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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 Fabrizio Gainnelli strapped to her back.
She’s in very safe hands because by this November, Fabrizio would have been jumping for 20 years and has already clocked up 19,000 jumps. “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. Even Fabrizio admits it’s scary but approaches it with no fear and runs 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, especially as there is a considerable wait for the weather conditions to be just right. 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 bottle neck 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. I note with mild amusement at the Indian restaurant next door.
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 Fabrizio who’s already racing off to his next rush.
Skydive the Beach and Beyond operates in Rockingham, York and Perth City. Midweek jumps start at $329 and weekends at $359. Film and photo packages available. www.skydive.com.au
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