Impressions of Our Skydiving
than a real life-and-death drama, it is hard to imagine a more
emotionally intense and adrenaline charged experience than jumping
out of an airplane and experiencing free fall for the first time.
For us, the anxiety started building the night before and intensified
as we were getting ready the next morning. We ate a very light
breakfast - not wanting much in our stomachs - for obvious reasons.
A strange mixture of excitement, nervousness and fear hovered
just beneath the surface as we drove to the jump zone. Once there
we met up with our friends and exchanged greetings and jokes.
The group dynamic helped to ease the tension and bolster confidence.
a very short instructional video ("That was it?"),
we were introduced to our tandem guides and fitted with harnesses.
Behind us, parachutes were being packed by distressingly young
looking teenagers. That is when reality really started to set
it and we began to experience a little doubt and fear.
Next came the hardest part.... waiting. We had to wait about
45 minutes for our turn to go up in the plane. We wanted the
time to go by quickly because just waiting around and thinking
about what we were about to do was nerve racking, but at the
same time we dreaded the arrival of the moment. It felt like
hours, but the moment came and it was finally our turn. We walked
out to the airstrip, received our final instructions and boarded
a tightly packed airplane. In all there were nine people sitting
together in the plane - Sheila and I were the only tandem rides
on this trip up.
plane barrelled down the grassy runway, took off and began to
climb in a steep, tight spiral that would occasionally set off
the plane's stall warning buzzer. We were now emotionally wired.
It is hard to describe the level of anxiety and tension we felt.
Of course, all the seasoned jumpers made the obligatory jokes
about parachute failure just to make us feel even better. Halfway
up they opened the side door to the plane - and since I was sitting
right by the door I could look straight down to the ground -
that in itself was an interesting experience. At 13,000 feet,
the seasoned skydivers started jumping out and I was able to
watch them disappear into tiny dots as they fell to the earth
at 120 mph. One of them did a somersault as he left the plane
and winked at me as he came around about 10 feet below the door.
It was very surrealistic.
Now it was my turn. It is hard to describe my feelings over
the next several seconds as we inched
our way into position. I was basically outside of the plane,
only about an inch of my rear was still on the door ledge - my
heart was beating so loud I could almost hear it. Then I took
a deep breath waited for the count of three, summoned my courage
and...... I was out. I felt only an instant of acceleration and
then I was leveled out in the flying position. My emotions instantly
changed from anxiousness to exhilaration. I could not believe
the 180 degree change in emotional intensity - free falling was
incredible. There was no fear, there was no worry, just pure
adrenaline pleasure. It was amazingly cool, I felt like I was
flying. I was actually disappointed when the canopy deployed
and my thrill ride was over. The trip down to earth in the chute
was fun too, but in a different way. The view was awesome and
I just soaked up the scene, my body still awash in post-adrenaline
euphoria. Sensing my comfort level, my tandem instructor put
the canopy through some agressive spins and then we came down
for our final touchdown.
Once down, I quickly
looked for Sheila's chute and went over to joyously greet her.
We felt awesome, especially Sheila, who wasn't even sure she
was going to go through with it. The high lasted for days. I
remember seeing people and thinking: "They didn't jump out
of a plane today" or "I bet they've never jumped out
of a plane before". Truly an amazing experience. We would
have went right back up and ran out the plane - thats how pumped
we were. Of course, now that its been a few years, I am sure
we would feel nervous again - after all it is not risk free. But if you can justify the risk,
I would highly recommend the experience.