The LURE team are pleased to include one of our 7 shared offspring in this post – Teri’s youngest daughter Megan. I say this because you likely won’t believe they are not sisters 😉
On Megan’s second visit to Mexico the plan was the beach. Beach, sun, heat, rinse (in the ocean) and repeat. Not surprising because she was visiting from Canada where it snowed almost the entire time she was here. All was going very well. Teri and I were getting our tans back after some time indoors working on other projects (only 1 show left for The Best of Broadway!) and Megan had managed to instantly acclimate resulting in complaints that our 23° C mornings were cold. Perfect, and with a few days to go all was looking calm and tranquil until Megan sent me a text with the link to Skydive Vallarta. “Ok” I said to myself, I have mentioned in the past that my son and I were going to do this but it never happened. Is she serious? She must be thinking about it for some future date. Indeed she was… and that date was the day before she departed with the assurance that, all going well, we could hit our favourite the beach in the afternoon. No problem!
“Are you in?” she asked me. “Yes.” I replied and I logged on to the website to check the parameters.
There were no easy loopholes or instant exclusions. A talk with Teri found no objections. Not that I was looking for any of the above, but you would think I would be. At 50 years old, it would be understandable if I was less than thrilled at the prospect of leaping from a perfectly operational aircraft at 12,000ft elevation but I must admit I was excited. Reading through the well produced website, I was encouraged by the professionalism and complete information therein. The more I read the more I was confident that we were going to have an amazing day. No loopholes needed.
No surprises. That was the most remarkable thing to me. From the moment we walked into the offices at Plaza Peninsula every step and procedure was discussed with us prior to it and then coached with us as it happened. While I don’t know if they get some participants who go screaming and flailing all the way from abject fear, I can’t see it happening from our experience. Megan was cool as a cucumber, which was no surprise. She is brave like her mom and a lifetime of dance performances and now dance instruction has made her all the more fearless (Just imagine corralling a group of kids into ballet first position – courage and tenacity required!). Completing our ground school we piled into the van to head to the airport with a load of smiling jumpers. Jokes abounded and the excitement was mounting furiously. No surprise at all.
The atmosphere was electric and swung from serious moments of reminder and advisement from our instructors to outbursts of laughter and spontaneous shouts. The plane shot down the runway and effortlessly rose into the air above the deep blue Bay of Banderas and the hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta. The view was gorgeous already and for a moment the plane ride was enough of a treat to warrant a rave review. Leaning forward to speak into my ear, my instructor advises, “Wait until you see it from outside the plane.” with a wry smile. For a brief moment my heart leaps as our ascent has been quick and we are now turning toward our jump zone at almost 10.000ft. Yes Gordy, you are about to find yourself in a free fall just outside the window you are safely looking through. Looking back to see Megan’s reaction she looks pensive for an instant and then flashes a smile and a peace sign to signify that she is ready to go as am I. While I don’t recall if every one of my hairs were standing on end, they should have been. Something like standing adjacent to a leaky high voltage transformer.
“Door!” The command comes from the front of the fuselage and, being next to it, I assist with opening it to fully experience what I am guessing is 75-80 knots of air speed. One solo jumper is off with a flip before me, then it is my turn. There was no time to think or fear. We stood crouched at the door opening, leaned out and with a gentle push from my instructor were falling at 120mph. To say it was exhilarating grossly understates the moment. Having had the pleasure of driving cars at speeds over 150mph and enjoying it immensely, this was a new thrill that had dangerous potential for addiction. Almost a minute was spent with mouth wide open in an outrageous smile and eyes blazing with excitement. A soft jolt and the parachute opens to change our experience from thrill seeker to privileged observer of one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Bay of Banderas. It is almost too much to take in after the adrenaline overdrive free fall to now be presented with what is undeniably the best view of the bay. Twisting and turning as we play with the wind it is
tranquil and serene and one wishes that it lasts longer but gravity is pulling its constant and we must land. Approaching the beach we touchdown with the same force as sitting on our blanket after a swim and the feeling of accomplishment as onlookers stare wide eyed is significant. Turning to see the others behind me I see Megan floating down to make a perfect stand-up landing and her smile is priceless. With a shout she unhooks and meets her mom and I to debrief.
Let me take a moment here and say that Teri was a rock throughout all this. There was only one tiny mention of any fear which, for a fantastic mom and fiance was likely not easy. I suspect that many would have handled things, shall we say, less well. While she was not interested in jumping herself, she certainly supported Megan and I as we did which brings us to the endorsement of the day. After watching the entire experience and hearing all the details afterwards, Teri has stated, publicly even, that she will go with the next of the kids who visits and would like to try it. One cannot say more than tell you that the professionalism and high standards of Skydive Vallarta instill confidence and create the experience of a lifetime.
So the only question that remains is… Who’s next? “DOOR!”