Jumping out of a plane and other fun things to do on your birthday » KathSwinbourne

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Apr 25 2013

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Jumping out of a plane and other fun things to do on your birthday

Not the plane I jumped out of, just a planeThe outdoorsy one and I jumped out of a plane last night. From 14,000 feet. In the dark.

And it was amazing.

We weren’t alone. We each had an experienced parachutist from Skydive the Beach strapped to our back, and they had parachutes strapped to their backs, so it was perfectly safe.

I’ve got to the stage in life (I’m 37 – stop laughing!) where I really don’t need any more “things”, so for birthdays and Christmas I now get “experiences”.

This was my birthday present from last year, and boy was it an experience. We’ve booked in to do the jump six times since my birthday, and six times it’s been cancelled because of bad weather, so we finally got around to doing the night before my birthday this year. Not a bad start to birthday celebrations!

The outdoorsy One’s boyfriend gave her the jump as a Christmas present – after he’d already given her a tandem jump during the day as a birthday present the previous year. I’m sure he really does love her!

Anyway last night, for the first time since Christmas, it was a fine night on the full moon, so the jump was on.

Seven people met up with their parachutists in the park next to the beach in Wollongong, where we were handed pants and jumpers, and put into harnesses before being squashed into a small, very cold and noisy plane and taken up to 14,000 feet over Lake Illawarra. From there it was a short flight to the beach at North Wollongong where I was, literally, pushed out of the plane.

The feeling while you’re hanging there, at the edge of the plane is indescribable. Last time I remember sitting in the doorway with my feet hanging out of the plane before I jumped, pulling the man strapped to my back out with me. This time I felt like I was suspended in the air, neither in nor out of the plane. I felt almost weightless, then with a tap on my shoulder to make sure I was ok, Igor jumped, pushing me out before him.

The only way you know you’re falling in those thirty seconds before the parachute is opened is by the wind rushing past you. There’s no sense of the ground rushing up to meet you. On the contrary, the view is amazing and seems to go on forever. More so in the dark than it did during the day.

Then the parachute is opened and everything slows down as you float around in the air, lookingf or landmarks and watching the moon light dance on the waves breaking on the beach.

All to soon it’s over. You lift your legs out in front of you and everything seems to speed up again as you skid on your arse across the landing area. Thank heaven for those pants they give you to wear!!!

So now I’ve done tandem jumps during the day and at night. Next birthday I might learn to do it all by myself. Or there’s still bungee jumping!!

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