I hitchhiked my way back to Kelowna and there decided to drop by a Wendy's to make use of the internet, and here I met my co-worker from the berry farm I worked at for six weeks, purely by luck.
He had moved on to a new farm and proposed to take me along to his new place, and so I did. I stayed on the farm for a few days, but left on Saturday to hitchhike back to Vernon for the skydive on Sunday. Right before leaving I walked up to the boss to ask if he could maybe use me to work for a week or so, and he said he would find a spot for me. Which is great, because this allows me to get some money back that I will spend on skydiving, and will keep me going a little bit longer when I move down into the U.S later on!
And as a bonus, he gave me a ride downtown as well, from where I started my hitch to Vernon.
It took me a little while to walk to the edge of town and then a bit longer to get a ride, but when I got one it was a car with three nice guys inside, two of them of around my own age, the third one an older man who I think might have been the father of one of the two other guys.
On the way to Vernon we had a pleasant conversation which I really enjoyed, and they dropped me off in Vernon at the intersection toward the airport.
I had decided I did not want to take another motelroom because it is expensive and I want to save some money, and so I walked down to a McDonalds and spent a few hours playing a game (I have finally found an old game that will actually run well on my little netbook haha! Knights and Merchants to the rescue!)
When the McDonalds was about to close I had to get out, and so I resumed my walk toward the airport. I got to the sky-diving company office and found a little river nearby which was conveniently out of sight, and it had a little wooden platform to keep me off of the grass too!
So I plopped down my inflatable matress and my sleeping back and settled down for a night underneath the stars, which shone quite brightly on this side of town.
The little river with the wooden platform
Early next morning I got up freezing cold. Apparently the temperature had gone down to around 2 degrees in the morning, and my sleeping bag had gotten a little wet due to the morning dew.
I packed up my stuff and climbed up the little hill and to the skydiving office, where people were looking at me a little bit weirdly (I guess they are not used to people sleeping out like this haha, and I can't blame them). I introduced myself and met the three other guys who were going to do the Solo Jump Course with me. Then the course started.
It lasted about 5 hours I think, and we were taught the basics of the equipment, what they looked like and what they were used for, and practiced getting out of the plane, the arch one has to be in when sky-diving (a large hard X-shape, which I failed miserably to maintain during the actual jumps), and also what to do should the parachute happen to falter in some way.
They taught us the signs of each possible problem and how to proceed should it occur, and how to fly and steer the parachute, and just as important: how to land. And after all this there was a test to see if we remembered all of this stuff well.
Calm and ready to go!
By now everybody except one was pretty confident in our ability to safely come down back to the ground. I was feeling excited but calm, and to be honest not very scared. I have some experience with dangerous situations in outdoor sports like rockclimbing and though it is not exactly the same thing, it is reasonably similar. I have learned to trust equipment and instructors and not doubt too much, and hence I was able to keep calm and look forward to my first ever skydive with excitement instead of fear.
Now ofcourse, it was time for the jump!
And though it usually isn't available for people in the Solo Jump Course for fear of them getting too distracted from their duties during the jump, my jumpmaster had a GoPro camera on his helmet which he uses to coach sky-divers in training and thus was filming my exit and freefall.
Thus I have a video to show you, which is awesome!
After that first jump I had the opportunity to go for a second jump, which I decided I would do because why the hell not? I am here now, and what better opportunity will I get? Let's go again!
After this second jump I had nothing else to do and was trying to make up my mind about what to do next. I was figuring I could best sleep by the creek another night before trying to go back to Kelowna, but then I learned that my jumpmaster actually lived in Kelowna, and he was able to give me a ride back that same day. And so I waited for him to finish his workday, and being a cool guy, he drove me all the way back to the apple orchard where I now work.
And as it happened, he lived in Holland for 18 years and so I was able to talk with him in Dutch, which I have not done for a pretty long time unless it was on the phone, so that was cool.
Though he spoke English with no recognizeable accent and my first instinct was to speak English to him, which we did for a little while untill I thought "Why the hell am I speaking in English? We're both Dutch!" and resumed the conversation in Dutch. It was an awesome day to be sure!
Now though I am at an apple orchard and I will stay here for around a week or maybe a bit longer before moving on. Internet is sporadic there so I fill my time watching movies and playing Knights and Merchants, and reading books as well. Which is a nice pass-time from all the work.
I will make another post when I have moved on and have something else to talk about! But to close things off, I decided to make a couple of screenshots of the video's just for fun.
Looking down at my landingzone
Calm and ready to go!
About to let go! And despite my expression I quite enjoyed all of this lol.
And off I go!