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Adrenalin, Peace and Pain : My First SkyDive April 8, 2016

Posted by Karan in Uncategorized.
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I usually enjoy my time out at the sea. Snorkelling gives me a lot of peace. That day, however, I could not soak in the moment. For all said and done, I was nervous. On a holiday. After all, it was Karnika and my first SkyDive the next day.

We’d been very excited about the Dive now for quite a few weeks. However, as the moment came closer, it was pretty edgy. Jumping off a plane just for the heck of it? Sounds insane, right? Well you know what – it is as insane as it sounds.

Cut to 10 AM the next day. After we reached the location for the SkyDive in a remote part of Cairns, we were to wait for a while. More nervous moments, after which about 10 of us were taken into a training room. Now since this was a Tandem Dive (Where you have an instructor jumping off with you), the directions we had to follow were very few (albeit critical). After getting ready with the harness (thankfully we didn’t have to wear those silly jumpsuits), I told my instructor:

“Dude, you are the my God for today, and the most important person I’ve met in my life”

“You bet I am – but do you know the difference between God and me”

“Yes! You can open the parachute, but God cannot!”

Well, here’s the thing with a tandem dive. You have to do literally nothing! It’s your instructor who does the jumping, the parachute opening, the manoeuvring and the landing (Unlike what’s shown in ZNMD!). So you just have to follow instructions on positioning. But, guess what? Most of these instructors had a CV with at least 10,000 dives against their name. Imagine that! Doing 5 dives a day, how would that feel?

After a short wait, it was time to fly! A plane from one of the 1970s movies came in front of us and we took off. Honestly, the plane was so creaky that I was wondering if we would ever require to jump off from the plane! It did absolutely nothing to soothe our nerves. A couple of minutes into the flight and it started to get nerve wracking. It was first the land which was moving away from us and then the clouds. I told my instructor that the view was incredible with the Great Barrier Reef in view – which is when he showed me the watch on his hand which measured the elevation. It was 6000 feet. It hit me that in spite of the height, we’d not even covered half the vertical distance.

7,000 feet. The corals had started to disappear. We were amongst another set of clouds

8,000 feet. The noisy airplane, the cold winds blowing in and the views – it felt quite surreal

9,000 feet. Insanity. I couldn’t believe that I was going to randomly jump off from a height higher than the Everest!

10,000 feet. There is still time to back out… This is just too terrifying

At 11,000 feet, my instructor pulled me and tied my harness to his. He told me that we would be the first ones to jump off. Wow!

The last couple of thousand feet was just a blur.

14,000 feet. We move towards the door. It’s cold up there. I can’t hear what my instructor says. And before I can absorb the height, my instructor jumped and I fell towards the ground.

I cannot describe the immediate experience because there is nothing that can match it. Not bungee. Not running. Not dreaming. Not thriller rides. Not a substance induced high. Not the biggest achievement. Absolutely nothing.

The closest description I can say is you are meditating while running full throttle. I don’t think my heart has pumped harder than those 45-50 seconds. Adrenalin was in such force, that you could feel it bottling out of your veins. Yet, there was a strange kind of a calm. It was just me with nature at her best. I was in, what they call “The Zone”. It was something else.

I was awoken from this bliss by a sudden jolt to my groin – it was the opening of the parachute which lent a suspension. “I must remember to wear a supporter next time around”. The thrill done, the view from the top was absolutely spectacular. The GBR, the seas, the rainforests and the mountains. Cairns is quite stunning. And experiencing falling towards it – even more spectacular.

And that’s when I lost consciousness. To this date I don’t know why or how – with my adrenalin pumping at its highest, I just lost consciousness. I can’t recollect how and why, but I just went asleep. Towards the end of the dive. The next thing I remember was screaming while landing; and because I had lost consciousness and did not land in the correct position – a searing pain in my knee. Damaged medial collateral ligament on my right knee.

Weeks of pain and no cricket / squash for the next few weeks. Worth it? You bet. The entire experience was so close to nature / death / yourself that it has made me both braver and humbler.

What are you waiting for – you got to go and do it!