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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Jun. 30, 2021 10 months ago

Diving through the sky

Tracey Forrester didn’t let her fear of heights stop her from skydiving from a plane on Florida’s East Coast.
by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

When one of her friends wanted to go skydiving for her birthday, Tracey Forrester jumped at the chance to experience it together. Although she’s afraid of heights, the Horizon West resident worked through her hesitation to join three others on a high-in-the-sky adventure recently, and she said she’s glad she did.

“I don’t know if I was ready for it or not … but I wasn’t afraid of it at all,” Forrester said. “I didn’t even have any anxiety. Not even after they have you sign away your rights or anything.”

She admits she initially turned down the invitation.

“But then I saw it as an opportunity that I would regret passing up, so I decided to go,” she said.

The four friends drove to Skydive Sebastian, on Florida’s East Coast, and before making their own jumps, they watched several other people.

“The wait was longer than anticipated, which prob helped with everyone’s anxiety because we got to see several different landings so we saw they came down safe; they landed on their feet,” Forrester said.

It was amazing to watch all the parachutes open up, she said.

And then it was their turn to go up. The foursome and their instructors boarded the plane, as did a few other individual skydivers, and they were airborne.

“There are no chairs; everybody’s just sitting on the mat in rows of two, one right after the other, like a stack of dominoes,” Forrester said.

Strapped to their tandem partners, the skydivers were told to shimmy up to the roll-up door once the plane reached an altitude of 13,500 feet.

“They’re like, ‘OK, ready, lean your head back when you jump,’” she said. “There’s no countdown. … As soon as you jump you feel like you are gasping for breath. … Once they pull the parachute and you’re up, it’s breathtaking. It’s beautiful, so peaceful, and you’re just gliding through the air.”

Forrester’s guide suggested they do a couple of spins, so she went for it. It was a beautiful, clear day, and they could see all around them.

“It’s exciting, it’s exhilarating,” she said. “I would definitely do it again, now that I know what it’s like. … I think jumping out of a plane is probably the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done.”

Forrester said she has a motto: “I’ll try almost anything once, especially if there’s an opportunity to do it. I don’t want to live with that woulda coulda shoulda. Maybe it’s fear of missing out. I love the excitement.”

She’s now ready for her next adventure. She wants to zipline through the jungles of Costa Rica.

“I’m afraid of heights,” she said. “There’s been many challenges in life, and it’s just nice to move past something in your comfort zone. No matter what the challenge, you can do it.”

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Amy Quesinberry is the community editor of the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. She was born and raised in Winter Garden, grew up reading the community newspaper and has been employed there as a writer, photographer and editor since 1990....

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