See the picture above? That’s me.
The wind whistling through my ears. My hair held firmly in place by my WWI standard issue Biggles cap and goggles. Strapped to a man in what can only be described as a giant baby carrier, hanging out the side of a plane.
Fifteen minutes prior, I had been pondering whether the harness rubbing against my stoma would cause me to bleed or my bag to pop off. Thankfully my stoma was safe. My nether regions, not so much.
To the left of me, a man clings onto the side of the plane for dear life. He's covered in all sorts of cameras and dressed in black, looking like the Milk Tray Man. Yes, I paid to film my possible demise.
Once my instructor sees I’m not kicking and screaming, he tips back, then rolls forward. We tumble out the plane much like a couple of drunks leaving a lock-in.
A week ago, skydiving was top on my bucket list; now it's a reality.
I thought I'd be terrified, but I'm not; I'm surprisingly calm... yet quite disoriented.
Sky, ground, sky, ground. I’M FALLING!
Levelled out by the expert strapped to my back, we hit terminal velocity and the sensation of falling disappears. It now feels like I’m in a wind tunnel. The green area below me gets bigger. Best take all of it in and enjoy the flight. This would be a great idea if only I could... breathe!
As panic sets in the conversation with my instructor echoes in my head…
When you get to the door, catch your breath. During the climb, you will have been taking in tiny intakes of breath in anticipation. When you jump out, you’ll want to breathe in, but won’t be able to as your lungs will already be full.
I should’ve paid more attention. Now I’m going to blackout.
In a last ditch effort I open my mouth to let out the air. I look like a hamster with my top lip flapping in the wind. But I can now breathe!
As we hit the clouds, the instructor releases the chute. We glide in almost absolute silence over Morecambe Bay, taking in the morning sun reflecting off the water and the sand plains. White-speckled fields extend for miles; clearly they are sheep pastures.
I’m alive and in one piece!
The ground creeps closer and we go in for the landing. Maybe not the most gracious of touchdowns, but I’m alive, in one piece, and back on terra firma with a muddy bottom.
I now know my stoma won’t hold me back
While enjoying a coffee, feeling the winter sun on my face, and awaiting my DVD, I relive the elements and wonder how the hell I did it. I stayed calm and my stoma didn’t go berserk. I’ve faced my first and craziest test to myself and passed! I now know my stoma won’t hold me back. If I can throw myself out of a plane, then what can’t I do?
A video of my jump can be found here.