What’s in your Bucket list? I wrote mine a few months ago. At the top of the list was one of the most extreme things I wanted to do: skydiving.
With all that has been going on in the world during this year, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do anything from my list but life proved me wrong.
And a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to cross that first item on the list.
Here is my experience skydiving in Puerto Rico.
The weather for Skydiving
A friend and I made an appointment with Xtreme Divers, a company located in Arecibo. On the first day of our appointment, it was very windy and we couldn’t make the jump for safety reasons. The personnel explained to us that the wind affects the way the parachute approached the floor and trying to land with inappropriate conditions could result in an injury.
So we had to return a second day.
We waited around one hour and a half to make the jump since there was a list of people before us. You wait in an open area with tables under a wood roof.
From where we were sitting, we saw a few groups before us take off in the plane (more like a light aircraft). After about 25 minutes you could see the parachutes floating around in the sky, getting closer and closer to the green field next to the tracks.
As the moment approached, our instructors helped us get into the harness. Note: you will walk like a penguin with one of those on.
They fastened the straps and proceeded to give the instructions to follow before, during, and after the jump, which I can resume by saying they are in control of everything. Just make sure to follow along, and do what you’re told and everything will be ok.
If you bought the package that included photos and videos, a girl will take pictures of you and your friends in different areas. Later, your instructor (the one that you will be attached to) will interview you.
After that, it is time to walk towards the plane.
The aircraft is a bit jammed if you are jumping with someone else. In total, there were five people inside: the two instructors, the pilot, my friend and I.
Another note: If you are claustrophobic, this probably isn’t for you. I was the one sitting next to the door, so I could find some kind of comfort in the view.
And yet another note: if you don’t feel comfortable with not having personal space whatsoever between you and your instructor, again, this isn’t for you. In fact, being close to your instructor inside the cabin is necessary (and unavoidable due to the little space) because they need to attach your harness to them. After all, they are the ones with the parachutes, you don’t want that to go wrong.
It takes about twenty minutes to get up to 10,000 feet in the air. And when you reach that point, the door from the aircraft opens.
The jump, finally skydiving
I was the first one. The breeze came in strong. It was cold and humid. 10,000 feet below you couldn’t distinguish much more than green and brown colors.
The instructor gave me the instructions one more time. He positioned himself: one foot outside, on top of a metal bar sticking out from the plane. By doing so, I was guided (and forced) to put my two feet on it too.
He recorded me for a moment. I said hi to the camera, not giving much thought about what I was going to do.
And at the count of three, I was falling.
My stomach sank and turned over as we rolled in the sky, similar to the type of feeling you get when you ride a rollercoaster. Nonetheless, after a few seconds, we settled, and I was looking down below.
We stayed free-falling for approximately forty seconds and then the instructor opened the parachute, which pulled us upwards abruptly.
After that, he asked me how I was doing and handed me the strings to guide the parachute. We twirled around in the air for the rest of the time. At some point, I could see my friend with her instructor above me.
As we approached the floor I had to lift my knees to my chest. Two comrades from the team were waiting to help us reach the ground safely.
After we were safe on land, the instructor detached me and interviewed again.
At this point, I felt I needed something to eat. The adrenaline had consumed the little glucose left in me. Another note: bring a snack.
And as I looked up to the sky and saw my friend getting closer to the ground I whispered to myself: “I did it. I did Skydiving in Puerto Rico”.
What’s in your bucket list for this year?