Skydiving… Pretty high up nearly everyone’s bucket list eh? Well, mine included, for quite a while! It’s something I’ve long wanted to do, but always thought I’d just do another day.
Well, today was that ‘another day’ – I organised a group of people from camp who were keen to jump out of a perfectly good airplane at 10,500 feet.
Surprisingly, the nerves never really hit. Even when joking with friends about what we would leave each other in our wills. Even when signing away my entire life on a 10 page waiver. Even when waiting a couple of hours for my turn to take the plane up. Even when spending 20 minutes crammed in the smallest plane I’ve been in, my right side pressed against the pilot, my left side pressed against the exit door. Even when the door opened, and you’re looking thousands of feet below. Even then, the only feeling was absolute excitement and buzzing, and the feeling that what I was about to do felt very unnatural and wrong!
The moment the door opened was the moment the entire day has been spent anticipating. The sun beats down on my back, blue sky all around, dotted with only the odd cloud. I know that my friends will be waiting in the dropzone far below, keeping an eye skywards looking for the plane. The ground below looks like a painting as lakes and forests can be seen clearly and greenery stretches all the way to Canada on the horizon. It really is an incredible painting… and I jump into it.
Remembering the freefall itself is difficult; I wonder if sensory overload hit me, as this new experience bombarded my brain with lots of new information. I had anticipated the ol’ ‘stomach in the mouth feeling’ you get on roller coasters but that didn’t happen either. In fact, it didn’t even feel like I was falling – the ground approached quickly but was so distant that changes were not easily noticed. It was a bizarre sensation as it felt as though I was only hovering or just hanging on a thread, poised in space, but I could feel my face being battered by the air as I fell through it.
I had always imagined it would be scary until the moment the parachute opened. But that was not the case; any anxiousness was left at the door. The situation was now entirely out of my control. For some, such a realisation may be terrifying, but personally I just found it liberating – why worry about something entirely out of your control? Instead, there was a rare calmness, where it was impossible to think beyond that exact moment and how awesome it was!
The 30 seconds of freefall, marked by the opening of the canopy, were the fastest of my life and as my canopy opened. I was clearly happy my parachute had opened, but couldn’t believe freefall was already over. They do say ‘time flies when you’re having fun.’ We spiralled down to the ground, and for the first time since jumping I could actually take the time to enjoy the view.
The buzz and rush lasted long after the skydive, but it didn’t actually sink in that I’d done a skydive until much later; it was all just too surreal – something I’d always wanted to do, and always questioned whether I’d be able to – I was sitting back at camp and looked around the room at some of the people I had jumped with and I wondered how they looked so calm and relaxed when only hours ago they had jumped out of a plane. Only then did I realise I was in the same position – I had done a skydive!
Of the seven people in our group who had done it, all absolutely loved it, and we all agreed we wouldn’t hesitate if the opportunity arose to do it again. Some had thought that when they’d done it once, they wouldn’t ever need to go again: it turns out that isn’t the case… Rumour has it they are planning on spending their camp paycheck on another skydive! It is something I am certain I’ll do again, and I can’t wait for it!
Note: days later, I still get an excited feeling whenever I think about how I did a skydive, or look back over pictures or videos.
Note 2: Here’s the video! Check it out!