My first tandem Skydive was in Byron Bay, Australia. It was such an adrenaline rush and I loved it so much that I was really keen to do another one somewhere in the world.
When I was invited by Visit Flanders to experience Belgium’s festival culture at Lokerse Feesten 2012, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go and visit my friend Nathan, who was packing parachutes for the summer at Skydive Spa Belgium. I had heard of the usual cities like Bruges and Ghent, but I knew nothing of Spa.
Spa is located in the southeast of Belgium, and as the name suggests, it’s a spa town with healing mineral springs. I was surprised to learn that in addition to being the birthplace of Agatha Christie’s fictional character Hercule Poirot, the town is also home to the world’s oldest casino! If you’re into racing, Spa is conveniently situated very close to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, which hosts the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix.
Of course, Spa also happens to have a skydive centre and I was pretty excited to jump out of a plane again!
After watching Felix Baumgartner skydive from space, my tandem skydive seems like nothing in comparison. Felix jumped from more than 24 miles above Earth, breaking the speed of sound and reaching an estimated speed of 1,342 kilometres per hour (834 mph). He broke the world record for the highest jump set by Joe Kittinger in 1960, and in turn made Red Bull one of the most powerful brands on the planet.
I was on the edge of my seat as I watched him make that long ascent to the edge of space in a capsule attached to a wafer-thin balloon. I felt anxious for him when there were issues with his face plate heater, and I gasped in disbelief when he sat on the edge and plummeted face first towards the Earth. I held my breath when he went into a spin, and I may have even shed a tear when I watched the reactions of the people on the ground as he landed safely.
It was one of those moments that will go down in the history books, and for us all to be watching live on the Internet as it happened…well it’s amazing what technology can do. That epic Felix quote; “Sometimes you have to go up really high to see how small you are. I’m going home now” reminded me of the “One small step for man” quote when man landed on the moon.
Well Felix is right, sometimes you do have to go up really high to see how small you are. When you jump out of a plane and you look at the Earth below, it makes you realise how insignificant a lot of things really are.
I didn’t jump from the edge of space, but I did jump from a height of 4,000 metres (roughly 13,000 feet). It was late afternoon, the sky was blue, and I had an incredible view. I really enjoyed this tandem skydive because it was my second time, so I already knew what to expect and I could just enjoy the free fall! Watch out for the part where we all join hands and form a circle in the sky! I particularly liked the bit where I got to drive the parachute round in circles! Here is a video I edited together of my Skydive. If the video doesn’t show up below, please click here to view it on Youtube.