Friday, June 16, 2017

Zashgal's Tandem Sky Dive

Well Well Well.. It was a dream I had for two years ever since I saw my friend's friend jumping out of a plane. My friend said she got a free chance to jump as a part of a fund raising campaign. I watched that video more than 10 times dreaming to jump one day.

I checked online how much is the package to jump in Dubai over the palm islands. Ooh my God! It was $555. Had to give up the idea as I was doing my very first job and could not afford. 

Also tickets cannot be purchased over the counter. Have to reserve in advance and usually you get a date almost after 30 to 40 days. So there is a long waiting time and have also have to plan the tour accordingly.

Right after two years, I got an opportunity to do a short term assignment in UAE, which offered me the chance to live there for 3 months. Very first thing I did was booking my tickets to SkyDive.I was really excited as it was a dream come true.

My SkyDive was a Tandem SkyDive which means I am attached to the front of an instructor using a special full-body harness. Four attachment points ensure I am stuck to him like glue.

It was a Saturday morning. My SkyDive was scheduled at 10.30 am. Google maps helped me to reach the destination and I was on time.

Weather was nice and I am alone. Most of the Sky Divers were with their friends or family. I didn't care about it. I went to the SkyDive Product merchandising shop and bought myself a T-Shirt as well. 

I went to the cashier and got my coupon for the day and sat in the waiting area to see who is my instructor.The plane number and instructor's name was displayed on the TV screen in the waiting area. I got mine. Yellow Plane and my instructor was Mic. 

After fifteen minutes, he called my name louder. I walked to him and greeted. He gave me my gear and helped me to wear it. He instructed on how to float up in the sky. How to keep my feet and hands.

We waited for another ten minutes for others to prepare. In a flight they take 4 divers, 4 instructors and 4 photographers. 

The plane is pretty small with horizontal seating. I felt like I am going to the battle as I have seen those kind of plane rides only in movies. 

I think all of the divers are first timers and they were excited too. Its not only excitement, it was a moment between life and death. 

The door shuts. It is not a usual flight and it is extremely loud. As we climb towards the clouds I see Dubai Marina Skyline gets smaller. More buildings reveals themselves across the ocean below.

Maybe 10 minutes into the flight, Mic asked me to sit on his lap. It was bit awkward. I gave him a look with a smirk. He explained, it’s not personal, strictly business and he laughed. We must link together and tighten down all the straps before the big jump.

Photographer started recording from that moment onwards. He asked me, do you have anything to tell. I said, I can tick off this task from my bucket list and I love you all. :D 

15 minutes after takeoff we’re finally at 15,000 feet. The pilot signals that he’s in position. Oh shit. It’s all happening a bit too fast. 

Do I lean my head back and then cross my arms? Or is it the other way around? I can’t remember if it matters or not. The door is open. This is actually going to happen.

I’ve been pretty calm up until this point. Suddenly adrenaline is rushing through my veins. Wind is whipping around the cabin. I can’t hear anything.
Mic yells for me to stick my feet outside the aircraft. I do what he says. There’s a tiny metal step outside, barely big enough for both of my feet to rest on.

For the first few seconds we tumbled through the sky in a weightless front flip. I can’t tell which way is up. The earth spins. I was completely disoriented.

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Gravity is pulling us downward faster and faster. My mouth is open, and the air quickly dries it out completely. With no hair on my head, my goggles start to slip off.

It’s difficult to process what’s happening though. My mind can’t handle the sensory overload. It’s never experienced these sensations before.
Image may contain: 1 person, skyWe’re still falling, but I can feel air pressure building up beneath us.

It was the moment, floating up in the air having a fantastic view of the Dubai Palm Island. Buildings are so tiny and it was an amazing view. I felt like I am a kite. It was amazing

Suddenly the free-fall experience stops with a jolt. Tony has pulled the ripcord, unleashing a massive parachute that quickly slows us. 

The jump isn’t over yet though…
Hanging at either side of me are a pair of steering lines. We can control our direction with them, pulling right to turn right, left to turn left. Pulling hard on one side creates a fast downward spiral.

We glide towards the Earth like this for another 7 minutes. Soon I spot the landing zone. It was so much fun and our photographer landed first and started to take picture of us landing. It was amazing. I couldn't feel my feet for 3 seconds and couldn't stand up on my feet. I still don't know why.

That was ones in lifetime experience and I think I can proudly talk about it throughout my life. 

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- Sharmila :)

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