20+ Singporean skydivers invade the sleepy town of Jurien Bay in March 2017.
Did 16 jumps over a week at Skydive Jurien Bay (JBay). Having just spent six weeks with angmos (Brits) in another angmo country (Canada) doing another angmo sport (snowboarding), the distinctive “lilt” of Singlish was music to my ears! Here are some highlights from the trip.
Teng lang everywhere!
Shittiest landings ever (literally and figuratively)
As mentioned in my dropzone review of Skydive Jurien Bay, the landing area is a horse paddock, with real horse shit scattered around in random spots. Good opportunity to practise accuracy landings I suppose?
Shitty landings! But beers!
Having arrived at JBay with about 160 jumps, albeit not having jumped for 2.5 months while I was wintering in Canada, I thought I had my landings more or less figured out. Boy was I wrong. We jumped in 20-25 knot winds, which I had not attempted since my golf course landing on Jump #47. I seriously struggled with the lack of penetration (wing load 0.85x), timing of flare, as well as collapsing my air-locked canopy (a Samurai 150) after landing. Got toppled over by the winds several times after flaring, so a more experienced jumper advised me not to do my usual 2-step flare (just stab it down lower to the ground)- is that the correct technique for strong winds? Maybe just avoid jumping when it’s 25 knots, eyy?
3 teaspoons of sand/grass in my canopy post-JBay
Other humiliating landings at JBay include getting dragged backwards by my re-inflated canopy after landing, and ending up in a BUSH when the wind suddenly dropped and I overshot my target landing area. Needless to say my poor canopy picked up a lot of sand, dirt and grass from these shit landings, which were later gifted to me by my passive-aggressive rigger after she inspected it for damage.
Tunnel tunnel tunnel
So there were quite a few tunnel rats in this Singaporean group- a combination of sponsored athletes, tunnel instructors and just plain rich folks (dentists, pilots, C-suite…). Being a normal person I have only accumulated about 45 minutes of tunnel time to date, and the difference is STARK. After some stressful FS jumps I felt quite discouraged about my lousy flying skills, but honestly how does the common man (or woman) afford the world’s most expensive tunnel (from USD1100/hour)?
Stressful 4-way with tunnel rats
[Random thoughts: I had never heard of a DEEM suit (used by top tunnel flyers) or Hayabusa (world’s top 4-way team from Belgium) before this trip. I mean I always KNEW that there were people much more experienced than me, but to see video footage of Hayabusa really makes a noob skydiver feel pretty bad about their flying. ]
Yay for new sexy(ish) container
I finally changed container on this trip- to something that actually fits me! I purchased a second (smaller) container and a Safire 2 139 a couple of months ago, but at the time I did not feel that I was ready to fly a sub-150 main and reserve. I guess the upside of strong wind conditions is that you can easily land a smaller canopy. As with all my previous downsizes, I didn’t feel the difference at all in the landing, but I definitely miss the zippiness of the fully-elliptical Samurai.
When your container is redder than the Red Lions’
An unanticipated hiccup of downsizing was the difficulty in squeezing the Safire 2 139 into the smaller container, a Mirage G4 MOS, which fits 109-129 sqf main canopies (9-cell). Although a Safire 139 is also listed on the Mirage website as an “optimal” fit, it is in reality a REALLY TIGHT fit, so my pack job timing has temporarily DOUBLED to 30min 😦 #likeanoob #whatadweeb
There are enough Singaporean skydivers to fill a Caravan?!
As you know the skydiver community in Singapore is miniscule- I’m not sure if there are even 100 active jumpers on our tiny island. And at least half are expats. This was probably the first trip (beers!) with mainly “teng lang” jumpers- I think everyone got a rush out of being on an all-Singaporean load!
We can fill a Caravan now
Secret fangirling moments
Not sure why but several members of the Singapore parachute team joined the trip, and many of us (the civilians) suffered from a bit of hero worship. Some more obvious than others (I was subtle about my fangirling, I think?) But I must say it’s really nice to be able to jump together without the usual distinction of military vs. civilians, or angmo vs. teng lang. Oh but wait, there’s still that unbridgeable divide of belly flyers vs freeflyers 😛
Spot the lions 😛
Most of my jumps to date have been with mates who are at a similar experience level. This trip was a very humbling experience for me, flying with pro flyers, and in such challenging wind conditions. A good wake up call to my 100 jump wonder-ness.
Date of activity: 13-19 Mar 2017
Location: Jurien Bay, WA, Australia (240km north of Perth airport)
Operator: Skydive Jurien Bay
Rate: AUD30 for one month APF membership + AUD45 per jump ticket if you buy a pack of ten (otherwise AUD50 for single jump tickets). Equipment rental is AUD30 per jump, including pack job, and capped at AUD100 per day.
Booking (for fun jumpers): Just turn up
Accommodation I used: 59 Bashford Street (50 meters from manifest office)
See also my reviews of other dropzones near Singapore:
- Dropzone review: Sydney Skydivers, Picton NSW, Australia
- Dropzone review: Thai Sky Adventures, Pattaya, Thailand
- Dropzone review: Skydive Dubai, UAE