Doing a skydive has been on my bucket list from the very beginning (before I even met Alex) but as soon as we planned Cairns into our trip to Australia, she had decided we were skydiving here. She had seen friends on Instagram who had done Skydive’s here and knew it would be an amazing place to jump out of a plane – experiencing views of the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest at the same time!
A few days before booking the skydive, I was nervous! We’d gotten brochures and looked online but hadn’t yet confirmed a date or booked it; when it comes to ‘thrill seeking’, Alex definitely gets the most enjoyment and leads the way to making sure they’re ticked off my bucket list for me. We lay in bed one evening in Cairns and decided to book it for a couple of days ahead. We booked it for about 9am to make sure we got it out of the way and could spend the rest of the day drinking. It was wet season in Cairns at the time (we visited in March), and so we were unsure if it would go ahead because of the monsoons, but that morning was bright and sunny, and there was no backing out.
We got picked up from our Airbnb and driven to the skydive centre about 10 minutes away. When we got there, we had to fill out some forms, watch a safety video, get kitted up and meet our tandem partner. For some reason, this was the absolute worst part for me. The wait made me so nervous and I hated it! Alex had a really lovely man called Brant who had done over 18,000 Skydives, whereas I had a guy called Gareth who told me that not only was it was his first tandem skydive, but he was a chef until 2 weeks before, and his boss was jumping with us to make sure he pulls the chord at the right time. What a way to calm my nerves!
Once we were kitted up, we got back into the minibus to a small part of the airport where we found our plane (which was a tiny little thing). Other than Alex and I, there were 6 other divers and their tandem partners who were jumping at that time. The plane ride was pretty ropey in itself, really setting us on edge even more because you feel every little bump and shake on the way up. I was second in line to jump out of the plane, so as soon as the doors opened, I was pretty much already hanging out of the plane – it all went so quickly! The 60 second free fall was literally the most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done in my life, and you can literally see the curve of the earth!
It’s a complete myth that you can’t breathe very well in a skydive, you don’t really notice much of a difference (you know, other than you plummeting towards the ground….)
You jump out of the plane at 15,000 feet, where you free fall for around 60 seconds until the parachute comes out, and then you drift towards the ground for about another 4 minutes. I really didn’t enjoy this part, because it’s essentially paragliding, which made me feel really nauseous, going from side to side – luckily it’s over pretty quickly. Whilst hanging in the air, Gareth let go of the handles, said ‘Mate, hold these for me for a second’ and continued to make me steer us for a little bit. That made me feel even more sick!
I deliberately waited until I was on the ground before I asked my instructor if this really was his first tandem dive. He laughed and said it wasn’t, but he is one of the newest instructors after being a chef for a long time. His boss, who jumped with us, was doing a routine assessment, he just wanted to scare me!
We were dropped back at our Airbnb no more than 2 hours after we were picked up, and we did as promised – drank the rest of the day away!