Belize is ‘unBelizeable’. It’s so beautiful and full of brilliant seaside character. A perfect tropical island getaway, and that’s before getting in to the air and skydiving. I did 3 jumps today from the Pac (supplied by Ray Farrel) and had the most heavenly experience and views. I was transfixed by the beauty of the island but quite anxious and a tad bit frightened on my first jump, to be honest. The landing area is extremely tight, and I didn’t really want to do anything on the skydive itself but enjoy the view and think about how I would get down safely. But the northerly winds were optimal and light. After I had my first successful landing under my belt, I was content and could enjoy the other 2 ethereal jumps more fully. 🙂
I hurt my arm about 2 weeks ago on a not so pretty landing. And it’s still an angst in my butt ;). Painful mostly at night, but a dull sense of weakness and ache during the day. As a precaution, I wrapped it for my skydives in an attempt to waylay my nervousness. I fervently prayed that my elbow wouldn’t ‘lock’ up on me (the right arm pulls my main parachute and jettisons — aka a cutaway — the canopy if something were to go wrong). My upper limbs also function as my steering controls, and with this being such a tight landing area, maneuverability is an ultra important and highly desirable feature 🙂 … more-so than any other skydive I’ve ever made! But as always, I am opting to take it easy and be conservative when if I feel the need to be (same goes for the wind).
This is the 7th year for the Boogie in Belize as birthed, nurtured and flourished by Richard Grimm. The homebase and hotel of choice for the Boogie’s entire history has been the Sunbreeze Hotel. They have a large courtyard, pool, restaurant and bar right beside the ocean vista, with the Hugh Parkey dive shop located at the foot of their private pier. The courtyard is surrounded by two levels of beautiful rooms and provides a perfect sheltered meeting and packing place for the skydivers. This year is the first where two Boogies will take place … 10 days for the North American contingency with a 4 day break before the European group comes to play for another 10 days. We chose to spend 3 weeks total here in Belize, giving us the opportunity to attend both events and perhaps tour the mainland whilst enjoying the luxuries of scuba diving the reef. How magnificent and well-planned is that??!!
Before we arrived, Rich and his crew surveyed the landing area only to find it strewn with an unfortunate amount of garbage, some of it from local sources and much of it from boats or sea current deposits from other areas. I’ve noticed that in general on the Island, most hotel operators and property owners keep their beachfront areas raked clean each and every day, apart from the seagrass and falling coconuts which exist despite the fervent beach grooming. Beside the landing area sits ‘Coco Locos’, a lovely Belizean bar which serve the many spectators, cruise ships and jumpers (after the skydiving day is complete, of course). Rich is intentional and consistent with his ideals of safety, and there is always a person at the landing area monitoring the activity to make sure we keep ourselves safe whilst skydiving in to nirvana.
The landing area for our Boogie happens to be just north of the bridge. The inner reef that lines the entire island is shallow in depth, which makes for water landings a possible and desirable out if unable to safely land in the tight landing area surrounded by condos, hydro lines and poles, a lagoon to the west (American Saltwater and
Morelet Crocodiles lurk in the lagoons although they are rarely known to attack people), an often-present barge, towering palm trees and the ominous pungee sticks. The ocean stands on the eastern seawall edge. It’s a rather hairy landing experience when the eastern winds blow strong. I’m thinking that I will be somewhat picky and choosy about my days of jumping whilst here … 3 weeks is a long time to spread them out if I so choose. We’re very lucky to have that option, not feeling the need to jump my butt off as I sense the other participants want to.
A common form of transport on the island is by water taxi (stretched out speed boats), and Rich has built in to the boogie fee water taxi transport back to the Sunbreeze Hotel after each and every skydive landing. However, the water taxi is available to all interested in checking out the landing area. Awesome for the times I don’t feel like jumping. Part of the complete thrill and experience of this vacation has revolved around the freedom and flight across the water via taxi, with the sun shining brightly, the salty air vibrant on my skin and the water sparkling with diamond reflections on this tropical island surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Hard to describe, but a memory that brings a smile to my face each and every time I dream of Belize.
After checking out the landing area, slaDE and myself made our way up to the Ak’bol Yoga Retreat, where we’d be staying during our stay here. Ak’bol is a step away from the town and a haven from the crowds. Just a gorgeous place, and one that we looked forward to exploring, deciding on whether this could be a future venue for a yogaFLIGHT camp / yoga getaway.
I am so completely and utterly grateful to my husband for coming up with the idea and beginning workings of a plan for our Belizean adventure. Initially, when slaDE~ mentioned the possibility of travelling to Belize (last summer), I underwent a to-go-or-not-to-go dilemma. I easily found reasons on why we should stay ‘home’: money should be saved in order to extend our current travel lifestyle; a Caribbean vacation seemed to be a frivolous notion, and an expensive one at that; wouldn’t we already be on vacation? Why go to such lengths of travel beyond our current winter plans? What would we do with our Airstream? Etcetera, etcetera. But after evaluating those concerns and realizing that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, spontaneously and fully in the moment, I forged onwards and connected with the adventure of skydiving in Belize (for 3 weeks no less). Leading us to where we are now. This should be an amazing 3 weeks!