So far we have done 50 BASE jumps in one month. That’s a whole lot of play time. I think our experience level has just shot up 20 fold. Lynda is flying her tiny wingsuit better and further than some people are flying their latest and greatest model wingsuits and it’s quite funny to see. Some days I feel like I’ve got the whole thing waxed and my wingsuit exits are right on the money and some days I’m not quite on top of the game. The valley has a fair amount of obstacles in it with farm houses, power lines, rivers, roads and many farm land dividing fences. There has to be a fair amount of commitment in order to get over certain obstacles otherwise you end up with a low pull over a potential hazard. Both Lynda and I have had a flight each were we didn’t manage to get our break toggles released after opening, before our feet touched the ground. So now we know where that limit is and we are pulling back a tad.
Just the other day Lynda did her 100th BASE jump. A wingsuit off the High Nose. Great flight although not her best one. Everyone constantly comments on how well she exits the wingsuit and how soon she gets it flying. They all ooh and aah and can’t quite believe how consistently she keeps flying. I think she should start charging for lessons. We have just put in orders for the latest Phoenix Fly Vampire 3 wingsuits which are going to be massively bigger than the wingsuit Lynda is currently flying and then I’m going to get scared. I’m mentally preparing myself to be outflown and seriously whipped by Lynda when we get these suits. Already I’m crossing the whole valley in my Vampire 1 at a fair diagonal angle so I would hate to see what would happen in a Vampire 3. Lynda might run out of valley floor to fly :-).
The best part about these tours is the people you meet. We have met some great people here. Some we already knew and some we met for the first time. BASE jumpers are always coming in and out of this valley so hooking up with new people is not hard at all. We met two Australians Dave and Dave or Old Bull and Young Bull as we have come to call them. Fantastic guys we had a bunch of fun with. We basically did most of our jumping with them. There was also Taylor and Jeremy. Markus, Mel and Johan and a few others along the way. There are too many funny stories to tell but there are a few that just stuck. One in particular was from Old Bull. Now I can never tell this story nearly as funny as Old Bull but I’ll give it my best shot.
I should have been dead mate, was how he started the story. Dave was doing a jump out of an Ultra Light which is like a Micro Light. He had done a bunch out of these and it wasn’t anything new to him. There were two brothers that took the guys up, one rather conservative and the other couldn’t give a toss. Dave was on board with the conservative brother. Because these flying machines are small, one needs to sit side saddle at the back right next to the exposed propeller. Sitting on the right hand side meant that your pilot chute was right there inches from the prop and you had to have your hand on it in case it got sucked up into the prop creating an interesting sequence of events which would definitely end in tears. Dave was wearing a brand new standard issue Australia Post cargo pant given to him by his good friend that works for Australia Post. Nice pair with big cargo pockets. He was also wearing a camera helmet from Cookie with a top mount camera box with the camera in it that was recording the graceful event. The plan was to get to about 750 feet or so and roll off forwards, do a few front loops and get stable and pull for canopy opening. Simple stuff, been done a whole bunch of times. They get to the right altitude and spot and the pilot turns around and gives Dave the thumbs up to which he asks, am I good to go? Dave rolls off and finds himself upside down as expected but not quite in freefall. Rather he feels like he has just climbed into the ring with Mike Tyson and Mike is busy doing what he does best, pounding the shit out of his head repeatedly. After a brief second Dave actually realises that he is hung up on the Micro Light upside down and he has swung around backwards right into the prop head first. The blows he thought were from Mike Tyson were in fact from the prop repeatedly smacking him on the helmet shaving off a section at a time starting with the camera box at the top. A bolt that was sticking out on the Micro Light had caught Dave’s cargo pant pocket and hung him upside down. The conservative pilot at this point is having twins. Luckily for Dave, he gathers what little sense he has left and yanks himself back up onto the Micro Light and in the process rips out the throttle cable from the engine. Dazed and feeling the top of his completely shaved helmet which was almost down to the head he turns around to the pilot and says, Fuck me, ok, am I good to go then? The pilot completely freaked out at this point tells him to sit down. All Dave wanted to do was get off the death trap. So at the end of it all he was up for 3000 dollars worth of damages and he didn’t even get to jump. Besides splitting a gut hearing this story I also got an answer to one of the long time posed question to us Skydivers – Why would you want to jump out of a perfectly good plane? Simply because I wouldn’t have hung around that damaged death trap if I was Dave. I would have gotten off there in a hurry. This story was the one that stood out of all the stories Dave had to tell and he told it a few times and every time I split a gut. What a classic bloke. He had me in tears many times.
As I explained in our last blog, the place we are staying at got fully booked by a tour group last week but lucky for us the hostess put us up in their private room for family and friends. This meant that we had to tip toe around the chefs that took over the kitchen while they prepared food for this large group all day long. We had to eat breakfast before 7am or after 8:30am and dinner only after 7:30pm. This was so we could hold the peace and make sure that we didn’t upset anyone beside we really like our hostess and we were doing this more for her peace of mind. The day the group arrived the chefs took over the kitchen and when we first stepped into view we got some really twisted looks when we tried to get into the kitchen to do our thing. There were three chefs, one head chef, a porkie looking dude who probably never cracked a smile in his life and two old lady assistances that at first seemed just as bitter but turned out to be great in the end. They didn’t speak a word of English so communication was something funny. Porkie followed us around like a hawk in the beginning checking if we were stealing an apple from the store or some sugar off his tables. After a while he realised that we didn’t want any of his food and that we had a good supply of our own. I eventually thought of a plan to warm them up to us and I brought the laptop down to dinner and sat where they would be able to see what was happening on the screen. I opened the BASE pictures from the last couple of days and browsed thru them. Sure enough it wasn’t long before I had a few people standing around going ooh and aah. Porkie and his side kicks were warming up to us and thought Lynda was the queen. A lot of sign language followed and we looked like a mime group trying desperately to communicate. After that, every time we took our plates to the kitchen to get washed up the ladies grabbed them from us and shooed us out the kitchen telling us that they would take care of it. I’m not sure if this was a good gesture or if they were thinking, my word, these nutters falling off cliffs all day might just end up breaking plates. I guess we will never know but maybe the smile they gave us made me think it was a good gesture. The week turned out alright and we managed to work around the group without a problem. We caught the 7:10am cable car everyday for our first BASE so we were out of their way for breakfast. The group left today and another arrived so the fun should begin all over again.
We have been doing a variety of BASE jumping and not only wingsuiting. We have managed some aerial tricks and some 3 and 4 ways. I followed and filmed and tracker and wingsuiter on one jump and managed to film the wingsuiter all the way till opening. We have collected a range of good pics and video. Lynda also did her first BASE filming while chasing me doing a double front loop. The video came out great. I’ll have to make a plan and get a video together one of these days and post that for all of you to see. There isn’t much time for that as we are always jumping except on days like today were it rained all day and we take the opportunity to do our laundry and write a bit. We also just rest as our bodies feel a little punished. The skies look clear again and so tomorrow there is no rest for the insane. We hope to do a casual 4 jumps and then chill.
Love and Peace
Eddy & Lynda