Skydiving is coming back to Grand Bahama, so if you have the urge to jump out of a perfectly good airplane from 14,000 feet above our beautiful island, then here’s your chance.
Organizers of the Bahamas Skydive Boogie, Matthew Yaunt and Matthew Finch, who, between them, have done over 30,000 skydives, have booked Old Bahama Bay Resort and all the facilities at West End on October 14-16, and will be bringing in between 100 and 150 guests for five days of fun, sun and skydiving.
Yaunt said, “This is our second Boogie on Grand Bahama. We were all set to come over last year but, unfortunately, COVID made that impossible, so we are very excited about returning in October and our booking sheet is rapidly filling up.”
Matthew’s wife, Leslie Yaunt, has been working in the sport for over 10 years and handles the logistics.
She said the event will have something for everyone.
“In addition to regular jumpers, we will be catering for Wing Suit Flying for the real experts and tandems for the total novices,” Leslie Yaunt said.
“Those who want to experience the thrill of falling through the air at 120 miles per hour before the instructor pulls the ripcord and opens a huge parachute, to float gently to the ground, for a tippytoes landing on soft sand or grass at West End Airport [will be able to do so].”
Videographers will be jumping alongside and taking movies of what can be the experience of a lifetime.
Leslie Yaunt said safety is their number one priority.
“We have been responsible for organizing multiple exotic events such as this both in the USA and throughout the world and have put together a very experienced team, including a couple of world record holders,” she said.
“We want to make sure that everyone has the best experience with us in The Bahamas both in the air and on the ground.”
Nuvolari Chotoosingh, a manager at the Northern Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, said he is excited to have the Skydiving Boogie staged at West End.
“We’ve held such an event in previous years and it was very successful,” Chotoosingh said.
“The thing about this is that it is such a different kind of event being held here. I’m sure the jumpers will be amazed as they get to take in the view of the beautiful waters around the island as they parachute back down to solid ground.”
Local skydiver Olivia Pages, owner of Stoned Crab Restaurant, is looking forward to joining the group.
“There are no facilities for jumping on the island,” Pages said. “So, I usually have to go to one of the drop zones in Florida. It would be wonderful if we were able to jump here on a regular basis.”
That was possible 23 years ago. Back then, Skydive Bahamas operated full time in Freeport, specializing in tandem jumps and instruction.
There are still a few of the old regular jumpers around and many more who experienced the thrill of a tandem jump.
“It is the most amazing view as you exit the plane at 14,000 feet,” said Jay Cafferata, CEO of Freeport Ship Services, and a former sky diver who has fond memories of Skydive Bahamas.
“On a clear day, you can see the whole of Grand Bahama from East End to West End and the incredible colors of the surrounding ocean.
“They were really fun times and apart from our regular drop zone over the bridge, where the university building is now, we managed to land on the beaches, golf courses, YMCA Field, Rugby Club and even Peterson Cay, and in the sea a couple of times.”
Mary Silveira, of FreCon Construction company, was one of the original tandem passengers and was actually the “poster girl” for the business, their print advertising showing her in free fall.
“Wow. It was the biggest rush and an unforgettable adrenaline-packed experience,” Silveira recalled. “I can still clearly remember it over 25 years later.”
As the dates for the big jumps near, interested skydivers, professionals and newbies are advised to visit the Bahama Boogie website at boogiebahamas.com.
“We will be using the West End Airport for our skydives,” Matthew Yaunt said.
“There will be two landing areas at the airport and, of course, what would be a beach boogie without beach landings, too.”