Skydiving from 12,000 feet in Boituva, Brazil

My friend Gisele, our skydiving instructor “Galinha” and I

I finally took the plunge and tried skydiving! I jumped at about noon today, and I still feel like I’m catching my breath. The experience has left me totally raw and my heart hasn’t slowed down all day. I’ve tried everything – having a beer, flaking in the sun, eating a good meal, taking a 2-hour nap, going for a swim – do you think I should just chill out and enjoy the adrenaline rush? It’s not like I’ll get any real work done tonight, even if I wanted to. I haven’t written on my website in weeks, but if there’s any reason to get back into it, it’s to try and capture in the words the glow and the bubble I’m floating in right now.

My instructor’s name was Galinha, which is the Portuguese word for chicken, and he has jumped over 2,000 times in ten years and in a typical workday makes about 12 jumps. I had only a 15-minute lesson with him before we tandem-jumped at 12,000 feet for 50 seconds of free-fall and 6 minutes with the parachute. During my free fall, I noticed a disproportionate amount of my attention being paid towards following the instructor’s directions and safety warnings. I told myself to disconnect from my fears and instead enjoy the view. Ca you imagine how I would have felt afterwards if I hadn’t taken the time to do so? I wonder how many seconds it took me to reach terminal velocity – the speed at which acceleration stops. The following website has some interesting facts and anecdotes about skydiving and terminal velocity.

Speed of a Skydiver (Terminal Velocity)
It’s been a few years now that I’ve been looking for a partner with whom to try skydiving with for the first time. Two weeks ago, when I went on an adventure weekend in Ilha Grande (an island off Brazil’s southeastern coast) with some friends, I discovered Gisele Braga. We’d both had opportunities to skydive before, but nothing had ever fallen into place. So we were pretty stoked when we realized we could make it happen together this time. Gisele is a cool, sporty girl, working in the area of event management & design. She offered to make all the arrangements with the Centro Nacional de Para-quedismo, and then supplied her car to get us out to the small town of Boituva in the Sao Paulo countryside. Thanks Gisele!

This is totally something you should try at least once in your life. I’m telling you – it is an experience you will never forget. Face the fear of death, the fear of heights, the fear of wide-open spaces; it will open your mind to new possibilities.

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