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Published: January 24th 2010
I took off from Bangkok to Pettaya for a day trip. I left at eight AM and it was only two hours away by bus. For the past few days I'd been itching to do something crazy and scoured my brain for what that could be. And then it hit me. I have to go skydiving.
I looked up for some places and found one called Thai Sky Adventures, in fact it was the only continually operational drop zone in all of south east Asia, and only established since November. And it seemed like their pricing was better than back home too.
When I arrived at the bus station I was picked up by Pete, the sales manager of the place and had to pretty much sign away my life and fill out the disclaimer forms. No problem. General procedure. We arrived and I met my tandem instructor (although I can't seem to remember his name, I'm bad with names). He was an American with 6000 jumps under his belt and we went through a quick briefing about what would happen. He basically explained we'd be going up to 14000 feet where the jump would be made and falling
at a rate of 120mph! Amazing! I would be attached to him so I didn't have to worry about much although when going out of the plane I had to cross my arms, look up, and then arch my back. I wanted to do video as well and met the video chick who would be falling with us. And that was it.
Apparently some storm clouds were incoming so we had to go asap if I wanted to make the jump that day. I asked my instructor if this was wise and he just looked up and then told me to pretend it was industrial haze. Not sure if this would have been accepted back home. I geared up with my jumpsuit and some straps and then we ran to the plane where four other experienced divers were already waiting. The plane was extremely small and we were all packed into the back without much room to move. The transparent doors on either side provided for a nice view of the ascent. I wondered if the plane could even make it up at all as it was so rickety but at least I didn't have to worry about the
As we rose I had a strange sense of calm. I figured I might start getting really nervous at this point but nope I was just sitting and waiting for drop time. The tandem master was securing my straps to his and I hoped he did it right. If not at least I'd go out with a splat and maybe have the video uploaded to You Tube for all to enjoy. Everyone gave each other high fives and props, including me. We hit our altitude and then it was GO time. All the other divers jumped with out even thinking and while I got to the edge I was like WOW. The video chick climbed onto the side of the plane and then kicked off, and then I was next.
Right out the door we started doing flips until we managed to get stable. Those were really fun. Then within seconds the drogue chute deployed to stabilize us further and slow down our fall to that of a single diver, otherwise we'd have pushed 200mph and when the chute deployed both our backs would be snapped in two. We then fell through the clouds and adrenaline coursed
through me. I never experienced something so exhilarating! It was neat seeing video chick fall through the clouds too as she moved in and out recording us. We also got wet as the clouds were holding lots of moisture, plus a few of them had become full on storm clouds! Finally after around 45 seconds of free falling the tandem master deployed the chute and we went flying upwards!
We slowly descended into a menacing dark cloud and I looked around, realizing we both didn't know where we were. The calmness returned and it seemed like we were almost walking on clouds, something many have imagined doing as children. Finally we broke through the cloud and I could see small little square fields everywhere and small lines that must have been roads. The tandem master let me maneuver the chute a bit and I made some fast and hard left and right turns. It could really move us. He spotted our drop zone and we came in for a soft landing. The canopy ride lasted maybe seven minutes. Within minutes of landing it began to rain hard.
It was a blast to do and the funny thing is
I'm not the biggest fan of heights but I'd do it again in a second and hopefully it'll be sooner than later! I had adrenaline coursing through me for the rest of the day!
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