For my 40th birthday, Jenn bought me a surprise tandem skydiving adventure! However, due to weather, the actual jump would have to occur a week later than planned. I've always wanted to jump out of an airplane, despite my fear of heights, so I looked forward to doing it.
The outfit she booked through was Skydive Snohomish, which has a great safety record. They're an impressive operation. They give you about 40 minutes of training before they send you up. I really wasn't too nervous (though I think my body was telling me I was more nervous than I felt), until the actual moment of the jump. My instructor, Kelly, was friendly and very helpful and he made the whole experience a blast, especially the video portion. Kelly has over 5,000 jumps under his belt and was on his 10th jump of the day by the time it was my turn.
Out of our group, I was the first to jump. There were two solo jumpers on the plane with us who went first, and watching them jump is when it really hit me and my gut that this was happening. After they jumped we started scooching toward the door. Feet out. Wind. Oh fuck oh fuck he's making me lean forward.... oh god I'm falling.
And you fall. Faster then you ever have in your life, and for those first 3 seconds it was pure fear, but then once we hit terminal velocity (at 180mph) we stablized and I realized, "hey, this isn't so bad" and was able to start yukking it up for the camera and actually enjoy the freefall. By now the drogue chute was out and slowing us to 125mph. Eventually the main chute opened and it was a nice, surprisingly quiet, glide down.
Kelly asked me if I liked roller coasters, and regrettably, I said, "no, it's ok". I now wish I did experience the real spins that the open chute was capable of doing. Soon I was back on the ground and absolutely pumped full of adrenaline. I can't wait to do it again.
Here's the video: