Story Short--Skydive Switzerland

The only time I've ever been skydiving tears saturated my eyes and blurred my vision as the plane made its way to the altitude required for the jump. My hands were so sweaty that I couldn't grip the tiny window's edge as tightly as I would have liked. Instead my fingers kept slipping off adding just one more "problem" to my current list of things out of my control, all of which began after I made my initial decision to make the jump.

I remember thinking, questioning amid the ascent, how the hell I managed to convince myself that this was in my ability range. I am one of those people who get nervous driving over bridges. Although, I don't know if my fear when driving over bridges is due to the height or the very clear images I entertain of my car driving through the guard rails and plummeting straight down. This succession of images is not wholly unlike those I face when flying. Again, is it a fear of heights or simply the constant playback of another plane t-boning my plane midair that incites my panic? Good question.

I have to admit that my flight in the little Cessna pre-jump was kind of an exception. I did not fear for my life in the same way. Instead, my fears were focused on being sucked out the "door" that had been opened because someone said they were getting a little hot. "Sweat like a man, you pussy bitch!" was what I was tempted to yell but as I glanced around at all the smiles in the cabin, I understood that I was not in the same mental state as the rest, and thus, I managed to keep my thoughts internal...so as not to be that person.

They all appeared so relaxed. There were four of us on the train to Interlaken, Switzerland who made the decision to skydive. We were actually part of a larger group, but some veered off  for some other destination, and others had booked some sort of crazy cave rappelling trip. That left four of us and our four dive-masters in the open cabin of the Cessna. Admittedly, it was ridiculously hot, but I'm pretty sure I'd rather be a little sweaty than be sucked out into the propellers and diced up into unrecognizable pieces. I don't even know if that's a real possibility, but in my mind at that moment, it sure as shit was.

My terror was only furthered by the fact that Jurg, the dive-master assigned to me, seemed to be fucking with me. Sigh. I hope there is some understanding out there that I had no idea what I was doing. We had a training which took all of five minutes and consisted of us being told to pick up our legs at the landing so that we don't harm ourselves or our dive-masters. And that was it. We were told that our professional divers would handle everything, because obviously they don't want anything bad to happen either. Or do they? Maybe it is my just finishing up this last season of Dexter, but I'm not so sure I want to put my life completely into someone else's hands.

Except that for this 20 minute period of time, that is exactly what I agreed, and signed a waiver, to do. The one thing we were instructed to do, perhaps in jest, was to make sure we were attached to our dive-masters before we left the plane. I took this direction very seriously and attempted to attach myself to Jurg immediately upon entering the plane. He laughed, pointedly, as if this interaction, my attempt at staying alive, was funny to him.

Jurg became my nemesis...a clear antagonist to my plight for survival. Oh, he put on a nice little show...smiling for pictures...getting my friend's attention to see if I was okay...patting my arms with his humongo man hands... but he absolutely refused to connect the four god damn carabiners that were literally my life lines to some sense of safety, the parachute.

The pilot let us know we had reached our drop off spot. Thankfully, Jurg was smart enough to realize he would have serious consequences if he continued refusing to attach himself to his meal ticket. They asked who wanted to go first. I volunteered, because seriously, I just wanted the "experience" to be done. Jurg and I wound up going second for reasons I don't remember, something to do with our weight or some such bullshit. After the first couple dropped, Jurg positioned himself, us, on the edge of the doorway. He sat while I just kind of floated outside the plane. He started to countdown and when he reached two I tried to turn back inside the plane and grab onto the edge. I'm sure this is not suggested, but I couldn't help it. Luckily, Jurg is a strong man and he managed to push me out and away from the plane before I could cause us any issues.

The drop down was incredible. During the free fall I screamed until my mouth dried up and emitted no more noise. He pulled the chute...and all was beautiful. The Swiss Alps and glacial lakes surrounded our descent. It was unreal. AND at that moment, I would have done it again, if it didn't cost $275.

Comments

  1. This makes me grin big time. If it makes you feel any better, I'm at about 35 jumps (a newbie by skydiving standards) and still get sweaty palmed on the ride up to jump altitude. I would love to have jumped while we were in Interlaken. What a great view that must have been.

    - Matt Sullivan

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  2. Beautiful it was my friend--and totally worth it!!!

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