Homer's Travels: Skydiving ... ✔

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Skydiving ... ✔

While we were in Tampa we did something we'd always wanted to do, Skydive.  I don't have a written bucket list or even one in my head but the idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane has been in the back of my head for a while.  Turns out the Wife has had the same desire.

We arrived at the airfield mid-morning and checked in.  We watched an orientation video about the safety, and lack of safety, of skydiving.  After the video we signed waivers, measured our weight, and were assigned instructors.

Our skydives would be tandem meaning we would be attached by harnesses to our instructor who would be in charge of deploying the chute and steering our descent.  While the instructor was in jumpsuits and helmets, the Wife and I were just in our normal clothes.  This felt ... odd ... but I figured they knew what they were doing.  As our instructors put on our harness they explained the basics like what position our body should be in when we are in freefall.  The instructors would also be the photographers.

We got on the airplane.  There were two benches parallel to the length of the plane.  We sat straddling the benches.  There were six or seven solo skydivers who would jump ahead of us.

The pilot took off and reached 13,500 ft (4,115 m).  At this point the solo skydivers opened the door on the side of the airplane (similar to a garage door) and jumped out.  Our instructors attached our harnesses, checked all the straps, then told me to just let him 'carry' me to the door. 

The Wife jumped first.  I followed soon after.  I was expecting the instructor to ask if I was ready but he just told me to put my head back and he jumped out of the airplane.  I guess they don't want you to think about it too much.

All strapped together ready to jump.
Falling out of the plane was an odd feeling.  I'd expected to feel my stomach coming up my throat like the feeling on a rollercoaster dropping down a steep hill but there was no discomfort at all.  All I felt was the rushing air.  The view was magnificent.

Free falling ...Yeah I'm Free falling ...
After falling for a minute or so the instructor deployed the chute.  The deployment was less violent than I'd expected.  The instructor explained how he could steer the parachute.  We floated down around the airport for about six minutes.  Before we landed the instructor explained what I needed to do when we landed.  I held my legs up until the instructor said stand.  He applied the brakes and the chute lifted us to our feet.  Easy Peesy.

Chute deployed ... just hanging around.
While there were several things I didn't expect, the biggest thing was how I felt.  I felt nothing.  Before the jump I was not nervous, scared, anticipatory, or excited.  During the fall I felt very detached.  I was there but it didn't feel out of the ordinary.  I had to remind myself to smile at the camera.  After landing it was "OK, we're done."   This made me feel weird.  I think I should have felt something but I didn't.  Last December I started taking anti-anxiety medication to control some heightened anxiety I've been experiencing since last summer.  I wonder if the medication is working too well.

Despite my lack of emotion I'm glad I did it and I did enjoy the experience.  Not sure I need to do it again but it is something everyone should do at least once in their lives.  ✔

Pictures can be found in my 2024 Tampa (Skydiving) Google Photos album.

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