This was the morning that I woke up at 6:00 to jump out of an airplane. Insane, huh? Maybe, but I enjoyed the hell out of my day.
My cousin decided to go with me, she's not scared of anything. So we drove out to the Skydive pit to meet my friend Ralph and his brother Joe. After getting lost thanks to the crappy directions on MapQuest, we finally got there about 8:30. Since I arrived first, I watched a quick ten minute video about tandem diving (no way was I jumping out of a plane alone) and how it was invented. The rest of the group showed up and then we sat around and watched some other jumpers and everyone getting ready. Since all four of us wanted videos, we ended up having to wait a few hours and being split into two planes.
Finally, the time for Sarah and I to jump was up. We got suited up, had some instructions from our jumpers, and headed out to the two propeller plane that takes everyone up.
I expected the ride to be pretty bumpy, but it was a really easy take-off. There were about fifteen people in there including me, Sarah, our jumpers, and our videographers. All the people who were solo jumping were really nice and you could tell that they were happy for us that we were about to do our first jump. At 7,000 feet we finished suiting up and sat in their laps so we could get attached to their rigs. It was then up to 14,000 feet (just over two and a half miles) and time to jump.
When Eric (my jumper; he says he's jumped almost 5,000 times) and I approached the door, I did the dumbass thing of looking down and my first thought was, "Oh, ****. This is way too high." Since I was strapped to Eric who was about a foot taller than me and outweighed me by a hundred pounds or so, when he jumped, wasn't much else I could do but hang on.
Honestly, after the first shock of looking down, I wasn't scared at all. I can't really describe the feeling, but it was unlike anything I've ever felt. It wasn't like falling, which I had expected, but probably as close to flying as a person can ever feel, especially at 100+ miles per hour.
The freefall was incredible, but the best part was after he pulled the chute. Suddenly, it was the most peaceful, quietest experience of my life. On the ground, there's always ambient sounds - the hum of the refrigerator and other electrical appliances, people talking, etc. Up in the air, though, there was nothing. That alone made it worth everything.
Landing was easy since all I did was tuck my knees up and Eric did the rest. Sarah and her jumper landed after me so I watched her come down. Ralph and Joe were in the next plane so we went in and got out of our suits and came back out to watch them. Joe brought along champagne, so we then toasted ourselves and agreed to make this our first jump anniversary and come out and do this every year around this day. All in all, I'm proud of myself and I am so doing this again.
I have a video from when I jumped out of the plane until the chute pull. Here's a picture of Sarah from the jump.