So today I've been roped into sky diving, by my good friend Pamela who I used to work with and although I'm not on holidays I've decided to add it to my travel journal.
The day started with me getting up at 0800, something I consider absolutely abhorrent for a Sunday morning when I'm at home and trekking all the way into the city. Again, something I'm not fond of on a Sunday when I don't have to do this, as I have to do for my current corporate travel job in Sydney.
I rocked up to Sydney Sky Diving at around 1015 and signed my paperwork/death warrant and then waited for the others to arrived. As per my usual standards I had arrived too early and was the first to arrive. Bridget turned up next, another friend I used to work with, with her mate Debbie. Pamela turned up a little bit late and I'd sent her a text saying "Where are you superwoman? The world needs you!" I should probably explain that Pamela and I had both decided to go sky diving in super hero T-shirts. She was Superwoman, her husband Adrian, Superman and me wearing my Green Lantern shirt, curtsey of Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory.
We were informed that the shuttle to the "drop zone" was running about an hour late, so we all proceeded to head out to the nearest pub for an hour. Some of the others looked in need of a good stiff drink. I on the other hand was chomping at the bit to get going, totally fearless. I was actually starting to wonder if there was something wrong with me due to the fact that I had felt absolutely no fear of the fact that I had signed up to jump out of an aeroplane at 14000 feet. I think some of the others had begun to wonder that too.
The bus finally arrived to take our group of 8 out to the drop zone at Picton. People dealt with their fear in different ways, some people went totally quiet, others spent the trip panicking, I think Bridget dealt with it by punching me in the arm every 10kms or so. Me, I fell asleep. I was of course woken by another sharp punch in the arm from Bridget.
We reached the drop zone and handed over out paper work and hung around waiting to be called. We watched people jumping out of planes from a great height, they seemed little dots spewing out of the tiny ant like plane in the sky. At one point we saw on parachute that did not quite open right, Bridget point at it heading towards the high way, muttering, "That's not right, not right at all", two other people immediately jumped into a van and sped off towards where it had landed. We later found out it was some kind of test and there was no one attached to this parachute. Even at this point I was not afraid.
Pamela and Adrian and the others went up in the first plane and we watched them go, Pamela and Adrian had put their Superman shirts over their jump suits, they looked awesome. It was then time for us to get suited up, Kristina, Bridget & Debbie the announcement called. Bridget's face was panic stricken. I raced over to suit up and my tandem master, Craig came over and introduced himself. I also put my superhero outfit on over my jumpsuit. The instructors seemed entertained by my lack of fear and proceeded to try and scare the crap out of me. To no avail. I'd totally do that to people if I worked here, I thought.
We headed out and walked over to the landing strip and waited for the plane to come back down. The plane came in for landing, it was a small prop plane, with a blue stripe down the side. The plane sat on the strip still running and we climbed into it via a small iron staircase, which was promptly removed once we were all inside. We sat on a rubber strip facing backwards with our tandem masters and the clear roller door was slammed shut. As soon as the door was shut, we were off. It was the most exciting take off of my life. The small plane lurched forward and wobbled from right to left. Bridget screamed, Debbie giggled and I laughed menacingly.
We headed up and up and Craig said well be getting ready to jump in five minutes. "Bring it on!" I said, I was attracted to the front of the plane by Bridget who yelled, "Are you scared yet?", I shook my head and replied, "No." "Not at all, nothing?" Replied Bridget. I shook my head, noticing the look of pure horror on Bridget's face.
I don't remember seeing the 3 minutes to jump light lit, I remember the 1 minute light, as I was strapped to Craig and told to put on my goggles. The door opened and a rush of cold air entered the plane. So cold I had to wrap my arms around myself and jam my hands under my arms to keep warm. I watched the camera men leap from the plane and then the three experienced sky divers jump nonchalantly from the opening. The I was shuffling forward and I had my legs hanging out of the plane. I was still not afraid, but man I was cold.
I sat on the edge for about half a second and then for a split second I was falling into the void below and then I was flying! I felt the dull tap on the shoulder alerting me to the fact that I could not outstretch my arms. I stretched them out as far as I could and felt the cold wind rushing past me. My fingers were so cold, I thought I may have frostbite by the time I landed! I tried to ignore the cold. We dropped down and down and I even went through a cloud, which was probably the highlight of the whole experience. I was looking straight ahead, I was worrying about looking down and seeing the ground below coming at me at the speed of light. I made myself look down. It truly was like I was flying, and the ground did not seem to be getting any closer.
Abruptly, Craig pulled the shoot and I was yanked back upwards into the clear blue sky, before I started to slowly descend. We floated for a while, before I was handed the steering cords and asked if I would like a go. Silly question. I pulled hard on the left chord and we swung high and to the right. Then Craig grabbed them and pulled both chords, which made me feel like he had fallen away from me and I was floating in the air. I got control back and attempted to swing around a bit more. Laughing menacingly the whole time. At that point I was called a maniac. You have to start wondering about your sanity, when a person who makes a living jumping out of small aircraft calls you a maniac.
We headed for the drop zone and I lifted my legs up and came in for a perfect landing. I detached from Craig and collapsed onto the grass in a fit of giggles. Bridget came down after me, in much better shape than she had been on the way up and then lastly Debbie. We had to hang around a bit to wait for our photos and videos and I texted my Mum as I had a text from her and a missed call, no doubt enquiring about my safety. "Dear Mum" I wrote, "I'm sorry I didn't make it. I'm reporting to you from the other side. Creepy, huh? Satan says Hi!" The reply text said, "That's not funny. How did you go?" More giggles.
We got back on the bus to get back to Sydney and I promptly fell asleep, yet again and woke up when we were almost back. I got the train back home and when I got there realised, I have to go to work tomorrow, and came crashing back down towards reality.