Skydive Hawaii – My First Skydiving Experience
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There are few places in the world where I can truly experience the best of the best scenery on earth from the sky. Oahu, regarded as the world’s most beautiful drop zone, was really one of the perfect places to go skydiving. Several times a day, Skydive Hawaii would send students and professional skydivers for tandem skydive from 14,000 feet high and up.
However, the decision of go skydiving has been postponed for years because of my fear (fear of heights, fear of dying from parachute malfunction, or whatever I could think of anything that could go wrong) and taking the plunge did not happen until my last day on Oahu. I booked the skydiving with Skydive Hawaii and paid a $50 deposit, and that was it.
Arriving at the Skydive Hawaii
It was a sunny morning when I arrived at Skydive Hawaii. I have both enjoyed and been terrified by the cliff jumping and parasailing on Oahu before, so I looked forward to seeing how skydiving would take the extreme to the next level. The 14,000-foot drop included a 20-second freefall at the speed of 120 miles per hour, which was another thing I was afraid about.
We were led into a room and asked to watch the training video and sign the risk agreement. While in most circumstances, people would just sign and finish the process, we were told to read the agreement carefully and sign our name on each page.
The agreement had seven pages stating that skydiving is dangerous and there are many things that could go wrong during the activity. By signing the agreement, we accepted the risk involved in tandem skydiving and would not hold the company liable if any incidents occurred. Therefore, I recommend you to purchase travel insurance to cover your skydiving experience. I always purchased insurance from World Nomads as it is affordable and the service is reliable.
We then went out of the office to meet our instructor who trained us a bit on free-fall positions. We caught the sight of the flight and parachute landing in the airfield.
My first tandem skydiving experience on Oahu, Hawaii
My tandem instructor was a guy named Nelson; he helped me suit up and relax before we made our way to a small caravan aircraft. I looked outside the window during takeoff as the houses, cars, and roads went gradually out of sight while the vast expense of ocean, land, the sky came into view. My fear started fading away as I was so mesmerized by the beautiful landscapes outside.
Shortly after, my initial apprehension returned when the plane reached 2,000 meters, as two people, for whatever reason that was, decided to jump out of the plane. I watched as they talked about who was going to jump from the right side and who from the left side of the door. Then they jumped out and disappeared. The group cheered as if they had just witnessed the most spectacular show on Planet Earth. For me, it was terrifying.
My panic did not stop there. The plane went higher up until it above the clouds and then the doors opened again. One by one, the cameraman, instructors, and students before me went out of the plane as if they were gone, and my turn came.
At the door, Nelson asked me to prepare for the free fall once more and the camera guy took a picture of us. Asking me if I was ready, I cannot say. It was a point of no return. Regardless if I am afraid or not, I had no choice but to do it. So at an altitude of 14,000 feet, we stepped out of the plane, did a flip, and then started free falling through white fluffy clouds.
It was true that once you get out of the plane, the scariest part of the skydiving is gone. The free fall was exhilarating and not as bad as the ride on a roller coaster. In a few short seconds, I met my cameraman who was in front of me on the same level. He made a gesture telling me to smile and make some poses, but this was difficult for me. The air was thin and the wind was gushing and even a slight movement of my arm was a challenging task, but it was amazing that I felt I was flying over Oahu instead of quickly dropping towards the ground.
The free fall ended in a flicker, then suddenly there was a force pulling me skyward. The parachute opened and we were slowly floating around. Nelson pointed out the locations and popular attractions underneath. I could see North Shore, Ka’ena Point, Turtle Bay and Honolulu.
When people skydive, oftentimes they would tell me that it was not as scary as it was expected to be, but few mentioned how peaceful and serene it was to just sit in the parachute, looking down at beautiful Oahu from 2000 meters high. There is a harmony to be found among the indefinite stretch of the ocean and the multi-colored parachutes in the distance. I relaxed, rejoiced and wished I could just stay up there and watch this beautiful place forever. Nelson steered the parachute left and right a few times, so I could take in the beauty of Oahu from different angles.
After a few minutes floating around in the sky, I was informed that we would make a landing soon. I did as I was told to put my feet down after he touched the ground. It was a perfect landing.
When we were back on the ground. Nelson and I exchanged high-fives and smiles, proud of taking on an adventure that I was always scared of but was looking forward to for so long. Despite the initial fright, the thrill and the adrenaline rush that came with it outweighed the fear. Seeing the best of Oahu from a bird’s-eye view is really something you will remember for a lifetime.
Tips and additional information
People under the age of 16 are not allowed to skydive because the altitude, and scuba divers are not recommended to skydive within 24-48 hours.
It is normal to be afraid, but skydiving is actually safe, at least in the USA where they maintain a high safety standard for such extreme activity. You are offered to watch a training video and have a professional and experienced skydiver strapped on your back to do the entire job for you. But do take note that the first few seconds out of the plane can be uncomfortable as breathing can be difficult up in the sky with the thin air and all the wind coming in.
Be ready for delays. There is only one small airplane to send people up for skydiving.
The entire activity takes up to six hours, including the transfer from and to your accommodation in Waikiki, the actual jump, and waiting time at the airfield before and after the jump
Skydiving is in no way cheap, but it is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The best of Oahu and North Shore are enjoyed from a 360-degree view, and it is a great feeling to be surrounded by like-minded people who would like to go skydiving as you do.
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