I guess it runs in the family… a genetic mutation that causes an entire family to be thrill seekers! My husband Steve is the carrier because it is definitely not part of my genetic makeup!
Back in October I wrote a memorial to my mother-in-law who in her 80’s decided she needed to skydive at least once in her lifetime. That desire has now spread to the rest of my family. A few months ago our son Eric made his first jump and soon my husband Steve was wanting to do the same. When Steve found a Groupon deal for Skydive Hollister he “jumped” at the chance to buy a ticket for both he and Eric. I warned him he had better do it on one of my days off because I had to be there to witness it!
At the recommendation of the skydive crew and others, what started out as being an 8,000 foot jump soon turned into 15,000. To quote, “If you jump at 8,000 feet you’ll hit the ground saying I should have done at least 11,000. You just don’t get enough free-fall time at 8,000 ft.” I understood the thinking but the idea made me cringe! At the same time, I didn’t want Steve and Eric to be disappointed so I gently persuaded Steve to spend the extra $50 each to go just 3,000 feet higher. I’m feeling comfortable with the decision when my non-fearing husband says, “If I’m gonna pay more, then I’m going to 18,000!” Now I was beginning to question my persuasion. Finally, after settling for 15,000 ft, signing the 5 page waiver, and watching the tandem waiver video the men were ready to suit-up. The crew, office workers, and parachute rigger (whom I kept a close eye on) were great encouragers. Like their website states they are passionate about what they do every day and some of the most experienced instructors have completed as many as 14,000 jumps!
After Steve and Eric were ready and waiting to board the plane I headed to the landing spot in the middle of a field next to a red barn about 15 minutes from the main office. Following close behind were two limousine drivers to retrieve the jumpers and a young woman who had completed her first solo jump that morning. Everyone was extremely friendly and explained to me what was going on in the air as we watched from the ground.
Packed on the plane
First to jump were the instructors followed by their students whom they communicated with via radio and headphones. Then it was time for the two tandem jumpers, Eric being last out of the plane.
Free falling at 120-150 mph!
Within seconds the chutes opened and we watched them descend and land almost right on target. Seeing the huge grin on both Steve and Eric’s faces and watching the instructors congratulate them made it all worth while.
Chutes opened and taking in the view
Our son Travis, daughter Rachel and her husband Jon all want to jump someday. On my bucket list are items like learn to swing dance, or raise a seeing eye dog – no line item for skydiving!
When talking to others who have jumped they assure me that you don’t get that falling feeling associated with riding a roller coaster. Free-falling at a high speed creates a cushion of air that your body basically rides upon. Once you get past the initial apprehension of jumping it’s smooth sailing. The feelings are described as liberating and the adrenaline rush addicting.
Steve keeps telling me I’m next and I respond with “it’s not on my list!” But who knows what the future will bring, hearing the excitement in the voices of those who have done it makes it tempting to step out of my comfort zone and try it.