Sunday, July 11, 2010

My first skydiving experience

Me with my friends Yomesh, Bhavin, and Mahesh
 Me and my friends went to the Poconos resort town of Tannersville PA for the July 4th long weekend. Our friends had skydiving on the top of their list of the activities during the stay. But I was not sure if I was going to do it till the end because my wife was not there with me and I knew she would love to do it as well. I was a bit hesitant to jump from a plane at 13000 feet and knew not all my friends would go for it. To my surprise, many of my friends and their wives were planning to dive and were very excited about it. One of my friends who had come with his parents and his months old baby did not plan to dive. So we started to make our own plans to spend the time when the other folks were skydiving. Unfortunately, none of our plans worked out and in the end we decided to go with the rest of the group to the airfield and hoped to go somewhere near during their skydive. With no proper alternate plan to do and seeing the rest of my friends geared up and excited, I gave in and signed up for skydiving.

The 'Air Bus'
At the skydiving center, we were first asked to watch a video which started with a short briefing of the risks involved in the act and the details of the disclaimer form were were going to sign. The guy in the video basically said that we can not sue the company in the event of any accident even if it was their fault due to the trainer's negligence or faulty equipment provide by them and I was giving up my legal rights by signing the disclaimer document. I had made up my mind to jump anyways and it did not mean anything to me. Though  I quickly googled up to read the risks of skydiving and was reassured by the fact that the chances of death during skydiving was roughly the same as a woman dying because of child labor. Roughly 1 in 100,000.

The Jump
I met with the instructor with whom I was going to tandem-jump and the photographer who was gonna shoot my jump. If jumping out of an airplane is crazy.. think of the people who do it for a living... They both were very playful and seems to have a good understanding among themselves. Well lets say all this worked out very well to make my experience memorable.

We boarded a plane which looked like a half a century old city bus that runs in Chennai. All this while I was expecting to feel tensed but it did not happen. The plane took us up for a good 15 minutes which felt like ages. I should say they took us quite high (about 13000 feet). All this while I was expecting to feel tensed/ scared but I felt OK. I just kept saying to myself that I have to remember this whole experience clearly and have to enjoy myself to the fullest extent. The doors of planes opened after the lights on the door turned from red to amber to green. I felt the chill air and the sight of the ground below gave me a little scare. The guys in front of me started jumping and the were out of my sight in no time... I tried to calm my nerves and when my turn came, I jumped with out thinking much (or did my instructor push me? ) and then began the most exhilarating experience in my life.

It took a few seconds for me to regain my senses and realize what had just happened. After that I started enjoying my first "flight". Yes, I felt like flying and the view was just stunning. The photographer came near us and we did a short spin. That guy could just maneuver himself like a bird and boy what a great job he did with the video and pics... We dove for a minute and a half and in what felt like no time, the instructor pulled the parachute. I felt a the straps tighten up my thighs, the parachute opened up and dive was over.  After that I made myself comfortable with the parachute straps and started enjoying the descent. It felt almost like an airplane landing from then on. I joked something about a roller coaster to my instructor and I don't know if that offended him. He then started to do these spins with the parachute which I enjoyed very much. In no time, we were near the ground and we had a smooth landing on the grass below.

Free fall's over :(..
I have to tell those who are planning to sky dive that while this experience was nothing close to anything I had experienced before.. I never felt scared at all during the whole drop. I never felt uncomfortable either (I always thought my stomach would churn like it happens when we ride a giant wheel but I felt no churning). The only discomfort was when the parachute opened up that the straps were pressing on my thighs.  It is a very different experience and it is nowhere near those rides in an amusement park.  Just close your eyes and jump.. Just kidding.. you don't want to miss out on the amazing view when you jump.

 I found my friend Bhavin had just landed near me and we both did a 'high five' and were walking together towards the hanger just like Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in the movie Independence day.  Too bad we did not find a cigar ;)

Please click here  for more pictures.



Anonymous said...

Nice Blog dude... summarized well...Bhavin

Suganya said...

Awesome... I am sure Madhavi would have missed it.

Maddy said...

you dont have to post photos or videos..just ur post does all magic!!
Yeah Suganya....I really missed this wonderful trip:(

Garfield said...

I remember my first jump. It was scary, but not as bad when I had someone strapped to my back, haha. 25 jumps later, I want to go skydiving in new york city over all the buildings now. It's not nearly as scary as that first time anymore.