Posted on 3 Comments

Review: Skydive Gananoque

Hey everyone!

So first thing’s first, I’d like to Lucie to the team, I’d also like to wish Ashley ( well and I’m happy to hear that she’s well on the road to recovery. =D
It’s always hard for me to hear about friends of mine that sustain injuries, especially the kind that stop them from doing the thing they love most… Skydiving!


So Back to the topic at hand. Earlier this month, (March 31st and April 1st) the “Frenchie Invasion Tour” (my friends from Quebec and I) went to Skydive Gananoque.
I had never been there before (Yes I bought beer) and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I heard a lot of stories about the place from friends of mine that had gone about the crazy campfires they have there. (More to come on that later on in this post).

Friday evening, I was picked up by a couple of friends, and we headed down to Gananoque (1000 islands). We arrived just after 8:30 PM to check in at our motel.

Needless to say, we’re kind of childish (Would you expect different from a group of Skydivers?).



So we headed out to a restaurant called the Riverside Bar & Grill.
We were greeted by Will McCarthy (The Co. DZO at Skydive Gananoque), his girlfriend Michelle (Who also happens to be a Skydive coach) and a bunch of the others from Quebec.

The food was awful, but we had some beers and headed back to the hotel.

We proceeded to do what skydivers do best: Crack open a case of beer and sit around and tell stories.


The next morning we headed over to the DZ to meet up with the rest of the group and start our day.

Now, Skydive Gananoque is fairly off the beaten path in a sense, you could quite easily drive right by it without realizing you passed it until you’re 5 miles down the road.
We had a GPS with us, so we sort of got saved by that.

The Drop zone has quite a big landing area, it’s easy to spot from the sky and has a HUGE hangar… Unfortunately, the packing area isn’t so huge, so we just packed in the hangar.

(Pictured above: Rachel P and Alex D.)

(Above: Aerial view of the DZ taken by Will McCarthy)

So we began our day with the tandem master refreshers. As I had already mentioned in my last post.
(Above: My girlfriend and I posing for the camera before we “risk our lives” in the hands of someone who’s name we don’t even know =D )

Following  the tandem jumps, we did several loads including Lucie’s 100th. The load was planned by Will McCarthy and was quite a success.
(Pictures above taken by Alain Milot)

Of course, this jump was followed by a good old fashioned Pieing (Video to come)

(Above photos taken by Alain Milot)

We ended the day all together at another restaurant in the area (I can’t remember the name) then headed back to the DZ for an INSANE campfire. I’ve been around a LOT of campfires at lots of DZs, but this was BY FAR the best I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never witnessed someone needing a farm tractor to keep it going… (Yes, Will supplied a tractor for this campfire)

And no, the logs were not cut before being used. (For you tree-huggers out there, all the trees being used for the campfire had fallen during the winter)

Overall, I can confidently say that this is my favorite drop zone that I’ve been to so far. Tom and Will McCarthy are extremely welcoming, the entire staff of Skydive Gananoque were great to us and jumping out of the sexy King Air was a blast as always.
I will most definitely go back, and I suggest that anyone who’s reading this head there too!

A HUGE thank you to Tom, Will and Michelle (Didn’t get a good shot of Will to post):

As well as a shout out and thank you to Alain Milot for allowing me to use his pictures:

PS: I’ll be back at Gan on Victoria Day weekend, I hope to see some of you there and maybe get a few jumps done with all of you!

Blue Skies!


Posted on 1 Comment

Lessons in Injury Survival

In my 4 seasons of skydiving, two of them have encountered injuries: one from skydiving (that was oh-so-gracefully my fault) and another completely unrelated to skydiving. Both injuries required physical therapy and time away from the sport. Both injuries took place at the beginning of the season, making time off seem just that much longer.

When something happens that keeps you on the ground, you have two options – deal with it or whine incessantly until no one can stand to be around you.

The former requires a bit of strength of character. Dealing with it also requires you to pick yourself up and find a way to channel the energy you’d otherwise be exerting in the sky to something productive. Keep your mind and body busy while the parts of you that need to recover, can.

I’ve come to learn that physical injuries are very similar to emotional injuries – rest and time off from those things that will only serve to irritate the wound is the only way to bounce back and get back to your healthy self as quickly as possible. Time, and the right therapy, does heal wounds…and, it teaches you patience in the process.

I’m not going to lie, I sit here and preach, but I’ve certainly done my share of complaining and dancing with ants in my pants at the idea of getting back in the sky. I spend every week at PT waiting to ask doc when I’ll be able to get back in the sky – and I’m regularly disappointed when he tells me to wait. But, I also know that when that day comes, I know it’s safe to proceed.

In the meantime, I do what I can to get by – hiking, working out, long walks with the dog, whatever I can do to keep my body moving. And, if there’s one piece of advice I can give from my time on the ground due to injuries, it’s to plan something to look forward to. Whether it’s a vacation to lie on the beach or, in my case, a tunnel trip in May (wee!), do yourself a solid and have something to anticipate other than jumping out of that next aircraft.

Keep moving, keep dreaming, and keep your positive attitude. You might be surprised just how much you actually enjoy outside the world of skydiving – and a positive attitude can only serve to help get you to your goal sooner than you think.

Love and blue skies!


Posted on 2 Comments

My 100th jump!

When my friend Adam asked me if I wanted to write for Skydive Addiction, I was thrilled!

Writing has always been an important part of my life. I have been writing stories, journals, poems and all sorts of texts in both French and English ever since I have known how to write.


As for skydiving… it entered my life almost two years ago now… and it literally changed it. Skydiving quickly became a passion, something I have been thinking about EVERY SINGLE DAY ever since the idea of doing it entered my mind. Am I skydive-addicted? Oh yeah! I truly believe skydiving is a beautiful drug and I really don’t see how I’ll ever get enough of it!


I’ve been writing a lot for myself about skydiving ever since I started and I do have quite a few stories to share with you. But today I will tell you about my most recent one: my 100th jump, which was quite a memorable moment!


As we were heading to Gananoque, in Ontario for the opening weekend of this awesome drop zone last Friday, I knew that with 97 jumps in my log book I had pretty good chances of hitting my 100th jump. And I was actually quite happy to be doing it there. Gananoque is where I did my first big ways and I knew that no matter what, we were going to have a blast!


We were actually quite a bunch of highly motivated skydivers meeting in Gan for the opening weekend, mostly French people from Quebec, since most of the DZs in Quebec open a month later.


After my second jump of the day (my 99th), I started collecting names of people who wanted to be part of my 100th.

“What are we doing?”

“I have no idea, just figuring out who wants to be part of it for now, and then we’ll see!”


When I realized almost everybody I asked said yes (or definitely!), I thought it might be a good idea to start writing down names. And… that’s when I found out there was a problem: 19 jumpers won’t fit in a King Air, which can nevertheless accommodate 15 people and go up to 13 500 ft in 12 minutes.


“We could load the Cessna and make it go up half an hour earlier to meet the King Air”… that was one of the silly solutions that were suggested.


OK, so we may not have been able to fit in all the people I would have loved to see as part of my 100th, but we did get quite an organization for it. Will McCarthy did a fantastic job in organizing a 3 point 15-way, keeping in mind that this special jump had to be a successful and safe one.


I have to say, I did feel quite special with all those people excited about jumping with me. Okay, they were excited about jumping in a big way, no matter for what reason. But I did let myself believe this was MY moment.


There was exhilaration in the plane all the way up. Yellow light went on and my heart was racing. As I climbed out the plane and held on to my friend Ge, who was to be part of the base with me, I did not care for one second about the fact that it was so chilly up there. I gave my count to key the exit and we were off. The exit was not quite stable, but we did manage to recuperate quite nicely. The clouds were magnificent, although I only noticed them when I watched a video of the jump later on, as I was so concentrated in staying stable and doing my best to make things right. I did manage to look around and figure out that most of the jumpers did make it, and I enjoyed seeing all the smiling faces around me.


We did in fact end up with a one point 13-way, which is actually impressive, considering it was one of the first jumps of the season for most of us.


When I opened my parachute, I felt like I always do at that very moment: exactly where I belong.


I did manage to have a pretty good landing, and I was really proud of myself! As I was packing, later on, Tom, the owner of the place, came to me and said “You know that now that you’ve made it to 100 jumps, you’re a sky-goddess.”

Hum.. that really felt good to hear. But I wouldn’t say that. In my head, and when I look at the other people I see flying, I still feel like a baby, with so much left to learn! Okay, maybe I turned into a toddler last weekend!


And well… of course, at the end of the day… Adam and some other “friends” made sure I was pied to celebrate this new milestone in a creamy and cold way!


Adam… your turn will come soon enough!


Blue skies!

Lucie in the sky!

Posted on Leave a comment


I don’t have the time to write up a full post today, but I just want to write a quick thank you to everyone at Skydive Gananoque! Will, Tom and Michelle are excellent hosts and I have to say that I consider them a GIFT to the skydive community. If you’re a fun jumper, you know what I’m talking about when I say that it’s frustrating going on a trip somewhere, wanting to get some freefall action, arriving at the DZ to find out that it’s a tandem factory or one of those places that “fly when we feel like it”.

Everyone at Gan was excited to get into the sky and just have some fun!

Lucie (One of Skydive Addiction’s newest members who I look forward to reading) hit her 100th jump over the weekend (Video of the pieing to come). And Will was nice enough to organize the load for a 15 way.

Since it was day 1, some of us got to go up for a Tandem Refresh with the tandem masters. (A tandem refresh is done every year for everyone with a tandem master rating. Basically, what it consists of is the tandem master takes an experienced skydiver up for a tandem to make sure that he still is able to fly and knows what he’s doing and also to brush off the cobwebs.)

As a skydiver, I can say that it’s a very exhilarating feeling and brings back the whole adrenaline rush from your first time! You now know what’s going on, but you don’t have control over it as you aren’t piloting the canopy. I was in good hands, but it’s still a different experience. It was quite fun, I must say!

I’ll have a full article of our trip up later this week along with pictures and some videos.

In the meantime though, here’s a picture of our campfire: Yes, that’s right, we didn’t use logs, we used an entire tree for our fire!
Thank you Will for making it possible by using the tractor to bring us all the wood we needed to keep this fire going (Video to come as well)


Blue ones in the meantime!