The Kenyan Nomad

The Kenyan Nomad

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Jumping out of Planes

When we landed at the Ukunda air strip that Monday morning for an amazing vacation, I can safely say that jumping out of a plane was probably the absolute LAST thing on my mind. I was ready for some sun, sand and sea (read ocean), relaxing, and not budging from the resort at all! Skydiving's been on my bucket list for a while now, but I'd never actually set a date, you know? It's not like I said, hey, I'm gonna go to Diani and go skydiving. It literally just kinda happened...

As we're getting into the car to get to our hotel, a guy walks up to us with fliers for Skydive Diani. I have NO IDEA what came into my mind... but I looked at my sister, she looked at me, and that was that. Spontaneous isn't usually a word I use to describe myself. I mean, hey, I'll go grab coffee with you if I have some time and nothing planned, but spontaneously deciding to go skydiving?! I have no clue where that came from.

We inquired about it and made bookings almost as soon as we got to the hotel. This was really happening!! Another thing extremely uncharacteristic of me- I didn't tell anyone I was going to do it! Most of my friends were left wondering after they saw this cryptic photo on my Instagram (after I'd done it).

We landed on a Monday, and decided to jump on Wednesday. Now I had no idea what to expect, at all. I'm at the beach right? So a t-shirt, shorts and sandals seemed entirely appropriate at the time. When we got to the Skydive Diani office, we met the instructors and the staff who were incredibly cool and helpful. Did I mention incredibly cool?! I mean, these guys actually do this practically every day!! This is their LIFE! WHATT!! 

Heading off!

After the talk (smile and be a good banana is what you need to remember), we hopped in the car to go to the air strip. At this point, we'd been told to lose the sandals... I guess it would've been terribly awkward/painful if some poor civilian got slapped in the face with one of mine. (So yes, I did go skydiving barefoot and in shorts). 

At this point, I'm so excited that I don't think it's really hit me- I'm really doing this!! As we get into the plane, reality began to set in, but in a good way. In the main cabin (room? space?), we were six, and it was a cosy fit. My sister and I, our respective instructors (we'd be jumping in tandem since it was the first time), and two others who were jumping with us. 

Our view from the plane as we went higher

As we went up (and up and up and up), I was awestruck by the view. Did I mention that there was no closed door? So not only did we get to see the view going up, we got to feel the atmosphere, and that made it a little more real to me! And holy shit, did it get cold. Next time I'm taking my parka! Okay, maybe not, but you get the point. 

Before I knew it, we were at 12,000 feet, and my sister was out. HOLY SHIT WAIT A SECOND WHAT WAS I DOING?! I'm sitting at the edge of a plane with my legs dangling out, looking out at the most beautiful sight I've ever seen. There was adrenaline and excitement and awe and wonder and nervousness all at once (although I'm happy to report the nervousness faded away... I think the biting cold helped, gave me something more to focus on). 

And then we jumped! I have no words to describe the experience, really. The first thing that hits you is the speed, and the cold. I believe you're hurtling through at a velocity of about 200km/h. Give it a second or two though, and that's when you'll fall in love. My cheeks and ear lobes were flapping around furiously and I was so focused on what I was doing that I didn't even realise I could let go of my harness! My instructor literally had to pry my hand off. It was incredible! That rush, that energy, the thrill of it... I'll definitely be going back. 

I'm flying!
When the parachute was deployed, we slowed down (naturally), and had more time to appreciate the view and chat a little bit. Seriously, it was so gorgeous up there, I wanted to stay forever! Those of us who live in Kenya are truly blessed, and we don't even realise it. 

Look at that view!

The landing was really smooth, and I was so glad I jumped!! Definitely an experience worth every penny, and I can't wait to go again. The team at Skydive Diani were incredibly amazing and professional. Thank you for an amazing experience!!

After the jump, pretty much all day, all I could say was: HOLY SHIT I JUMPED OUT OF A PLANE!! (Or some variation of the same.) The buzz lasted for DAYS, and I still feel it when I look at the pictures or the video, or even think about it enough. 

If you're considering skydiving, my two cents? Go for it! And definitely try do a jump at Diani if you can. 


Right after landing. So happy, and still on a rush!


Amber said...

I love that you were barefoot. That's wonderful.

The Kenyan Nomad said...

It was cool ;) In the literal sense too!

Elizabeth LeVieux Wilson said...

I've never wanted to skydive, but your story is making rethink this. Especially if it is on the Kenyan coast...

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