What can I say about skydiving? It’s BRILLIANT. At no point was I scared or fearful about doing it. It was so amazing that I plan on doing it again in September. Yep, you read that right. I’m a skydiving convert!
I was up and out of the house by 7:30 a.m. to make my 8 a.m. appointment. When I arrived I turned in my paperwork and was weighed to make sure I wasn’t over their limit. I made the cut by a mere 6 ounces. SIX OUNCES! Had I opted to have a big breakfast before I went, I would have been over the limit. It was that close.
I then waited about 20 minutes until my name was called to go into the training session. Training consisted of a brief review of what we needed to do in the air, what our tandem jump instructors would do in the air, and how to land. We then watched a one minute video made by the lawyer which pretty much said, “because of the waivers you signed, if you sue us, you can’t win.”
Then we went back outside to wait for our names to be called to meet our jump instructor and get our gear on. Denis and the kids showed up around 10 a.m. and within a few minutes my name was called to get geared up.
The gear: very tight. Uh…VERY tight. As in “every bulge on display tight.” Therefore you’ll see no pictures of me in my gear. *lol* I then met my instructor, a serious young man (well, we were probably close to the same age) who once again told me what I should expect during the entire experience.
As I stood with my instructor waiting for the plane to come around, a random woman came up to me and asked me if I was nervous. When I told her no, she laughed and said she’d never do it. She was just there to watch someone ELSE do it. We chatted for a few more moments and then my instructor nudged me and next thing I know I was boarding the plane!
They packed in about 20 people on the plane, a mix of tandem jumpers, solo jumpers and photo/videographers filming people who requested the service (I did).
And up, up, up we went – to about 14,000 feet in the air! Once we got up to that altitude, there was a brief discussion over which tandem jumper would go first, and I claimed that spot. As the solo jumpers climbed out of the plane, my photographer scrambled outside the plane so that he could shoot us standing in the doorway of the plane.
We stood in that doorway for about 7 seconds. Maybe only 5. Certainly not with any length as to give someone pause. We stood in the doorway, my photographer snapped a pic, gave me a high-five (yes, I high-fived him while standing on the edge of a plane), and then my instructor gave me the heave-ho out the door and down we went.
The freefall was pretty amazing. For about 60 seconds you are hurtling toward the planet at about 120 mph. My videographer was filming me and came in to give me another high-five during the free fall (yes, I high fived my videographer as we plummeted to earth). Looking at the pictures it’s amazing to see that I was actually ABOVE some small clouds – I didn’t notice them during the freefall, and by the time we pulled the cord we were well below them.
Up that high in the air, there was no sense of danger – the noise was crazy during the freefall, but then my instructor pulled the rip cord, our videographer whipped away from us (he pulled his cord later so that he could be on the ground to film my landing), and it was just my instructor and me, floating toward the ground.
About halfway down he began reviewing the landing procedure, and had me practice a few times. Alas, the harnesses around my legs were so tight that I couldn’t bring my legs up as high as he wanted, even pulling on the pant legs to help bring them up high. He opted to land in a large section of pea gravel they have in the landing zone, rather than on the hard ground. Unfortunately, he overshot the mark and we landed on the EDGE of the pea gravel, and instead of landing on our butts as we were supposed to, we pitched forward and my right knee took the brunt of the landing. It hurt quite a bit, but I could get up and walk with no problems.
We waited another 20 minutes or so for my videographer to finalize my DVD, and the woman who had approached me came up again to ask me how it was. When I told her how awesome it was, she shook her head in disbelief and said, “I can’t believe you did it!” She then cheered and gave me a big hug as though I was her own daughter – not a random stranger she met at an airport.
And so here I am at home, it’s now several hours later, and my knee is killing me. I’ve got my knee brace on and it still twinges every time I get up, sit down or walk. Good thing I work at a hospital so that on Monday I can get advice on how to make the pain go away.
Despite my crash landing, it was a lot of fun, and I’ve decided to go again. In fact, before we left I paid for the jump in advance so that I could enjoy a 50% discount on the cost to do it. I have one year to jump, but I hope to jump in September of this year. I figure by then I can lose another 20 pounds, and work on my flexibility so that I can bring my legs up no matter how tight those harnesses are.
All in all a REALLY, REALLY fun experience and I highly recommend it!
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