Saturday, January 5, 2008

December 21, 2007 "It`s Like Having Sex With a God"

Have you ever soared 14,000 feet in the air, your arms flailing in the light cool breeze, your head arched upward taking in the views below? Have you ever had sex with a God? I have.
This afternoon at about 1:30pm I jumped 14,000 feet from a moving plane and I have been
on a natural high ever since! I cannot even begin to explain the feeling of soaring through the air and looking down and seeing the coral, the islands, and minute people and buildings.

At Mango Bay Resort, I have made good friends with two Norwegian girls, Caroline and Cecelia. They mentioned to me that they would like to try skydiving while in Fiji and one thing led to another. Next thing I knew, I was sitting in a shuttle bound for Nadi where we would meet at the skydiving shop for our very first dives. Of course I have a hard time with realizing things that are about to happen and so I wasn`t really all that nervous the hours leading up to my jump. It didn`t dawn on me that in a short while I`d be jumping out of a moving plane thousands of miles above the ground.

At the office, we signed our lives away and agreed to the "radical" jump of 10,000 feet. We
waited for the tandem divers to get back from their previous jump. It was decided that only two of us could go at once and I volunteered to go alone on the second flight, so while the others dove, I waited along the beach landing zone while Cecelia and Caroline jumped. Even having seen them dive and land before me, it didn`t really register that I was next.
We made our way back to the office to prepare the parachute for my jump, and it didn`t take long for the instructor, Alex, to convince me to upgrade to the 14,000 feet (60 second freefall) jump at $50 Canadian more. He described the jump as "having sex with a God." He said there was absolutely nothing better in the entire world than the feeling of freefalling and the additional 30 seconds made a big difference in the jump.

We made our way to the airport via shuttle and I was still relatively calm. We joked around
and Alex went through the jump positions with me a few times. He adjusted my straps and reassured me that he had jumped thousands of times and to just smile, breathe, and enjoy the view. A few short minutes later, we arrived at the airport and we made our way to the very tiny 5-man airplane awaiting our departure. Once in the plane, Alex once again went through the jump positions with me and we practiced them together. I cannot even begin to describe to you the feelings and thoughts I was experiencing as our plane slowly elevated to 14,000 feet. It was surreal seeing the land beneath us grow smaller and smaller as we flew higher and higher. Alex would point out to me the land and water below (corals, islands, etc) and as hard as I tried to get my head around the idea that I was about to jump out of a plane toward these sights, I just couldn`t do it. I was slightly nervous, and yet I was confused as to why. It still hadn`t registered that I was about to jump 14,000 feet. I found Alex to be very sweet and helpful in preparing to jump. He used words like "sweetie" and was so gentle that I placed all of my trust in him right off the bat.

At nearly 14,000 feet and a few minutes to go before we would jump, Alex tightened my harness, had me sit on his lap with my hands on his knees, and had me put on my flight goggles. Next thing I knew, he was shuffling us toward the door of the plane. My biggest worry about the jump was being too nervous to jump out of the plane, but it literally happened so fast that I didn`t even have the time to really think the matter over. Before I knew it, Alex was pushing us off and we were freefalling. I had been stressing over my jump positions of keeping my head up, arching my back and pelvis out, and knees and legs turned under, but it all just sort of fell into place as we started to fall. I must say that while Alex described the freefall as the best part of the jump, I found it to be exhilarating, yet the most stressful. It was loud, the air is suctioned against your face, the wind is causing your entire body to flap, and it is slightly cool. Despite all this, it was such a neat feeling. To make things even more enjoyable, a solo jumper visiting a friend working with the company jumped just prior to us, and so he flew toward me, reaching for my hand, and kind of making me laugh, thereby taking the edge off of things.

After about 60 seconds of falling through the air, Alex started tapping my shoulder to get me
to get into the parachute position. It took me a few seconds to register the command, and then proceeded to place my arms across my chest. There was a slight impact on my legs as the parachute was released, and then we were floated in the air for about 5 or 6 minutes. At this point, we were able to talk with one another, and Alex prompted me on the proper landing position. The land below was drawing closer and closer with each passing second, the beach below was coming into full view. I raised my knees and legs as high as I could as we quickly swooped in for landing. We nearly had a perfect standing position at landing, except that I thought that we were aiming for a sitting position and thus had been aiming for a sit.
The adrenaline rush I experienced during and after the jump was unexplainable, and within
seconds the jump seemed like a cool dream I had a few days prior. I don`t know if I will ever skydive again as it is very expensive and something you probably really only need to do once, but it was by far the best spent money of my life---- the feeling of jumping out of a moving plane and soaring 14,000 feet above the ground is one like no other!

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