date completed: 03 September 2014
Out of all the challenges on my 25 for 25 list, this is the one I feared the most. I bit the bullet, contacted Skydive Madrid, and paid a deposit for a 3000m tandem skydive + photos for my last day of Portugal/Spain adventure. The package was a whopping €265. Happy early graduation to me~
I got to the office of the Skydive centre where I paid the remainder of my tandem jump and photo package. I then went to the manifest to let her know I was there and drop off the case they would use to put my photo CD in. There was a cafeteria and terrace for people waiting. It was getting close to lunch time but I definitely wasn’t hungry yet and I didn’t want to eat before jumping. My guide got me after about 10 minutes and brought me to the hangar. He was a Bulgarian man who moved to Spain a few years ago and had been skydiving for 35 years – that’s longer than I’ve been alive. :O I immediately started getting my jumpsuit and harness on, and he gave me a 10 minute briefing on everything I would need to do at each step of the jump. We hopped in an aircraft carrier with the pilot and six other jumpers, including my cameraman.
That’s me smiling on the outside, dying on the inside, folks. The experience of just flying up was kind of surreal and I felt kind of numb from fear. I think it took about 15-20 minutes to get to the 3000m mark. Fist bumps were thrown around before everyone started jumping out, one or two at a time. Started feeling hyped up! My instructor and I were the last to go, and we scooted over to the edge of the plane with my legs dangling gingerly off the plane, and that mingling of fear and excitement took over me. I leaned back onto my instructor’s shoulder as told, and after a few counts, he propelled us off of the plane and into the sky~~~
That initial fall was so scary for me! It’s a lot like coming down on a roller coaster but all you see is sky. That feeling only lasted for 5-10 seconds and then I felt like I came back into my senses again and started really enjoying the exhilaration and sheer crazy of the experience. Cue the obligatory soundtrack: Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones (ft. Sia)”. We rotated around and you can see some unflattering pictures of my chubby cheeks in our descent. :P But the fall didn’t feel long enough! At 1000m, the parachute was opened and we floated around for a really long time. The cameraman kept going a little further before he opened up his parachute. It was crazy seeing how small everything was and thinking about just how high up I was. The instructor had me hold onto the parachute thingies and guided us in turning around and then veering left and right. It was a lot of fun but got slightly nauseating after a while, haha.
I felt like we were getting a lot closer to the ground than we actually were, and I would internally prep myself to land soon and bring my knees to my chest. I saw a truck nearby though and it was still only about the size of my pinky nail! My instructor finally told me we would be landing soon, and started unclipping the harness. He then asked me if I had also paid for the landing, or just the jump. :| I insisted a safe landing was included!
He landed on his feet and I came down in a sitting position soon after. Such an incredible experience! Amazing for me to think that a lot of these guys were jumping out and skydiving all the time.
It was a short five-minute wait before I got the CD with all of my photos (about 120 of them) and made my way out. As I was leaving, I could hear a chorus of faint but ecstatic “woo-hoo!”s from jumpers parachuting down. Definitely not an experience I’ll be forgetting anytime soon! :)