Semester at Sea Fall 2006 Voyage
By John Meade
The scene slowly unfolded as the afternoon progressed. It was a
beautiful Saturday on the island of Oahu and there was much
activity. There was tension in the air as everyone was milling
about in the small building next to Dillingham Airfield on Oahu’s North
Shore. The building is the headquarters for Pacific Skydiving;
one of three skydiving locations on the island. This was likely
the busiest day that the staff at Pacific had seen in quite a long
time. Shortly after noon, almost one hundred and twenty people
had shown up, all anxiously waiting to jump out of an airplane.
At first, everyone was walking around unsure of what to do.
Slowly the reality began to sink in – they would get to jump, but would
most likely be spending the entire day waiting for that moment.
The staff was frantic as more and more people began to show up.
They organized everyone, myself included, into smaller groups.
Forms were filled out and wavers were signed. Then came the
waiting. Almost three hours later it was time for the group just
ahead of my own to meet their tandem masters and suit up. Their
names were called over the loudspeaker and their faces quickly changed
as they filed over to the preparation area. It was a group of
four girls. One of them - a small brunette girl with a blue
t-shirt - started to panic. Her eyes darted around nervously as
she clung to a pole. Her tandem partner came over and was able to
calm her down and then it was on with the harness and they were off to
the plane. As the plane ascended into the clouds all of the
anxious spectators were arching their necks, trying to follow it.
Shortly after they lost sight of it, the chutes were visible in the
air. Before long they were all back on the ground,
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