Sunday, February 16, 2014

Skydiving for Andrew's 30th Birthday!

We just got home from skydiving in Pinjarra!

I bought Andrew a tandem skydive (14,000ft) for his 30th birthday, and I decided to do it with him. It was incredible, like nothing I've ever experienced and completely not what I expected. I can't recommend it enough!

The drop zone was way more ad hoc than I had expected, but all of the staff were really lovely and immediately put us at ease. They all had a dry sense of humour and made a lot of jokes about memory loss, it being their first jump/week, running out of fuel, using black and gold batteries for the auto-reserve system… at least I hope they were all jokes!

After having a briefing about what to expect and where to put our arms/legs at what point during the experience we suited up in our awesome (but quite smelly) jumpsuits and met our tandem partners (Sheldon and Antonio, both awesome guys). There were 7 of us (including the pilot) on a very small plane, Andrew and I were jumping together with a lovely lady who's kids had bought the same jump for her 60th birthday. It was all very intimate, we were sitting on our tandem partners' laps! 

It took a lot longer than I thought to get up to 14,000ft, probably about 10minutes. It was a beautiful view and I was lucky enough to be right up next to the cockpit so I got a good look of all the controls. At one point Antonio told me to tap the pilot's arm and tell him "you're a good man!", which was obviously code for "please do some crazy shit" because after asking me if I was sure (to which I confusedly nodded yes) he did a big dip down then pulled up with the plane, my poor brain didn't know what to think!

At 14,000ft a light started blinking, an alarm sounded, and then the door opened up to let in a rush of loud and very cold wind. Andrew was first out of the the plane, and it actually blew my mind see him go out, it was very surreal! The lady went next and I was last out. Dangling my feet over the edge was not as scary as I thought it would be, I felt more alert and completely focused rather than scared. After Antonio told me to scream "fuck yeah!" we tumbled out, and I managed to get a view of the plane in the first tumble. 

After a few seconds I got the thumbs up meaning I could let my arms out, and for the next 60 seconds I experienced free fall and reached terminal velocity of about 200km/hr. It felt very fast, the wind whipping past gave me a very distinct sense of the speed, but I didn't feel that feeling in my stomach you get from roller coasters or drop rides. It was just exhilarating, and I didn't feel scared at all. 

The parachute opened and pulled us back a bit more roughly than I expected, and then we started our glide down. I was allowed to steer for a bit, and I took to opportunity to spin as much as possible, that was an amazing feeling! There are two ropes, one for each hand, and you pull down harder to turn faster. At one point we were completely horizontal, the parachute was next to us! Well that's what it felt/looked like, I wonder what it was actually like. 

The landing was really smooth, we landed on our feet then fell down on our bums. I was so sad it was over so quickly, but my got it was an amazing experience!