Bucket list underway!

By Beth Enderwick (University of Queensland, Australia)

My weekend trip to Byron Bay is one I’ll never forget, largely because I conquered my first Skydive (I’m saying first because there will be more).  I can honestly say it was one of the best things I’ve ever done; there’s no feeling that compares! Skydiving has been number one on my bucket list since I can remember but it had to be somewhere with amazing views. Where better than Australia!?

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View of Byron Bay on the way down

After arriving at the site at 9am, we had five hours of waiting. This only added to the suspense but soon enough I was so eager to get in the plane that the nerves had turned to excitement. I finally met my tandem partner, Marc, who tried countless times to get a reaction from me. He told me he’d only just started the job (he’d been there 5 years) and then tried to convince me that Julian Rocks was New Zealand. Although his intention was to scare me, I was laughing so much that I felt at ease.

I thought getting into the rickety little plane and ascending 14,000 feet into the sky would be when I started to freak out but this was not the case. Even though the only thing between me and the huge drop was a sheet of plastic they call a door, I couldn’t help but feel content looking out over the views of Byron Bay: Australia’s most easterly point. I even saw whales splashing about in the sea on the way up. Soon after this, the door opened and all the cold air came rushing in. Here, I realised I had never been in a plane with the door open.

I was one of the first to go. I sat on the edge of the plane in the shape of a banana as instructed: head back, arms grasped tightly to the harness and legs tucked under. This was the most frightening part of all as I knew I was escaping safety but it only lasted a few seconds. Next thing I knew, I was whirling out of the plane and everything was happening so fast. These first few seconds were a huge blur to me due to a sensory overload but after the initial turbulence, the motion became smooth. In the midst of it all, my ears popped and I couldn’t hear a thing but this only made it more serene; I was undergoing the most blissful experience of my life.

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Feeling the floating sensation

Marc then tapped me on the shoulder as a signal to open my arms and it no longer felt like I was falling, rather floating. I could clearly see the vast openness below in all its glory. Not once did I think about anything going wrong and any sense of fear I had before had completely vanished; I felt scared in safety and fearless in danger. Then, after sixty seconds had passed, the parachute opened. Everything slowed right down and I found myself drifting peacefully back to the drop zone. My ability to hear returned and Marc reached out his hand for a high five. The sense of freedom was incredible and I did not stop smiling from start to finish.

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Marc and I

Will smith said “God placed the best things in life on the other side of terror” which could not be more true. I already can’t wait for my next skydive. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll do it solo!

 

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