This year, Marthe Holkestad took a corporeal leap of faith above the beautiful expanse of the South African coast. Was it worth it? She thinks so.
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to throw yourself out of a plane 9000ft up in the air? Well, I can tell you.
When my friends suggested skydiving, I wasn’t really sure if it was my kind of thing. However, I didn’t want to regret being the only one left on the ground watching my friends falling through the sky.
I’d heard some stories about people who have died in skydiving accidents and, accordingly, that was more or less the only thing I could focus on during our drive to the base. When I told my mum what I was going to do, she replied only, ‘Well… I kind of wish you hadn’t told me that.’ Needles to say, this didn’t help me stay positive.
Strangely enough though, my nerves disappeared as soon as we arrived at the base. I could only see the extremely happy people there and the exhilarated look on their faces after they made it back to the ground.
When I was gearing up, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that this might be the most thrilling experience in my entire life. In groups of six, we boarded the plane. My friend Ingvild and I sat shoulder-to-shoulder in the tiny cockpit, next to a woman who apparently didn’t need any moral support as she was diving alone. While her enthusiasm was slightly frightening, it wasn’t like I was expecting to lounge around on the way up, sipping strawberry daiquiris over small talk. The plane was far from spacious and barely fit three girls, three guys and a pilot. We cozied up, and eventually, took off.
The flight up to 9000ft lasted about 30 minutes, but seemed like an eternity to me. Despite being cooped up in a miniature plane in the South African heat, I was getting more and more excited. Ingvild was the first one to jump. Her girly scream quickly turned into a masculine roar as she disappeared beneath us.
Laughing at each other as we jumped lifted our spirits until suddenly I found myself on the edge. My feet dangled in the air as instructions were shouted over the noise of the open plane. After a sudden push and a few spins, I could feel the rush of warm air on my face. I was free falling and it was phenomenal.
If you are thinking of skydiving, just remember that if you do open your mouth and try to smile to the camera while free falling, it’s not easy to close it again. The parachute was released and I was soaring in the blue sky above Cape Town with mountains and long, white beaches below me. The view was incredible and breathtaking. Seeing the world from that perspective was an adventure I will never forget and I still believe that skydiving is the most thrilling experience I’ll ever have!
Photography courtesy of Marthe Holkestad.