About at 14,500 Feet)
I never experienced any nervous moments on the day of skydiving.
My theory went as follows: Thousands of people do this every
year and land safely. Plus, I'm going to be attached to an
experienced diver. So what is there to be scared about? Even
as we bumped our way down the gravel path to the hanger. Even
when we saw the dilapidated, old trailers where we would train,
I still stuck to my theory, this has to be safe, they haven't
had any accidents...yet.
Joe and Darcy jumped first, and since they seemed to survive
just fine, I climbed on board the plane with very little trepidation.
At this point, other than the video, I hadn't received any
instructions, so as we bumped and dipped our way up to 14,500
feet, I began to wonder if Chuck, my instructor (and Joe's
instructor), was going to give me further directions.
At 8,000 feet I swiveled my head and tried to eavesdrop on
a conversation that the other jumper had with her instructor.
She doesn't want to spin? "Hmm, I don't want to spin,
should I tell Chuck that?" I thought to myself.
At 10,000 feet, I began to wonder; "Hmm, we're getting
close, maybe I should ASK for instructions?"
At 12,000 feet, Chuck yells "ok, scootch to the door."
"The clear door," I think, "the one that looks
extremely flimsy, while I'm not hooked into anything?"
I hesitate, but scoot towards the door.
"Closer," bellows Chuck.
At 14,000 feet, it's time to jump.
"Hook, me up. Hook me up!" I scream in my head.
"Sit up straighter,"Chuck screams over the engine,
"Crap, now I'm losing my balance," I think, "and
that door is not too sturdy."
14,500 feet, finally strapped to Chuck, I yell, "when
do I stop tucking?"
"I'll let you know," yells Chuck.
He'll let me know? How?
"Well, I don't want to spin," I scream as the plane
"You don't want to spin," Chuck asks incredulously,
So we scootch closer to the door. Closer, closer, we lean
forward and we're out. Tumbling end over end, I can't take
my eyes off of the ground. Unfortunately, Chuck was not big
on insulating his students and my hands were ungloved. The
pain was excruciating. The only clear thought in my head during
the freefall was, "This only lasts a minute and then
the pain will be over." That was one long minute.
Meanwhile, my flimsy goggles kept sliding up my head and
at the rate we were falling I could kiss my contacts goodbye.
Next problem, I had agreed to pull the cord. Only I was afraid
to move my arm down, because I didn't want us to spin and
then I couldn't find the cord.
Well, I figured that Chuck would figure this out for himself
and eventually Mr. 'I've jumped over 7,000 times', pulled
No more screaming was necessary at this point, because once
the chute opens it is the most peaceful, quiet, calm you can
Chuck starts to twirl us through the sky and asks me how
my stomach is.
"Fine" I say. "That's an odd question I think,
"I wonder why he's asking me that."
Then it hit me, my stomach rolled over and I thought for
sure that I was going throw up all over the great, blue sky.
Somehow I made it down without disgracing myself.
As we approached the ground, Chuck began to discuss the landing.
Because of the weather, we were supposed to do the fast-walk
landing. This is where you take a few quick steps when you
land to slow yourself down and come to a stop. I'm still not
sure what happened, but we landed, took a few quick steps
and landed in an ignoble heap on the ground.
Skydiving experience over. No throwing up, all my limbs intact
and just one scratch on my leg from the landing. Beth and
Gwen, who have yet to go, come running over and I tried desperately
to swallow the nauseous feeling. I mustered up a smile and
said, "Great, good." That was about all I could
manage, because I was still reliving my breakfast.
Would I do it again? No. Would I recommend this? Yes. Take
gloves and get good goggles. There's nothing like a little
adventure to add the Tabasco to your Bloody Mary life!