Saturday, July 02, 2005

Free Falling

Today was totally surreal. On our way down to Hollister for the jump, we ran into terrible traffic. It turns out that also headed to Hollister were 50,000 Harley Davidson fans for the Hollister Independence Rally. So our normally 45 min trip took over 2 hours. There were thousands of Harleys of different shapes and sizes gathered on the highways and byways of little Hollister. We waited around for another two hours before we finally headed up. The airplane was so small that it felt like sitting 16 folks in a large SUV. The door was nothing more than a clear sliding sheet of plexiglass. It definitely did not inspire confidence. But the view was amazing as we ascended quickly to 15,000 ft. Jumping out of a perfectly plane is something which I never thought I could bring myself to do, but as I stood with my toes on the edge of the airplane door and looked down, I knew I was ready to take the plunge. The wind roared in my ear so strongly that I could barely hear my tandem instructor prep me for release. As I stood on the precipice, I looked down to the brown and green below. Ironically, I think I was more afraid of the Grissly Roller Coaster at Great America than I was in that instant. It was so surreal that it was hard for my mind to take in the overwhelming number of thoughts, feelings and images. The sensory overload helped drive back the fear. The instructor, Lee, rocked three times, and off I went! I am not sure what I expected from a dead drop to terminal velocity, but it was exhilarating! After an initial heart stopping moment, I felt nothing by the driving wind pushing on me. The freefall probably lasted about 20 seconds, but it was amazing. It is impossible to describe what it feels like to be completely free as we flew through the cold air. Almost as soon as it began, Lee pulled the cord and in a large whoosh, the canopy deployed. It was like coming to a dead halt in the air. The noise of the wind immediately silenced, and suddenly, there was nothing but calm. It gave me a chance to look around. I could see the bay and the coastal mountains. It was like looking at a satellite map on Keyhole. I leave you with one thought...
You have to SKYDIVE once in your life. It is not to be missed.


Blogger Heather said...

You are correct! Skydiving is something that everyone needs to do at LEAST once. I have such fond memories of my jump, not so much of my was a bit embarrassing, ok a lot embarrassing! I sort of fell over my own feet and landed first on my knees and then flat on my face! The video is a hoot!

8/06/2005 05:50:00 AM  

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