Ellington Travel Blog› entry 7 of 8 › view all entries
I woke up Sunday morning at 10:00, a half an hour before my alarm was set to go off, and had a good breakfast. The drive to Ellington Airport took me about 45 minutes. As soon as I got there, I found my new friend Jenn inside the Connecticut Parachutist building. She and I had met while training for our scuba certifications. One day we were talking by the pool about skydiving and we discovered that skydiving was something we each had long wanted to try, but neither of us had any friends willing to go with us. At that point, naturally, we decided to go together.
After watching a video, sitting through a brief orientation, and of course initialing and signing several waivers in a few dozen locations, we received our gear and suited up.
Once we’d reached our desired altitude of 14,000 ft (~4.27 km), we all lined up in the cargo area with our tandem masters. My instructor was a short, stocky guy, so I had to sit on the floor in front of him while he fastened the shackles attaching my harness to his. Slowly the cargo bay door opened under the tail of the plane exposing the distant Earth below.
An exhilarating spike of adrenalin shot through my veins when we rolled over to face the 120 mph (~193 kph) wind and I first saw the vast expanse of nothing between me and a splattering death. Driven by instinct, I threw my hands out in front of me as if to catch myself, realizing as my body acted independently of my brain, that there was nothing to grab on to. Releasing the tension from my arms, they relaxed and flapped in the breeze while I screamed with exhilaration.
Following our freefall of nearly 60 incredible seconds, the instructor pulled the cord and our rainbow-colored parachute slowly expanded above us. Gradually the tension on my harness increased and it supported my weight, gently shifting my position from horizontal to vertical. I shot a few pictures during our floating descent before taking a turn at steering the chute.
We lifted our feet to come in for a seated landing. I dug in my heals just a little to slow our forward motion and the ride was over, but the thrill was still with me and I knew it would remain for a long time to come. It was an amazing experience and immediately I was eager to try it again. Wanting to see my pictures right away, I stopped at Ritz camera shop to develop my film on the way home and had them developed.