It was third time lucky last weekend as the clouds finally parted and 10,000 feet of clear sky meant that my fundraising skydive jump was on at last!
The day began with heavy rain and I thought that it would be another eight hours of sitting and praying for a break in the sky like the previous two visits to the skydive centre, but by mid-day things began looking hopeful. As the clouds began to give way to brilliant blue skies the experienced and professional sky divers went up to test the weather conditions for us amateurs waiting on the ground in excited anticipation. I was by the ground radio system that was listening into the pilot and then the word came through that it was good to go for all skydivers!
My excitement about the opportunity to fall out of the sky at 10,000 feet was suddenly doubled when, just before my name was called to prepare for the jump, I was privileged to observe a truly amazing spectacle. A jump instructor pointed to the sky above the runway and at first I thought that he was observing the skydivers who had just left the first plane of the day to go up. As I looked at what he was pointing at I saw something pretty incredible and special. Up to twelve buzzards, flying low to the ground, were circling one another in a tight group formation, slowly and silently drifting across the runway.
I had never seen such a sight before involving so many buzzards as this species of raptor tend to fly solo or in pairs. Maybe they had come to cheer me on in my jump, which was to highlight the continued illegal persecution and slaughter of raptors across Britain, as well as raising funds for our investigations department.
After this magnificent site it was now my turn to soar like an eagle! Climbing to 10,000 feet I made my way to the edge of the plane door and I was away! For thirty seconds I was falling at 118mph and then silence as the parachute opened. The slow descent was incredible, although the landing was a little hard, but no broken bones at least. All in all it was a magical day and one which will help OneKind investigations to continue to be an effective force in our work to protect animals from persecution, cruelty and exploitation.
Thank you again to all those people who have sponsored my event and if you haven’t sponsored me, but still would like to donate to the completion of my skydive challenge then please go to my sponsor webpage.
PS. Watch this space for the OneKind Investigations department’s brand new 2012 challenge coming soon!