christmas treated me to 4 minutes in a wind tunnel at iFLY, Hemel Hempstead and a tandem jump at the North London Skydive centre. In typical English fashion we waited below heavy grey clouds and wrapped the scarves tighter around our necks to see if we’d get up into the sky.
The long wait was broken up on one day by a spin in an outdoor wind tunnel which froze my fingers to the shape of the pole I held.
Indoor skydive London
Nevertheless, eventually we got a break in the clouds and headed on up. Although to many a cloudy sky is a bad thing, to me it simply heightened the experience. Looking out of the door the ground wasn’t visible and the free fall, from what I remember of it, seemed almost as though we weren’t even moving. That is until the icy droplets peppered my cheeks and we arrived under canopy as we left the clouds. An amazing experience but unexpectedly without the huge adrenaline dump I had been hoping for. I knew then that my solo license was what I needed.
North London Skydiving plane
After flying around the Flinders Ranges I mentioned to our pilot that I was looking for somewhere to do my AFF course. Her boyfriend, Pete was a jump pilot at Skydive OZ in Moruya, NSW and she herself had done her qualification there. A few more conversations over the coming months with skydivers and base jumpers alike and the recommendation was solidified. The winter discount of $500 was the icing on the cake and I signed myself up to get that bucket list tick!
Getting ready to jump
Many London based wannabe skydivers end up in Spain for their AFF course to get away from the grey skies and unreliable weather. After moving to Australia I ended up on the other side of the world and I love it. I can’t think of many better ways to ease the first jump nerves than trying to spot whales in the Pacific Ocean to the east or scoping out snowy peaks on the horizon to the west. I would say it’s the same coming down but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t staring at my holding area for the first 6 jumps!
After my experience in London it would have been easy to call it quits on my solo dream simply for the time it could take to complete my stages. Thankfully, spending time amongst the amazing team in Moruya and finishing my Hop and Pop, the dream is very much alive.
**Food for thought**
“So, B-Rels with Skydive Oz? Abso-bloody-lutely…”
Hope to see you in the skies, Emma Jane Warrender
Licensed Skydiver/ wind tunnel guru/ lover of words