I Went Skydiving!

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Okay, okay, my son tells me I’m too old to engage in such dangerous activities, but the truth of it is: I was never scared and it was the most awesome thing I’ve ever done. Why did I do it? It was on my bucket list, along with a hot air balloon ride (done, in Africa, over the Masi Mara), and bungee jumping. That last one I’m still thinking about, but might swap it for white water rafting.

So I asked my husband to pay for skydiving for my birthday, then had to lose some weight to make the weight limit. That took a while, so it was last Saturday when we finally drove down to Piedmont Skydiving in Salisbury, NC, along with some longtime friends, Billie and Dana Staats. I had to sign or initial pages and pages of release forms before I could get harnessed up, all the while listening to the people who had gone ahead of me – whoops and chattering away after IMG_5843they landed. At the last minute, Dana jumped in and decided to join me – what a surprise. So we jumped from the same plane.

Ian adjusting the harness and giving me instructions!

Ian adjusting the harness and giving me instructions!

Walking out to the plane

Walking out to the plane

Our ride up

Our ride up

 

 

 

 

My tandem partner was a big strong guy named Ian, who is British with strong Aussie accent from living Down Under for several years. We had to be sure to take off anything that might blow away (there’s a You Tube video of a lady who loses her false teeth in a jump), so I shed my glasses and earrings and emptied my pockets. After some brief instruction on how to place our feet on a ledge just outside the plane’s door before jumping, we took off and climbed to 10,000 feet.

Inside the plane, Dana and his tandem partner were seated  on the floor to the side and front on the floor to the side and front where the passenger seat had been where the passenger seat had been removed, while Ian and I sat where the rear seat had been, facing back, with me seating between Ian’s legs.

Last minute instructions

Last minute instructions

 

Facing the back of the plane climbing to 10,00 feet

Facing the back of the plane climbing to 10,00 feet

At the door and hanging out

At the door and getting ready to hand out

 

 

Just falling out of the plane - wind is intense

Ready to fall out of the plane – wind is intense

It took a while to get to the right altitude and during that time, Ian attached my harness to his and spent a lot of time tightening the straps and checking the harness. Then it was time to go. Dana left first – I didn’t see him leave the plane because Ian was dragging me attached to him forward into the side space. With the door open the noise from the wind was deafening. I swung my legs out of the door, got one foot on the ledge and then, with a push off from Ian, we were tumbling and then straightened out into a free fall.

Free falling

Free falling

 

The parachute opens and we are pulled up

The parachute opens and we are pulled up

Just floating

Just floating

 

 

 

 

It was cold, and the wind rips away at your face, but what a wonderful feeling and beautiful views of North Carolina in all directions. All too soon, Ian inflated the parachute and we were surprisingly gently tugged up and then settled into a slow descent. What can I say? The adrenalin rush was intense (I got an immediate headache) and the harness cut in, but what an experience! A 360o view of the world and rather quiet – flying without wings.

Visible from the ground

Visible from the ground

Coming in for the landing

Coming in for the landing

 

 

 

 

All too soon we were coming in for a landing. Ian tightly circled us with my inner ear canals objecting, then we glided toward the ground very quickly. I was told to raise my legs and let Ian land, which we did amazingly smoothly, then we both skidded on our rears and came to a halt. WOW!

We're down, too soon for me!

We’re down, too soon for me!

A gentle landing

A gentle landing

The proud sky diver

The proud sky diver

 

 

 

 

 

 

We celebrated out jumps with lunch at Porky’s in China Grove, a famous barbecue place. North Carolina is famous for its barbecue and I felt I deserved to go off the diet. I’ve been flying high for the last week, and it’s only now that all those endorphins, prolactine, cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline, and thyrotropin have dissipated.  They make you feel great, and I can see why one could become a sky diving junkie. When Dana jumps again for his birthday in June, I’m planning to join him…so the diet will continue.

If I could figure out how to load the video, I would – but it’s a million plus KB!

 

 

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66 thoughts on “I Went Skydiving!

  1. That’s phenomenal! Congrats! Well done! And Happy Birthday! My brother went sky diving. The man in the plane said “Jump!” so he did, and then my brother heard him say “Not yet!” However, he lived to tell the story!

  2. Belinda Crane

    You crazy lady! I love that you did this though and I take my Akubra off to you. Just seeing your big cheesy grin has made me smile Noelle! 🙂

  3. Fabulous! I understand why you wanted to do it. I did a parachute (well, two) jump years back, although went for the two days course and jumped alone (well, with a lot of people, but I wasn’t attached to anybody). I also remember as the best part the silence, the views and the floating down. No fear… I’d also like to do bungee jumping but would have to be from somewhere interesting (not just from top of a crane). Yeah!!

    • Now YOU are the brave one, Olga – to jump alone! If I do this again, then I think the next thing will be training for a solo jump, although the hubs make not be okay with that one. Or my son, who does it for a living!

  4. Wow, happy birthday, Noelle! That was incredible! You certainly are a brave one! My heart was having spasms just watching you! Happy you had a great time! Blessings!

    • Thanks so much! The birthday was in August, and I spent a few months dieting so I could do this.
      Now I have a great incentive to keep the weight off so I can do it again when Dana jumps again for his birthday!

    • I don’t think this is for everyone, but heights don’t bother me at all and I’ve been up in small planes often. I remember being excited, sitting in the door of the plane, ready to push off. Guess I have a high threshold for fear! Hugs back atcha!

    • What a nice thing to say! I think now that the kids are grown, I feel like I can take more chances, enjoy more fullness to life because I’m not worrying about who would take care of them! Now it’s my life!

    • Jumping in tandem with an experienced sky diver was very reassuring. The free fall pushes the skin on your face and was pretty cold but the best part of it as far as I was concerned. I got a really bad headache from the adrenalin, but that went away within a few minutes of landing. The high from all the hormones released lasted about a week!

  5. Alex Hurst

    I would have loved to see that video! It looks like such a thrill ride. 😀 I want to try it some day, too… Your expressions were all excitement!

  6. I’m in awe of you Noelle – well done!! This is something I’d like to do but having seen my husband age 10 years after I leapt in a microlight once (at a wedding – long story!) I would feel horrible to do that to him again. Maybe one day 🙂

    • Bungee jumping is off my list now – too many accidents and you break blood vessels in your eyes and head. But I’d do this again. White water rafting is next. Will bring s Go Pro camera for that, too! You have lots of time to skydive – their oldest customer was 91!

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