I went skydiving last weekend and to say I was nervous before the jump would be an understatement. I wasn’t looking to skydive until our base outdoor recreation sent out a flyer. It was a done deal for a very subsidized price of $75.
I love flying but jumping off a plane has always been on my bucket list. Well, it came to pass sooner than I’d thought.
The jump was supposed to happen a week earlier. My colleague and I made the hour drive to the small airport on the Saturday ready for an adrenaline filled jump. But it was not to be. The cloudy weather made sure that didn’t happen. Apparently the US Parachute Association (USPA) rules prohibit jumping through clouds. I don’t blame them either. Who wants to going through clouds at crazy speeds.
We waited for at least 4 hours before it became apparent the clouds would not be clearing. It was a big disappointment and a waste of adrenaline. We were slotted for the following weekend.
I didn’t get too excited this time round. Luckily the skies were clear and sunny all day and after waiting for a while our turn came.
We suited, were briefed by our instructors on what to do when time to jump came. We were doing tandem jumps. The plane was ready, we jumped in. The engines were fired up and off we went. The plane had 2 benches. One on each side. We sat with our feet in between each bench, tightly packed crotch-to-back facing the rear of the plane in two rows. We were about 16 of us in there.
The plane steadily made its way to 13,500 feet from where we would jump. We had altimeters on our wrists. The moment of reckoning was fast approaching. As soon as we hit 12,000 feet a red light came on. Surprisingly I was very calm and just kept telling myself it would be like jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool.
Soon the door was slid open and all the solo jumpers inched closer to the door and were soon floating away in space.
My instructor nudged me to the door. I had paid for a video. I didn’t want to miss the magic moments. I was just hoping I didn’t pee my pants, throw up or even worse pass out. Apparently it’s happened before. The instructors had been there, seen it all. The camera lady was already hanging out the door holding onto this bar, waiting for me. The instructor tapped me thrice as we knelt at the door, then pushed me into the wind..the unknown. And in a flash we were off the plane and flying away..It wasn’t too bad. I’d expected to be nauseous. As we flipped around I saw the plane headed in the opposite direction. I was skydiving. Just like that. I was flying around like a bird. I was on top of the world literally. The camera lady was floating right in front of us filming away with her Go Pro attached to her helmet. She was in a sitting position. I guess when you jump solo you can do all sorts of tricks.
We were in a freefall for a minute hurtling down at 120mph covering a distance of 2 miles. It didn’t feel super fast as we were too high. I was enjoying it until the instructor tapped me and pulled the chute open. We were jolted in the opposite direction for a few seconds. Everything seemed to stop, then we started gliding earthbound. We were slowly making our way down. It was so calm and the views were so spectacular from up there. It was like an out of body experience.
We descended slowly making turns and turns towards the airport taking in all the views. Nothing too crazy. The instructor asked if I wanted him to perform a few crazy maneuvers but I declined. I didn’t want my tummy feeling queasy up there. As we were getting closer to land my instructor asked me to keep my feet extended out in a horizontal position. We landed fine and skidded on our butts a couple of feet before coming to a stop. I couldn’t believe it. I’d done it. I had overcome the fears in my head. It was one of the best experiences in this adventurous life of mine. I will definitely do it again. Another bucket list item ticked off.
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