We got through a lot in our week in Cairns, despite the fact it continued to rain. This was where I’d booked to jump out of a plane and I was alternating between excitement and absolutely crapping it. I’d chosen Cairns because you get to see the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforest and the coastline between the two as you hurtle towards the earth at an incredible speed. Granted you don’t get to land on the beach, but then again you also don’t get sand all up yourself! The only thing I was worried about the morning of the jump was the weather. I’d heard stories from a friend of ours who had their jump scheduled for earlier in the week for early morning but due to weather conditions it kept getting put back; they even got in the van on the way to the airport once and had to turn back because conditions became too unstable. She finally did her jump at 3.00pm, but it meant she had a whole day basically on stand-by so she couldn’t really do much of anything else. She was absolutely pumped after though, and I was really looking forward to that feeling!
I had a phone call confirming my skydive time the afternoon before, and my pickup was confirmed to be an hour earlier than I had booked! I guess it gave me less time to freak out in the morning! In the end although I was picked up at about 7.30am, I didn’t jump until 10.00am. This meant that I had the whole afternoon to myself afterwards though, since Helen had planned to go to the cinema with some other friends of ours to go see Rogue One. (Ooooh. I’ve just thought… when I get home, in my jobless and severely jet-lagged state maybe I could finally get around to watching all the Star Wars films… before you ask, yes of course in the order 456, 123, The Force Awakens and then Rogue One. Did you not work out I was a complete nerd yet?)
The lead up to the jump was totally fine. I wasn’t nervous even after we put some extra trousers on, after we watched an instructional video with Chinese subtitles, after we met our tandem skydive instructors, after we got strapped into our outfits, after we hopped into the van, until the GoPro came out and Ray, my instructor dude, asked me how I was feeling. I hadn’t even paid for the video, just pictures but it was an upsell sort of deal, so if you changed your mind, you could just pay them some more money and they would add the video to your USB stick. I hate hearing myself back on tape and I knew that I would not look pretty on video falling from 15,400ft, so I didn’t say anything particularly exciting. Another thing I didn’t do was get Thierry out at any point. We had to make sure our pockets were empty and I was not going to risk dropping him somewhere over the outskirts of Cairns with a close to zero chance of ever finding him! I did manage to take this picture and edit the absolute bejesus out of it!
I hear you screaming “What was it like!!??!?!??” It was completely exhilarating. From the point where you climb into the smallest aeroplane you’ve ever seen, where you don’t even get strapped in all that much, when the door isn’t even fully shut for take-off, when you hear the instructors yelling to each other that we’re going to fly a little further up because there was an awesome break in the clouds, when you emerge through the clouds and notice that the sky is bright blue above them, when you are told to dangle your legs out of the plane, and you have this voice in your ear yelling
“head back, and big smile!”
and you are literally launched from the plane and freefall, it is all just adrenaline-fuelled amazingness. You don’t get time to freak out, because it all happens so quickly. People have asked me how long it was from when you jump out of the plane to landing, and I honestly couldn’t tell you. Like, it could be 50 seconds or 5 minutes, it is so difficult to know. You freefall for quite a while, and during that time you have to arch your back a lot, so there is a good streamlined shape to fall, then after the parachute goes up, you can take your eye-wear off and try make your ears pop, but you can do stupid faces and poses if you want. A few of the Chinese people we had on our plane had written things on their arms and knuckles but I wasn’t sure if you would only see the reverse, like when you take a selfie, and the image you see is backwards? Plus, they all had things like “Crazy Brave Girl 2017” and “Superman 2k17” which I thought was a bit old and not in a cool retro kind of way…