Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My first Skydive!

13000 feet, 60 seconds of freefall and 5 minutes of parachute fall!

Spent a fortune for it :( But the experience is totally worth it.

So finally after a lot of searching I could find this cheap skydiving centre which was like in the middle of nowhere! That is why it was half as expensive as compared to those in San Francisco (SFO) and still offered a jump from 13,000 feet which is much more than the 9000 feet that you could have done in SFO. This was the place for real skydivers! So, next time you are in california, don't go to SFO but Parachute Center at Acampo. This is their website:-

So I drove to Acampo (about 2 hrs from MountainView) . And I can't stop boasting that I drove! This is another thing that I learned here in US. I can now easily drive on US highways at the speed of 110mph (177kmph) :) You get tickets for driving so fast... Normally one should not cross 85mph. ok, enough of boasting!
We reached this place, paid money at the counter and then had to sign zillion times on a paper stating that not even the sweeper's distant uncle's uncle is responsible if something happens! Then we watched a video that explained the basics of how to jump, what pose to make during jumping, free fall and parachute fall, etc. etc. Then I met my instrucutor and my cameraman. The cameraman dives just at the same time as you and shoots your video in air! My instructor was a Japanese and I had a hard time getting his accent. After a lot of effort he explained me how to keep my legs and arms during the jump. The he put the harness on me and I was all set.

The plane landed in front of us. Such a small plane and some 15-16 of us entered it. It had just two planks of wood and we all set on after another on it like you sit on a bike. It was all cramped. After a few minutes of flying the plane became completely stable and we knew its the time.. My cameraman asked me for the last time "Are you scared?". I said "Not at all!". I was at the back of the plane and had to jump last. One after another everyone jumped. There was no time to think to get scared or nervous. Within 2 minutes all 15 of us jumped. We just moved to the edge of the plane, and before I could think my instructor and I had already jumped. We rolled a few times in air and then the instructor was able to get us balanced. We were falling freely... The feeling is awesome. But didn't get much to realise its awesomness. All the time during the freefall, the cameraman was just below me and shooting and I was involved in making poses for the camera :) Like showing thumbs up and shouting at the top of my voice :)

Then the cameraman dived away and we opened our parachute with a hard jhatka. Then slowly we descended down for over 5 minutes. We made several turns in the air by manevouring the parachute. We could see farms all around. I also did some random talk with the instructor. And then we landed.
An experience of a lifetime...