I love the feeling of falling. When your gut jumps up into your throat and you have that brief sensation of being weightless… Gahhhh I live for that feeling! The fact that sky diving was on my bucket list isn’t a huge surprise to anyone that knows me. A couple summers ago I was going to Steinbach, Manitoba for a cousins wedding – their wedding was on a Sunday and we drove up on Friday which gave us a day to kill. I was digging around finding things to do on the Saturday and I came across Adventure Skydiving. After perusing their site I learned that they had the highest tandem jumps available in the prairies; up to 11,000 feet which would give jumpers roughly a minute of free fall. I was instantly captivated.
I contacted one of my other cousins who was traveling to the wedding on the same day. I was so excited and thought it’d be great if we were able to jump together! The tandem skydive enables the skydiver to experience the full magnitude of a skydive, including free fall in terminal velocity of up to 230 kpm of vertical speed, and a canopy glide to the ground – The tandem skydive also didn’t require any prior knowledge or training for jumping because we’d be strapped to someone who was certified. My cousin was instantly on board and we booked our jumps for that Saturday morning.
Weeks went by and Jump Day finally came! Her and I showed up to the jump site to get our brief training which pretty much explained what we shouldn’t do during the jump so that we didn’t kill ourselves along with our instructors… My body was vibrating I was so eager to get in the air! The training taught us how to jump out of the plane, how to steer our bodies during free fall, how to steer ourselves once the shoot was pulled and how to land without breaking our legs – Nothing major though… 😉
By the time we had completed our training, we were told that we might not be able to jump due to an excessive amount of wind. My heart sunk. The instructor began to explain that there was a storm approaching the outskirts of the city – pretty much where we’d be landing and that the wind was starting to swirl making it unsafe to land. “We could get ya up there just fine and most of your jump would be awesome. But as soon as you got 300 ft from landing, your parachute could collapse due to the wind changing directions unpredictably and you could just drop the rest of the way…”
The instructor left and said they’d keep us updated on the wind, but if the situation did not improve within an hour they would cancel our jump due to weather. My cousin and I were crushed. As we waited, we prayed. Knowing that Jesus had calmed the storm before and He could certainly do it again for us. We read about how Jesus calmed the wind and the ocean waves in Mark 4:35-41, “On that day, when evening came, [one of the disciples] said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.”Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him.And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
So we prayed. I don’t believe in coincidences, but after we both finished praying and submitting our jump and the weather to the Lord, the radio began to play 1989’s Tom Petty – Free Fallin’ and we were stoked because in that moment we knew God would work on our behalf. Sure enough, the instructor came blitzing into our waiting room saying a clear window showed up on the scanner and we had to get in the air within the next 30 minutes in order to have a safe jump! God is so good. So we suited up and hopped in the plane and began our climb to 11,000 feet.
The plane was small and we were all cozy but the adrenaline pumping through us made us anything but comfortable. As the airbase below grew smaller and slowly vanished out of site, the clouds began to engulf the tiny aircraft. My heart was beating wildly and my hands were sweating. We climbed higher and higher and it began to click in my mind that I was about to jump out of the plane in midair. The pilot yelled back to us that we had finally reached our 11,000 foot altitude and we were free to jump. Without a moment to lose, my instructor squeezed my shoulders to ask if I was ready and we crawled over to the plane door. He opened it up and I could not believe how clear the sky was from so high up. I felt like I was looking down on Google Maps. This was not real. I swung my legs out of the plane and began to lean forward to fall out. As my instructor and I fell forward I jumped from the step and the plane soared away. My gut jumped higher in my body than I ever thought possible! But the feeling didn’t go away. Not like it does on a roller coaster were the dropping feeling only lasts a moment. I glanced over and could see the plane just a dot in the sky and watched as another dot disbanded from it. We continued to hurtle towards the earth and the wonderful falling sensation seeped into every part of my body.
I can’t describe to you how incredible it was to fall for a full sixty seconds. It was magnificent. I loved every moment. We pulled the shoot and continued floating towards the ground. I felt like I was stuck in the sky for an hour. It was so quiet – You would expect it to be loud with all the wind that high up and the fact that we were still “falling” but it wasn’t! My instructor began pointing out landmarks and different crops that were growing in all the fields below us – It was phenomenal to say the least!
For those of you that have not yet checked Sky Diving off your Bucket List, I strongly encourage you to go. The jump is awe inspiring and it’s quite a sight to see the world from so high above without being protected in a plane or helicopter. To be so exposed and so free. If Sky Diving isn’t on your Bucket List, maybe reconsider adding it because my story doesn’t do the experience justice!