Skydiving was on my bucket list for a really long time. It was one of those “to do’s” that never leave the list: to fly free. Of course, as bucket lists go with single mothers, the list kept growing and very few things were getting crossed off.
Then one night I ran into my friend Nacho. He’s a local skydiver. After he says hi and walks away, he comes right back and says: “You know what? We’re jumping tomorrow. You want to come?”
And the stars aligned for my jump as I had no compromises and no kids for the next day…
I drove to the Arecibo airport where Xtreme Divers give classes and assisted jumps. We had but very little time as the rain clouds were already gathering in the distance. Once the rain began… there was no more jumping!
I signed my waivers, got my instructions and we hopped on the plane. There was the pilot, the guy taking the pictures (who just happened to be the brother of a friend), Nacho, Jay (the instructor), and me. They asked if I was nervous, but I wasn’t. That is until about 8,000 feet. Not so much nervous, but rather: “Holy shit! I’m actually going to jump out of a plane!”
Jay attached my harness to his harness. It must have been funny, since I’m not even 5 feet and Jay was over 6 feet tall. He tells me to just roll with it. We are going to do a 360 in the air. Hehehehe. My kind of thing.
The altimeter reaches 10,000 feet. It is time. The door opens. The rush of air feels good in my face. Jay and I dangle our feet from the edge. He stands on the little wing platform while mini me hovers… There’s no turning back!
Swoosh! He let’s go. I curl myself up into a ball as instructed. We spin in the air. Jay opens his arms to stabilize the fall and pats my arm to indicate its time for me to do the same. I’m flying free!!! Holy mother fuc$%&g shit. I’m flying!!!! I feel a tap. My friend Nacho just slapped us on his way down at a ridiculous head first speed. He’s going so fast
I lose sight of him. Then I check my altimeter as I have to pull the chute at 6,000 feet. Damn it! I can’t find the thingy. Of course, Jay pulls it for me. The chute bursts open and I feel the sharp pull up. Like a sudden stop. We now float over the northern shore of PR. It’s so beautiful I forget people kill each other down there. The photographer keeps falling, shooting video from below. Wow! That’s pretty fast!
The descent is slow and calming. Very different from the free fall. You have time to enjoy the view, the wind, the peace… Jay shows me how to control the chute. You pull one side and you spin in that direction. Ufff! Can we do circles? Sure!
Time to land. I have to lift my legs up and let Jay do the landing. Fine by me. He pulls sharply, slowing us down, and then we’re back on solid ground. A very smooth landing. “How do you feel?” they ask me. Only I have no words; just the biggest, brightest smile on my face.
If you would like to go skydiving in Puerto Rico visit: www.xtremedivers.com
Special thanks to Team Uvva: Nacho, Juanma, and Kelki, for their support and absolute pumping energy! And of course, Jay for keeping me alive!