Olivia Skydives!

Olivia SkydivesLast Sunday, Olivia went tandem skydiving as a present from TJ, Maya and I for her birthday. We had booked in for 3:30 in the afternoon, but early Sunday morning someone from Commando Skydivers rang and asked if we could make it earlier because the wind may pick up. I had organised for friends and relatives to arrive at 3:00 so we couldn't really change the time - we just hoped that the conditions would remain good, and understood that there was not much we could do about it anyway.

At 1 o'clock in the afternoon, with Maya screaming in bed and TJ happily watching "Bob the Builder", I checked with Olivia how she was feeling, She was busy getting organised and was not nervous at all - in fact her only feeling was that there may not be enough food for her party! We rang the skydiving place and we were told that conditions were good - the jump was on...

We arrived at Tooradin Airfield a little before 2:45 to set things up, to find that all our guests had already arrived (maybe they were as pumped as Olivia was). Olivia went straight to the office to get through the necessary paperwork of signing up and becoming a member, waivers, and agreements that "skydiving may be dangerous", while I got her strawberry cheesecake birthday cake ready. Olivia's team of Chris, who Olivia was to dive with, and Sam, her photographer, were ready and waiting, so we sang a quick "Happy Birthday" and it was off to some basic training for Olivia.

Olivia looked really cool all suited up and was still not nervous...hmmm. While she was practicing lifting her feet up for the landing, my dad, Olivia's dad and my Grandad inspected the plane and it passed muster despite the fact it had no doors! Olivia and another student were bundled in and the plane took off to a fanfare of well wishes. Back on the ground, the gathered onlookers (about 25 of us) ate cake and spent the next 1/2 hour craning our necks to watch Olivia's plane climb to 10,000 feet (which was really high - the plane looked the size of full stop!) To add to the excitement there were other planes and a helicopter taking off and landing, plenty of food, and of course the playground held lots of attention for TJ, Maya, Raymond, and Jack, the "youngies".

Olivia JumpingThankfully a couple of times some helpful people from the skydiving place came out and helped us spot the plane. We were finally told "2 minutes to jump", and thanks to Brad's binoculars we spotted Olivia jumping out - which was impossible to see with the naked eye. She was in freefall for about 30 seconds, during which time she covered 6,000 feet, and then had maybe 8 or 10 minutes steadily descending in the parachute. After a beautiful and safe landing Olivia had earnt a glass of champagne and we all gethered round as she described her awe at seeing the world from up that high, her lack of nervousness, and what everything looked like from nearly 3 kilometres up.

We also had the chance to see things first hand because Sam mixed the videotape of Olivia's jump and an interview with her, to music, and we all watched it in the Commando's office. Wow! I was really impressed with the setup and tandem package - all the people we dealt with at Command Skydivers were helpful and friendly and very professional.

The grin on Olivia's face was priceless for me. I can't believe how much she enjoyed her first skydive and how brave she was. A great birthday present, if I may say so myself.

Happy Birthday Wifey!

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