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My sky diving experience

08.10.2013

Travel

This year while exploring Hawaii islands I've done another thing on my bucket list - jumping with a parachute or skydive. This was something that I wanted to do for a long time. I guess I'm just the kind of person who wants to try as much as possible in life. Before that I've tried paragliding, bungee jumping and all other this kind of fun. So skydiving was the last thing I haven't tried. There are many places in the world to try it. The closest to Riga is I think Kaunas in Lithuania. But since I was flying to Hawaii and as it turned out there was an opportunity to skydive as well I've decided why not to do it in one of the most beautiful places in the world?

So why am I writing this? As it turned out when I posted one photo on Facebook I received a huge amount of different questions and amusement.

  • Was is scary?
  • How much did it cost?
  • Was it cold out there?
  • Who took your photos?
  • How long was the free fall?
  • Was it hard to breath?
  • ...

I didn't expect people to be so interested in this event so I've decided to describe the experience of this adventure.

First things first. We didn't decide to jump spontaneously. Whilst still in Riga I found a place in Hawaii where this was possible and booked online. This is the website I was using: www.skydivehawaii.com. This way I received an online reservation discount and could plan the exact day. The price for the jump was 150$.

Driving skydivehawaii.com place

While still driving on the road you can see that the destination is somewhere near by. The airfield is just minutes away. I guess it's time to start worrying.

Plane for the sky divers Hawaii sky dive Plane taking off for the sky divers
 

Arriving at the destination I've noticed a plane taking off with other jumpers. It made an impression on me. I guess there is no turning back.

Before the jump you are obligated to watch two videos where sky diving is described as a very extreme and dangerous and even lethal event. Have to admit these videos sets an interesting mood that you're going to die in the next 20 minutes. Then you have to sign like 7 or more papers that in case you die no one can sue them and that they aren't responsible for you. Then you are being introduced to the instructor that you are gonna be jumping with and your photographer. Yes - the photographer is going to jump with me at the same time and take pictures of me while I'm flying. It costs extra 100$ but I think it is totally worth it. You can also buy a video but it's another 250$ extra.

My sky diving instructor

I'm not sure about the other places but in Hawaii all instructors and employees are quite young positive people so among them you feel really comfortable. After talking to the photographer I found out that he's done about 2000 jumps already and my instructor more than 10 000 jumps. And they're fine. So I guess this isn't as dangerous as it was shown in the videos. So we waited for our plane for about 20 minutes and it was time to go up.

Sitting on the edge of a plane

I think it was the first time in my life that I took off in a plane in which I wouldn't land. The jumping altitude was about 3.5 km. It's not the highest altitude you can jump from but it is more than enough for the first time. The plane was pretty small. There were six jumpers, so in total 18 people in the plane (jumper plus instructor plus photographer for each) plus pilots. After flying for about 15 minutes it was time for a jump. I was 4-th in line I think. You are attached to the instructor at the back so comparing to bungee jumping when you actually have to jump from the edge yourself, here everything is being done for you. At first photographer climbs out of the plane to take first shots of you.
And then we jump
.

Ready to jump with a parachute

First moments have gone very quickly. At one point you are standing in a plane looking down and before you know it you are upside down in the air. Everything happened very quickly.

Jumping out of the plane Hawaii sky dive

After about 3-4 second you stabilise and start to feel how fast you are actually falling. Close to 200 km/h. You can feel it through all of you body. Without glasses it would be impossible to open my eyes. You can see the wind by my hair.

Skydiving in Hawaii

The free fall last for about 50 seconds. It feels like you're falling for about 2 - 4 minutes. But it really feels like you fall, not like you fly. Despite as many would have thought it isn't cold up there. Not at all. Maybe I was so excited up there that I didn't think about the weather. I'm not sure. But indeed it wasn't that cold. Maybe at the very beginning. But as you fall it gets warmer and warmer. So absolutely no special equipment was needed.

Flying in HawaiiHawaii sky diving Skydiving in Hawaii Oahu
 

While you fall down the photographer takes all kind of photos of you. From many different angles. This is another reason why it wasn't as scary as you might think. You feel quite protected. First of all there is an instructor right on your back - literally. And then there is a photographer smiling and flying all around you. They're doing it every day for up to ten times. This is like driving to the office for them.

Skydiving in Hawaii

And by the way here you can see a runway where we took off. We are flying somewhere between the island and the ocean.

Skydiving photographer takes great pictures

We didn't just fall straight. Sometimes we took several spins and rotations. I'm not sure how he controls it but it was quite fun.

High five to photographer in the sky Jumping with a parachute in Hawaii with photographer

As I already mentioned sometimes the photographer came as close that you could high five him. Then he flew away to take some photos from the distance.

Parachute jumping in Hawaii, Oahu from Latvia

Once the instructor opens the parachute the photographer keeps falling so that he would be able to land faster and take some photos of us landing. Here is the moment of the parachute opening.

Parachute jumping in Hawaii, Oahu from Latvia

You can actually feel how you violently slow down and break in the air.

Ingus Kruklitis jumping with a parachute

As our parachute opened the photographer kept falling down.

Opening the parachute Ingus Kruklitis Hawaii Photographer flying down with a parachute
 

I can still remember this scene as I'm being pulled up by the shoot while photographer smiling waved to us and kept flying down.

Flying with a parachute in Hawaii

The next 10 minutes we were flying down with a parachute. This was much less extreme. In fact I've experienced this part before while paragliding. Just fly around slowly admiring the landscape. You can easily take off your glasses at this point.

Paragliding in Hawaii

You can even steer the parachute if you want. It's quite simple. At the end you see the runway right beneath you so the instructor steers for the special landing place in the field where other employees are already waiting for you.

Landing with a parachute

It is said that the landing part is the most dangerous. You can hurt your legs or flip. That probably is true but for me it went very well. Landing was quite soft plus you are being helped by other employees so you would land as safe as possible.

Ingus Kruklitis landing with a parachute Skydiving landing in the airfield
 

Back to earth.

Landing in Hawaii with a parachute

The photographer has been already waiting for me and - well - took all these photos you are watching now.

Hawaii Skydive photographer

And here is once again my instructor. You can see by my hair that the flight was quite intense but very exciting. So was it really worth it? It certainly was. One of the best experiences I've had in my lifetime. And not as scary as you might think. For me bungee jumping was more frightening. This was like a cool ride down the roller coaster.

Hawaii Skydive instructor with me - Ingus Kruklitis

As I already mentioned this adventure took place while I was on my holidays in Hawaii. You can read more about it on my travel blog ingustravel.com