I Believe I can Fly...

Trip Start May 02, 2011
Trip End Jul 05, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, June 12, 2011

We didn't arrive to our Motel until late afternoon on the Sunday, so after checking in we went to get some late lunch in Denny's, which was nice, then we made some phone calls, the first of which was to the Marina Airport, which is the Monterey Skydiving centre, where they said that they WOULD be jumping the next day, but to ring again in the morning. We were pretty excited, and to make time go by a little quicker we went to the local cinema to watch "Super8" (pretty good, worth watching, but not the best film in the entire World).

The next morning we were greeted by clear blue skies, and so we hurriedly called a taxi and went straight to the airport. By the time we got there, it was clouding over, but Jackie (the lady who deals with the bookings and stuff) said to wait a few hours, and handed over a whole bunch of paperwork for us to do. We basically had to sign away our lives, agreeing to not sue the company if injured or killed, even if due to gross negligence (which gave us some pause, because that did in effect mean that they could crash the aeroplane into a building and we wouldn't be able to sue, but we signed anyways because we really wanted to do it!). We were then shown to our instructors, who strapped us into our harnesses and went through some basic stuff, then we just had to play a waiting game. Unfortunately, the weather didn't clear up :( but some really friendly Americans took us to Bubba Gumps Shrimp Company (in Pacific Grove) for lunch, where we scored an admirable 7/10 in the Forrest Gump quiz. Once back at the Motel, we moped around a bit feeling sorry for ourselves because we couldn't skydive, then watched a load of T.V. again.

The next day was typically gorgeous, so we called up again but were told that they weren't jumping because there was a bit of a backlog, but to try again tomorrow. So instead we went for a really long walk to the Coast of Monterey, where it suddenly struck us JUST how far we had come in the last month or so. The day was pretty uneventful (except for the numerous "bangers" that we were throwing around), but we stumbled upon "Absolutely Fabulous" on T.V. that evening, and stayed up a bit late to watch it, which probably wasn't very wise seeing as we were hoping to Skydive the next day, but never mind.

On our last day in Monterey, we were again greeted by clear blue skies. With our heats in our mouths we made another trip to the airport, where we were greeted by bright smiles and were told to take a seat, as they still had all our paperwork and wouldn't need us to do it all again. We were given another quick lesson on the harness and how to jump out of the aeroplane (so as not to hit the instructors head on the doorway) and then the moment had come. We were jumping.

I was actually seated right next to the door (which is transparant) so I could actually see the ascent, and boy were my hands shaking the further up we went. But surprisingly the jump itself isn't that difficult because you're not made to dangle over the edge, your instructor just flings the pair of you off before you can think about the stupid things that could happen (Will says this is the only time he swore when he saw me falling out of the aeroplane. Being the first one to jump, I didn't have to watch anyone else jump out, but at the same time I didn't see any other parachutes open up, so y'know...)

Skydiving is AMAZING. The freefall feels really funny because the air is rushing past at like 120mph so you can't breathe properly, but its crazy good fun, then the parachute opens up and you're jerked up again, but then you can just sit in the harness (it feels a bit like sitting on a swing) and you can look around. We couldn't have picked a better day for it, the view was SPECTACULAR. My instructor even let me take control of the parachute briefly, so I could do some spirals and things, which was really cool, but all too soon we had to land. Definitely the coolest thing I've ever done, and without a doubt the highlight of our entire trip so far. Whilst waiting for Will's DVD to be edited and stuff (we could only afford one DVD, and Skydiving was more important to Will than to me, so we decided he should get filmed), we went to lunch with some more friendly Americans (West Coast is definitely better than the East, people are much nicer to you) then returned to grab the DVD, before rushing out to catch a taxi to the Greyhound Terminal (made it with 20 minutes to spare. Given that they suggest arriving 45 minutes before departure time, we cut it a bit fine, but we've done much worse in the past) to carry on to Santa Monica.
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