|Gary, me, John|
Well, I got my knees in the breeze with these two gentlemen yesterday, one I knew from last year (John), and a new friend, Gary from Italy. We went up in Skydive Elsinore's Twin Otter and played in the sky together, although I realized that it would have been much easier for me on this jump if I had had some weights to allow me to fall faster. But it was still a good jump and we had fun.
I found a packer and got ready to make another skydive, but it was almost noon so I skipped the second jump being organized with the SOS (Skydivers Over Sixty) crowd so that John and I could get some lunch (he was hungry too, while Gary was just hungry for another jump). When we returned, the jumpers were just packing up after having made an 11-way that they enjoyed very much, so I agreed to make another skydive with the group.
However, it had grown so large (16 of us, all men, and some very
much larger than me) that I decided not to go. They went and had a so-so skydive, with some problems that continue to happen when skydives get bigger and people don't know each other very well. I was glad to sit it out, because today the Skills Camp begins, and I will make four skydives with organizers who will be working with our skill levels in small groups, appropriate to each person's needs.
After the day's skydiving, we returned to the hotel and John, who bought an incredible amount of beer and wine yesterday, had put some of the beer on ice. We gathered in the breakfast room to enjoy it, about ten of us, all guys except for me, from all over the world. As music was mentioned, one fellow, Joe, left the room and returned in a few minutes with... music!
|Joe playing the bagpipes|
If you can call it that; I have a hard time hearing the nuances of bagpipes. He played us two songs before putting his precious instrument on a nearby table and rejoining us with cheese and crackers. He also brought in two large sandwiches which he cut into pieces and shared. After awhile, some were interested in having a real dinner, so we made our goodbyes and went our separate ways for the evening.
These are great people, and I am glad to be here, looking forward to learning a lot with my friends. I've already told several old skydiving friends that this will be my last visit to Skydive Elsinore, as this, my twenty-fourth year of skydiving, will be my final season of playing in the sky. Most understood and some even felt honored that I chose to spend this time with them, here.
I'm a little superstitious about saying "last" and "final" in relation to skydiving, just as I'm beginning two days of making four jumps a day, and then there's the women's record attempt on Monday, which will probably be another four. I get tired just thinking about it, but really, I have every expectation that it will be an incredibly wonderful experience with some of the best people in the world, and everybody will be safe.
Although I will return home on Wednesday, most of the group will be staying for the rest of the week to attempt to make the largest formation of SOS skydivers ever. The record right now stands at 60, set in 2012, since last year they failed to make a new record. The organizers will have video of many of the skydives, so that they can pick and choose those who are most likely to be able to perform well. The rest will be "on the bench" and will make skydives together as well. I know from experience that these record attempts are stressful times for everybody, and I'm glad I'll be going home and skipping all the stress. It will be hard enough to make the women's record attempt, but there will only be 11 of us, not 80.
So that's it from my part of the world, sitting here in the dark with my laptop. I'll need to be at the Drop Zone by 8:00am, and there's breakfast here at the hotel. Time for a shower to begin my day. I'll be making another post on my other blog tomorrow morning. It's going to be a great day in southern California! Hope you will all have a wonderful day, too. Signing off from the world of palm trees and blue skies.