Friday, May 06, 2005

Skydiving in Snohomish

I was (again) praying to the weather gods for a nice day, this time 2,500 miles westward of where we flew on Sunday. I bet the weather gods are sick and tired of my requests, but they came through once again.

I'm not in the Seattle area long, only until tomorrow morning, when I head up to Vancouver. So when Krisanne mentioned she was heading to the drop zone on Thursday, and asked if I'd like to come along, I didn't hesitate! After seeing skydiving landings up close for the first time on Sunday, I was itching to see more. Plus, I've been wanting to see Krisanne skydive since last fall, so this was a golden opportunity. The only thing we needed was good weather.

A really overcast morning turned sunny by the afternoon, just like Sunday, so I must be doing something right. Karl returned to the house for lunch and played hooky (shhhhh) so he could come with me to watch Krisanne jump, too. She'd already jumped at least 60 times, and neither of us had witnessed it yet!

I was happy to be back on the West Coast and eating Thai food for lunch again. Yum yum yum!! We ate our fill in Kirkland and headed for Harvey Field in Snohomish to meet Krisanne. Her directions were good and our timing impeccable -- we arrived at the drop zone at the same time.

It's obvious that the skydiving community is a pretty relaxed bunch of people. You'd have to be, to be fully engaged in a high-risk sport of this nature that's highly dependent on weather and all manner of details. Even packing the canopy after a jump requires tremendous care and patience, each and every time. You'd also have to be in it purely for the love of the sport, because it's bloody expensive! On the way to the landing field, Paul rattled off some of the costs involved, and it's not something you'd want to get licensed for just on a whim. Getting licensed takes some serious time and money.

Karl's entry about the more technical aspects of the sport:
Krisanne's entry about the day:

Karl took photos and I shot video of Krisanne's descent to earth, but I misjudged what direction she was heading for the landing and ran the other way... taking me far away from her eventual landing spot. Argh! Krisanne mentions often in her blog about doing a "hop and pop", which is a low altitude jump. For months I had no idea what that was, and now I finally saw it for myself!

Krisanne's Hop and Pop (MOV, 11.9MBs)
highly compressed version (MOV, 1.4MBs)

Krisanne jumped a second time, but we missed capturing it on film because we got caught waiting for a train to pass. She tried to catch winds and stay afloat, but it wasn't breezy enough to hang out for long. We did see her land pretty close to the X mark, though. The veterans make landings look so easy, but I'm sure there's a lot of mental calculation involved in figuring out how to reach a ground target.

The day's photos: Snohomish

By the time Krisanne packed up her canopy after the second jump it was all I could do to stop thinking about the tapas and sangria we'd planned for dinner. Food on the brain, that's me! Karl picked out the tapas place in downtown Seattle, and everything we ordered was fantastic, from the varieties of ceviche to the goat cheese to the croquetas. Presentation, service, and sangria at Tango were all first-rate.