It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Baalim!
When I was a little boy I went to the beach with my family one winter, and I saw people landing with a parachute on the sand. Since that moment I knew that was something I had to do. I remember asking all my uncles for money to skydive, but for some reason I couldn't do it back then. Now, 20 years later, I've finally jumped from a plane.
A poker friend (one of my horses) was going with one of his friends and asked me if I wanted to join them. Of course, I quickly signed up and convinced my girlfriend to skydive with me. We drove a couple of hours. We ended up by a lake where the planes took off. After some instructions on some kind of big skateboard, we were boarding the plane. Everyone was cramped inside, and to my surprise the door was never shut. I guess if something goes wrong, you are wearing a parachute.
The most tense moment is when the plane is gaining altitude. Actually, I'm used to that sensation of nervousness and uncertainty. I've learned to enjoy it. I took my girlfriend's hand, and it was soaking wet! I have no idea how I managed to convince her. The guys were jumping one at a time, and finally my it was my turn. We slowly walked on our knees to the door. The instructor reminded me to pull my head back so I wouldn't knock him out with a head-butt when we hit the wind, and we jumped into the sky.
We made a couple of twists and turns. Actually, the free-fall doesn't feel scary at all. It's like being in a mattress with wind blowing up in your face so hard you can barely open your eyes, and it lasts less than a minute.
The instructor opened the parachute, and the pull was stronger than I imagined. We slowly glided to the landing point, and I think the instructor remembered that I asked him to "make it exciting" because he yanked one of the strings and we started making circles faster and faster until we were spinning completely horizontal to the ground.
I've seen enough skydiving accidents in YouTube to now where this is going. He managed to scare me a little bit. My feet went numb from all the blood forced in them, so I lifted my legs so I wouldn't pass out or something weird.
We were about to land, and this was my biggest concern. To be honest, I'm not very agile, so I thought It was pretty likely that we'd roll on the ground on the landing. The instructor told me to lift my legs and never told me to put them down, so we landed our our asses... surprisingly gently. I guess he saved me from the embarrassment.
You can watch the whole thing here.
Now I can add skydiving to the "crazy" things I have done. Thinking back, it wasn't really that scary. Some people have told me before that bungee jumping is way scarier, and they are right, so I would give skydiving a solid 5.8 in my Scare-o-Meter.