Girls Get High: How to Skydive Hawaii

January 28, 2014

skydiving hawaii

The small round light turned green, the plane decreased speed to the point of hover (or so it seemed), and the bottom of the garage-like metal door began to creak its slow, ominous rise.  Strapped into my tandem jumpmaster as snuggly as I would allow without dinner and a movie, there was no turning back now.

I was over the north shore of Oahu, about to jump out a perfectly good plane.  Skydiving has been on my bucket list for… well, forever.  A drop site where the view would be as breathtaking as the jump would be exhilarating was worth waiting for.


With two girlfriends in tow, I arrived at the Pacific Skydiving field at Dillingham airfield at 9:30 a.m.  I was introduced to my jumpmaster, Marcello, and Breen, my personal videographer and we began the pre-jump safety instructions, After a long wait of nearly two hours, Rebecca, Marie and I went off, all harnessed and ready for the biggest leap of faith we’ll probably ever take.

Pacific Skydiving

Carrying around a dozen passengers, our small plane took twenty minutes to ascend to nearly 15,000 feet – the highest from which you can jump without oxygen – in relative silence.  Perhaps some were praying, some meditating.  Me?  My backpack was so tight I could barely breathe, let alone speak.  Oh, wait… that’s not a backpack, it’s Marcello.

skydive hawaii

It was time.  I was fearless. With my arms crossed over my chest and my head back toward Marcello’s shoulder, we crouched in the open doorway over the drop zone for two seconds.  That was one second too long.  But before I could say, “Go NOW!” Marcello leaned forward and we were gone.

Briefly tumbling head-over-heels, Marcello swiftly deployed the small drogue shoot which slowed us down a bit from the 200 mph drop.  He gained total control and there we were, floating in beautiful form for the one-minute freefall part of the jump.  I just stretched out, back arched, and enjoyed the ride while Marcello handled all the technical aspects of the jump.

skydive hawaii

The wind in my face approaching 120 miles an hour was pretty extreme, but the goggles protected my eyes so I wouldn’t miss a second of the panoramic 360˚ view.  I have to admit, it was pretty hard to breathe with my wide mouth open in a perpetual grin, but I couldn’t stop.  Pure, unadulterated adrenaline.  The sensation is total freedom.

Breen skillfully “flew” around and maneuvered to be near us to record everything and to interact including reaching out to hold my hand!  When he suddenly signaled goodbye, it was a clue something was about to happen.  At around 5,000 feet Marcello deployed our main chute; bye-bye Breen, see you on the ground.  If I thought the harness was tight before, I was wrong.  I remember lamenting that the straps had just altered me from a C-cup to a B-cup.  But I digress…

skydive hawaii

It felt like we were jerked back up, which is impossible and just an illusion.  The descent is slowed substantially, albeit a bit painfully due to the tightening of straps.  This was soon remedied by the Marcello who removed my goggles and loosened the straps a bit so I could enjoy a pain-free view of Hawaii’s north shore so stunning that it is hard to describe.

north shore Oahu

Funny, but it was Dr. Seuss that came to mind:  “Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Marcello then swirled our parachute around, over, sideways, up, down, and every which way.  I lost track of the horizon. I almost lost my breakfast.  I closed my eyes, took a series of deep breaths and pulled myself together.  “This is the most fun I’ve ever had!” I said to Marcello, who had been effortlessly chatting and laughing with me since deploying the chute.

skydive hawaii

As land closed in, I lifted my legs and feet up and let Marcello do all the hard work of landing us, after which I allowed my toes to daintily touch the ground.  Nicely done!  And will you look at that – there was Breen who had landed before us ready to record my reactions!

“Is it safe?” people will ask me.  “No,” I say, “I jumped out of a moving airplane!” However, since I have a better chance of getting hurt driving my car within one mile of my house, I’m likely to do it again.  And again.

A short video of my skydive Hawaii, set to music, can be seen here.

If you go:

Pacific Skydiving

$169 for a tandem jump at 15,000 feet

$125-$190 for photos and/or DVD

Girls Get “High” in Hawaii first published by Travel Girl Magazine, October 1, 2013

Click on the image below to PIN so you can easily find this information again:

skydive hawaii

You may also be interested in:

Ready, Set, Jump. Literally. How to Skydive in Hawaii


  1. Comment by Irene S. Levine

    Irene S. Levine Reply February 6, 2014 at 9:06 am

    WOW! This gives a new meaning to “getting high.” You are one brave lady~

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply February 7, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks, Irene! My motto is “Above all, life should be fun!” It is. 🙂

  2. Comment by The GypsyNesters

    The GypsyNesters Reply January 26, 2015 at 5:09 am

    We jumped (dove, dived?) in Australia last year. Really glad I tried it, and liked it enough, but don’t feel the strong need to do it again.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply January 26, 2015 at 11:35 am

      I agree! It was on my bucket list, and I LOVED it, but now I’m on to the next thing. 🙂

  3. Comment by Vern Lovic

    Vern Lovic Reply January 28, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Yeeeeehaawww! That looks too amazing not to try. I’m going to do it when my daughter is 18 or so and I can relax a little bit about dying early. I know the chance is so small, but come on… it’s still there. I notice as I age I’m getting less and less risky. But I think we reach a point where, around 60 or so we say, ahhh, what the heck? I’ve lived life. It’s going to be this, cancer, or a heart attack, what the heck. Let’s do this! You picked a great place to do it too – that whole northwest shore is pure amazing. I’m assuming you did this at Dillingham – right? Aloha! Thanks!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply January 28, 2015 at 10:22 am

      I know what you mean, Vern. I was always a daredevil — until my two kids were born, and then I had risk-aversion until they reached 18. It’s been good to let loose and do some exciting things again! If you’re going to skydive, I highly recommend someplace where the view will be amazing, like the north shore of Hawaii!

  4. Comment by Suzanne Fluhr

    Suzanne Fluhr Reply April 5, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I totally share that “The kids are launched” feeling that it would sad if I expired now, but not a tragedy. Having said that, I have no zero desire to jump out of an airplane although I’ve flown on some potentially dodgy airlines — without a parachute.

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