I read a great post today by a fellow blogger who I’ve been following for some time. I was moved to leave a comment, but my comment turned into a lengthy response, which later ended up being too long to be considerate – so I’m posting it here instead. Read their post first please! Mine is below. TY mwah!
I remember how I felt the day before I skydived, the day of, and even for several hours afterwards – those hours were very anxious hours of elevated heart-rate, fear, and adrenaline rushes. I wanted to ‘face my fears’ of falling and decided the best way to do that would be to jump from a ‘perfectly good airplane.’
The jump I took was a one-off, and was a tandem jump with an instructor. The jump had been delayed several days due to stormy conditions. We all finally we got the call that we were in the clear, I still had to drive nearly an hour to the airstrip from my home. There were 5 Polish guys working on their jumping & parachuting choreography, an older man who was there on a gift certificate from his family to celebrate his 50th birthday, and myself. I was scared sh*tless. The old dude was having a meltdown.
Brief tutorial and explanation of what was going to happen, how to use the gear and get kitted up, then lingering around the hangar until showtime. Awkward smiles, fidgeting, and pacing around in circles for what seemed like much too long. Except the Polish guys. They were busy working on choreography & jump patterns – they seemed expertly calm.
Then I saw the plane, it was a very well-worn looking junker that to me wasn’t air-worthy. Bare bones interior and rather scruffy! I was then consumed with thoughts the plane might just crash!
As is typical for a Florida summer day, it was hot. The storms that had been plaguing the area for days were still not fully gone, and as, typical, in the storms wake there were HUGE cumulus clouds – the giant fluffy marshmallow kind. Those fluffy clouds later proved to be so helpful to my psyche, as they obscured the ground below when I had my first look out of the plane door.
As the plane took off, it rattled ridiculously. The stark empty interior crammed with 7 jumpers and 2 instructors who were tandeming with me and the birthday boy. I seriously thought the old guy was going to die on his birthday from fear or a heart attack. He was so scared! It was cold up there too when we reached our altitude – 18,000 ft!!! *The world’s highest jumps.
When it was my turn to enter the open door, I looked down, hesitated and was petrified in place. We’d been told already before taking off that no one but the pilot would be in the plane when it landed, but I was having serious misgivings!!
The instructor strapped to my back said jump and I did! But not OUT like he meant, but UP like in, JUMP! Grazed my head on the fuselage opening and then I guess he probably pushed or leaned a little, and we tumbled out of the opening.
The force of the wind resistance is shocking! The goggles they’d provided were satisfactory, but the edges were not padded, so the plastic was pressing hard into my face. Ouch!
Next sensation, was the tugging of my earrings, (minimalistic hoop & ball) it felt like they were being ripped right out of my head. The few moments of terror-filled free fall was then completely rewarded with a few moments of bliss-filled joy as I drifted gently through the puffy white clouds.
After positioning from the arms & legs splayed, stomach down free fall, the harness quickly changed into a position, similar to sitting in a recliner. I was experiencing a really great feeling at that point, and I could have sat like that for hours drifting back down to earth. Unfortunately, the ground comes up way too quickly, and the momentary bliss & weightlessness is met with a brutally quick & determined punch back to solid ground.
The birthday boy at this point was already down just moments before me, and was all smiles at this point. I guess he was just thrilled not to have died, although I and everyone else knew he’d passed out once he left the plane door. I know I was screaming, at least until I was forced to close my mouth, or have it torn off my face.
For hours afterwards, my heart-rate was so elevated I decided I’d sit down in one of those grocery store blood pressure machines just to make sure I wasn’t having a medical emergency, although I knew I was okay.
I was so proud of myself, and felt like I was ten feet tall for quite a long time. I’ve done quite a few crazy things in my life, and been adventurous to the point of ridiculousness. Luckily, I’ve lived to tell the tale(s.) The funny thing is, hardly anyone knows half of the stuff I’ve done, which is probably for the best anyways, as I get loads of popping eyeballs and gaping mouths whenever I’ve shared a few of my life experiences with strangers & friends.
I’m glad I’ve ‘lived a little’ in this life – who knows! Maybe we’ll all get another go again sometime!
Thanks for your post Juls! Loved it!!