Yesterday Smart Guy and I drove the 75 miles from Bellingham to Snohomish, where we like to skydive (at Harvey Field). This is a picture of me landing under my new canopy after the second jump of the day. I kept thinking all day about writing a post about our day in the sun when I got home, but by the time I sat in my easy chair and had my regulation glass of wine, I was no longer interested in expending the energy it would take. There was a good reason for that which I'll explain later, but first I want to thank Doug Fairleigh for taking this wonderful picture of me coming in to land.
There were so many of us wanting to jump together yesterday than we had to break into two groups. Here you see Cindy in the middle of a bunch of guys as they are practicing their skydive on the ground. We call these "dirt dives" because this practice give us a good idea of where we are supposed to fly to in the air to build each point. This was their first point, and I've jumped many times with all of these fun people. The owner of Skydive Snohomish, Tyson, is the tall skinny guy second from the right. The sky is blue and the winds were light, and everybody came out on a Sunday to play together, and we did have fun.
After everyone is satisfied about knowing the sequence during the dirt dive, some of the more serious and accomplished skydivers take one more step on the ground to help their skydive have a better chance of success: they get on "creepers," little platforms with wheels on them to allow them to see the angles that you would like to see in the air. Although I've used creepers when someone insists on putting me on a more complicated skydive, my fun jumpers and I usually feel we've done enough by simply knowing which grip to take on which person. This formation, called a "bipole," has two people facing out and away from the others, and they must be close enough in freefall for the other two people to grab their legs. This takes some skill. Note that Dave, the young man in the foreground, is holding onto a "gripper" on the leg of the person to his right. They came down after this skydive and said it was really, really fun!
Here's Smart Guy and me getting ready to go up on my second jump of the day. I packed my new parachute myself, and I really struggled to get it into the bag. I'm still learning how to pack it, and since it's so new, the nylon material is still quite slippery. But that isn't what I did wrong: I also made an error in placement of the slider. Each parachute has its own characteristics, and I jumped this make in earlier years, and I remembered that it always opened slowly and softly. It's one of the reasons I wanted one. My old parachute, however, had to be babied to open softly, and I miscalculated several things on this pack job, and when it opened, it was BAM! Instant canopy, and I got some whiplash from coming to such an abrupt stop. It hurt enough that I wasn't interested in staying for more jumps.
So, as I said before, by the time I got home and took some Advil, had a glass of wine, this post had to wait until today to be written. I'm feeling much much better now after a good night's sleep, and as I said yesterday, my complacency about the opening characteristics of a Spectre have been put to rest. I won't make that same mistake again!