Sunday, May 10, 2009
Cookie was right there to pick me up this morning… even though the flight was nearly an hour early. We headed straight to coffee, but the restaurant on the bay wasn’t open yet. So…we watched the sunrise over the sea until the coffee shop opened, whereon the cognizant portion of the day began.
Following an infusion of wake-up, we headed straight for the Ramblers club at Toogoolawah (Two-Goo-lah-wah) where we got ready for the first load of the day.
It’s a nice club with a Caravan for a jump ship. A café, fireplace, fire pit, flush toilets, pay showers, two-story bunkhouse, manifest, and gear store made the place seem like one of the bigger dropzones back home. The people were amazingly friendly; at least a dozen came up with “Hi, I know you from Dropzone.com, I’m so-and-so.”
The first load, I jumped with Hayden and Mark, getting in a nice two way with Mark while Hayden snapped photos. The second load was a jump with Chris R, a camera flyer at the DZ who wanted to learn to wingsuit. Flock University makes its debut in Oz….
We had about 40 minutes on the ground for an FFC, after which Chris donned a Tonysuit Intro. It went well, he was stable, perfectly aware, and even navigating correctly throughout the jump. We both landed in the landing area without incident, although I feel it important to mention that if you’re not familiar with kangaroos bounding across the landing area, keep your eyes peeled and focused on where you’re going vs what’s going on. Kangaroos in the landing zone can be a bit of a distraction.
Third jump was again with Chris, we got some beautiful distance and time. No kangaroos this time, but I did find myself catching a rotor from the trees (shoulda listened to Cookie about that…) and my landing was a little bit ummm….”in the corner” is an understatement. Thank god the Storm has a lot of flare.
The packers at Ramblers are due some mention; Roland and Wade are super guys and can pack ridiculously fast. They’d never seen dynamic corners before, but both expressed they liked the style and ease of packing. One note of surprise was the number of Rigging Innovations gear found on the DZ. Talons of both FS and FX models were everywhere.
One familiarity on the DZ; a black/yellow camera flyer walks up and says “Love your stuff on dropzone.com…” and I swear, he’s Scotty Burn’s brother. Same colors, same eyes, same wild hair and super-funny attitude. It was like we were old friends, right down to flipping each other off in the airplane.
Time to leave the DZ; Cookie’s taking me to the Mercure hotel where the conference will be held.
After checking in, I headed straight for the casino up the street to have some dinner. Oy…the food is like a downscaled McDonalds with the price of an upscaled Red Lobster. In other words, Las Vegas casino food is gourmet by any comparison. Now I’m in my room finishing the blog for the night and ready to hit bed to see if I can slice the last vestiges of jet-lag from my system.
Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of the APF blog…