I did it. I jumped out of a plane! And I'm still alive.
This past Saturday was the day I decided to cross one more thing off of my bucket list: Sky diving.
It was one crazy experience, but I'm glad I did it. So, let me tell you what it's like, because pictures and videos only tell half the story.
The plane itself is no big deal. You get in a harness and board the thing. There are two benches that go along the length of the plane (at least on the plane I was on). You straddle the bench, and face the back of the plane, next to your instructor and photographer. Then the plane takes off. It's very loud! At 1500 feet, they open the doors of the plane to get "air conditioning," because it gets really stuffy. Before they do that, the instructor hooks you to himself. At 14,000 feet, it's jump time. You scoot down the bench, squat down, and walk to the edge of the open door. Then you wait. The jump master says, "Ready?"
You say, "Ready!"
Then it's one, two, and you're out the door!
Oh, yeah. I forgot to tell you how cold it was up there. Freezing! And did I mention how loud it was? It gets even louder when the wind rushes past you!
I wasn't nervous at all, stooping by the doorway. It seemed like a pretty normal thing to jump out of a plane. But when you go out. Whoa! It takes a second for your brain to figure out what just happened. But it's only a second. Once you figure out that you have to arch your back, look up, and kick your legs up, you're fine. That's when you orient yourself as to which way is up.
My first comment would be how much air is blowing against your face and body. Cold air! You can't look down, because all that cold air rushing up will make it impossible to breathe. You must look up, which isn't a problem when you have a photographer pointing a video camera in your face. Did I mention how fast you're going? Over 100 miles an hour! At that point, you don't even have time to think about how nice the view is. You're just wondering what the heck you just did!
When you're stabilized, you can do tricks. My instructor wanted to know if I got dizzy easily. I didn't think so, so we agreed to test that theory - by spinning in circles. I linked hands with the photographer, and went around a couple of times. Then he let go, and I went around and around and around, all while going down at a hundred miles an hour.
But then came the part I didn't like. Parachute deployment. I would have been quite happy to free fall all the way down. (Until maybe I splatted on the ground.) When the parachute is deployed, it's a major jolt to your body. You are yanked from a horizontal position, to a vertical position, and rocketed upward. That's when my harness hurt. Maybe for guys this isn't so bad, but for a woman? Ouch!
After the parachute deploys, it gets quiet, and things slow down. You can talk to your instructor, which is exactly what I did. Except, I was feeling quite nauseated. I'm not sure if it was the spinning, or the falling, the harness, the tight goggles, or the fact that I was very hungry and thirsty (I had waited four hours to do the jump.), or a combination of all of it, but I thought for sure I was going to vomit when I was 2000 feet above the ground.
I wish I had been a little more comfortable at that point, because the view was really beautiful. My instructor asked if I wanted to steer the parachute. I would've if I wasn't feeling like I was going to completely lose my insides. I wanted to get on solid ground, and get that darn harness off of me! (The instructor did loosen it, but it was still uncomfortable.)
The landing was easy. Usually, you have to stick your legs in front of you, and you land on your bottom. We came in slow enough, that I was able to land on my feet.
When I landed, I was praying I wouldn't throw up. I looked like I was about to in the video, but thankfully, it all stayed inside.
Would I do it again? Yes. It was an awesome (I know - I said "awesome" way too many times in the video. Just deal with it.) experience, and I'm glad I did it. If I do it again, I hope I feel a little better so I can enjoy it even more.
If you'd like to watch an unedited version of the video, here it is.