When I was about nine, my Dad gave me the opportunity to jump out a plane. Really.
We were holidaying in New Zealand and it was something my older cousin Adrian was doing. The concept of it looked fun to me and when I said I wanted to do it too, Dad surprisingly said ‘Okay’ and took me along for the booking. But when I saw how much it cost and faltered, Dad was only too glad to say, ‘Well, alright then.’
I never forgot that and literally regretted that … Well, up till two weeks ago anyway!
It was something I’d put down on my life’s list of things to do after that.
So when we booked our holiday away to visit the sister-in-law down under, I just knew I had had to get it done. Chetz was an absolute star – She knew how badly I wanted to do it so she gave it to me as a birthday experience. And such an experience it was indeed!!!!
I can’t quite describe the feeling of it. I woke up in the morning absolutely crapping myself – ‘scuse the language – Called the skydive centre at Lilydale Airport to check on the weather and got the automated voice message saying it was all a GO. Was so nervous and unwisely decided to order toast with mushrooms & blue cheese, wondering whether or not I would regret it if it all came up later.
Hubba was a star and drove me out to Yarra willingly. He knew how much I wanted to do this and was happy to be there and to wait for the entire morning. He assured me I would be fine whenever I asked myself what on earth I was doing outloud.
My stomach lurched when we parked and I walked up to the dive centre to get registered. I thought it was only going to get worse, but strangely enough, once I had all the paperwork signed and instructions given, I felt a strange sense of calm. One of the instructors who buckled me into my gear was from Leeds, and chatting to him animatedly about memories of the city made me forget why I was even there. And when I was introduced to my friendly dive instructor Mark, I was even more at ease. He laughed when I asked for sommersaults and promised he’d try to get some in.
When I finally got on the plane, I didn’t feel a thing. One of my skydive buddies, Shane, looked a little nervous the entire flight of 10,000 feet up but could you blame him? He had been afraid of rollercoasters and anything thrilling all his childhood and life, he had told me. As a kid, he had never done anything that anyone would consider scary but now as a father, he was trying anything he could to get over his fears so that he wouldn’t be a ‘Wussy Dad’. So he chose skydiving!
RESPECT TO SHANE!!!! That’s all I thought on the entire flight up whenever I looked round my shoulder at him.
I was the second one out the plane. When Mark pushed us off the ledge, I didn’t feel my heart leap into my throat like you normally do when you jump off anything. I felt like I was tumbling through space and I didn’t even realize he had given me two sommersaults till we had stabilized. All of the 40 seconds we were freefalling, I felt like I was flying. In my dreams. It was a beautiful and exhilerating feeling!
And it wasn’t even noisy – everyone said it would be so loud but I was able to say outloud how cool it all was and hear myself speak. I could hear Mark ask me if it was cool. I said a big AWWWWW when the parachute opened. 40 seconds really wasn’t enough and all I could think of is how I should have opted for 14,000 feet for that extra 20 seconds!!!
Hubba had a big grin when I landed. He knew how happy and high I was and it made him happy and high too. When I caught up with Shane inside the centre, he had an equally huge smile on his face. He had beaten his fears and well, he had an ace time doing it! We hugged and shared the moment :)
My dive was blessed with great weather and after the experience, Hubba took me into Yarra Valley for a wonderful romantic lunch. The day couldn’t have been better!
But that is a story for another day.
Thank you, Chetz, for the amazing adrenalin-filled pressie. To Hubba for being so patient and loving the entire time. To Melbourne for your kind weather and beautiful sites. To the Melbourne Skydive Centre for their enthusiastic and caring service. To Mark for being so positive and cheery and making me feel safe the entire dive.
And to Shane for teaching me that it’s never too late to dare :)
Here’s the video capture of my wonderful experience – Enjoy!