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Skydiving In Deland Florida
Pictures of My First Tandem Skydiving Jump At The Skydive Deland Complex.
 

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I had been wanting to try skydiving for years and every so often I would mention it to my friends and family. My girlfriend was the only one who had really been listening and she set up a surprise present for my 25th birthday. She packed me an overnight bag, hopped in the car, and told me to drive north from Miami towards Orlando. I had no idea what she had in store for me but I was very excited.

We checked in to a Comfort Inn & Suites hotel, which had very comfy beds, but I was too excited to sleep. In the morning I felt like a child going to his first day of school since my girlfriend had to pick out my clothes because I didn't know what was appropriate for the surprise event.

(To vicariously experience the rest of my first skydiving experience scroll down to the images in the photo album below this paragraph. Click on the picture thumbnails to view the full sized photographs.)

 
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Skydivers In The Plane

 
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It was only a short drive from the hotel to the Skydive Deland complex. My heart started racing and I broke out in a cold sweat when I realized what we were both about to experience for the first time. After we watched a brief introduction
VHS video tape on the sport of skydiving the staff asked us to sign a waiver form releasing them of all liability for anything
 that might happen during our first tandem skydive jump from over 14,000 feet and falling at 120mph towards the ground
 (GULP).

The planes available at the SkyDive Deland complex include the DeHavilland Super Twin Otter, Pilatus Porter, and the plane we went on, the Shorts Skyvan. Over 20 people including skydiving fanatics and first timers like us were stacked into the plane's cargo bay. To save space you had to lean back into the lap of the person behind you and allow the person in front of you to snuggle back between your legs.
 

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Deland Aerial View
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Tandem Jump Picture
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Freefalling Picture
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Skydiving Plane

Once the plane started to reach it's target altitude I began to regret eating that tasty BLT sandwich from "The Perfect Spot Restaurant & Bar." I also was kicking myself for not remembering to chow down a Dramamine motion sickness pill or two. (I need a Dramamine pill when I go fishing. How could I have forgotten to take one for this skydiving trip?)

All the professionals, enthusiasts and beginner skydiving students jumped out of the plane first leaving my girl and I as the last jumpers to depart. My girlfriend had opted for the full photography and DVD video coverage of my tandem jump but we asked to let her dive first so that the camera operator could capture her jump and then he would follow me all the way down on my descent.

The moment came for my skydive and the tandem instructor didn't give me a moment to even think about backing out. I just told myself to relax and fall out of the plane. Freefalling for about a minute above Deland was amazing. The Florida wind was warm with cool wisps of clouds rushing by every few seconds. My cheeks were flapping and undulating like a chubby guy in one of those old vibrating belt exercise machines.

I heard the skydiving instructor tell me to brace myself against the straps as he was about to pull the cord to release the parachute.
(It was at this moment that I was glad he specifically mentioned to move my male equipment away from the straps that flanked either side of my groin.) The force of the parachute decelerating us was quite impressive, exhilarating and a touch scary since my shoulder slipped out of the top strap.

Gliding down with the parachute open was peaceful until my tandem jump instructor began doing high g-force roller coaster like turns, which I'm sure he thought I was enjoying but it made my already slightly nauseous stomach feel worse.

If I had taken the Dramamine I would have probably been delighted and thrilled by the fast loops and curves he would initiate by pulling hard on the parachute's handles. It was easy to talk while gliding down so I asked him to take it easy. since I didn't want to get sick and ruin the day of any cheery skydiving enthusiasts on the ground below us.

Finally we landed right on target into the large circular gravel pit where my girlfriend was already awaiting my arrival. Drained by the experience, I stayed on the ground for a few seconds until the instructor unhooked me from the parachute backpack and gave me a firm pat on the shoulder.

I highly recommend that everyone experience the thrill of skydiving at least once in their lives. But don't get hooked unless you've got $$$ since it is a very expensive hobby. I would definitely go skydiving again to accompany a friend or family member who was experiencing a tandem jump for the first time.

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