The Ultimate High
There’s a reason why skydiving is at the top of most bucket lists. Because there is simply no experience more thrilling and thanks to Skydive Australia, I can now cross it off mine.
Skydive Australia has locations all over the country and here in the Hunter we can choose to jump from their Singleton, Newcastle or Central Coast bases. Whether you want to see beaches, mountains or towns, each location offers breathtaking views. I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to see our mines from up above so on a blustery cold winter day I head out to the Hunter jump zone out near the Singleton Army Base on Range Road.
When doing any type of activity, it’s a lot more fun to do with a mate instead of on your lonesome like me, which was the case for one group of people there. Eight friends were celebrating a 21stbirthday by doing this once in a lifetime experience and their smiles and eager anticipation is infectious.
The group go up before me and as each safely land to whoops and delighted laughter my own excitement begins to bubble up so by the time my instructor Cam gets me suited up and runs me through the safety instructions I’m eager to get going.
As I chat with Cam on the way to the plane, I ask him how many jumps he’s done to ensure that I am really putting myself in safe hands. He reassures me that every instructor has jumped more than 10,000 times, with one of the guys having done over 40,000.
“Wow, you must get sick of it” I say. To which he passionately exclaims that it’s the best job in the world and it never, never gets old.
We bundle into the plane and it’s not until I see the clouds floating pass the window that the nerves start to come back. I try to convince myself it’s only the cold making me shake. As I begin to reconsider what I’m doing, Cam starts to shuffle me forward on the seat and the instructor in front opens the door of the plane letting the full force of the wind and cold blow through.
I’m still trying to process what’s about to happen as Cam scoots me forward so I’m sitting halfway out of the plane looking down at the ground so very far way and desperately trying to remember the instructions he told me only minutes before.
Then we jump. Or rather, Cam jumps and takes me with him!
This is where it gets incredibly hard to explain what I’m feeling. I’m gulping like a fish trying to breathe in the thin air as we plummet at terminal velocity of nearly 200km/h. I’m trying to scream, I’ve no idea which way is up, and I have never felt so alive, so exhilarated and so absolutely sh*t scared. Then moments later Cam releases the shoot and our death-defying dive suddenly stops.
As we gently float above Singleton I begin to breathe again and as my heart slowly settles I take in the tranquility of being alone (except for the stranger strapped to my back) and looking down at all the people in their cars and homes who are going about their mundane lives while mine will never be the same again.
Cam encourages me to grab the handles and by pulling hard on one I propel the parachute into a dizzying spin, which ramps up the excitement once more. The grounds draws nearer and nearer and then both feet are firmly back on the ground though my heart is still soaring.
Skydiving is an experience I will never forget and I can truly say it is the ultimate high. I’ve also just discovered that they do night skydives, so I’m thinking that’s definitely worth a review!
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