An Island Tour from 13,000 Feet

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An Island Tour from 13,000 Feet

Published: April 24, 2017

Wanna know a secret? Come a little closer and we'll tell you.

Here it is: Skydiving is the original Gilligan's Island.

Confused? Here's what we're getting at: Lots of people go for a tandem skydive--the "three-hour tour" of legend--and never really return to life as they knew it before. The experience is so delightful--so inspiring--so paradigm-shifting--that they run right back to the manifest desk to book another jump, and another, and another, and before they know it, they've got their solo licenses and they're spending every spare minute in the sky.

If that seems pretty far-fetched to you, no worries. It did to us, too, before it happened. The folks you see working and playing at Skydive Coastal Carolinas are happy shipmates on a boat that never returned to its original port, and we couldn't be more stoked about that.

It'll make more sense once you know a little bit about the ports of call that we visit while we're up in the wild blue yonder, perhaps, so we'll share: here's a quick island tour of the stunnin' Southport area, as seen from 13,000 feet in the sky. If Southport and Oak Island are an annual vacation destination for you, you probably think you've done and seen it all--but here's a different perspective.

The Atlantic

Looking out at the ocean from ground level is such an iconic vacation experience that nobody visiting Southport would dream of missing it. Right? Well, believe us when we tell you that looking out over its blue expanse from 13,000 feet is a whole new ball game. You get the same feeling of bubbly awe as you do when you're looking up into the stars from the middle of the desert--a giddy sense of your own smallness, coupled to a deep sense of peace. We never get tired of the feeling.

Here's a pro tip, too: If you want the extra-strength experience, go for a sunset jump. Sunset jumps are a skydiving classic for stone-cold pros and first-time tandem students alike, and for excellent reason: A sunset jump is one of the most profoundly beautiful experiences a human being can have. If you don't believe us, try it--and see what it's like to see the planet drenched in golden honey, saying nighty-night to the sun from an eye-to-eye perspective. Ain't nothin' like it.

Bald Head Island

The quaint perfection of Bald Head Island is so remote that you can only get there via ferry--and it's only navigable in a golf cart. In fact, more sea turtles than people call Bald Head Island home by a factor of several thousand. This lovely little rock served numerous eyebrow-raising masters in its post-Native-American history (the British, during the war for independence, and the Confederates in the Civil War); the long peacetime has seen it morph into a popular weekending spot for folks who like the sense of cozy solitude.

From altitude, we love to gaze upon Bald Head's shimmering network of wetlands, the white ribbon of its undulating coastline and the very-historic lighthouse that's meant to keep unsuspecting eggs off the Frying Pan Shoals.

Oak Island Lighthouse

Oak Island Lighthouse has been a local icon since anyone can remember. It juts its proud candy-cane tower up over Caswell's white sands, keeping watch over a brood of charming little cabins and sunbathers. We love the fact that Oak Island Lighthouse has an architectural "secret" that you can't see from the outside: instead of a spiral staircase that swoops around the inner tower, Oak Island sports seven ladders that zigzag up to its top. (We can only imagine the workout that early lighthouse-keepers must have had--colonial Crossfit, for sure.)

From altitude, Oak Island serves as something of a sundial. Over the course of a day's jumps, we watch her slowly draw an arc across the landscape. It's kinda like she's waving at us.

The Southport Pier

Ah, our beloved Southport Pier. We spend our evenings scooting around Southport's bustling little center (and taking on long, heart-pumping runs down the Riverwalk trail to burn off the yummy goodies for which Southport is so famous). We love it best, though, from up above.

The rippling terrain around the Pier--the yacht basin; the peninsula; the boardwalks; the lacy network of waterways--has long been marked as a site of interest on the NC Birding Trail, and you can occasionally see the glinting binoculars as the birdwatchers notice our parachutes in their perusals of the sky. Then, of course, there's the beach--and the miniature figures of swimsuited merrymakers sunning and playing as we fly. When they wave up at us, we return the favor--and hope they'll trade their swimsuit for a jumpsuit soon, 'cause they just don't know what they're missing.

We've got a "three-hour tour" they're gonna fall head over heels in love with, after all. ;)