My friend flies through the air 14,000 feet above me and the turquoise coastline of Rockingham. Even from the ground I can hear her screaming. Screams of delight, she later assures me.
I suspect her joy also had something to do with the charismatic instructor strapped to her back.
With 25 years of jumping experience and over 20,000+ jumps under his shoot, she’s in very safe hands. “What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done?” I ask. “Jumping naked. Every jumper tries it at least once!” Despite his experience and enthusiasm, I’m still not compelled to jump out of a perfectly working plane. Any jumper will admit it’s scary but they approach it with no fear, choosing to run on adrenaline instead.
I had no trouble convincing my brave friend to take the fall for me; even after receiving a telemarketing call while waiting for her turn asking if she’d like to buy some funeral insurance. Not exactly what you want to hear even before getting on a plane let alone jumping out of one, especially as there is a considerable wait for the weather conditions to improve.
Although the temperature isn’t important and it can even be raining as long as it’s not too heavy, which can be painful, there needs to be as little wind as possible and not too much low cloud cover. As a result, the wait has a domino effect and causes a bottleneck between the groups, which includes dare-devils from all walks of life and all ages. The anticipation is palpable and even though hunger pains gnaw away, no-one dares let a morsel of food pass through their lips just in case they became notorious for all the wrong reasons.
Finally, the wind dies down and the group make their way to Jandakot Airport where the tiny plane awaits with its sliding door ensuring easy access into the big blue. The instructions are simple enough: arch your back and make like a banana kicking your feet up to your bum. On landing, pull your knees up and straighten your legs and toes. They float freefall for 60 seconds before the shoot opens for seven minutes of spectacular views of the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, Penguin Island, Cockburn Sound, Garden Island and, even Rottnest Island on clear days.
I make my way to the designated landing spot on the beach until the group softly lands one after the other onto the milky sand. What a thrill, and I didn’t even jump! Everyone is pumped, including my friend’s instructor who’s already racing off to his next rush.
Skydive the Beach and Beyond operates out of Rockingham.15,000ft Tandem Skydives start at $339 and $299 for groups of 8+. Film and photo packages available. www.skydive.com.au
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