It’s almost been a week since I risked my life jumping out of a plane. After an emotional but amazingly fun day, I’m finally taking a moment to relive the day.
One of my good friends from high school is also a bit of an adrenaline junkie so we decided to book skydiving at Skydive Toronto. Mike brought his girlfriend Monica and the three of us decided to sign our lives away. The day resulted in this epic photo so you know I had a good time in the air!
I arrived at Skydive Toronto a bit before 9 am. They ushered us into a video room where we watched a 30 min video about the rules & regulations of jumping, our rights and instructions on how our jump would go. This crazy long-bearded man was our instructor and although hilarious to be taught by this video, based on the number of people going through the facility I’m pretty sure they can afford an updated video from this century.
I really hoped we’d also be instructed in real-time but there really wasn’t much hands-on teaching. We got rigged up in jumpsuits. The first one I tried on stunk of body odour and sweat so I grabbed a slightly larger one. I’m all for getting dirty and gross in mud pits every weekend but I really didn’t want to hang out in someone else’s grime for a few hours. Call me a princess. So we got outfitted in a jumpsuit, a full-body harness, a hat & goggles. I look really excited 🙂
So sexy in our prison outfits 🙂 Monica seemed to have an amazing jump instructor. He came over to introduce himself to her and let her know that he’d be jumping in the group just prior to ours so wanted to teach her what we’d be doing on the plane so he wasn’t telling her while we boarded. I thought that was very nice of him. My friend Mike also had lots of time on the ground chatting with his instructor. He practiced what we’d be doing in the plane on the platforms on the ground meant to mimic the space in the air. My instructor was nowhere to be found. The girl that rigged up my harness told me what I’d be doing on the plane but didn’t get me to actually try it out. She only demonstrated.
All of a sudden my instructor appeared out of nowhere, tightened up my harness, grabbed the parachute backpack, started shooting video & images really fast with a hand cam and told me it was time to board. So after waiting around for 2 hours it was all of a sudden feeling very rushed to get into the plane.
J-Rodd my instructor came across as a free spirit who’s been risking his life for a while. Notice the lack of shoes? Yeah, I laughed and said ok let’s go with it. Let’s do this I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.
I definitely felt the most scared climbing into the plane. I wasn’t even that scared at the opening of the plane door while jumping out. But getting in was like an “oh crap I’m really doing this moment!”
In the air, J-Rodd was struggling to close part of my harness. The strap attaches to our right hips. I watched as my altimeter started rising and J-Rodd started fiddling with it by using part of the plane to try and bend it into place. I asked him what was wrong and he said “it’s not fully closing”. To which I announced, “ok then we’re not jumping”. He ignored my fear and laughed. Not the best move buddy to be honest. To calm my fears of detaching from my instructor in mid-air we started chatting about other adventures which calmed me down and kept my brain on other things than splattering on the ground.
We free fell for what seemed to be much longer than they told us (expect 40 – 50 secs). After the chute deployed J-Rodd announced, “Our chute almost didn’t open!” He made it sound much more dramatic than it really was. This week he clarified on Facebook that one pull didn’t work but the second did after a bit of pulling. I was really shaken up and swore profusely in mid-air as we were still hanging from “threads” to the chute. I really wish he hadn’t told me in the air. He also loosened my chest strap a bit which caused me to yell at him again with some not-so-choice words.
I do love that I was actually smiling as we jumped because I told myself to be calm and enjoy it. I swear it takes a lot of effort to hold the camera at the right angle to capture us so props to J-Rodd for getting some awesome shots! I have memories to last me a lifetime if I choose never to go again! lol
At the end of the day, was my experience the best. I’ll go with 50%. The feeling of jumping is terrific. The free fall & floating is peaceful and exhilarating. It’s not like the stomach drop of bungee jumping or rollercoasters. It’s peaceful in the air. My landing was easy and pain-free and I’m alive.
Does the facility & instructor really make the jump? Yes. I felt like Skydive Toronto was more about how many people can we get to jump a day vs. making my experience the best. I felt like I was just a person on a conveyor belt. So for that, they get a C. Although J-Rodd was an amazing instructor and I believe 100% in his jumping skills his humour was not the greatest for meeting someone who is scared for the first time.
- Have more hands-on training. I understand why you use a video but I’m paying you a lot of money. Give me more face-to-face time with an instructor.
- J-Rodd. Love the sarcasm but you gotta read your audience a bit better. A scared person needs a bit more care in my opinion 🙂
- Thank you to the pilot & J-Rodd for keeping me safe and letting me experience this once-in-a-lifetime event (or more if I get the courage up to go again).