Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

In the interest of keeping life interesting, on Sunday Chris and I decided to go Skydiving.  Indoors ;)    Both of us have an interest in skydiving, but I have to admit I'm a little hesitant now.  Three times I signed up to go.  And three times it was cancelled for rain.  With no rain in the forecast.  Twice with no rain in the six-month forecast!  Once in NZ and twice in Australia.  And at that point I began to wonder if maybe the universe was trying to tell me it wasn't meant to be.  Superstitious and illogical?  Yup, absolutely.  But hey, it's kept me alive thus far *g*
So indoors it was.  Website looked good, so we drove down to Niagara for our adventure.  The place, admittedly, was fairly dodgy.  If we hadn't already paid, I suspect there's a strong chance we'd have decided it wasn't worth it and gone on about our day.  But we had, so we waited.  There were the two of us and a group of six others. 
Our pre-flight briefing involved safety, "tuck and roll" when being catapulted out of the wind tunnel, and hand signals.  Hand signals because, well, it's *loud* in there!   We had a chance to watch some people before us and, as with beginner riders, it appears it's beginner flyers who demonstrate exactly how hard this whole concept really is.  While the riding pros make it look like they just sit there and the flying pros make it look like midair acrobatics are no more challenging than they would be in a swimming pool, beginners show the truth.  I watched three different people attempt it during my waiting time.  One could get up but kept getting thrown out of the tunnel into the crash pads.  The second couldn't seem to manage to fly at all -- flipping sideways and crashing down.  Yikes!  The instructor did manage to get both of them up and straight in the air, but it appeared easier said than done.  The third girl was awesome -- she seemed to get it and he let her go and the world was good.  Okay, so it can be done.  Sweet.
We got ourselves suited up. The suits are a special kind of hideous, although Chris somehow got the only red suit there, so he was set ;)   Then the addition of gloves, ear plugs, and helmets.  Note, make sure your ear plugs are in right.  The first one I put in was fine, but the second one wasn't and I lost it part way through a flight.  My ear is still ringing :(  Sadly, I'm not exaggerating. 
The group of 6 wanted to go together, and there's a max of six people with the instructor allowed in at one time.  Which meant Chris and I got to go on our own :)  Yeah!
So you enter a giant circle.  The walls are padded as is the area on the floors directly around the wall.  The majority of the bottom and all of the ceiling were a strong wire mesh -- and you could see the giant fans.  Before the fans were even turned on we practiced our "tuck and roll" -- basically throw yourself at the wall/ground in a way that you don't get hurt.  You know, the way you're supposed to fall off your horse.  Right.  How well does *that* ever work out?   Ah well.  Then the fans were turned on and we were good to go.  These mats weren't entirely soft either.
I went first and with a leap of faith found myself hovering above the pit of doom….  Or, you know, wire mesh floor.  Couldn't stop grinning, it was so cool.  The first couple tries for both of us the instructor held on to us or our suits to make sure nothing tragic happened.  There really is a complete lack of control over both direction and height.
It was so much more fun than I'd anticipated!  And I'm reasonably certain we got more than our allotted stretch of time ;)  Both of us have reasonable body awareness and got the general flying concept pretty much instantly.  Which meant our instructor's hand signals became a lot more intensive than what the video taught.  I was impressed at his ability to teach using improvised sign language.  Much like learning underwater diving, sky diving also negates your ability to speak.  But my underwater instructors weren't nearly as creative.  I don't actually know what he was telling Chris;  I think one was about how to use his arms, but I couldn't see anything else.  But my instructions were all kinds of useful -- the first time it was to keep my hands open.  I'd curled them into fists and it greatly detracts from your navigational abilities.  Hahaha then the next one was about how to use my body to control up and down -- up I had -- any time he let me go, I'd shoot straight up until he grabbed hold of my suit and pulled me back down.  Down was more of a challenge.  I got the theory but wasn't terribly good at it.  Well, except the one time I managed to crash into the wires.  Sheesh. Always one extreme or another.  The last set of instructions I got were about how to steer -- there'd been a little about that in the briefing, but this was a far more practical application.  The objective here being to actually stay over the wind tunnel and not get tossed off to the mats.  If you ever try it yourself though, the biggest thing I figured out (which admittedly the video did mention briefly but it got lost in everything else) was to keep my eyes up.  Looking up (actually tilting my head back) instantly stabilized my body in the right position and enabled me to think about other forms of control.  The first jump I did, I was fascinated by the pit of doom and never looked away till I crashed into a mat ;-P  Got better after that.
Overall, before going, it looked moderately amusing.  When we got there, my hopes plummeted fairly quickly *sigh*  But then it was Way More Fun than ever anticipated.  I really enjoyed it.  The only thing I would say is if you have shoulder or neck problems, you might want to give it a miss…  Other than that though -- go have a blast!  There's also one in Oakville, which is newer and looks like it might be even more entertaining, but I haven't actually been to it yet.

Was I any good at it?  I have absolutely no idea.  Hahaha ignorance is bliss after all.   I couldn't stay in the centre very long without either shooting straight up or way off to the side.  Hahaha but it was tons of fun.  And I was really enjoying figuring out how to move so that I *could* stay in the centre a little bit longer.  Can definitely see how it could be addictive :)  You know, if I had time and money for more expensive hobbies ;-P
And now on to week two.


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