Skydiving. It is something that I think you could find on most people’s bucket list and is always hyped-up as the go-to adrenaline junkie activity. For me, it was a little different.
As I watched the small plane descend, with its cargo of the most recent jumpers still slowly floating down, I felt the first twinges of nervousness. This was it! I was finally set to achieve a milestone that I set for myself some time ago to skydive.
And then the jump was cancelled.
The employees relayed that due to high winds, the remainder of the jumps for the day needed to be cancelled. We rescheduled for a few weeks later.
Unfortunately, the summer was plagued with having to reschedule our skydiving booking. The first, as just stated, was due to wind. The next was due to rain, and then another due to rain. Finally, on our fourth booking, we were able to jump.
Climbing higher in altitude while looking out of the partially-open, upward-sliding door was surreal. For me, it was a very different experience than normal flying. I was sitting on the floor of the plane, strapped to another person, listening to the roar of the wind passing over that small yellow plane and its semi-open door with the end goal of eventually jumping out. I was first in line.
When we reached the top of the climb, our cameraman was up first. He shuffled over to the door, opened it fully, gave me a smile and a thumbs up, and then he was gone.
A few seconds later, and I was at the door ready to do the same. I was sitting on the edge of an open airplane door, legs hanging out and wrapped underneath the plane at an altitude of 13,000 feet. The view was incredible. First-hand, just myself and the open sky. No little oval window. No cushy seat and tray table. Just open air. I will always remember what that view looked like before jumping, because despite all the noise – the wind, the plane, the excited soon-to-be jumpers – it was very peaceful up there.
What was not peaceful, however, was the falling. I have never experienced free fall before, and I don’t have anything to compare it to: it was unlike anything I have felt before. We were so high up, that even though we were falling at terminal velocity, the ground didn’t appear to be moving much. It was 60 seconds of trying to remember to breathe through my nose, excited shouting, taking in as much of the surrounding view as I could, and then the parachute opened. It was an amazing experience.
My instructor handed over control of the cords to me for a bit, so I learned how to slow down, drop faster, and turn. Eventually, the ground came up to meet us and it was over. We had to stay put in the field, I suspect to minimize the chance of getting run into while walking, so I had some time to watch the other jumpers come down. My significant other was right behind me in the plane, so she was second out. She landed just after I did.
The experience as a whole was incredible, and something I highly suggest everyone at least consider. As for me though, I don’t think I could recreate that experience if I jumped another hundred times.