Updated: Oct 27, 2021
I consider myself a fairly brave person at many times in my life. But then there are moments where being brave isn’t enough, and you need to be a little bit crazy. I tend to have more and more of these crazy moments in my life lately; and I hope that this trend continues for the foreseeable future. This was one of those moments.
The day started out as any normal day would. I was in Brisbane, Australia. I found myself in Brisbane on a semester break where I was studying abroad at the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale, New South Whales. I had been spending a number of days exploring the city and surrounding area, and had come to the decision that I wanted to visit the Australian Zoo (home of the Crocodile Hunter - Steve Irwin) which sat a short distance outside of the city.
Upon deciding that I wanted to visit the zoo, I went to the travel booking agency which was situated in the hostel I was staying in. I spent a short amount of time discussing trip ideas and suggestions with the booking agent, and then came to book and pay for the bus ride and visit to the zoo for the following day. This was something that I was very excited about.
While turning to head out the door, I noticed a large poster on the wall for Jump the Beach in Cairns. I’m not sure what made me stop and linger a little longer than I should have at this poster, but something had piqued my interest enough to turn around and ask questions to the travel agent. Sky diving – was I actually crazy enough to be considering it?
As you can see, the answer was obviously – yes.
“Sky diving consisted of being sucked out of a perfectly good aeroplane from 14,000 feet, and free falling towards earth at speeds over 220 km/hour.”
Tricks for forcing yourself to do something that you really want to do, but don’t have the courage to do it.
1. Paying for the Sky Diving in a different city
Something that day in Brisbane made me think that it was a great idea to go sky diving. So before leaving the travel agency, I had paid in full for sky diving in Cairns, Queensland. This was important, because after I had already done the 34 hour train ride from Brisbane to Cairns (not normally this long, but many long delays during my trip), there was no way to back out because it was already paid in full; and by not jumping would be throwing away a significant amount of money. And I wasn’t prepared to do that.
2. Tandem Sky Diving
Since it would be my first time jumping, and no prior training or experience, I would have to do a tandem jump. This meant that I would have someone else strapped to my back that would decide all of the important decisions for me. These included when to actually leave the plane, when to pull the chute, and directing us as we would glide down and safely land on the beach. In other words, this person would make sure that I couldn’t chicken out and not jump out of the plane.
Sky Diving over the Great Barrier Reef
Many people have sky diving on their bucket list. I wasn’t really ever one of those people. But sometimes there’s that moment of excitement and terror that gets you over the edge and forces you to try something extraordinary.
The 5 Stages of Sky Diving
1. Nervous Anticipation
Preparing myself on the ground and the plane ride up to 14,000 feet. My stomach is churning, my mind is racing, and my heart is pounding. In a mixture of adrenaline and excitement, I’m about to do one of the craziest things I’ve yet to attempt in my life.
2. The Free Fall
When that door of the plane opens and you’re sitting on that ledge, I felt nervous. Then there’s that moment where you release your hands from the plane, and you begin your free-fall as your body tumbles towards the ground at terrifying speeds. Falling and spinning so fast, that you have no idea in the world what you have got yourself into. Wondering what kind of bright idea it was to go sky diving, and would you survive to tell the tale of your experience.
3. Relaxation and Enjoyment
After all of the initial thoughts of terror race through your mind – then there’s a chance that your body and mind can relax. It was at this stage that I experience the full thrill of sky diving. The air pressure against my body as I sink faster and faster towards the earth begins to feel enjoyable, even exciting. The adrenaline takes over and I get to enjoy the experience.
4. Parachute Opening
After what seems like forever, there’s that moment where the chute opens, and you feel that pull of resistance against the wind. The parachute pulls against the wind, while slowing your body down to a nice smooth drift. It is here for the final part of the descent, that you fully appreciate the view around you, gliding back-and-forth towards the beach below.
5. The Landing
Over the last number of minutes I experienced an overwhelming abundance of feelings. From the feeling of nervousness, to pure terror, regret, thrill, relaxation, and satisfaction. My feet land on the beach, with my knees all shaking and struggling to stand; the adrenaline still pumps through me, but I know I just experienced one of the best things in my life. I had only just finished this jump, but was looking forward to another in the future. Sky diving – what an experience!
To describe it plain and simple, sky diving consisted of being sucked out of a perfectly good aeroplane from 14,000 feet and free falling towards the earth at speeds over 220 km/hour. I fell the first 9,000 feet within the first sixty seconds, and then from there gracefully drifted the remaining 5,000 feet with the open parachute. It was an absolutely thrilling experience that I will never forget. And will probably do again many more times in my life.
The views coming down were incredible. We jumped from above the clouds into a complete and total white-out. Until what seemed like forever, we passed through the cloud cover and dropped into beautiful clear skies. The ground and reef were far below us; with every small detail seeming so insignificant. In that moment, I was sky diving.
Watch the video below of when I let my crazy side take over, and went sky diving over the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Cairns, Australia with Jump the Beach:
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