Something I have wanted to do for a long, long time now.
I don’t have a fear of heights. I love the adrenaline rush from anything exciting; snowboarding, jet skiing, abseiling, bung… no wait. Bungee jumping was supposed to happen four years ago – a brotherly thing when we caught up (rarely) on the Gold Coast. He bailed, he chickened out. He does have a fear of heights, so we chose tattoo’s instead.
A year later he skydived without me.
It’s fair to say I have been pining to do it ever since, it’s just that work, sport, etc got in the way.
This weekend I finally jumped – with Skydive the Beach Wollongong. Leo (Vin Diesel) was my Tandem Instructor – a top bloke full of choice one-liners that must come in the Skydive Instructor 101 book. Love it.
Hayden: Dad’s going to scream.
Leo: Yeah, me too.
Leo: Got a nickname? Mine’s butterfingers.
Michael: How many times have you jumped?
Leo: Successfully? Or all up?
You get the picture.
The day started quite bleak, speaking with others in my group we were all thinking the same thing, “The rain is going to prevent us jumping”. Funnily enough, the rain didn’t stop us, the wind did. As we sat on the shuttle bus at the hangar door, we waited… and waited for the next few readings. Eventually we abandoned and returned to base. Pretty disappointed I’d have to say.
Long story short, I received a follow up TXT having been asked to remain within 30 minutes of the office. Assigned Group 1, away, onto the plane Armageddon style, pressed into the pelvis of Vin at the front of the plane, smokin’ hot pilot. The day had markedly improved.
A scenic flight up that was worth the admission price alone, a remarkable break in weather and, as the last to jump, plenty of build up. Not once nervous, I had known what I had signed up for and was ready. From 14,000ft we finally leaped – facing the plane first and then tumbled to look at the ground.
Magnificent. For 25 seconds I lapped it up. Posed for the camera, smiled, loved the view, loved the feeling of free-falling, loved the ground rushing toward me. For those who have never been, this video might do it a little justice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s75gMLCwxVo
The 5 minute glide, having deployed the parachute was magical, also. Steering was cool, though you’re not sure how hard you should pull at first. It was the first moment I had to concentrate. You are still very high, it is still a rush, but the free fall was better.
All in all a memorable experience. I’m ready to go again.
If you are contemplating jumping, I highly recommend it. I’m not giving the experience too many words here because I can’t – you just have to experience it.