Cairns, Australia

Just had a wonderful experience. I’ll start from the beginning..
I am in Cairns Australia, and coming from Asia – I have had to really watch how I spend my money, so I pretty much thought ‘I cant do any of these adventure activities here – too expensive’. Last night I was checking how much money I had in my bank accounts and I got a huge surprise when I seen I had 500 pounds in one account – an account I emptied before I left the UK. It was an Omen!

So I pretty much decided there and then in that service station – I’m going to book a sky dive for tomorrow. Honestly, I was not very confident about it, I mean, I really hate the feeling of falling that you get on roller coasters when you go on your first one(after that it is kind of fun). So the idea of free falling for over 60 seconds did not rock my boat. Nevertheless – I thought I should give it a go, I might not be here again for a while and the extra money I found was a sign..

I got up at 7.30 this morning, Gabrielle said she would wake me as she was going out on the reef today, but was chucked out by someone in the dorm(who didnt want woken – very hungover). I was supposed to be ready by then, so wearing the clothes I slept in , I stumbled to the waiting bus..too tired to think about anything. I had to wait about an hour in the skydiving shop, but before I knew it, I was suited up and on a small plane taking off.. There was a father with his two 14-15 year old kids going along too, so I was thinking to myself , shit, I cant back out in front of these kids I will look like a total fool.

I was originally going to jump from 10000 feet, so I only had 15 seconds of freefall, but since everyone else on the plane was going to 14000(the highest you can do round here) my instructor said we were going to jump 14000 regardless of my preference..
I opted to go out of the plane last(I was at the back), which wasnt a good idea. As the first people went out – you could hear the wind and feel the cold air, and as we creeped closer to the the door – looking straight down at the clouds was pretty intense. I was just thinking, ‘Oh god, I am going to be falling really fast for miles’.

Before I had time to think – my legs were outside the plane, and I was sitting on the edge, I vaguely remember crossing my arms over my chest and the instructor lurching forward. We were in the air, my stomach lurched and we tumbled past the plane, spinning over our heads.

After maybe only a second – the falling sensation was gone, we had reached terminal velocity and I got the tap on the shoulder, the signal that I should stick my arms out and arch my back. What a feeling!

It was so peaceful and relaxing, I had a huge grin on my face as we fell, it was like I was floating on a pocket of air. Looking at the horizon, you had no idea how fast you were going, and looking down, all you could see was a blanket of clouds and thousands of feet below, the other jumpers.

As we flew down to the clouds, I started to see how fast we were going, it was incredible. As we entered the cloud, visibility dropped to a few meters and the instructor pulled the parachute. We were wrenched to a gentle float and by the time we cleared the cloud, the chute was up and we were gliding towards the landing zone.

For five minutes we flew lazily over to the small square where I could see the car waiting for us and the rest of the jumpers landing. The LZ was in the middle of cornfields and surprisingly there was a pylon running along one side of the strip. I lifted my legs up and we slid on our backsides to a quick stop.

I would recommend it to anyone. It is a great experience. My fear of feeling like I was falling, was totally unjustified. It is so peaceful and relaxing being in the sky falling down at 120 miles an hour(strange but true). As soon as I was on the ground, I wanted to do it again. I think I might go again tomorrow!

So today, I wasnt really up for much else, I have a funny feeling going snorkeling on the reef wont top it. I spent the rest of the morning chilling outside at the hostel with the other backpackers. Not sure what to do today(I’m in the city now), I still have a huge grin on my face.

Last day before PNG tomorrow, and there is a football match planned between our hostel and the one down the road and I have been roped into playing. Regardless of my protests that I am a smoker/have no cardio fitness and dont know much about kicking footballs – it looks like that is on for the afternoon.

Anyway – I am going to count my cash and see if I can fork out another jump.

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