The day had come round very quickly, it was time to jump out of a plane. We got up at 6am in time to be picked up at 7. When the bus arrived they were looking for 4 jess' but there was only the 2 of us. It appeared that they had a booked us in twice meaning we may have to wait until the people from Cairns arrived later before we did our skydive. Not a great start but we weren't going to let that worry us. The woman driving us was an experienced sky diver herself. While she never wanted to be a tandem diver instructor she had broken a few records in her time. She seemed very interesting and we started to build trust in the company.
When we arrived we had to sign lots of forms and get weighed. They put together each load of people depending on how much they weigh. Because it was important that the plane wasn't too heavy. Luckily for us the first load needed an extra person and as we came as a two we were able to swap with someone on their own so we were both in the first jump! It was full steam ahead from that point on. We each got introduced to the guy we would be jumping with. All of them seemed experienced and knowledgable. They put us in our harnesses and explained what positions to be in at different points of the jump. We each did a quick opening interview to put on our go pro videos. I looked very nervous in mine and unsure what to say at such an early time in the morning.
Next we were all got on a bus where we were crammed in with the experienced skydivers and all the equipment they had with them. One of them was chatting to Jess and she used the opportunity to ask him lots of questions about skydiving. We drove for a good 20 minutes, all the time I was looking out the window hoping for the clear skies to continue. It was a beautiful morning and I started to get excited about jumping.
As soon as we arrived at the airstrip, my instructor directed me straight into the plane. We were the first ones to get in and we sat right next to the pilot. I had to sit close in front of him with another instructor in front of me. We were all very tight together and in the right position to be attached to the instructors. I was in a great position at the front of the plane as I could watch the pilot drive the plane and take off. My instructor seemed to be communicating wind direction from the pilot down to the line of other instructors. At one point he asked the opinion of another instructor of where to jump from due to the wind conditions. I found it all very fascinating. Throughout the flight my instructor would film out the window and my face with his go pro. I was still quite nervous but ready to do the skydive now!
He told me to put my goggles on when the red light at the other end of the plane came on. When the orange light came on the first couple would get ready to jump and green was for them to go. Everyone started preparing to go and my instructor clipped my straps onto his. He tightened the straps around my shoulders. I felt secure and safe attached to him. Jess had found out earlier that each clip that attached us to the instructors cos $5,000! They were good quality kit. It was time to go and the first ones went so quickly out the plane. Then the rest followed and slid down the bench to reach the door. We were the last ones to go. There was no time to deliberate once my legs were hanging out the plane we were off.
All I can say about the free fall was how surreal it was. We were falling so quickly through the air that it was difficult to breathe normally. The view was incredible looking out over the ocean across the islands nearby. When my instructor tapped my shoulder I could stretch my arms out as we fell. I couldn't stop smiling. All the time the instructor was trying to film my reactions. Then he stopped to release the parachute. Suddenly I was being suspended from my harness. It was quite tight in between my legs but I didn't mind at all because it reassured me that I was well attached. We moved a lot slower with the parachute and glided over the sea. Because I was the last jumper out the plane I could see everyone else in their parachutes below and some were starting to land.
All too soon it was time to think about landing. The instructor told me to practise holding up my legs and pointing my heels up. As we landed on the beach all I had to do was put my legs down. It was such a soft landing, just like stepping down from a step. I expected it to be a lot heavier and the ground to come quicker. As soon as I had been detached from the harness Jess came running over shouting. We were both buzzing and on a high after the dive. I was relieved we had landed ok but just felt a general happiness for the beauty of the area and the fact that we were able to be out here.
We waited around at the skydive centre to get our videos and photos given on a usb. Meanwhile we got chatting to two of the girls also on our load for the skydive. We were all blabbering away to eachother about the amazing experience. I also found out that they were thinking of living in Melbourne at the same time as me. So I took their details and perhaps I can coordinate living arrangements with them.
That afternoon we spent more time with the girls on the beach. We sunbathed and chatted about our travels. Then we decided to buy some ciders to add to the chilled atmosphere. We met 4 guys who were also on the beach. Laura had mistaken one for a friend but they asked us to join them. It turned out that they all stayed in the same hostel nearby where they got picked up everyday to do farm work on a banana plantation. They were from a mix of places in Europe and it was interesting hearing how their work was going and their motivations for staying in Australia longer.