Jumping from a perfectly good plane

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Monday in Interlaken was pretty much dreary all day, but I did hang around with two girls from Edmonton which helped pass the time. It got nice for a little while and one of them (Jen) went on a hike with Josh for a couple hours, but by then I was rather tired anyway and had seen my share of scenery the day prior besides. Instead I stayed behind with Laurie and played Uno and listened to music on my iPod with her (I brought an adapter to share with another person in case I sat on the train next to someone who wanted to listen as well). We actually had a lot of fun and despite the scores, I definitely won.

When Jen got back from her hike, we chatted for awhile and since the kitchen was too busy (they offered me some of their spaghetti) we ordered a tonne of fries to snack on and some beer; fries and spaghetti, no wonder I don't lose any weight. Josh joined us for a bit and then since the kitchen was still too busy, I went upstairs to pack and they went to do laundry, and we agreed to meet at 9:30 to play cards eat.

We taught Josh and his Korean friend "President" and played and I was pretty much invincible until I lost my status and quickly moved down the ladder. Anyway, it was a fun day of hanging around and I didn't really mind that it had rained after all.

Marching towards our doom
I got my sky diving ticket moved to the next day and when I woke up the weather still wasn't looking promising so I took my time getting ready. Then, around 8:40, I discovered the weather had quite improved, so I rushed to get everything together and made it downstairs just in time to check out and get on the 9:00 van for skydiving, but not enough time for breakfast. It was such a surprise to be able to go skydiving. And skydive I did.

The crowded plane
I wasn't nervous at all on the way to the airport, and even being the last plane and watching the others jump from my vantage point on the ground didn't make me nervous, only excited. Before their chutes opened they just plummet through the clouds, it was really exciting to think that would be me. I did start to get nervous once my harness was put on and the plane started to get higher than I fly in my Cessnas back home, and I watched the altimeter climb to 12,000 ft. I definitely felt nervous at that height and my leg was even shaking, though it was more excitement than fear even then. That might've changed once the door was thrown open, and certainly when the first person fell from the edge and just disappeared, but it all went so quickly from then on that I didn't have time to notice.

Getting very high indeed
I was the last person to go and, of course, since we're not trained, we go tandem. My guy counted one and then leaned me completely out of the plane as though we were going and I can definitely say that was the scariest part of the whole thing. We went on three, however, and falling through the sky at top speed was a huge rush (duh!). It was no longer scary once we had jumped out of the plane, but just fun. I wanted to maneuver and do some stuff, but talking is hardly simple at that speed.

Parachuting Down
45 seconds came far too soon and the parachute opened, at which point I had the chance to take some pictures and also do a few maneuvers in the chute before we landed. Anyway, we landed quite perfectly and it was a great time and a very interesting way to see the Alps, I'm very glad I did it. I got a video (which I DO regret getting, but EVERYONE who did it told me I should so I thought I'd trust their collective wisdom despite the enormous cost). Maybe when I get to see it I will be happier, but it's en route home and I won't see it for some time.

I left then for Strasbourg, but that's enough for one post...

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