Let me start this off by saying that I am TERRIFIED of the sensation of falling. I never went on rollercoasters till I was about 18… I’d freak out on swinging ships, and I wouldn’t even entertain the idea of going on the Abyss in Ocean Park (one of those ‘big drop’ rides that just makes your stomach visit your brain)… So, naturally, the prospect of falling 14,000 feet would be the LAST thing I would ever do, right? Nope. Thanks to a wonderful mix of impulsiveness and self-denial of the actual ‘falling’ part, I found myself last Friday signing my life away on a waiver form, before we sat and waited for our turn to go up. The day was absolutely perfect for it, it was clear and sunny and bright and the sky was beautiful and blue… So nice. Anywho, soon enough we were putting on bright blue pants (so we didn’t hurt ourselves landing) and getting harnesses on, before walking out to see the previous group landing with their parachutes, to see how it was done. You don’t know how fast they’re falling till they get a bit closer, and then it’s all over and they’re beaming and jumping up and down, as if that would take them back up into the skies. The actuality of the situation was starting to dawn on me, and I got a bit nervous. …okay, that’s a lie. I had been nervous all day. I kept oscillating between ‘I’m okay, it’ll be fun’ and ‘Why am I here, why am I doing this?’. But there was no backing out now. So I got into the bus to travel to the airport, where we got our harnesses adjusted by our tandem guides. My tandem-man, Tom, was lovely and funny and everything that I needed in a person to not freak out. Personality matters so much in these kinds of occupation, I guess – it was the same when I went scuba diving. Whoa. Now that I think about it, the guy I went with then was also a Tom. WHAT ARE THE ODDS??
Pretty high, really. Anywho, there were a few GoPro videos recorded before we got into the plane that was going to take us up, which was about the same size as a can of spam. We were packed in like sardines, and I was practically sitting on Tom’s lap. I went in second last, which in turn meant I was going to be second out of the plane. First out of the two other girls I was going up with… Just a little bit scary then. The plane took off, and with the position I was sitting in, I would almost say that the plane ride up was the scariest. I was right next to the window/door that we were all going to jump out of, so I had a fairly unobstructed view of the ground that was getting further and further away from us. I tried to spot where my house was, but I kept getting distracted by HOW FAR OFF THE GROUND we were. Eventually I relaxed and started to take in the sights, as we were now over the coastline around St Kilda. The instructors told us we had a little bit more of a climb, and Tom got me to sit on his lap as he fastened our harnesses together. Things were getting serious. In hindsight, I’m glad I was second out of the plane. I watched as the door opened and the first guy got into position.. watching him put his legs over the side of the plane made me nervous. I had a line in my head that I repeated over and over again: “Just 10 seconds of crazy courage”. The voice in my head was silenced when I saw how fast the first guy dropped out of the plane. I was just at the right angle to see him literally dropping away. I had about 2 seconds to process that mental image before Tom was calling for me to move and put my feet over the edge. I had enough time to look over at the others, grimace a little, then put my head on Tom’s shoulder and assume the incredibly helpless reverse banana position. All there was left to do was wai- -AND SUDDENLY I WAS NOT LOOKING UP, I WAS LOOKING DOWN AT MELBOURNE AND CLOUDS AND I WAS FALLING AND IT WAS TERRIFYING.
Pictured above and below: lo and behold, observe how I go from ‘Yay skydiving!’ to ‘Oh no, I’ve made a terrible mistake’ in the space of about 0.2 seconds.
It was great. But then it was terrifying. But then it was fantastic. Once my arms were free (we had to hold on to the harness when we left the plant), the poses started:
Just as I was getting used to the fall I was jerked up by the opening of the parachute. Then as I was not hurtling to the ground I got to look around and take in the views, and because it wasn’t too windy I got to steer the parachute! Spinning around in it is super fun 🙂
It was all over far far too soon, but my goodness it was great. I might upload the video somewhere (where all the pics here have come from) sometime… Where you can hear be say both the words ‘fantastic’ and ‘scared’ many, many times. I would definitely do this again, and obligatory plug – if you want to go skydiving and are in Australia, DEFINITELY DEFINITELY go with these guys. Everyone is great, everything is great! 🙂
Finishing with this photo, purely because it is most definitely the happiest face that I have ever seen on myself. If that doesn’t convince you that this was an absolutely amazing experience, nothing will!