Day 1: 'S' stands for Skydiving

Texel Travel Blog

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The ferry to Texel.

"Fall free, freedom's in the air,
It's calling you, Your heart is there.
Fall free, Blaze across the sky,
The perfect fall, The perfect high."

Fall Free - Alan Parsons

Relax with a day at the sauna - check. Take the cat to the vet - check. Mow the lawn (dumdi dumdi dumdum) - check. Answer urgent business e-mails - check. Delivered the Porcupine Tree review and interview - check. Drop some of Judith's remaining stuff off - check. Pack the bags and car - check. Yes, it looks like all the remaining chores of this week had been done and we're mentally and physically ready to go. North we went !

We left Uden around half past nine and all went well until we reached Utrecht. As normal, it's impossible to pass this city without getting caught in a traffic jam.

Watching the seagulls.
Fortunately it was the only one we would encounter and we were still in time to catch the 12:30 Teso ferry at Den Helder. It took us to the harbour of 't Horntje in little over 20 minutes while we went on the outer deck to watch the seagulls. Remarkable how some of these birds could simply float in the air, waiting for food to be thrown at them.

At 13:15 we arrived at the Texel Airport Hotel, where we were received as if we were long lost family. What a wonderful place (more about it in a review later on). The apartment was stunning. A small kitchen, a bathroom with Jacuzzi and steam cabin, DVD player and surround set, you name it. The place was more luxurious than home ! ;-) The apartment had a double bed and an extra bed had been placed in the living room.

View from the balcony.
To Nick and Mike's delight I decided to take that bed (it seemed like the option that would give me the best rest at night).

The balcony of our room overlooked Texel airport, and that's where we made our way after unpacking our stuff. I had already had e-mail contact with Linda of the Paracenter and made reservations for tandem dives for the three of us. Mike had immediately been very enthusiastic, but Nick had hesitated but had eventually realised that this was the chance of a lifetime (besides the fact that it would make him look very cool at school). The weather was windy and cloudy, so it was doubtful if we could jump that day. If so, Linda would call us, if not we would go on the waiting list for Friday or Sunday.

After grabbing some lunch at the restaurant next door it was time to explore the island ! I decided to drive up to the very northern end of the 25 km long Texel.

At Texel Airport.
Here we found the island's lighthouse. We climbed the 118 steps of the six levels open to the public for a view of the surrounding sea, beaches and villages from 45 metres high. All of the places that could be viewed were identified with name tags, although we had a hard time making out ' North pole 3000 km'. Nice, but even more interesting was the fact that this was actually a lighthouse within a lighthouse ! The original lighthouse from 1864 was so severely damaged by German artillery during World War II that a new one had been build around it in 1948. On one of the levels you could walk between the walls of the two lighthouses and see the numerous bullit holes.

We took a stroll across the beach, enjoying the breeze, the kites and the cool sea water on our feet.

Texel's lighthouse.
Just when we were about to proceed to the hamlet of De Cocksdorp (The Cocks Village ?!) the phone rang. It was Linda of the Paracenter. The weather had cleared up and they had decided to start skydiving. Could we please make our way to the airport ASAP ? And so we did, while Nick was starting to get more and more nervous in the navigator seat. ;-)

Arriving back at the airport I first had to sign a whole lot of waiver documents, after which we were asked to wait until we were called. Okay, I have to admit it. These weren't the most relaxed 30 minutes of my life. Tension and anticipation were building. Eventually the three of us and three others were called and received our jumpsuits and harnesses. Instructions were given and we met the skydivers to whom we would be chained for a free fall from 9000 feet (3 km).

Lighthouse within a lighthouse.
I would be diving with Ivan, while Cas would also accompany me with a camera. Indeed, I had thought his occasion so special that I had paid extra to have the whole thing filmed and photographed.

The propeller plane took us up to 9000 feet in about 15 minutes. At this height the clouds were well below us and we had been firmly attached to our diving partners. Nick and Mike were the first ones to dive from the plane and I have to say that it was a slightly unsettling sight to see them drop away from the plane towards the clouds below. But there wasn't time to worry about it because Ivan moved us to the door, pulled my head back and after a quick glance at Cas and the camera he pushed us out of the plane. The first thing that went through my mind was 'what the f*ck have I done ?!'.

View on Texel's most northern beach.
Which was immediately followed by 'this is excellent !'. Soaring down towards the clouds with about 200 km per hour and with the thunderous wind in my ears I suddenly saw Cas appear straight in front of me with the camera. But it wasn't long until Ivan pulled out the parachute while Cas continued to shoot downwards. We gently floated down through the clouds and the island came into view. What an absolutely stunning sight. Such a shame moments like these become just memories. I'd ike to relive this again and again (well, he DVD does help).

When Ivan and I touched ground Cas was already waiting for us and Mike and Nick followed shortly after. Especially Nick was in total exstacy, while Mike (who had made a 360 degree flip when exiting the place) looked slightly baffled and pale.

Where's that North Pole ?!
But all three of us agreed that this was an awesome experience and had it not been for the price, we would have done it again he next day ! For now Nick and I celebrated with a cold beer while Mike grabbed a lemonade. ;-)

It was well passed 7 P.M. when we decided to have dinner. The hotel owner had suggested De Bikkelaar in De Cocksdorp, where you could eat limitless spareribs. Sounded good, so we made our way to the small village and after doing some groceries we had ourselves some meat ! Nick and I ordered twice and although they weren't the best spareribs I've had, they were tasty enough. Back in the hotel Nick and Mike wanted to try out the Jacuzzi and I learned a new lesson: never put bathing soap in the water when you use the Jacuzzi ! Oh well, it made for another good laugh at the end of an unforgettable day.

anupa_rk says:
Awesome! I just did my first tandem jump and I so know how you would've felt! Amazing feeling, isnt it?!
Posted on: Sep 04, 2009
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The ferry to Texel.
The ferry to Texel.
Watching the seagulls.
Watching the seagulls.
View from the balcony.
View from the balcony.
At Texel Airport.
At Texel Airport.
Texels lighthouse.
Texel's lighthouse.
Lighthouse within a lighthouse.
Lighthouse within a lighthouse.
View on Texels most northern beac…
View on Texel's most northern bea…
Wheres that North Pole ?!
Where's that North Pole ?!
At the beach.
At the beach.
At the beach.
At the beach.
Fortunately *not* our plane !
Fortunately *not* our plane !
Getting ready to dive.
Getting ready to dive.
Getting ready to dive.
Getting ready to dive.
Climbing to 9000 feet.
Climbing to 9000 feet.
In the plane (wheres that steward…
In the plane (where's that stewar…
Nick getting ready to dive.
Nick getting ready to dive.
Nick heading for the clouds.
Nick heading for the clouds.
Mike getting ready to dive.
Mike getting ready to dive.
Mike doing a 360.
Mike doing a 360.
Ed getting ready to dive.
Ed getting ready to dive.
Im free ...
I'm free ...
... free falling.
... free falling.
Dive ...
Dive ...
... dive ...
... dive ...
... dive !
... dive !
Parachute out !
Parachute out !
Floating down to the ground.
Floating down to the ground.
Ed touching down.
Ed touching down.
Nick touching down.
Nick touching down.
Reunited ...
Reunited ...
Mike touching down.
Mike touching down.
Reunited ...
Reunited ...
Limitless spareribs.
Limitless spareribs.
Bathing soap and Jacuzi ... bad co…
Bathing soap and Jacuzi ... bad c…
Skydiving with Nick & Mike
Texel Hotels & Accommodations review
A little piece of heaven ...
What an excellent place this is ! As the name implies the Airport Hotel is located at the airport. Should you consider to go skydiving next door, you … read entire review
Texel
photo by: maryanntravel