Whoever said that jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane at 14,000 feet isn’t insane?
The year 2010 was a huge year. Experiencing a major flood whilst living on the boat in the Brisbane River. Surgery on my thumb from the trials and tribulations of learning how to ride a motorbike. Indulging in an incredible adrenaline-rush Jet Fighter Top Gun 25 Mission flight. How can I top this in 2011?
Well…what better way to start 2011 off than with throwing myself out of an aeroplane at 14,000 feet?
Why jump out of a plane?
You may think I’m mad. Others may relish the thought of skydiving. But let’s be clear, I didn’t jump solo for my first jump – and the last, for reasons that I’ll explain later – I’m not completely mad. Of course, it’s a tandem jump.
Seeing the sheer exhilaration and incredulous expression in my partner’s face after this jump last year, I want to jump myself. So, without further ado, it’s time to share with you this skydiving adventure.
Briefing and instructions are provided at Jump the Beach office. A chunky harness is then latched on to the top of my body and strapped down between my thighs.
The harness is my tether and lifeline umbilical cord to the Tandem Jump Master – hope he’s done thousands of jumps.
Jump the Beach’s shuttle bus delivers anxious jumpers to the small local airport. The anticipation is killing me.
Waiting for the aeroplane to arrive with my partner in crime, I can’t stop smiling. A nervous reflex perhaps? Somehow over a few drinks, we conjured up that jumping out of a plane would be an excellent idea, so here we are today.
Finally, the small Cessna arrives and uneasy jumpers pile in, smiles are melting away. Five Jump Masters and five jumpers – no pun intended and we’re ready for take-off.
Half-smiles gravitate to nervous grins as the plane begins to climb higher – at least it’s a clear sunny day and glorious weather.
Ready to jump
One guy and his saviour are first in line – they jump. Together with my saviour, I’m next.
The point of no return and the unnatural slow-motion rolling out of a perfectly good aeroplane hits home – it’s the most bizarre sensation.
Feel as though I’m being pushed out of the plane in this photo…
…for me, this roll is worse than the actual free-fall, which is a total adrenaline rush – although I’m still smiling at this point, or is it screaming?
Free-falling at awesome speeds of approximately 200-kilometres per hour for up to 60 seconds is indescribable. The upward pressure of gravity’s downward pull is intense and certainly strange.
Wondering if you’re going to survive this fall or hit the earth splatting flat into a pancake, does play on your mind. Still, too much is happening at an alarming speed to really ponder life’s mysteries!
An uncanny resemblance to the many hilarious faces of the donkey in the ‘Shrek’ movie comes to mind in these funny photos.
Notice that my mouth is wide open in all the free-falling photos?
No one advised me to close my mouth during the free-fall. And once you’re free-falling, it’s really difficult to close it because of the immense pressure.
After what seems like an eternity but really is only around 60 seconds, it’s with massive relief that I feel the chute finally open. What a glorious sight. The pain in my ears calms down a tad.
Although my ears are still throbbing, the next part of manoeuvring whilst serenely floating down to earth is calming. Sitting back, finally relaxing to enjoy the scenery at this height, which is stunning. Love this part of jumping.
A gorgeous sliver of Sutton’s Beach along the Redcliffe peninsular as far as the eye can see, unfolds as an emerging canvas…
…until we hit the sand with a thump. There isn’t anything graceful or elegant when landing, even as a tandem.
Relieved to be safe on terra firma the jump’s experience propels me to an unimaginable high during the following days!
Although the pain in my ears eases a little, it feels and sounds as though I’m walking around in a vortex, so I visit the doctor for a verdict.
Keeping my mouth wide open and not equalising, the excruciating pain I felt during the short free-fall is due to haemorrhaging both eardrums. Evidently, this is not common.
The doctor sends me to an ENT (Ears, Nose, Throat) Specialist to confirm. Prescribed antibiotics as I’m flying to Morocco in two weeks, the specialist is concerned that I may contract an ear infection from dirty water. The consequence? Suffer a total loss of hearing – serious stuff.
I take the pills.
I’m ‘told’ never to skydive again. If I want to scuba dive in the future, I need a full examination to ensure my ears are ok to dive – bummer.
Regardless of the pain during the free-fall and the nuisance afterwards, the adrenaline surge you feel during the skydive is unbelievable.
After some research, Jump the Beach changed its name to Adrenaline if you’re in the area and thinking of jumping.
Leaving the car close to the Jump the Beach’s office, the company’s shuttle bus then takes you to the small local airport for the memorable jump.