You know the famous JUST DO IT video of Shia LaBeouf? Yeah, those words of wisdom were just what I needed before skydiving 14,000 feet out of a plane.
The thought of skydiving beforehand made me feel physically sick. I remember having conversations with people about doing it, and I was always on the fence. It was something I wanted to do, but genuinely never thought I would.
In true East Coast fashion, we spent a few wonderful days sailing around the Whitsunday Islands. The boat was full of lovely people, and I befriended an English girl who couldn’t get enough of skydiving. After having numerous conversations about it (sober and after a few tipples) she convinced me that if I didn’t do one, I’d a regret it. So on arrival back to the mainland, we booked a skydive for the morning after.
We chose the earliest jump possible at 7am. I like to tell people it was because of the stunning morning views and the beautiful glass like water at that time of morning when in reality, it was to get it out of the way. We made our way to the skydive shop at around 5.30am. After signing our lives away on numerous documents, we were put into groups before driving to our destination. We were assigned a skydiver each and given all of our safety gear to put on.
We were on the second plane, which meant we had to stand and watch the other plane fly half of our group 14,000 feet up. When they jumped out, all we could see were tiny dots in the sky rapidly falling. The waiting was the worst part. I was so excited, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shitting myself.
After realising they all survived the death jump it was our turn. My skydiver Luke thrust the GoPro in my face for some awkward pre-dive footage before getting into the plane. I was the last one in, which meant I was the first one out. Kill me now. In my head, I didn’t know if this was a good thing or a bad a thing. First one out meant minimal worrying, but it also meant the eight other people had to watch me falling to my death.
Knowing we were about to jump out of a plane, it was quite hard to take in the beautiful views that surrounded us as we ascended. But, I didn’t want to waste the opportunity so I lifted my head up to absorb our stunning surroundings. It was post-cyclone Debbie, so the trees were nowhere near as green as the hundreds of photos we had seen. They resembled one of the many bushfire aftermaths we had seen in Western Australia. The water, however, was glistening from the morning sunrise beating down on it.
By this point, I was excited, scared, and questioning why the hell I was putting myself through this. But it was too late. I was touching 14,000ft and there was only one way down. Luke began to strap me securely to him. The noise from the plane meant I couldn’t really hear what he was saying, regardless of him shouting over the engine.
The next thing I know the door is open and I am hanging out of it. Questions raced through my head like “Why the hell have I paid money to do this?” and “Why would anyone put themselves through this?” It seemed like I was hanging there for so long when in reality it was only about 15-20 seconds tops. This might not sound like a long time, but when you’re hanging out of a plane it might as well be hours.
We fell. It was a feeling I had never experienced. Everything I was scared about just seconds before didn’t matter anymore. I remember trying to scream as we plummeted but the force meant I couldn’t make any noise. After around 40 seconds of freefall, the parachute opened and we casually fell to the ground. I think that was my main worry, the parachute not opening. So once it had, all there was left to do was to take in the scenery.
It was during our breezy descent that Luke told me that he only started working at this company last week. This wasn’t just one of your ‘This is my first time’ bullshit comments. This was true. He’d been skydiving for years, but not at this particular place. This was just the news I wanted to here as he directed us to the landing strip. I’m surprised he knew where it was.
Would I recommend skydiving? Absolutely. It is by far the best experience I’ve ever had. I would 100% do it again. I would also recommend the guys at Skydive Airlie Beach. It’s pretty pricey, but if you have the money it’s well worth it.