How, What, Why
Most of us have it on our bucket list, we want to do it at least once in our lives that may or may not happen. There are all kinds of things running thought you head mainly giving you excuses not to do it. Should I, shouldn’t I? Is it too much money, or is it worth it? Is it safe or is it too dangers?
It all starts with booking the jump at the agency. It was in my head for about 2 years, I didn’t have the time last year and the year before is when it popped in my head. Therefore before I went on my trip this year I told myself; I AM going to do this no matter what (anywhere; either in Australia or in the US). So when I asked about Skydiving at the agency, it was easy to make the financial choice to book the jump and buy the video and pictures.
The bus would leave either at 6 am or 11 am, I choose the earlier one so I would have the rest of the day to do something else after. Believe me it did not matter what I did after 😉 So I get up at 5 surprisingly energetic and excited given the fact I was still jet lagged from traveling half way around the world from Egypt to Australia and also staying up late working the 6 or 7 days before it. I get dressed and go down thinking that in a big city like Sydney would have a place opened where I can get breakfast. I found Nothing the streets were deserted. By chance I saw this little place, Can’t remember the name, where I got some coffee and a sandwich. For those of you who know me you know how important food is to me.
The First Step
Finally I get to the skydiving office where the bus will pick us up (not the same place as the agency). There were about 11 of us and there were 2 guys there who were experienced jumpers that just needed a ride to the jump site. The rest of us had to sign forms both in a computer and paper. For me the scariest part of this whole experience was reading and signing these papers. I was reading everything so carefully. In my head I was “should you really do this”, “hell ya you should”, “it seems dangerous”, “it is once in a life time”, “do it”, “don’t” “do it”, “don’t” “do it”, “don’t”, until I told myself you’re doing this so you might as well just stop reading the forms and sign them.
I get on the bus and we start out on hour bus ride to the jump site. Now keep in mind Australia’s winter is in July so it was kind of chilly in Sydney but it was cold at the jump site. When we go to the site they checked us in and we had to wait for our names to be called because I think they match up the instructors with the students (that is what the form I signed called us) based on weight and height so I had to wait a while for my guy because I think he was already jumping with some else. The others went ahead without me so I was with different group that were not on the bus. This did not bother me as I made friends with these 2 university students studying abroad and got to see them land from the ground. I happened to run into them at the airport when I was leaving Sydney, I thought that was cool.
Anyways back to the jump. My name gets called and I go to the staging area where I put on gloves, that blue suite, which was tight, and the harness, which was TIGHTER. I can’t get into any more details without getting graphic. The instructor gave me a few safety instructions and off we went to the plane. The plain is a small propeller plane with a small cockpit/cargo hold so when I tried to climb in, the harness made it a little difficult. I finally get in the plain and I watch as the others get in. As the last person gets in which was an instructor he sees that the parashoot of another instructor was hanging out a little, so he stuffs it back in the backpack. I was thinking hmmm that’s not a good sign, but I just assumed that it was ok because they do this all the time and they did not seem worried. Later I found out that there main parashoot did not open and they had to land using the reserve. As much excitement as I had I am sure the other person had more if he even noticed. Anyways, the plane took off..
This whole time my instructor was filming me with this special camera that is hooked on to his hand. It takes video and then they pull out some frames that are the pictures you guys are seeing. We get up to 14,000 feet (4.27 Km, 2.65 mi) which is the max they are allowed to take us. This is about half the altitude that commercial planes fly at. Keep in mind this is not a commercial plain so it is really LOUD, windy, and cold. I was sitting next to the door so I was in charge of this cushion thing that we stuffed in between the glass door to stop some of the wind rushing into the plain and muffle some of the sound. When we were about to open the door I was in charge of tying it and putting it away, as silly as it sounds I felt like I was one of the professional instructors because I was responsible for this thing 😛
At this point I am still cool and not comprehending what is going on completely. I get hooked on to my instructor and this is when I see the first person with his instructor jump out of the plane. I say jump but it is more like fall. I can’t describe what it is like to see someone fall out of a plain. They just fell. One second they are there the other ooowp falling away. It is surreal.
Here we GOOOOOOOoooooooo….
Now its my turn, my instructor gives me my goggles and a few last minute instructions. One of which is not to put my feet on the platform, I will get to this in a minute. We are tied together at this point so we have to move together to the door. It is harder than it sounds. It is awkward and strange to have someone on you back and try to manager in a small area and have to be careful not to fall out just yet. Remember the instructor told me not to put my feet on the platform for safety reasons. So when we make it to the door (as one) I am latterly just dangling outside of the plane attached to this guy who is on the outside of a plan on a platform with my feet on nothing and looking below and all around me thinking WOW THIS IS INCREADABLE. I did not feel the cold or the wind or anything at this point. I was not scared as well for some reason, I felt like I was on top of the world, almost like when superman flies way up and is just floating there looking down at metropolis. This all happens very quickly but seems much longer in my head.
“ARE YOU READY” I hear my instructor say as he points the camera in my face. “READYYYYYYYYY” I said back….
Free fall begins. My instructor does this amazing thing where he does a flip, YA A FLIP!!!; To get a view of the airplane falling away from us and as he rotated and we were still gaining speed going head first all I could think of is YAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Those first 10 seconds were like no other. The best way I can describe it is if you ever fell asleep sitting up and were spoken up by the feeling that you were falling for a split second you kind of know what it feels like but it lasts much longer. Looking back now I think to myself that is how it feels like to fly. We finally level out and all I feel is the air pressure on my entire body. Like when you sick you hand out of a moving car but more extreme. As I was enjoying the sensation of falling all that is going through my head at this point was what an amazing view and this is so awesome. That day it was a clear day but there were a few clouds. So as you are falling you still feel it but the only visual indication is the lay of clouds below you and to the right start to be rise above you as you break through the layer of cloud. Then all of a sudden I found my feet flying forward and us slowing down, my instructor has pulled the cord and the Parashoot opened. Which for some reason I never really worked about because I was so into the moment. Looking back now, I wonder if I jumped by myself would I remember to pull the cord 😛 The whole thing takes about a minute (60 Seconds) and about 5 minutes to float down. The float down was increasable as well. Besides the beautiful view, the sensation of floating really takes you over. After the extreme rush of falling out of a plan and falling at 9.8 m/s squared (the geeks in my noticed that later on in the day) you can’t help but be taken over by the peace and tranquility of floating on top of the earth like that.
Its time to land, landing is an experience in its self as well as the instructor needs to speed up before he does something to the parashoot to make use slow down. So if you can imagine it is the last few feet and you are not floating anymore and actually gaining speed at the same time you have to lift your legs up so you can come to a sliding stop. It was over I got up and if you noticed in the video I can barely stand from the rush that I am still going through. After all that excitement but bus ride back to Sydney was a sleepy one 🙂
We often go through our experiences without getting the most out of them. What I like to do is to reflect on what happened and if there are any observations or things I learned along the way that I might have missed. However, when I got back to Sydney I automatically got the most out of the experience. I felt unstoppable, partly from the jump it’s self but mainly from the fact that I wanted to do it for the longest time and made a choice to did it. I knew and felt that I am in charge of this world and nothing can stop me. By world I mean my life. While I always knew deep down inside that nothing is out of my reach and I can do anything this confirmed it. While this experience made the term “skys the limit” have a new meaning I believe it is in all of us to reach for the Skys and be in charge of our own worlds, all you need to do is take… that…first…..step.