I have always wondered what it would be like to fly. As a kid, I used to pretend that I was a bird, an airplane or anything that flew through the air.
Skydiving has always been of interest to me as a natural consequence of my desire to fly. I have always wanted to do it, but never thought I will be able to do it.
Well, during the Easter break, I had an opportunity to visit Whitsunday Islands with my friends. We spent the whole week there, exploring the islands, skydiving, snorkelling, ocean rafting, visiting Airlie beach, Boat haven beach and White haven beach, which is clearly the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.
I got to fly for the first time, and it wasn’t by riding in an airplane. It was by jumping out of one from 14,000 ft. high which is my biggest adventure till date! My friend took an initiative and booked our slot at Skydive in Airlie beach, Whitsunday Islands. We got the 11:00 AM slot. I reached the place by 10:30 AM hoping to return with my mission accomplished.
Check in at the reception
I checked in at the reception and completed the paperwork, where you basically sign your life away and waive the Tandem of any liability in the event of a mishap (injury or death). I had to sign the waiver that I already read all the safety rules and watched their video and responsible for my life. I also paid money for photos and video.
As I came out of the reception, I looked at the sky. The weather was very unpredictable. Kept on changing from being sunny to cloudy, rainy with cool breeze. But, I was lucky enough that the weather was perfect when my turn came. It was clear, blue and sunny with cool breeze. I thanked God for that beautiful time and prayed that it should not change till my jump.
Before your turn comes, you will have endless time of the world to think about anything you want to divert your mind from freaking out. I was chilling with my friend getting our endless pictures clicked as if it would be the last day of my life. No matter whatever the time of your Tandem slot is given, you will have to wait for at least minimum 2-3 hours depending upon miscellaneous reasons (be it weather conditions, etc.). You will see a number of people climbing the airplane and landing through parachute. Videographers and photographers would be clicking their endless pictures, family and friends would be waiting on the ground. You will get fascinated in 2-3 take-offs and parachute landings and be desperately waiting for your turn.
Waiting for announcement of your name to dress up and instructions
As soon as I heard my name, I was waiting for my instructor who came in few minutes and introduced himself. He gave me the jump suit to dress myself over my clothes. The jump suit was little loose, but then my instructor fixed it and it was looking fine. Later, my instructor gave me 5 minutes of Skydiving instructions – cross arms, head back, knees bent and jump. One tap on the shoulder is a sign to open your arms. Second instruction is to bring the arms close to chest as the parachute opens and knees bent for landing.
All set to fly
Within 15 minutes, my instructor took me to the airplane boarding area. He took the interview video of me and my friend and asked several questions whether we were nervous or it was our first jump etc. He instructed me to look up while diving and smile in front of the camera, look for his sign when he will give me to hold his hand and I have to let him go as per his sign. I wasn’t nervous that time. I was feeling very excited as if I was going to war front to save my country.
Time to take the jump
Luckily, my friend and I were in the same plane. I was about to climb. By now, I knew that it was the time of no turning back and not freaking out as now universe also conspires me to jump! We’re in. The door closes. We’re off. Squashed into two benches that face each other. At 10000 ft., my heart was beating fast and I was little nervous, trying to overcome my fear by smiling and looking out of the window. It was looking surreal from the airplane window.
At 14000 ft., my instructor nudged me towards the open door. As soon as I saw my friend jumping out of the plane, I was fascinated by that sight. The plane ride lasted for almost 20 minutes.Standing at the edge of the door and looking out at the vast openness below, I must trust you believe that I am not trying to fake any sense of bravado when I say that I felt no fear. There was no expression on my face – no anxiety, no tension. I was utterly devoid of pain, grief and worry. I felt no affliction of the mind or the soul.
I looked out upon that beautiful view and was surprised to feel complete peace within myself. In that moment, I felt like I owned the world. I could feel the cool air on my face with the speed of more than 200 mph as if it was welcoming me. However, I only remembered my instructions. You might be thinking how I could forget such important instructions, but it happens because of tension! Thanks to my instructor who bend my head on his shoulder within fraction of seconds before our jump.
Sixty second free fall
The first few seconds seemed to be a blur due to the sensory overload. But once we achieved terminal velocity, it was incredible. There was no falling sensation, the kind that one experiences in a roller coaster. Rather it was almost as if we were floating on a cushion of air. I know that this is the moment everyone will be waiting for – the 60 second free fall. I had to hold my instructor’s hand but the air was very powerful and I wasn’t able to hold his hands. He managed to capture our close-up shots.
Parachute and Landing
60 seconds later, he launched the parachute and I found myself peacefully floating towards the drop zone. I hear his voice in my ear as he loosens my goggles, unfastens the harness and asks if I’m alright. Suffice to say, that it was exhilarating. My instructor asked me if I wanted some spins on Parachute, I said No!
The parachute ride down took around 7 minutes and the landing was incredibly soft. Wow, this experience was nothing like I had imagined. It was the best moment of my life and I couldn’t express it in words!
After my jump, I spent a while chatting with my instructor about the dive, I thanked him and gave him a big hug. I got out of the equipment and returned the jumpsuit. I believe that my first skydive has thrust me a little closer to my existence and changed my perspective about the world. It is an experience that I hope to undertake many more times and shall never forget my first jump experience. Maybe, I will be doing my second jump soon but first jump is always special.
If you haven’t tried skydiving, I strongly urge you to try it once. It is definitely a life changing experience you’ll live throughout your life!