THE SKY IS NO LONGER THE LIMIT: MY FIRST EXTREME SKYDIVE EXPERIENCE, OVER THE PALM

Once we’ll exit the airplane, I need you to keep your knees flexed and turn your head slightly to the right. I’ll be counting: one, two and when I’ll say three, we need to jump! After that, the only thing that you need to do is to arch your back and keep your legs relaxed, with the soles of your feet aimed up towards the sky. And, of course, don’t forget to smile, ok?

To smile?! How could I keep a large smile on my face, when I was shaking worse than a dog shitting razor blades?! I was aware about what’s gonna happen. Actually, in the begining, I was not. I started to realize that things are getting serious when I have arrived there and I have consciously signed my possible death sentence: “please write down over here the first name and the last name of one of your relatives and also the phone number, so we can contact that person, just in case something happens”. Oh, my God, what have I done?

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I was smiling, but, trust me, that was not my smile! I just wanted to look good in that photo, but I was scared to death. I couldn’t sleep the previous night. I was worried about something bad that might happen.

October 27th, 2016. Me. Without make up. Without having any sleep. I was laying down at the swimming pool and having a drink, trying to get rid of any of my fears. But, wait! Who was I trying to fool? I am not brave…at all. I am afraid of heights! Heights have never been my thing. I’m scared to jump in the swimming pool. How could I dare to jump from 13.000 feets above the ground? Only thinking about it, it felt completely insane! I wanted to be brave, but the truth it’s that I am more coward that Courage, the cowardly dog. But I still had time to change my mind. I have done that before, already. First, I wanted to skydive in Romania. But, just a few days before taking my decision, two people died, where I was supposed to jump, after a skydiving accident, at the Clinceni airfield, near Bucharest. Am I going to do the same now? There were so many questions, running through my head. What if the parachute doesn’t open? How do I survive, if the parachute fails? What happens if I have a heart attack, just before jumping? At least, if I die, I want to experience this, first. I was not sure about so many things. But… there was one thing that I knew for sure: I really wanted to experience at least a few seconds from the golden minute. I was sure that feeling the taste of freedom, even for just a few seconds, will worth every single penny. And every single risk that I had to take.

I’ve jumped into a cab and it just took me 10 minutes to arrive from my hotel to the Skydive Dubai Palm Drop Zone. I arrived 15 minutes earlier my call time, but they immediately accommodated me in the front desk. They measured my height, weight, BMI and asked me to read the waiver and sign.

I was a bit anxious at the same time as I went through the pages of the waiver. I was trying to read it word by word. Do you have any heart disease? Nope, I don’t think so. Do you have any mental illnesses? No, since I know. Anyway, I think I am not normal for taking this decision. The worse thing was when I have to write down the first and the last name of one of my relatives, so they can contact that person, in case that something bad will happen to me. Then, I have realized that it was not a joke. It was not true that there’s no risk. Actually, it was risky, but you had to take all the risks. It was written there that Skydive Dubai will not be held accountable for any unfavorable incident. So, you take it or you leave it! It’s your choice. It was MY choice. Now, once I’m here, there is now way to step back! So, I signed, gave it to attendant, and paid the remaining balance. No backing out!

So, after paying the remaining balance, I was asked to wait for my turn and wait for my name to be seen on the main screen inside. However, I started to feel better once I walked into the office and saw travellers from all areas of the world either suiting up, leaving to go jump or laughing at their skydive video playing on a giant 100inch screen for all to see. There were a lot of women inside, willing to have the best experience of their entire life. They all seemed to be very brave. I seemed to be the only coward inside.

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I was waiting for my turn for about one hour. I was praying to experience my first skydive with a young and good looking instructor. At least, if I die, I should die with a handsome man by my side, what the f..k?!

“Everybody is scared! They just try to act smart in front of their friends!”, a very good looking guy told me. “Ramona?”, he asked. I said:”Yes, that’s me. Nice to meet you! But you have to do something, because I am very, very scared!” He said that I have no reason to be worried about, beacuse he loves life so much, so that’s why he will take care to bring me back to earth safe and sound. However, at least my wish was accomplished. Benji was 34 years old, so he was young, he had a really nice body, he was from Corsica (so, he was european and latin, like me) and it seemed that he really likes to enjoy his life. He was working for some nightclubs before, but he loves the pure adrenaline rush. So, it was the 1000 th time when he was skydiving above the Palm, in Dubai.

It was time to gear up! He gave me instructions on what to do during the dive and the landing, but I was honestly out of my mind! It was probably the nerves, combined with the hunger and the lack of proper sleep that got me. “Once we’ll exit the airplane, I need you to keep your knees flexed and turn your head slightly to the right. I’ll be counting: one, two and when I’ll say three, we need to jump! After that, the only thing that you need to do is to arch your back and keep your legs relaxed, with the soles of your feet aimed up towards the sky. And, of course, don’t forget to smile, ok? You will feel the freedom and, trust me, you will want to do it again and again!”

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A few minutes after the preparation, video and picture taking, my name was called once again. It was finally the time for my most awaited adventure. We rode a buggy to the tarmac where Skydive Dubai’s private plane was already waiting. We were the last tandem couple to get into the airplane. That meant that we will be the first couple to jump out of the plane. Better, like this I don’t have to see other people doing the same. After, they have opened the door of the plane. I started shaking. I couldn’t feel my feet. Benji told me it’s not the time yet, that they just wanted us to get some fresh air. My new Corsican ensured my safety. He checked the gears and the harness that I am attached to on our way up! We were like siamese twins. If I die, he dies. If dies, I die! From then on, my life was in his hands. It was litteraly in his hands. 

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I still had time to change my mind. But, remember, no backing out! Once we’ve reached 13,000 feet, the door opened and I knew what’s gonna happen: it was my turn next. I was so afraid. I couldn’t breath. I couldn’t feel my knees anymore. I have turned my head to the right and in three, two, one… it happened!

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I still can’t remember what happened in the first 3 seconds. The most important thing was that I did it! I’ve jumped off the plane 13.000 feet above the ground! I grinned the whole time, but the strong wind and the pull of gravity distorted my facial muscles and made me look like a chipmunk in the video! Hahaha! 

But who cares? I was having the time of my life!  I was thinking that I was so stupid because I haven’t done this before. It was simply amazing!
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I forgot all the instructions. I forgot what I have to do with my feet. Anyway, it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that the sky was no longer the limit. I was feeling the taste of freedom. The free fall. The incredible view. The Palm was simply amazing. I was enjoying the 60 seconds of freedom. The golden minute. MY golden minute.
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When the parachute was fully opened, we slowly glided over Dubai’s scenic coastline. The view from way up high was awe-inspiring, as I saw The Atlantis, Burj Al Arab, The Palm islands and other landmarks as we slowly glided down. The view was one of the best I had ever seen. I felt safe. I felt alive. We were dancing in the sky. It was amazing! I was enjoying my journey. I didn’t want to miss a thing! If only I had the liberty to stay up in the air a bit longer!
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“Legs up, as I have shown you! Legs up!” We had a smooth landing, better than anyone else! I was up on my feet, no longer disoriented, but speechless when I was interviewed! I was crying! It was out-of-this-world, but it was soul-fulfilling. Benji, thank you so much! I have trusted you. From the first moment. You are the best. I hugged him. I felt the taste of freedom. The free fall. It was the time of my life. It was what I will call, from now own, TOTAL FREEDOM. It was MY minute. MY golden minute.
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