Feel the thrill of sunset skydiving on Oahu
Experience where breathtaking adventure meets breathtaking views
I step to the edge of the plane. My toes are hanging over the edge just like Gwill instructed me to do once it was our turn to jump. I am securely attached to his harness and he held the doorway of the plane. Half of my body was outside the aircraft and I got my first blast of Oahu air at 14,000 ft. My mind was trying to process why I was there, but I had already committed to experience sunset skydiving when I boarded the plane.
Air was rushing past my ears and there was no way to cut through the sound. He began the visual countdown. One. He pointed over my right shoulder towards the setting sun. Two. He withdrew it back into the plane. Three. We shifted our weight forward and we smoothly fell away from the plane. Those moments took my breath away.
Falling through the air
Bee, an instructor who specializes in teaching women how to solo jump, said people have different experiences when they skydive for the first time. She said it can be the pinnacle of fear for a lot of people. She said once they conquer this it feels like they can conquer anything.
When we were sitting in the plane gaining elevation my teeth started chattering. It was more because of nerves than the chilly air. Gwill conducted my breathing like an orchestra. My husband Bradley was sitting on the other bench stoic and focused. When the green light signaled that it was time to get out of the plane, everyone fist-bumped and the first solo jumper was out of there. I had never had so much adrenaline flowing through my body at once.
We jumped at the most perfect time anyone could jump. Sunset.
Jumping at Sunset
Gwill stabilized us in the skydiving tabletop position and rotated us so we could watch the sunset. He reached his arms out in front of me and held up two shakas. I did the same. Gold and orange light illuminated the clouds that framed the sun. Keana Point, the westernmost point of Oahu, was green and reflected a slight golden glow from the sun.
I knew I was screaming, hollering, and laughing as we fell because I could feel the vibrations in my throat. At one point I noticed my mouth was extremely dry. I closed it for a moment but I couldn’t keep from screaming and laughing for long. I could hardly believe what was happening.
Bradley said, “I was completely focused on the instruction Bee gave me when we were sitting on the plane.” He said once they were falling through the air he started laughing and hollering. “The air is heavy when you’re falling through it so fast. It’s almost like you can hold it!” He said, “It was like putting your hand out of a moving car window but at 122 mph… and it’s your whole body.”
Gwill pulled the chute and we slowly floated to the earth. The turquoise blue water beneath us had streaks of white where waves were breaking. Gwill told me they often see whales when they skydive in the winter. He rotated us to get a full view of the North Shore. Mist thrown into the air by big waves breaking along the North Shore made the distant view hazy. He turned us back towards the sun and we saw our own personal sunset behind the Keana point mountain.
I had never seen such breathtaking views from a quickly changing perspective. Sunset skydiving was possibly the most memorable way to watch the sunset. I’ve never had so many beautiful things combined into 6 minutes.