Well, on kind-of-a-whim, I went skydiving yesterday. Hot damn! It was scary, intense, and amazing. I'm definitely going to do it again. Some pictures my friends took:
This is me, beforehand, demonstrating the worst possible outcome of our little adventure.
If I had to pick one, I'd say the scariest part of the jump was the part where the plane door is open and you're sitting on the ledge waiting to jump off, just looking down at the ground, and what you're about to do hits you full in the chest -- you're about to pitch yourself out of an airplane, into the wild blue yonder, strapped to just another human being who just has some backpack on their back. Everything you normally associate w/air travel -- rows of seats, noisy people, and hell, a floor and some walls and an engine or two -- is gone. And you'll be falling earthward.
That part still makes me nervous just sitting here on the ground, even though I know I did it already. It's the part I don't fully remember; my brain must have blocked it out :-)
After that, once you're out of the plane and you're in free-fall, then it becomes beautiful. You're looking around you in amazement, the wind rushing up at you. You don't even feel like you're falling, because you're too far away from the ground to see it getting closer. There's no drop in your stomach like on a roller coaster. And I thought I'd be yelling in excitement, but I actually was robbed of the power of speech for awhile. It was very peaceful.
Then the instructor pulls the ripcord and you start floating. The wind noise falls away and you can have a normal chit-chat conversation with your partner. You can yank the handles of the canopy to steer, and if you pull hard on one direction you will spin around in the air. (It's fun.) And landing is a breeze, as gentle as can be.
Next time I'll try and take a small camera up ...