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      One less item on the bucket list

      The sport of skydiving isn't typically available in the Upper Peninsula. On Thursday, a skydiving company from the northern lower Michigan town of Harbor Springs brought their gear to the Delta County Airport in Escanaba, and fifteen area residents got to jump through the skies.

      The first jumper of the day was John Brezinski from Marinette. Brezinksi, along with his mother, was skydiving for the first time.

      "Gotta be a first time for everything," said Brezinski. "Your eyes get watery, I'll tell you that, even with the glasses. But other than that, it's an amazing feeling, it really is."

      All but one of the people jumping on Thursday were new to the sport. Everyone signed a waiver, got about ten minutes of instruction, and then put on their harness.

      Tanya Savage of Marquette tried skydiving about fifteen years ago. Still, she had some nerves on Thursday.

      "I'm nervous that that guy might not know what he's really doing," said Savage.

      Savage was referring to her instructor, Angelo Garrido, who jumped with Savage in tandem.

      "Most of the people, they think they're not going to make it," said Garrido. "They're scared of heights, they're scared that the parachute is not going to open. We just explain everything to them. Sometimes they just need to think of the idea of jumping out of a plane, that sounds pretty crazy."

      A small Cessna plane took jumpers up about two miles above the ground. Then it was time to jump.

      "We were in a free fall for quite a while and did a lot of 360s, but I think he was trying to do that," Savage said. "And then all of a sudden the parachute opened up and then it was calmer."

      Skydiving instructors go through a rigorous training.

      "It takes three years and at least 500 jumps before you can even take an instructor course," said instructor Trevor Matthew. "They really challenge you. They put you through everything. They try all the tricks and everything."

      Kristy Moreau from Escanaba had some fears as well.

      "Mostly just the heights and the feeling of falling," explained Moreau.

      Moreau said she doesn't really like heights, so when asked why she was skydiving, she smiled and said, "I don't know. To be honest, I really don't know."

      It's a 120 mile per hour free fall that lasts about 40 seconds.

      "I couldn't really make out anything at first; it was hard to breathe, but then once the parachute opened, it felt good. It was fun. You could see everything," Moreau said.

      After the parachute is out, it takes five to seven minutes to get to the ground. Each participant paid around $250 to jump.

      It was the first visit to the U.P. for the company, Skydive Harbor Springs. Josh Montgomery, an Escanaba resident who coordinated the visit, said he hopes it can become a yearly event.