So I am sure most of you have heard by now but I went sky diving today!!! Brandon and I have been talking about doing it for years now so we went and finally did it! I wasn't going to tell anyone I did it until after I got back but that plan got foiled when mom saw that Brandon posted that he was going to jump today on his facebook page, and she knew I was going over to his house today... so she put 2 and 2 together. Oh well.
Anyways, just a warning, this might be a long post because I am still filled with adrenalin and thoughts of todays events are flying through my head and I want to get them all down.
I'm not sure how many of you know but I do actually have a slight fear of heights. (this is one of the reasons I couldn't do the 3-meter and try to dive in college) Going into today I was extremely excited about jumping out of a plane but as we got there and the time got closer, I was scared, well lets say nervous, about the idea. I kept asking Brandon if he was nervous and he kept insisting that he wasn't but as soon as our instructor (Jeff) asked who wanted to go first Brandon jumped right in and said "Steve can go first". Uh-huh, thats what I thought =} I wasn't the only nervous one there, but I was by far more nervous, I'll admit that.
Anyways, we got the quick safety and procedure lesson and then I was harnessed up and ready to go. Now, despite what you might read further on, I really did feel safe with Jeff and I trusted him completely . I couldn't have asked for a better first time instructor.
This (up) is the actual plane we jumped from and I am in it in both of those but the one below is a close up of what it looked like (its a different plane). It pretty much was a small plane with all of the seats taken out. On the way up I sat on the floor by the door right next to the pilot.
Oh, I forgot to mention how ghetto this place looked. When we got there we literally pulled into someone's driveway (who obviously lived in the country by open fields). We went around back to the "hanger" where they were putting together the parachutes on the hanger floor on a bunch of carpets that were thrown next to each other. Very appealing and confidence building!
Anyways, getting back to the jump. As I was sitting on the floor of the airplane, not strapped to a parachute or person at the time, we took off and made our way to 11,500 feet above the ground, not sea level (I believe). When we got to our altitude I slowly turned around and Jeff strapped me to himself (we are now facing forward). He then opened the door and I had to put my right foot out onto the wheel step. The wind hit my foot so hard that it scared the living crud out of me. I then had to cross my arms and lean forward out of the plane (my left foot was still in the plan) as Jeff was getting set and into place. So yes, I was just kind of hanging there 90% out of the plane looking down at the ground. And let me tell you what. As soon as I did that I was about ready to say "Nooope, never mind, pull me in and lets land." But I stayed strong :) It then all went so fast. We launched out of the plane and started tumbling towards the earth.
Some stats Jeff told me:
-We jumped from 11,500 feet above ground
-Free fell for 60 seconds (6,000 feet)
-Pulled the cord at 5,500 feet
-Our free fall speed was somewhere around 140 mph
I decided NOT to pull the cord myself (Jeff said afterwards that he prefers to pull it but gives the students the option) and Brandon DID pull it. He however let go of the cord during the fall and lost it. Whoops :}
In our training Jeff said that as soon as we left the plane we were to hit the "arch" position which would bring us into the proper free falling position (belly towards the ground). And I did that. All I could think about was holding that arch and not moving. Jeff later said that I did that really well. However, after we were falling for a couple seconds I started to notice that I was starting to see sky again (instead of ground) in fact I could see the crescent moon that was in the sky. I remember thinking to myself at that point "Hmm, I don't remember Jeff saying that was going to happen. I trust Jeff, I trust Jeff, I trust Jeff..." We had apparently done a back flip because when we got to the ground he asked me if I had noticed, I did, and he said that we got hit by a gust of wind that flipped us and when he tried his "move" that was suppose to flip us right back over it didn't work. In his words he told me he was saying in the air "oh S**t, that didn't work." But he kept at it until we were right side up!!
I can just hear mom saying at this point of the story "ok, that isn't even funny." But we both had a big laugh over it when he was telling me because obviously he was able to get us fixed and everything went just fine. And hey, I can now say I did a back flip while sky diving!!
He also told me when we were on the ground that he forgot to tell me to breather through my nose and not my mouth. And since I was very busy contemplating the consequences of my most recent decision as I was plummeting towards the earth, I wasn't thinking about common sense and I tried breathing with my mouth open. It sucked the breath right out of me and dried my mouth right up.
It was such a rush when we were free falling but I managed to have these "flash thoughts", as I call them, that were soaring through my head during the fall. Though some of these might sound stupid or cliché, they all really occurred and obviously have stuck with me ever since the jump. Some of those flash thoughts are:
-I am the dumbest person alive
-I am going to die
-I hope the guy packed our chute right
-This is the coolest thing I have ever done
-I'm in heaven, I love this!
-Jeff will hate me if I throw up right now
Those and others just kept zipping through my head until the chute deployed and the pace of the events slowed way down.
Previous to jumping I thought the chute was going to give me whip lash when it opened but in reality, I could barely notice, well, besides the fact we were now going incredibly slower! He let me turn the chute when he was adjusting some of the straps. That was pretty cool. We got to go through some clouds and then we did some "spirals" which is when you pull down on one side of the chute and you start spinning in circles really fast. It actually startled me how much force was put on us when we did that and how fast it felt like we were spinning.
Throughout the whole jump I did feel a little sick in the gut (due to motion sickness) but was able to manage just fine. It seriously was the craziest, most fun and thrilling thing I have ever done and honestly the scariest (almost getting blown off the cruise ship comes in a close second!) I had sooo much fun doing it. I loved the experience and am very proud of myself for going through with it. I have been pumped up ever since the jump, which was over 7 hours ago which is why I am still up doing this blog, mainly because I can not sleep with all of the adrenalin. I feel like I am forgetting somethings so I might have an update blog if I can think of them.
These are of me coming down. They are a little fuzzy because I forgot to tell brandon the secret to clear pictures with my camera.
Right after landing.
These four are of Brandon coming down. Less blurry so you might be able to see them better.
Oh, and both Brandon and I were able to see each other free falling towards the ground. I could actually see Brandon leave the plane. Obviously he was really small but I could see him nonetheless. It was crazy to see how fast it looked when he was free falling and then realizing that I had just done that!
We got certificates to prove we did it!
We got certificates to prove we did it!
These are videos of us landing. I believe I am in the first one (the more blurry one)
I definitely recommend everyone trying it at least once.