Cairns is considered the gateway to The Great Barrier Reef, a city in tropical North Queensland where visitors can sail, snorkel and dive. But it’s not all about what can be explored beneath the turquoise waters, sometimes you need to look up! And that’s exactly what I did, twice!
Sky diving has always been on my checklist of things to do while travelling and I’ve been so keen to get it done ever since we left the UK. I’d always thought I would hold on until we made it to New Zealand, renowned as being the adventure capital of the world and THE place to Sky Dive, Bunji or do anything else that involves throwing yourself towards the earth from great heights. But we don’t know when we’ll eventually get to visit NZ, so when James surprised me for my birthday and revealed we’d be sky diving over The Great Barrier Reef it seemed an excellent second choice location!
On the morning of my 27th birthday we made our way to Sky Dive Cairns from Port Douglas, I was more than ready…James on the other hand looked a little pale and spent most of the journey in silence (the things he does for me!). Any nerves either of us did have weren’t helped when we arrived and were informed that our scheduled slot had been pushed back meaning we’d have to kill some time.
Two hours later our time was finally here and we were asked to come and take a seat ready to watch the safety briefing DVD and the ‘get pumped’ DVD before being introduced to our Sky Dive Pro, the one we’d put all our trust in to pull the cord, open the parachute and land safely on the ground so it’s good job these pros averaged 6 dives a day and were well-practiced!
We had purchased the DVD option for an extra $135 on top of the $299 jump price because, well, nobody wants to complete a skydive and not have the footage to prove it! It added to the experience so much, from climbing aboard the aircraft ready for take off to climbing to 14,000ft, your sky dive pro records little snippets of the experience from a GoPro strapped to his hand, adding a few laughs and lessons along the way which helps to dispose of some of the nerves.
It’s just a 20 minute ascent up to 14,000ft and from then everything happens so fast. I was sat in last position (on my first dive, FIRST in my second!) with 7 other tandem jumpers on board. As soon as the go ahead was given the first tandem divers were ready and before I had time to think I was shuffling forward along the bench counting literally seconds between each pair and suddenly found myself at the door arms crossed, head back and legs hanging but tucked under, I flashed a quick smile towards the camera and was flung out by my guy.
I’m not sure how well I can explain the feeling but I’ll try. The free fall is incredible, I didn’t know it at the time but we were travelling 200km per hour! It’s loud but exhilarating and the view is nothing like you can ever imagine. As soon as you leave the plane there are absolutely no fears just absolute WOW how am I able to do this? I must admit I was a tad scared when the parachute went up and i was jolted upright just because I’d been so distracted by the free fall I’d forgotten that was going to happen at some point!
The gentle glide back down to earth for the last 5,000ft or so was another experience entirely. The peace and quiet makes everything so tranquil and you’re suddenly travelling SO much slower, utter bliss I just did want it to end.
I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to do something like this and even luckier that I was actually given the opportunity to do it for a second time after my DVD failed on the first attempt – silver linings! I can’t wait to get to New Zealand where I’ll definitely be going bigger and jumping from 16,500ft!