Skydiving over the Pyramids

After my second jump over the pyramids

Egypt, such a land of dreams.

Everybody has a mental picture of what it should be like, and like most, I also had some rough ideas of what to expect. Especially after hanging out with some Egyptians, I had a pretty good idea of what the traffic would be like in Cairo. It didn’t get to see a lot of it unfortunately as it was a very short trip.

It was not like my usual trips as it had a very special goal. It was my first skydiving trip and quite the unique one!

First of all, I never thought it would be doable, let alone that I, a baby skydiver, would be able to do it.

But that’s the great thing about having friends from that country and being an honorary member of the “Egyptian bastards”. I was told about the insane project. And when it started to be put together I was invited to join. Getting most of my other skydiving friends insanely jealous in the process!

Flying to a different sand box

The day I flew to Cairo, I have to admit I was nervous. Even though I knew my friends were going to be there, I was still flying in on my own. By now you wouldn’t think that it would no longer get me nervous, but it’s like the more I travel, the more anxious I get to arrive in an unknown city. Until I get to the plane that is. Once I’m on my way I’m fine and know I’ll figure it out, but on the days before I fly out, I seemingly wonder if I can still do it. Silly me.

Cairo

It would have been a lot easier if I had decided to join my Dubai friends, but being the Egyptians that they are, they got everything ready rather last minute. I knew this would most likely happen and I didn’t want to wait and risk paying more money. So I booked without them.

So there I was, arriving in Cairo, alone. Well technically surrounded by tons of people (and some very good looking) but I was on my own.

Since I had borrowed a parachute, I had to buy a suitcase for the trip as it didn’t fit in my usual green backpack.

After an uneventful flight, I paid for my visa went through immigration and collected my suitcase. While watching the suitcases get onto the carousel, I kept thinking that with my luck, and a borrowed parachute in it, my suitcase might not make it. But of course, even if it was the one before last, eventually it made it.

I had planned on changing some of my money at the airport, but there was a long queue and of course, I didn’t want to wait. So I walked out, only to find out there didn’t seem to be any money exchange office, not that I could see anyway, but there were quite a few ATMs.

I withdrew money and cued at the Vodafone booth to get a SIM card. There was a rather cute guy who was also waiting for a SIM card and I almost wanted to ask for his number but in the end, I decided against it. I was way too shy, unfortunately.

Why remove the old plate when you can just add the new one on top?

Once I got my SIM card with data, I ordered an Uber. The first driver somehow didn’t manage to find me, and after calling me and not managing to communicate between my non-existent Arabic and his very limited English he cancelled the ride.

By then I had already been waiting for a bit so when the second driver finally picked me up in his dusty old car, I was ready to leave. But that was without counting on the guard asking him a bunch of questions. What they actually talked about I have no idea, but I was starting to feel like getting to the hotel would be quite the adventure!

Eventually, we got the okay and we left. It took about 1 hour to reach the hotel, thankfully the traffic was actually quite smooth. The driver was very funny as he tried to communicate using Google translate. It worked somehow and he showed me some of the attractions on the way. Between the traffic (light by Cairo standards), his typing questions on his phone and trying to point out everything I needed to see, the ride was quite interesting. It would have however been incredibly stressful to anyone coming straight from Western countries, but I loved it. Once I checked my seat belt was actually holding me of course!

Cairo

When there is proper traffic it must be really painful to try to get anywhere as the streets are very narrow. People don’t follow rules. Pedestrians are crossing just about anywhere. There was even one guy who had missed his exit so he rolled his window down, signalled with his hand outside of the vehicle and started to reverse. Seemingly not caring about whether or not there was oncoming traffic.

When we made it to the hotel, it was dark, but I could still make out the outline of the pyramids in the dark. It felt surreal.

1st jump or crashing on the walls surrounding the Pyramids

The next day we all started out by having breakfast before piling up into buses to go have a look at the landing area. The landing area was definitely not as smooth as an actual landing area in most drop zones but the surroundings were surreal. The landing area was in front of the Pyramid of Menkaure, right next to the Pyramid of Khafre. We all took photos of course and then got back on the bus to reach the military base.

So far Cairo was exactly what I was expecting, sandy, dirty and old. There are some new developments in the city of course with malls and even an Ikea (although it did look rather out of place). It was great. Seeing the pyramids was really weird. I was not sure what to think. Everything felt very odd as I did not quite realize what’s happening to me.

Some of the C-130

When we arrived at the base, the process was rather slow, which was to be expected of course. We finally got in the military base, got the briefing of jumping out of a Hercules C-130, and started splitting into different groups and passes.

Jumping out of a C-130 is quite different than from a Twin Otter, first of all, you jump out of the tail, and there no separation between the groups as the plane goes quite fast even when it slows down.

I had decided to do my first jump on my own, so I could enjoy the view and not get distracted. I was already jumping out of a new plane, and landing in an unfamiliar area. It was enough changes for me.

Getting on the Hercules!

The jump was quite overwhelming. The experience of sitting in a military plane was quite unique. I thought of my dad a lot as I knew he would be impressed. He used to take me to all the airshows when I was younger, so not only to see a Hercules but sitting in one was special.

I wasn’t all that nervous yet, but I think that’s because I had no idea what was happening to me.

Finally, it was time. I got close to the door, and quickly it was my turn to run out and jump. Looking back at the plane was quite fun. Seeing everybody else exit too.

And the view.

I had never thought in my life I would see the pyramids like this. Seeing the extent of the city and how close the pyramids are was insane.

I had packed my parachute for myself for the first time since my course, so I was wondering how that was going to open, but it was super smooth. Thankfully!

That view!

We all had decided to open up quite high as we knew we would want to take in the views. Doing my landing pattern over the pyramids was surreal. And it really put into perspective the sheer size and immense feat of engineering involved in building them.

As I was in my final approach though, I saw a dust devil. I had never experienced one of those fuckers but I had heard about them. I knew they were affecting areas a lot larger than they seemed, but I didn’t really realize how big exactly. And at that point, I didn’t have much time. I tried to avoid it as best as I could but got caught in it anyway. It all happened really quickly and next thing I knew I was crashing onto a rock wall in front of the pyramid.

The wall I crashed in, the whole was already there I promise!

Adrenaline had kicked in so I didn’t feel anything. My only worry, when everybody came rushing towards me, was that they were trying to pick up my parachute, dragging it on the very sharp rocks. I didn’t know if it was okay but I didn’t want to risk ripping a hole in it.

At that point, I was surrounded by people, which looked quite scared as both my arms were bleeding. I took my helmet off, told people to leave my parachute where it was and started gathering all the lines. One of the organizers really wanted me to have the paramedics look at me, but I kept telling her I was fine, it was only skin after all!

Eventually, she did manage to convince me to have them at least clean my cuts. I was so embarrassed. Not only did I messed up my landing, but it was a unique experience and I had managed to fuck it up.

Proudly saying hello to my wall the next day

While everybody was dealing with the media, and on a high from their jump, I took my parachute and my bruised ego and went back and hid on the bus.

Eventually, everybody got back on board, and we went to the hotel. I was very lucky that a French paramedic was part of the group and that he had brought stuff with him. An actual suitcase full of meds and bandages, which I ended up using a lot of.

He cleaned my wounds properly and bandaged me up. Then I joined everybody in the hotel hallways to pack my parachute.

The Nile

At night we had a cruise on the Nile. It was interesting to see. The buildings are either really new or falling apart. There didn’t seem to be much in between.

Driving in Cairo sure was once again rather interesting. People cross the street everywhere, walk in on motorways. There are no traffic rules as far as I can see. When I was in the uber from the airport, I had seen a guy who had taken the wrong exit, rolling down his window signalling to people he was reversing and then simply backed into incoming traffic. I had thought this was funny and rather unexpected, but the exact same thing happened with our bus that night. The police made the bus go backwards, stopping people and we moved to the other exit. But reversing a bus onto an exit rampway sure is not quite the same as a small car!

Cairo

During the Nile cruise, I chatted with the French crew but I was clearly not in the same mood as everybody as all I kept thinking about was my landing failure. It was also a lot of emotions for one day and I was getting quite tired. I spent quite some time simply looking at the city pass by.

When we were back on the bus heading to the hotel sitting was feeling a bit uncomfortable. And when I got in my room after Tom changed my bandages once again, I took off my clothes and that’s when I saw the biggest nastiest bruise I had ever seen on my butt. It was taking almost an entire side of my ass. No wonder sitting felt a bit uncomfortable!!

Second day

Once again after breakfast, we all piled up in buses. This time we knew the drill and were a bit more efficient in the planning,

We were constantly under police escort, one car in the front and a truck with officers with guns in the back. It was a bit surreal but it was true that there were barely any other tourists so I guess we were easily targetable.

Skydiving over the pyramids!

For that second jump, Tom, my personal French paramedic offered to jump with me so I would have at least have some photos of my experience. It was very sweet of him. And it is true that if I didn’t jump with him I would have actually had no photos since I am not experienced enough to be jumping with a camera. This jump went really well, and even though I was quite stressed out about my landing, it was a very smooth landing.

After the jump, we came back to pack our parachutes and quickly we had to get on our way to go to the restaurant. The vegetarian options were the same for most meals, fries, soup, white rice, and pasta. Not the most interesting choices. And if I was to do this again I don’t think I would take any of the meals. I had been craving kosheri and since they kept feeding us, I ended up not being hungry enough for my favourite Egyptian food!

A pretend ground briefing at the Egyptian Museum

After lunch, we went to the Egyptian Museum and it was fascinating. Although like everything else there was a lot of waiting and then rushing through. Seeing the mommies was special. It’s really weird to think they use to be alive about 5000 years ago. And we can still make up their bodies and faces. I found it really weird to be looking at people as it didn’t feel quite right to have a bunch of bodies and people taking photos… Tutankhamon’s mask was also really impressive. Super shiny and eerily beautiful.

I really enjoyed the museum and the rather messy presentation. I could have easily spent the entire day there looking at all the artifacts, however, we had very little time.

Khal el-Khalili souk

The next activity was Khan el-Khalili a major souk in the city centre. Just like most of the French guys, I didn’t feel like walking around and being hassled so instead we grabbed tea and enjoyed some quiet time and interesting conversations before going back for yet another dinner on the Nile.

Our bus inching its way through the souk

I didn’t feel all that sociable during the day. It’s always really challenging for me to always be with a group. Sometimes I am envious of people who can seemingly spend time with a lot of other people and be perfectly okay. Not needing any alone time. I am also not used to travel in a pack and I am quite independent so it was rather difficult to always be waiting on people.

Last jump

For our last day, everybody was once again a lot quicker and as Bill Booth (skydiving legend, engineer of the three ring system and overall just really cool dude) said: ”the first day it was super exciting, the second day was good and now it’s routine.” It’s a crazy thought that jumping over the pyramids was now routine, but it was oddly so true.

The legendary and hilariously funny Bill Booth

For my last jump, I decided to go alone again so I could enjoy the view and not worry about anything. I took in as much of the views I possibly could. When it was time to land, all I could think about was don’t fuck it up, don’t fuck it up. So, of course, it wasn’t a very good landing. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the first one as I landed on my feet but then somehow managed to trip over my own feet and end on my knees, adding a few more scratches to my already badly bruised up body.

Giza house next to the pyramids

After the jump I attempted to go back to the Pyramids with Tom, because I wanted to have a look inside, but after the taxi driver tried to rip us off and I lost my shit, the guard wouldn’t sell us tickets to go inside of the pyramids as it was closing very shortly so we walked back to the hotel going through the small streets. It felt like I could breathe again. Not being in a group, walking and discovering new areas was great. We met a whole bunch of locals going about their day and they all kept telling us the pyramids were the other way as if it was the only possible reason to go to that area!

Giza

Discovering new places really is what’s keeping me alive. Seeing, hearing, smelling new places. There’s nothing like it. I had a really good time. I loved Cairo. It’s busy, dusty, just how I like my cities.

Back to reality and processing my epic adventure!

It was a very quick trip, so much so indeed that it took me a long time to even realize it had happened.

As one of the guys said, I didn’t even know jumping over the pyramids was on my bucket list. And out of a Hercules on top of it, it was fucking epic.

I did leave pretty beaten up by my first bad landing and my last tumble. I had scratches and bandages on my arms and legs and a massive purple bruise on my butt. I’m very lucky I didn’t actually get hurt more as it was a pretty bad landing. I did look like I took a serious beating though. But since I actually did, I guess it was quite normal.

Already the third and last jump over the pyramids

The Uber I took to get back to the airport drove me next to the Military Base and it made me want to go and ask if I could get back on the C130!

When I arrived back in Dubai, I went to the pharmacy to buy some cream to put on my wounds (since I no longer had my own personal paramedic looking after me). Of course, the pharmacist being Egyptian I had to show him some photos and videos! And like most other Egyptians (besides my Skydiving friends) they had never seen the view from that angle.

This very short trip does make me want to return to Egypt and explore the rest of the country, and see the pyramids again, most likely from the ground this time though!

Spending the summer in Gatineau

Mosaiculture in Gatineau

Catching up with friends and family

This has got to be my biggest disappointment of my summer.

I moved back to Canada for the summer months so I would have a chance to catch up with my family and friends, but I didn’t end up seeing much more of them than I would have should I have just gone back for a couple of weeks.

At first, it was all exciting. I arrived back in Québec City, spent a few days with my parents, visited my grandparents and saw some friends. And then I moved to Gatineau.

At a distance of about 5 hours drive, it’s not that close to Quebec city, however, my friends all got excited at the prospect of a few days away in the Capital region, catching up and visiting. But what we didn’t take into account is that if you don’t make solid plans, next thing you know the season is over and you haven’t seen each other.

Which is exactly what happened.

We all had the best intentions in the world to spend tons of time together, but life got in the way. And before I knew it, it was already October. I’m glad I got to see the few friends with whom we managed to make our schedules work together, but I would have been more than okay with spending a lot more time with them too.

My plan was also originally to go and visit my friends for weekends here and there, but because I started skydiving and my goal was also to put money aside, I ended up not wanting to take days off and ”lose” money. Not a smart decision in hindsight since money doesn’t really help to maintain friendships or when one is feeling lonely.

Settling down

As scary as this was when I arrived in May, as it was to be expected, time went by super quickly. And before I knew it, it was already time for me to move on to new adventures. My first few weeks living in the holiday trailer felt quite long. I was the only one living on site on Monday and Tuesday, the two days when GO Skydive is closed. I didn’t have a car, so I was limited to public transport (almost nonexistent in that area of the city) or using a bike.

While I enjoyed some alone time, which I always seem to need in my life, I felt rather lonely. Especially after coming back from Kenya living with a group of people almost 24/7, and living in London where I was catching up with friends, going on dates, and living in a hostel. Gatineau and the dropzone felt really quiet and lonely.

One of the many DZ visitors

However, because the season was only starting, people started coming more regularly at the DZ to stay. Kass and a few others moved in, and I finally had a network of friends to hang out with. So much so indeed that I started to crave some alone time again.

Between working long hours and having bonfires at night, time went by quickly. I didn’t really have time to go anywhere else, so I focused my attention on my new friendships, connecting like I hadn’t done in a long time. Talking about our dreams and fears, and truly getting to know people. It felt really different to actually get past the small talk that I dread so much. I’ve also met some amazing people who gladly shared their knowledge and experience with me.

Jumping!

Getting started in skydiving also opened up a new world to me. It is a much more complex and intricate world that it looks like from the outside. There’s so much to learn and the possibilities are endless. It’s also a lot safer than most people from the ”outside” world would assume. Of course, there are some accidents, just like in any activity involving a certain level of risk.

Shortly after starting working, I began my AFF (Accelerated Free Fall) course. And from my first jump, I was back to that feeling of awe and total relaxation I had experienced during my tandem in Diani, Kenya. For most people jumping off a plane can be a bit stressful, but oddly for me, it’s super relaxing. Just like yoga. Albeit a bit more extreme.

Almost as relaxing as skydiving

From the plane ride to the actual stepping out moment, the freefall and the time under the canopy, I find the entire experience calming. The only way I can explain it is that I get to enjoy some time alone, thinking only about myself and the experience I’m living in that specific moment. The views are amazing from up there, and there’s nothing that compares to the feeling your body experiences during the freefall. It’s true freedom. All worries and thoughts weighing you down are left on the ground. And you are finally free.

Of course, this is not quite how I explained it to clients coming for their first tandem jumps. No one would have ever believed me that jumping off a plane could have the same calming effect as relaxation or yoga to me!

Because I was working the manifest, and working every business day, I, unfortunately, didn’t get to jump as often as I would have liked. I would usually manage to get on the last load of the day, once all the tandems were checked-in when there was availability and the wind speed would allow it. I did most of my jumps at sunset. So much so indeed that towards the end of the season I did a jump during daytime and I was surprised by how bright it was. And how far away we could see! It was nice to see far and wide, but nothing really compares to jumping when the sky is all different shades of pink and orange. It is truly beautiful to get to enjoy the sunset from up there, although it was also very distracting at times!

When I started jumping, it quickly became clear I would be known as the plan-B girl. My accuracy eventually got a bit better, but landing in an industrial area (avoiding all the possible hazards such as buildings, electrical lines, trucks, fences, a pond and a tree) for my first jump did set up the tone for my season! I usually land nicely on my feet, although quite often there’s no one around to see it. I guess I do truly love sightseeing!

Making true friends

Being single, back to my home country and working in a dropzone where it’s fairly easy to meet people to have fun with, I ended up being a lot calmer on the hooking up side of things than during my first dropzone experience.

My jumping might have been limited to jumping off a plane and not really meeting anyone to have fun with, but I did meet true friends. And that’s what I’ll remember from this summer season in Gatineau. Meeting genuinely good people, and meeting some of my best friends. I don’t know if I’ll make the decision to move back to my home country eventually, but since skydiving is such a small world, I’m not worried I’ll get to catch up with everyone, probably rather sooner than later!

Love!

Settling down for the summer

Skydiving, or the best feeling in the world
Skydiving, or the best feeling in the world

After being on the road for the last few years without getting paid for most of the work I did, yay volunteering, it was getting time for me to get an actual paying job.

I had loved my first skydiving experience so much, I wanted to stay in that field. While I was housesitting a lovely blind dog in London and catching up with some friends, I had applied for jobs in a few skydiving centres in Canada. After chatting with two of them, they both offered me a summer job.

I had to decide on which location and team seemed more fitting, and I finally decided that Gatineau would be a good option. It’s close enough from Quebec  City that I can see my family and friends, but it’s also an area of Canada I really don’t know anything about.  I knew I could double up working and discovering a new area.

Addicted to change and freedom

I have now been working there for 3 weeks, and like any other new adventure, after a few weeks, the novelty effect starts wearing off. And it makes me uncertain. I always go through the same mental process when it stops moving. I know for most people it’s when things change that it makes them uncomfortable, but with me, it’s the opposite. It makes me anxious when I can expect what’s next.

I tend to feel trapped when I have the feeling that I know exactly what I’ll be doing in a month or a year from now. My body and mind crave the freedom I’ve been calling my life since 2013, excluding my attempt at coming back to a normal life 3 years ago.

Not quite like the white sand beach of Kenya, but still very pretty!
Not quite like the white sand beach of Kenya, but still very pretty!

The more I travel the more I realize I am addicted to freedom. Just like any addiction, when it comes times to stop, you experience withdrawal symptoms. Now, of course, it’s not like I’m physically addicted to drugs, but I do have cravings. I have moments when all I can think about is packing my bag and hitting the road again. And I have to stop and remind myself that in order to be able to keep traveling the world, I need to replenish my bank account.

The job and the team at Go Skydive are actually quite good. My colleagues are great, positive, encouraging and everyone is super supportive. I don’t think I’ve ever been in such an environment where everyone seems to be aware of how hard everyone else is working. The best part of my job so far is to keep learning about skydiving and also getting to talk to people before their first tandem and seeing the pure bliss on their faces afterwards. Half of them are really anxious and excited, and the other half are either super relaxed because they are adrenaline junkies or because they have not yet realized what they are about to do. And since I’ve always liked jobs that are super busy, I feel in my element, especially during the weekends.

Becoming Canadian again

I keep thinking that everyone sounds funny when they speak because I haven’t heard the Canadian accent in so long. And although I’ve been told I now sound Scottish, I know my inner Canadian will resurface soon. I’ve already had a few Tim Hortons’ coffees so my reinsertion as a fully fledged Canadian is well on the way.

One of my new neighbours
One of my new neighbours

Since arriving back and settling in Gatineau, we’ve had a few evening of bonfires. I got the chance to see some pale Northern Lights, and the mosquitos found me again. I’m definitely adjusting to being Canadian again. I don’t think I’ll get into the whole hockey thing though, that would be pushing it.

But before you know it, I’ll be the one sounding funny, hey.

Always far from some of my friends

Being back in Canada also means that I get to catch up with some friends I haven’t seen in a long time. And since I got a new job, I’m also making new friends in the process. But it doesn’t make it any easier to be away from the people I love that are spread all over the world. This is one of the major downsides of my lifestyle. I’m always far away from some of the people I care about the most since they are all in different countries. I’ve never been so thankful in my life for technology, mainly WhatsApp, and Messenger!

Learning to be patient

I’ve had death and sickness in my friend circle lately, and although it was not unexpected, it makes you rethink your priorities in life. I do not want to be the one to have regrets if I don’t make it to 50 years old. I’d much prefer living my life right now, pushing my limits and settling and relaxing when I’m older.

First landing, a bit far from the dropzone, but I managed to avoid all obstacles; the parachute landing in the tree after I touched the ground.
First landing, a bit far from the dropzone, but I managed to avoid all obstacles; the parachute landing in the tree after I touched the ground.

That being said, I also seem to have to learn to be patient, and not stress about things not happening quickly enough for my liking. I am working on that aspect in my life right now: learning to be patient and trying to enjoy having some routine and not having to rethink my entire life every few weeks. But to say that this comes easily would be lying.  Like anything else we learn in life, with baby steps we’ll get there!

Finding a new goal

After reaching my seventh and final continent, I knew I needed a new goal. Living a life without really knowing what I am trying to achieve doesn’t really appeal to me. I need a focus to direct my effort and energy towards. I had liked my tandem jump so much, that I had decided to apply for jobs in skydiving centers. I knew it would be a great opportunity to get my solo course done, learn a lot from other people’s experience, and hopefully get to experience the awesome feeling I had during my jump in Kenya.

I have now started working towards getting my solo license. I’ve completed my ground school and went for some fun time in the wind tunnel. And thanks to my passionate and understanding bosses, I’ve even managed to get my first three jumps done in the week after my ground course. All while working!

It made me realize that this is definitely something I want to do. I find the whole skydiving experience to be truly relaxing. I know most people find it frightening, but to me, it has a calming effect. From the time in the small plane going up to standing by the door looking down, there is nothing else like it. The feeling of falling towards the earth, opening the parachute and having fun under the canopy, all of it is truly amazing.

For the remaining of the season, I will be working at GO Skydive in Gatineau, so if you happen to be in the area, feel free to come say hello, and maybe get your first tandem in! You never know, you might even discover your new passion!

Getting ready for my first front flip out of a plane!
Getting ready for my first front flip out of a plane!

Skydiving in Kenya



Ever since leaving for my round the world trip in 2013, I’ve always had that crazy dream of touching all continents. I didn’t think it was at all possible then since I couldn’t picture an affordable way to go to the Antarctic. But since I went on Infinity and touched land in South America, my only continent missing was Africa.

Finally reaching my last continent

I was looking for ways to check that one in, but couldn’t really find anything appealing enough, and I was busy travelling around Europe. When my working holiday visa was about to expire, I decided to have a look at workaway since I had enjoyed my experience in Jordan so much.

I quickly found a workaway gig that stood out. Helping out in a skydiving club on the stunning Kenyan coast. It was too good of an opportunity to pass on, so I sent a message. They needed help for the boogie, a skydiving event which gathers skydivers from all over the world for some great jumping during the day and great parties at night. Once again, how could I pass such an opportunity, especially since there would be the possibility of getting my first jump in as well! There was no way I was going to pass this, so I booked myself a ticket to Ukunda, with quick stops in Istanbul and Nairobi.

It felt like a long journey, especially the second flight since my TV screen wasn’t working, but eventually, I made it to the sunny and extremely hot and humid Diani Beach.

Stunning Diani Beach, Kenya
Stunning Diani Beach, Kenya

My first day was spent enjoying the beach and the surroundings of the drop zone. The white sand beach with sparkling turquoise water, tall palm trees and lush vegetation, and the adorable baboons, sykes monkeys and interesting blue ball monkeys made it for a gorgeous setting.

One of my cute little friend
One of my cute little friends

The first couple of weeks were really laid back. There weren’t that many people coming in, except for a group of UK guys doing their AFF (Accelerated Free Fall) course and a few tandem jumps. The days were going by quite slowly with my job being to edit some of the tandem videos. I did enjoy that job quite a bit because it was very funny to see people’s reactions to jumping off a plane. It can be a bit of a sensory overload especially for the first few seconds of the free fall and their faces captured that hilariously funny moment.

Skydiving in Kenya

After a few days, it was my chance: there was space on the plane and Angelo was willing to jump with me. So he geared me up and we went in the car. Between the moment where we mentioned I could go on that day and the moment when I was sitting in the car there was only about 15 minutes. Just enough to start understanding what was going to happen and start to get excited. The ride to the airport is really short since the Ukunda airstrip is located only a couple of kilometres from the drop zone.

Time to go up!
Time to go up!

When you get to the airport you have to go through security, which obviously wearing a tandem harness would set off the metal detectors. After a very quick pat down I was waved through. Walking in front of people waiting for their flight and seeing the look on their faces was quite funny. Some of them seemed quite interested and others ones would have never traded the safety of their slightly bigger plane to mine.

UK guys relaxing before the jump
UK guys relaxing before the jump

The flight was interesting. Everyone piles up sitting backwards, and off we go. It’s a fairly small plane and it can be quite shaky, but to me, it is a lot more reassuring when it moves a bit and I can feel I am actually on a plane.

The view from up there is amazing, and you get to see Mombasa and how spread out the city is. The whole time going up I was oddly calm. I was expecting for the adrenaline to kick in, but instead of being scared I was simply excited.

And Im next!
And I’m next!

What I was going to do hit me when I saw all the guys sitting in front of me jumping all at the same time to make some formation. It’s at that moment I realised I was about to jump off a perfectly good airplane to go land on a fairly small strip of white sand beach. I got nervous and excited. It was about time since a few seconds later my legs were dangling off the side of the plane and next thing I knew I was quickly falling towards the beach.

Time to jump!
Time to jump!

The first few seconds took my breath away. The sensations were a lot to process at once. But very quickly it all made sense to me. I could finally understand why the people I had just met were all addicted to jumping. The amazing scenery and the feelings of the free fall just brought so much calmness in me. We were not even done the 60 seconds of free falling and I knew that was it.

I was hooked.

I would now have to find ways to jump over and over again.

Once the canopy opens, everything becomes so calm, it feels surreal. There’s no more sound, and you are flying above a gorgeous white sand beach. That part of the descent last for about 8 minutes. Eight minutes I never wanted to end.

Already time to land on Diani Beach
Already time to land on Diani Beach

But sadly for me, it was already time to land on the beach. That was the end of my first but surely not last skydiving jump.

Skydive boogie

The ten days or so of the boogie went by so quickly, the work days were quite long and the nights quite short. I started helping out with the accounting, not something I’m truly a big fan of, but something I can do nonetheless. The idea was to make sure that every single participant could have access to their balance on their account at any time during the day. And since they were buying jump tickets, packing tickets, rig hire as well as food and drinks, it was a lot of entry for about 100 skydivers.

River mouth landing
River mouth landing

I met some of the craziest yet amazing people during that boogie. From my favourite group, a bunch of Egyptian dudes who all came together because of one of their common friends to a group of UK military guys and many people in between, I had an amazing time.

A few skydivers
A few skydivers

Some of the planned activities were amazing. The guys at Skydive Diani had planned a lot of different setting and locations such as a sunset landing on a river mouth. On a different evening, people were landing on a private island. They even organised a sunrise jump and a sunset jump with all three planes dropping the skydivers at a very short interval. Between these jump activities and the many barbeques and dinner, it was work hard, play even harder.

Fly-by by the river mouth
Fly-by by the river mouth

I barely slept for 10 days but I had an amazing time and met insanely passionate people. Definitely my favourite kind!

As usual, my ”plans” for what’s next are very blurry, but I do aim to see a bit more of Kenya. While the coast is lovely, Kenya is a large country with tonnes to see and do so there’s still much more to explore and discover!

Since I got hooked on skydiving, all I can think and talk about now is how to find a way to work in a drop zone, earn some money and get my skydiving license. If any of you guys know of a dropzone hiring, please, I’m begging you, let me know so I can scratch the itch once again!