I finally did it!! I went skydiving on Sunday!

[Be forewarned, this post is really long and details my “play-by-play” skydiving experience. Feel free to read through, or skip to here to read the PF tie-in. Enjoy!] 

We woke up bright and early, drove over to our friends house (about a 1/2 hour), then we drove over to the airfield (another 1/2 hour drive). My friend had called the day before to reserve our spots, but they had told him there was no need, we could just walk in since they weren’t too busy in the books.

Well, whoever told him that was wrong! lol. We were put on the list, but the wait was….well, really long! We arrived there at 9:30 and sat….and sat…and sat. In the meantime people would come in, get suited, go out, another busload of people would come back with the parachutes, and another load would board the plane and go out. It was pretty exciting, but we wanted to jump already!! It wasn’t until 1pm or so that they finally called us to go and suit up. (We were load #9 of the day)

After the experienced divers came back from the previous load, we were paired with our instructors, introduced ourselves…and we were off to get on the plane! (Eeek!) The whole time we’d been sitting I had just been slightly annoyed, and mildly nervous (more excited than scared though). I was “relieved” when we finally were able to board the plan (finally, something is happening!)

I’m not even sure when the plane took off, because I was too busy looking around…it was tiny, and there were over 12 of us crouched in this plane. I wish I’d had a camera on me! The whole time we were ascending I was looking out the window, then looking at my altimeter to see how far up we were. I remember at one point looking out and marveling at how high we were, how beautiful the sky and the land looked below us…and we were only at 4,000 ft!!! We still had over 10,000 left to ascend! (Holy crap!)

I was still excited as my ears started to pop, and as we rose through the first set of clouds. I thought to myself “Life is beautiful” (and then “oh no…I hope I don’t die! I don’t have a will! I wonder if my parents will be able to get a hold of all my accounts!” lol. That only lasted for a fraction of a second)

It wasn’t until we started to clear the second set of clouds that I started to get nervous. I felt no butterflies, only deadness in my stomach. Then they opened the door, and the experienced skydivers started to jump out. That’s when I freaked out…I was thinking “holy crap! What am I doing?!!!!” I didn’t have much more time to think, because my instructor started to get me to the opening giving the last bit of instruction (cross your arms over your chest, and tilt your head back), I popped my head out of the plane…and he pushed off!

I started to get that feeling I get on roller coasters when you start to drop…the air got sucked out of me, and I instinctively closed my eyes (I know! I’m a dork!). My friend later said that we did a flip when we jumped out, so I like to think thats why I closed them. I think it lasted for all of a second, and I remember thinking to myself “open your eyes, you idiot!”, and I did.

The view was INCREDIBLE!

We were supposed to have 60 seconds of free fall, but it felt like much more than that. At this point I didn’t feel scared or anything…just a heck of a lot of wind rushing up, and it was COLD! (Mind you, it was well over 80 on the ground) I’m a wimp, so my arms were hurting from the force. That was just an afterthought though…its a strange feeling to describe, really. You’re in the air, with nothing but another diver strapped to you…no plane, no nothing. And you really don’t feel fear. Just amazement.

Then the instructor pushed my hand in front of me. The altimeter read 5,000ft…time to deploy the parachute!

(Inside they had told us that our instructor would pull it for us, so I was completely unprepared! “Was it on the left side? The right side? Is he sure? Am I supposed to do it?”) Apparently I took too long, because he deployed it for me (“[sigh] he just saved my life!”). I felt a strong jolt as my weight transfered to the harness and we started to float (and I started to HURT! Unfortunately the harness had shifted from right under the boobs, to right OVER them! Ouch!)

The first thing I noticed was how quiet it was, and again…SO beautiful! My friend was amused by this, but at this point my instructor and I started to chat (he’d lived in Louisiana his whole life, went to school there, then he lived for 10 years in the city where I went to college! hehe. What a coincidence!) I must’ve sounded like a dork, because I asked “what am I looking at?” He started to show me where West was, and we spun around (he even let me “take the reigns!” Actually, he let me hold the loops…he was holding on higher up, lol) as he shows me some landmarks (not too many in our part of the country). If it had been less cloudy near the city, I would’ve had a clear view of downtown!! It was sooooo cool!

I have no idea how much time passed between the time our parachute deployed until the time we landed, but it was so strange! For a while I felt like I was just standing still, hanging in mid air. I swear, I didn’t feel a thing! No wind, still no sounds, and everything looked so tiny! It was also interesting to feel the temperature transition from really cold, to over 80 degrees. When we started to circle around to land (there was a gravel circle in the middle of the field), thats when I finally began to feel “movement”. We actually ended up missing the landing spot by a few feet and we landed in grass (and I landed on my knees, lol).

So what’s my conclusion? IT WAS INCREDIBLE!

Was it worth the $249? ($498 if you count my BFs gift certificate) DEFINITELY! (hey, I also got a certificate and a free t-shirt…that totally sweetened the deal!)

Also, the blank/freaked out look on my BF’s face while we were in the plane about to jump out, seeing him land on the ground right before me (and being scared we’d plop down on top of him), and the look of exitement on his face when we were back on the ground : PRICELESS!

Will I do it again? Uhh…give me a couple days and I’ll let you know, lol. I think I probably will, but I’d have to save up for it 😉 and I’d like to go see some new sights while I’m that high up!

Its an experience you can’t put into words. You can read mine, but you will have NO clue (plus, I’m not a great writer, lol).

We all had the option to buy pictures and/or a DVD of us skydiving, but we opted out of it. No picture will ever compare, and a video? Nope, it won’t either. (Plus it was $80 for one option, $100 for both, so that didn’t help.) Ultimately, some people do choose to get them and thats fine too.

As a sidenote, seeing those pros jump out of the plane (and kinda doing it myself) has convinced me that while I will entertain the thought of tandem skydiving again (that’s with an instructor strapped to your back, like we did and all beginners do), I’m not sure I would EVER want to do it by myself. That is just WAY too hardcore for me!! Props to them, they are AWESOME!

Anyone else been skydiving? How about in Nappa Valley? I had someone tell me recently that that is where she went skydiving for the first time…I’d love to skydive there!