Adrenaline runs in my blood. Being outdoors is what I do and I never stop exploring. With a successful summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2014, I knew I had to set myself up for something even greater …
We had just brought in 2015, and on the second day of this new year, I knew what it was that I wanted to do – Jump out of a plane!
I’ve watched countless people skydive, but I hadn’t met anyone who had actually done it. The fact that I could do it in Kenya sealed the deal, and so the very next day, it was time.
Mark suited me up, walked me through skydiving etiquette and said “it’s no big deal, you just jump, and enjoy the view”. Mark had done over 400 jumps in different parts of the world. (eyes rolling)
There was 6 of us going skydiving that day, 5 pros and me. We drove to the Ukunda airstrip in Diani, walked through the security monitors high fiving everyone along the way “Good luck!” as most of them saw me and gave me the thumbs up. Gulp!
There was the skydive plane – a tiny single engine, with no door. You read that right – no door, no seats, just the pilot had a seat, and floor space, lots of it! We got on, sat down, and I leaned against Mark as he would have to hook me up when we got up in the air. The plane started its engine, and we took off, no door and all!
As we climbed altitude, it got colder. My adrenaline had kicked in some time ago, but the thought of this madness I was getting up to, and the fear of being so close to the edge of a plane with no door made my heart beat faster than what it should have been doing at this point in time. What was I thinking?
As we flew above the clouds, I took a deep breath to calm down. The scenery was breath taking. I was seeing Diani with nothing blocking my view. No window, no nothing. I was seeing Diani like a bird.
We had been climbing for about 20 minutes and we were finally at 10,000 feet – the altitude just perfect for a jump – Wait whaaaat?
Mark had hooked me in, given me my glasses and already moved me from the edge of the plane and almost out of it. I was hanging out the plane at 10,000 feet above ground, heart pounding, no bottom below my feet, voices in my head screaming “ARE YOU READY ALEEMA?” ( Actually that was Mark) I looked up and all I saw was blue sky, my heart’s beat loud in my ear … and then I fell …
The wind stroked my cheeks, my mouth was wide open, (I think I was screaming), there was blood rushing to my face, my hands were gripping my vest, gravity was doing its due diligence and the ground was rushing up. I can’t describe what was going through my body at this moment in time, my thoughts had disappeared.
I fell through the clouds … and then I was flying. I looked down, my arms behind me, a huge smile on my face and the sensation of freedom formed inside me. Diani beach was spectacular, the ocean was azure, the brightness of the white sandy beach, the palm trees swaying in their dance, the moving bodies of other souls, and I was flying above all of this. It was one of the most incredible and overwhelming moments of my life – It was bliss.
In a sweeping whoosh the parachute opened, bringing my flying freedom to a sudden end, and pulling me back up to a reasonable and fairly peaceful glide as I continued my descent back to earth. I couldn’t believe it! I had just jumped out of a plane. I landed with a goofy smile on my face, my heart still beating fast and the adrenaline still circulating, giving Mark a high five. For a moment up there, nothing in the world mattered. I was free.