Baby’s First Skydive: aka, the day I learned I get serious motion sickness.
So I did that thing where people jump out of a plane.
I’m sure you could gather that much from the title, but let me paint you a picture here. If you’ve read my Dole Plantation post, you would know how much I LOADED UP ON SUGARRRRR at the Plantation, gouging myself on soft serve and the sweetest pineapples I had ever eaten. If you haven’t read my Dole Plantation post, psst, you should totally read it, but in the meantime, just know I LOADED UP ON SUGAR that morning, then proceeded to have a major sugar crash.
Then proceeded to go sky diving.
Not my best activity planning, but I always learn the hard way.
I chose SkyDive Hawaii, honestly, because it was the first company that showed up on Google and I went with them. They have awesome student discount deals and the price is cheaper when you buy online. As always, I’d recommend shopping around and seeing the other skydiving companies for competitive pricing, I’m sure they’re all just as safe. Conveniently, they’re also all located literally right next to each other on the North Shore.
BUT, more about SkyDive Hawaii and the part where I jumped out of a plane.
When I arrived, I checked in at the front desk and I had sit and watch a little safety video. It was actually pretty humorous, but also informative. Then I had to sign waivers and all the boring “totally not gonna sue if I die” paperwork. No biggie.
I took a seat outside, and I felt my energy levels drop even lower. Those DARN PINEAPPLES. I was sleepy, and tired, and I could barely keep my eyes open. Which would explain why I look high in all of my pictures. Just pretend my eyes are wide open. Of course, right when I was about to sneak in a quick nap, the tandem jump partners all zoomed in, energy levels higher than a Lil Jon club banger.
I got matched up with my instructor, who immediately got the impression that I wasn’t excited at all because I answered every question with a light shrug. I wish I could go back in time and explain myself. My jump partner, Brett, was awesome and full of jokes that I was too sleepy to appreciate, and also originally from California! He had been skydiving for almost 17 years! My group was filled with a lot of first-time jumpers, some more nervous than others, but I was probably the only one sleep-walking to the plane.
A few seconds after the plane took off, that’s when I knew.
The plane climbed higher and higher, and excited chatter bubbled inside. While Brett strapped up to me, a headache began to brew right between my eyes. I closed my eyes, pinching the bridge of my nose together with my fingers. All the turning in the air was twisting the Dole soft serve from my stomach up to the base of my throat.
“If you look over there, you can see Haleiwa!” Brett tapped on the window next to us.
I turned my head to look out the window, and the plane whooshed in another direction. I didn’t have the strength to stabilize myself, dizziness sopping the last of my willpower. The ground below us went blurry. I closed my eyes again, resting my head against the cold wall of the plane. Half of my body was shutting down, and the other half was about to explode.
Brett tapped on my shoulder. “I need to fasten this.”
I reluctantly sat up so he could make sure I wouldn’t detach from him mid-air.
There was a lot of cloud coverage, so we had to loop around again, much to my discomfort. While the rest of the group either awed over the scenery or gave themselves peptalks, I suppressed the urge to vomit all over my lap. The door to the plane opened, and one of the instructors casually popped her head out. “There’s a reason why they call the North Shore the most beautiful drop zone!” She said, sweeping her hand out to the island.
At the time, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about what color pineapples would be after they’d been digested.
We approached the island again, and the first pair scooted forward. The woman stood up, popping her head out again.
There were still too many clouds.
The plane made another sharp turn, and my stomach violently shook in defiance. Brett was talking in my ear, giving me the jump procedure again. My legs between his, arch my back, remember to breath. I gave him a weak thumbs up. My eye shield kept sliding down, so he did his best to tighten the strap as the plane rounded another turn.
Finally, the clouds parted enough to give us a clear jump. The first pair stood up. “Ready?” They asked him.
And they jumped.
The scream that followed still haunts me to this day.
I was next, and Brett did most of the work to scoot us forward. He stood up, dragging me off the bench with him, my legs barely able to keep from buckling under me. Our videographer was hanging onto the plane with one hand, the rest of his body threatening to be ripped away by the wind. But he was totes chill about it. I finally opened my eyes, looking down at the swirling ground.
Brett gave me one more tap on the shoulder, “Ready?”
I managed a weak grunt.
He threw both of us out of the plane.
If you’ve ever snorted a bunch of cocaine, then let a unicorn punch you in the gut, you probably have a pretty good idea of what jumping out of an airplane feels like. For those of you who haven’t…it was like everything that I had previously been doing/feeling/thinking completely vanished, stripped away with one clean wipe of adrenaline. I was completely blank.
It felt…for lack of better words, pretty amazing. Until I realized I wasn’t breathing.
Wind was flying at my face at 100mph, completely passing my little air holes called nostrils. I opened my mouth, to breath, because at the time it seemed like a good idea.
Opening my mouth only made it worse. It felt like I was drowning it air. Then, because the universe loves to help me out, my eye shield slipped. Before my eyes could also get slaughtered by the freefall wind velocity, my hands shot up to hold the eye shield in place. So there I was, desperately trying to keep my eye shield from flying away while simultaneously suffocating, and my friggin hair tie poofs.
It was like an explosion, my braids whipping around, smacking poor Brett in the face, who was trying to help hold onto my eye mask. I still couldn’t breathe, but now my hands were free to give a shaka or a thumbs up to the camera person. The camera person was having a ball, it was very hilarious from his end.
Brett reached up to pull the parachute and I was given an instant wedgie. Unfortunately, since we had been switching off holding my eye shield, our arms had tangled. After a panicky half second of re-orientating ourselves, I took my first inhale….and remembered that I wanted to throw up. ALSO, THE HARNESS PULLED MY BRA STRAP OFF MY SHOULDER. But at least I could breathe now.
That friggin parachute man. I thought the plane was bad, but coasting in the air with a little piece of fabric was SOOO MUCH WORSE. I’ll save you the nauseating details, but I did get to steer the parachute for a while! Which was definitely the highlight for me. Can you imagine, lil ol’ (sick to my stomach) me, steering the parachute? I held the life of two people in my wobbly little hands.
After a few minutes of Brett talking about his craziest jumps and what he loved about Hawaii (to distract me), we neared the drop zone. He gave me the run down on how to land. It was the easiest part of the whole experience. We did a few circles (WHYYY) to avoid the pair that had jumped before us, and then we were on the ground. Still alive, but barely breathin’.
You can’t tell from the picture, but my legs were literally shaking because I had .0001% strength left. We kept our head down and tried not to get trampled by the incoming landers. Brett told me I did good, “STELLER” to use his exact words, and gave me a steady pat on the back while he signed my certificate. He even wrote a cute lil note for me at the bottom.
I think he felt bad. Lol
If you paid for pictures (I did), they also show you a full video of your jump, and give you the option to upgrade to buy the video. The video was so well done and edited, I watched someone else’s video and it was amazing! Even mine was…well, hilarious. However, I wanted no video evidence of the time I almost blew chunks at 14,000 feet, and you can’t crop out “vomit face.” I’ll stick with the pictures so I can choose not to share the bits where my eyes are rolled to the back of my head.
All in all, I would highly recommend SkyDive Hawaii. Like I said before, I didn’t have any experience jumping with another company, but I loved all the instructors and how they walked you through everything. I never felt like I was going to die, which was always a plus. And they didn’t mind the fact that I IMMEDIATELY passed out in my car for two hours after my jump. They’re fantastic people there.
I had foolishly planned a lot of other North Shore activity, but after sleeping off the sugar crash and nausea, the sun had already begun to set and the cute little shops in Haleiwa were already closed so I just went back home.
Have you guys ever been skydiving?? What’s an amazing place to skydive? I might do it again if I remember to pack motion sickness pills. What are your tips on breathing?? And, yanno, not puking.
This is the AwkwardTraveller, over and out.