While away on holiday recently I had the opportunity to cross Sky Diving off my bucket list. Amazing although not for the faint of heart…
Our sky diving was booked in at 3pm, giving me all day to run through every bad possible outcome that could be associated with jumping out of a plane – silently freaking out all day. We got to the airstrip at Byron Bay Sky Dive at 2:45pm and proceeded to sign waivers and declarations, got weighted and strapped into a jumpsuit and parachute. It was all a bit of a blur at this point and there was a noticeable silence from the amateur jumpers as it seemed everyone was trying to keep calm and composed as the reality of what you’re about to do starts to hit.
The instructors ran everyone through a safety brief which included the positions that are required at each stage of the jump. Firstly, you must hang outside of the plane with your feet underneath the plane while the instructor strapped to your back prepares, it’s known as the ‘banana’. This was the image that nearly brought on a heart attack.
The instructors then introduce themselves and walk you over to the plane. You are filed in and sat in in two parallel rows with an instructor behind each jumper. As the plane ascends, the instructor secures himself to you and talks you through the positions one more time.
Nerves are well and truly overriding at this point. I don’t think I said two words on the plane for fear that I wouldn’t be able to speak. Once we reached altitude, the sliding door on the side of the plane was opened and one by one jumpers and instructors began moving forward and disappearing into the open space above the clouds. The one jumper in front of me started crying and screaming as though she was being murdered which didn’t help my nerves in the slightest, her screams quickly faded as she disappeared out the door.
Finally it was my turn. My instructor shifted us to prime position right at the door of the plane and pushed my feet over the threshold so they are tucked under the plane, he moved my head until it was resting back on his shoulders. At this point, it’s surreal. The wind is so strong and you feel unsecured as your feet are tucked under the plane, at this point the instructor is the only thing connecting you to the stability of the plane.
Within 3 seconds all control is lost as you dive from the plane and spiral in every direction. Upside down, spinning left, backflipping, flipping head first. So much adrenaline running through your body, it’s the most indescribable feeling, almost like an roller coaster with no limits. Your stomach spends majority of the time in moving from your head to your toes. It was euphoric.
The instructor taps my shoulder to indicate the raising of my arms which allows you to reduce speed and begin ‘floating’ getting ready to pull the parachute. As the parachute is released, a sharp jolt pulls you back up into the air and you begin to really appreciate what you’ve just done. Taking in the breathtaking scenery of Byron Bay and the coastline and you now slowly descend. What an incredible view it was. Tallows beach which is a 7km beach spread out beneath us as the instructed directed the parachute over the ocean then twisting and turning back over land to the landing mark.
The whole in air experience took four minutes from when you jump until you reach the ground again, four minutes that will not be forgotten any time soon. It was an incredible experience that everyone should aim to complete at least once in their life.