In August, Adam and Dave jumped out of a plane for the first time, well, jumped is a loose word, more like, got shuffled out of a plane whilst in a state of bewildered inaction.
Either way, we thought we'd share how we got on, in case you've ever wondered what it's like, and maybe it's one of the things on your bucket list that you haven't ticked off yet.
We're fairly local to a Skydiving place, UK Parachuting which has centres in Beccles and Peterborough, Beccles is just up the road for us so that's where we booked up at. For whatever reason, I don't 'nervous' was something that we felt sat waiting to be called up. To be fair, we had opted for a tandem jump, which I think for me personally, was the best option for my first jump. It gives you an opportunity to just feel all the craziness of a skydive, but without the pressure of pulling things at the right time and trying not to land on a busy A road. I know a lot of people do a skydive as a one-off, to raise money for charity and good causes, and I think if that's what you're doing, go for a tandem so you can just purely focus on how awesome it is, if it's going to be your only skydive, you'll want to take in as much of it as possible. So yeah, we're sat waiting, and one of the surprising things, is how little prep you really need, obviously because you're in safe hands. But I found it really funny how some of the climbing gyms we've been to have required us to sit what seems to be the equivalent to an A Level Climbing Safely exam (I'm not even kidding, some have been so overkill but that's a rant for another time), and yet to be slung out of a plane and freefall towards planet Earth, well, it was very straightforward.
The staff we're awesome, and after giving you a briefing on how it's all going to go down, you head on into the plane. Which was pretty cool in itself if you've only ever flown in commercial jets off on holiday. If you thought the leg room on EasyJet is bad, wait till you're nestled between the thighs of your instructor, and have another jumper between your own, it's snug.
Still, strangely on the way up, nerves don't really seem to set in, until the hatch gets pulled open. It's at that moment that someone in your brain pushes the WTF button. The sudden, and correct, feeling that nothing about your current situation is normal sets in, still, not nerves, but more like every ancient instinct in your brain just assess your situtaion and goes "oh, right, we've kept you alive and evolving for billions of years and now this?? you bloody muppet your on your own, control of your motor functions? forget it." and your left in a semi paralysed bewilderment. Fear not, because before you know what's going on, your falling through the atmosphere. Loads of people have asked "what was it like", my answer has been pretty much the same, and for me it had three parts: - the first 3 or 4 seconds, were comparable to that feeling when you're on an insanely good rollercoaster, total loss of control and pure white knuckle terror.
- the freefall, is just another level, and the part I find most difficult to explain because I don't have any other previous similar experiences to compare it with. First off, is the question is it scary being that high? the answer is no, because you're so high you simply can't comprehend what's happening. It makes sense, there's no need for a human to be able to comprehend this, because it's not something a human is designed to do. It's the most insanely awesome rush you'll ever experience, it clears away any anxiety, or depression, or worry, or anything and mainlines a hefty shot of NOW into your system. That parking ticket you haven't paid, the email you're worried about sending, the report you're behind with? Forget it mate.
- the chute, the roaring rush of the freefall suddenly becomes a dead silent drift towards earth, which can in a way, trigger another 'panic' reaction, as you have time now to digest exactly what's happening. Still too high to really comprehend your altitude, I sort of felt like I was looking down onto Google Maps. Slowly drifting down, and then with a quick shout of 'legs up' you bump surprisingly gently back down on the ground. What you should be warned of, is the post-jump adrenaline dump; it's very real, and after driving home in near silence, I fell asleep for a solid hour as soon as I got home. The second question, is, but would you do it again? Without a shadow of a doubt, yes I would, we're actually planning on going back to do the AFF solo jump, and then go from there. For us it was one of the most incredible experiences, and we hope you get it ticked off your list, and enjoy it as much as we did.