Back to Cali! No cross-country roadtrip this year, but lots of fun on the horizon nonetheless :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

time for some thrilling heroics!

So, not quite out of the blue since I've been waiting to do that for years, I decided to take advantage of my stay on the gorgeous Californian coast to look for a skydiving club and just, you know, jump out of a plane.

At 18.000 ft.

Seeing the giganormous grey clouds that morning, I got very concerned since I had pretty much only that day to do it, and no room to reschedule. Fortunately, by noon the sky cleared and it became the most beautiful day ever. I could not have wished for more.

The tarmac and plane.
skydive pics
skydive pics
skydive pics

It's a King Air, which happens to be the kind of plane I'd buy if I had the moneys to get one. Cool coincidence! :)

After a couple of hours the sky was blue and the sun was shining. So they got us ready.

All suited up and ready to go!
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Meet Andrea and Benjamin, two UCSC students who became my de-facto companions on this adventure.
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They decided to do that after a dare. Can you believe that? Kudos to them, and thanks for coping with my incoherent babbling while we waited for the skies to clear up. I even managed to sneak Doctor Horrible into the conversation, that's how much of a nerd I am.

Here's the warning promising all kinds of doom if regs are not followed. (and some even if they are)
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We all noticed with a certain amusement that it is conveniently placed on our backs, just so we can't read it, become rational and run away to a world of sanity.


Anyways.

After the club got the greenlight from the powers-that-be, things were rolling and the time came for serious business. They got a first round of skydivers before my turn, as I was in plane number 2. We all watched them and one of the other guys had this brilliant idea to say "Well, they're all open!".
Heh. Nervous laughter ensued.
Getting in the plane was when it got kind of real, like, OK, now I'm actually doing this??

Yes, I am DOING THIS!
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I know I look nervous here, but I am actually enjoying the view. True story.
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All set.
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And then, the moment came. It all went so fast, one second Benjamin was there in front of me, the next he was gone. And it was MY turn.

The "Holy shit" moment
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skydive pics

Quick smile for the camera
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And WOOOHOOO, off we go!
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skydive pics
skydive pics

You know, honestly, I may have yelled. I don't remember. Suddenly I was out, tumbling around, with the wind blowing in my face at 200 km/h. Totally confusing. It took a while to manage to breathe, there's too much air coming in. But then, I could actually enjoy the freefall...

skydive pics
skydive pics
skydive pics
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... and the view, oh my!
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skydive pics
skydive pics
skydive pics

No time to think. Sensory overload is pure fun.
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skydive pics
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Freefall is such a thrill. It doesn't actually feel like a fall. After the initial tumble, once your speed is constant and you're stabilized, it's really smooth, a bit like body-surfing, except with air instead of water. And yeah, 500% more intense.

Eventually, my instructor opened the chute.
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skydive pics
skydive pics
skydive pics
skydive pics

And there came the scariest part, for it was not the fall, mind you, that stuff was all kinds of fun. No, the scary part was when my instructor, after opening the canopy, gave me the handles and then casually told me "Ok now you're in control!"

WHAT?? I was already kinda very careful not to touch anything on my gear, lest I open something I shouldn't and plummet to the ground like a certain sperm whale, but then, I got pretty much petrified.

But that's part of the fun, right?

Yet all went well, he made me do some turns and stuff before taking the controls back for the landing. And after a flight of, I don't know, six or seven minutes, we touched the ground.

skydive pics
skydive pics
skydive pics

And we all rejoiced in the fact that I am now a certified lunatic. :D
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This is the most mind-blowingly fantastic thing I've ever done. So exhilarating, I've never felt more alive.

If you get the chance, go for it!

I'll add a big, big thanks to the very friendly and very professional staff over at Skydive Monterey Bay for the experience of a lifetime. Always there for any question, or to clear any doubts, on top of everything... Big props to them.

W00t!
 

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