If you read my last post about my Via Farrata experience in Hidalgo, Mexico, you’ll know I’m a big time pu*** when it comes to heights. I don’t know why, I’m not really scared of anything else. Riding motorcycles at 100 mph, mountain biking down rugged trails with 3 foot drop offs, etc., nothing else really fazes me, but heights? Lights out.
After thinking of alternative ways that I could get over my fear of heights without shelling out for a psychiatrist, I decided, I should probably just stare the devil in the face, and what better way to get over my fear of heights than jumping out of a plane?
After spending the last couple of months in Mexico City, I headed to Playa Del Carmen in the Yucatan for a week before heading back to the states. I did a quick search for “skydiving in Playa del Carmen” and Skydive Playa popped up. They had a nice website and their reviews on Tripadvisor and Google Maps both seemed to be stellar, so I called them up, and I found myself sitting in an instructional lesson the very next day.
I was pretty nervous at this point, but the instructor presenting the demonstration seemed really knowledgeable and repeated things multiple times for us. The plane we were going to take up to 10,000 ft (~3000 meters) was tiny and the four of us going would have to arrange ourselves very carefully to all fit and linkup before making the jump.
My jump partner seemed really calm and collected which made me feel more at ease. After the demonstration, we took a short car ride to the landing strip right in the middle of Playa Del Carmen, had a nonchalant pat down by the security guard and headed over to the plane.
We received another short briefing as they suited us up with our harnesses when I noticed the pilot putting on a parachute as well, WTF! That got me a little bit nervous, but I guess better to be safe than sorry right?
We climbed into the plane, rode down to the end of the runway, turned around, and the pilot asked if we were all ready to go. We gave the thumbs up and he juiced the engines while holding down the brakes. The plane shook with the power of the single-prop engine at full throttle until he dropped the brake and we slingshot off down the runway. within about 30 seconds, we lifted off and the beautiful aquamarine Caribbean waters off the coast came into view.
We climbed for about 20 minutes until we reached our jump altitude. The first pair of jumpers climbed over to the door and unlatched it. The jumper put his foot on a small platform over the wheel as his instructor shuffled out the door as well and BOOM, they were gone!
My eyes at this point were the size of dinner plates. My instructor yelled in my ear, “your turn!”. My heart started pounding at this point as I scuttled over to the door and looked down. I took a massive breath and looked forward as I shakily put my foot onto the step. Before I could even think about what was next, my instructor was right behind me, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “jump!”.
The air was deafening as we careened towards the earth at 120 mph. The free fall lasted for over 30 seconds long and was probably the craziest rush I’ve ever experienced in my life. At around 5,000 ft, my partner pulled the chute and WHOOMF we seemed to hang in midair as he said, “how was it?” I went, “greiiiiiiiit” as I waited for my breath to come back.
He comfortably navigated us down to the beach for the next 5 minutes and we landed softly into the wind when a guy from Skydive Playa was waiting to help us. I survived and I really think it was the best therapy I could have done. You have to face your fears head on! Check out the awesome video they made for me of the experience. I would highly recommend Skydive Playa if you’re considering going skydiving in Playa del Carmen, they are true professionals!