Tawheed, Garret, his parents and I went skydiving today at Bay Area Skydiving.
The experience was great. Of course, we signed our lives away before going up. They also had us watch a crazy instructional video that was narrated by a guy that had a beard which must have been two or three feet long. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see him skydiving! We all decided to take the 14,000 ft jump. Tawheed and I thought about going for 18,000, but it was an extra $70 and they would have needed to bring oxygen in the plane, which was a bigger hassle, so we settled with 14k. We did both get video and pictures taken though. It took about an hour before we were all suited up and ready to board the plane.
Garret and his parents went up in the plane before myself and Tawheed. Garret’s mom was definitely the most nervous of the group. The people there are pretty cool though, and it’s clear that things don’t usually go wrong when you see that most of the instructors have several thousand jumps under their belt. Tawheed and I went up about 20 minutes after them, so we didn’t get to watch them drop.
The ride up was interesting. I had never been in a small plane before, but it wasn’t too much of a shock. Once we hit the 14k mark, all the solo jumpers got to go while our cameramen stood outside the plane to wait for Tawheed and I to jump. It seems like it would be really hard to concentrate on keeping a camera on someone while jumping out of an aiplane, but these guys seemed to do it pretty well. Easily the scariest part was the first five seconds after jumping. It’s like the world spins around you until you orient yourself facing downward. After that, everything was pretty smooth. I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I expected on the way down. Freefalling is a very strange experience (and it made my mouth incredibly dry) but at 14,000 ft you only freefall for about a minute.
Once the chute was open, the ride down was pleasant if a little uncomfortable (the harness has a tendency to dig into your groin). Floating down was calm and peaceful. We were able to see all the way to San Francisco and we got to spin around with the parachute a bit as we made our way down. The landing, however, was a different story. There are a few people on the ground who are supposed to catch the tandem jumpers as they fall. Our catchers didn’t manage to catch us and we ended up off balance with my instructor skidding a bit across the ground with me on top of him. In the end, everything was ok though.
I would definitely recommend going to anyone thinking about skydiving. It’s an experience to remember.
UPDATE: The video is now available =)