We made 4 jumps today … I was on a 44 way, 65 way and after more weather delays, two 100 record attempts in the late afternoon. We had no luck at building the 100 ways, but it certainly was fun using all 4 airplanes. The visuals were spectacular!I was incredibly pleased with my flying skill and patience. However, after the last jump of the day, I’m feeling a bit nervous about jumping …. unfortunately, I sprained the fingers on my right hand when trying to exit the Otter. When it came for me to exit, the bench seat dropped down, not locked in to place. And as a late diver, I was crammed near the back with the only real room for movement being in the aisle. The bench fell down to my side, pushing me and slamming my fingers before I managed to upright myself and catapult like a rocket out the door. There must have been at least a 5 second delay between the last jumper and my exit. Made for an incredibly steep dive to the base. I found it extremely challenging when everything looked like specks from afar and with no visual colour reference, it made for difficulty in finding my quadrant and radial (in situations like these, I need my glasses, or contact lenses).
New for me on these big way jumps was our high altitude breakoff at 6,500 feet (I was on the outer ring), turning in sync with our tracking leader and group – – from 4-8 other skydivers, keeping close together for 2,500 feet (that’s a good 10 seconds in a tracking group — kind of like our own personal tracking dive!) and then individually fanning out to a minimum deployment altitude of 3,000 feet. I often saw people down and dirty when opening, but I was fairly consistent about being in the saddle comfortably collapsing my slider and unstowing my brakes at 2,000 feet. I prefer being on the outer edges of the formation because I know that I can track well and be clear of most other traffic. It’s only when I have the off-heading openings that I find myself concerned, facing a sea of traffic.
What I loved most about our jumps was the fact that the organizers were extremely positive during the debrief of our big way attempt, emphasizing our accomplishments first and foremost, and then offering detailed critique where needed and kudos when deserved.
It being Canada Day, a group of skydivers jumped in with smoke and a Canadian Flag, kicking of an evening of wonderful food and entertainment. Awesome fireworks and an amazing drumming band called Zuruba ended the evening on a high note, sending me to bed with a huge smile on my face. Life is indeed good to me!