Just got back in Canberra a few hours ago after two days long driving. We decided to try a new way home thru NSW and it turned out to be a bad one, lost a few hours so it was nice to find somewhere to stay for the night.
We had a little unit right on Surfers Paradise, across the road was the beach and we had some pretty amazing views. Our first night there was Australia Day and there was a fireworks display literally right in front of us on the beach. Was really amazing. As the fireworks started thousands of people came running out of all the restaurants to watch the display, it was pretty funny to see how they all appeared out of nowhere!
I went skydiving on Thursday, and that was the most amazing experience. Decided to fork out a little extra and jump from 14,000ft instead of the standard 10,000. It was a rainy and stormy day and as we arrived at the airport it was raining and I thought there was no way we would be going anywhere. Eventually after bumming around in the hangar and chatting the weather was good enough to go. Aircraft was a 206 (didn't catch the rego, had other things on my mind!) and she was pretty noisy on taxi with the side door open. We took off and began our climb and were soon climbing thru some pretty grey clouds. There was only another guy jumping, plus his instructor so it was a little roomier than usual apparently. The other bloke looked really nervous during the flight, I only got butterflies when the door was open. We probably spent about a minute flying thru the last layer of clouds, and when we leveled all you could see was white fluffy clouds and blue sky, no ground at all. It's a pretty surreal feeling knowing you're going to jump out!
The other bloke and his instructor went first, they simply sat on the edge of the plane and fell out. It all went crazy then, we leant forward and all of a sudden I'm sitting on the edge of a plane 14,000 feet in the sky. I was only holding onto my harness and sitting on the instructors lap and the andrenaline and fear went nuts. Once I had my head back, feet tucked back under the 206 we went. One second you feel the plane under your ass then one minute...you don't. As we fell out the instructor turned us so I could see the plane flying away (pretty scary). It is a lot more violent than I expected, you are falling at 200 kmph (around 125 mph) and it is loud! Freefalling is the most fun yet scary experience. I could yell at the top of my lungs and only hear the air assaulting my ears. Breathing takes a few seconds to get used to also. The first ten seconds are scary as hell then you get over shock and you take it in.
All of a sudden you feel a big jolt and you are set vertical as the chute comes out. Instantly everything is quiet and peaceful. No words can describe the views of the Gold Coast and the feeling of it all. It is like being a bird up there and you are on top of the world. I was blown away by the views of the Gold Coast and being up there. I have flown airplanes before but it is not the same. Nothing to distort the feeling of being free up there.
As we were gliding down, I was talking to the instructor (all you can hear is a soft breeze of the air hitting the chute) and he told me it costs $60,000 to become a skydiving instructor. Well worth it I think. Would be an incredible job doing that a few times a day. Due to the recent rain on the coast, they had only done 20 jumps since Christmas, and they expect 7 a day. They hadn't been up for a while and I could tell they were excited to go up again also.
I got to fly the chute on the way down, which again was pretty crazy. You pull the cord and you start turning slowly, then it builds speed. It's like a giant spiral all the way down. You look down and all you can see is your feet and everything happening below. We were a little high on landing so a couple of turns did the trick and we made a soft landing at some footy oval at Kirra. It is crazy once you have landed, I was speechless.
We usually go up to the Gold Coast every year and I plan to go jumping with those guys again. The guys there were great, really friendly and funny characters and made you feel right at home and comfortable with the whole thing. I have the whole thing on a 7 minute DVD, thanks to a little handicam stapped to my instructors hand. I will upload some photos later and may post the video on YouTube later if anyone is interested. It shows some spectacular views of the Gold Coast from the air and the clouds on the flight up.
Anyway, long post so I will sign off here. Unfortunately I have one day to recover tomorrow then I start yet another year of school the next day...fun.
Hope you blokes are doing good!