"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Experience Challenge Week 52: Sticking the Landing

Okay, here it is. The amazing final thing to cap off my year of crazy experiences.

Skydiving.

My friend Mitchell had been bringing it up to me for a while, but I just couldn't find time to book it. Eventually I realized I'd have to make time, or it would never happen. So I looked up a place called Coastal Skydive - where they take you to Semaphore Beach and let you come down on the sand next to the ocean. According to their website, they had two options - you could jump from 10 000 feet or 14 000 feet. That amused me. I wonder if there was anyone thinking "Are you kidding? 10 000 is okay, but jumping out of a plane from 14 000 feet is just dangerous!" Maybe it was to do with the cost? But I still couldn't see someone being willing to pay $500 but not $600.

I called up the company while I was sitting with my friends by the pool.
'Yes, I'd like to book a skydive at Semaphore for the 30th December? 14 000 feet?'
'Okay, is it just yourself?' said the girl on the phone.
'Nope, there's two of us.'
'Oh, okay. See, the 30th is a Tuesday. We only do mid-week jumps with bookings of at least four people.'
Oh shit. I leaned away from the phone and told Mitchell the news.
'Give me a few minutes,' he said. 'I'll take care of it.'
I told the girl I'd call her back and continued to enjoy the day. Sure enough, a few minutes later, Mitchell had rounded up his brother Tyler and his primary school friend Daniel.
'Okay, so your deposit's gone through and it's all booked in. I've sent you an email with all the instructions on the day and a link to the Australian Parachuting Society. You'll need to register there for insurance reasons.'
'Insurance?'
'Oh, it's just a precaution.'
'Right. I'm sure nothing can go wrong.'
'Well it can, but- no, never mind. We'll see you then!' *click!*
I mulled on that and then collected myself for a second.
'We're going skydiving!' I exclaimed proudly to the group. They shared their excitement and trepidation.
'Are you scared?' asked Sarah.
'Not yet, but I'm sure it will happen soon,' I replied. I decided to keep it a secret from everyone else. Such a big finale deserves an equally big reveal. I did however announce on Facebook that I had booked something, and that it was big. My Aunty Tina commented, saying
"This worries me. I don't know where the limit is with you." I cheekily replied with
"The sky, Zia T. The sky's the limit."

Fast forward to late November when myself, Jerida, Mitchell and Jasmine went to the Gold Class cinema. We were chatting in the carpark at the end of the night and the skydiving came up.
'Surely you're scared,' said Jerida.
'Not really. I have a huge amount of trust in these things. They wouldn't still be around if it weren't completely safe.'
'I wonder if you'll pass through a cloud,' said Jasmine. 'I wonder how that would feel.'
Suddenly, my eyes shot wide. 'Oh... We'll actually be looking down on top of the clouds...' It had hit me how scary this would be. The image of me standing in the open doorway of a tiny plane, feeling every bump and dip of the air and looking down on an infinite sea of white mist came vividly to my mind. And suddenly I was terrified.
'Well, catch you later guys!' said Mitchell.
'Bye!'
'See ya!'
'...................Goodbye.'

Two days before Judgment Day, I was chatting to my parents about things I had to do before the end of the year.
'I need to get a haircut at some point,' I said. 'And I'd like to get it done before my skydive.'
'Your what??' said Mum and Dad together.
'Um... I should have said that.'
'That's your big final thing?' asked Mum incredulously.
'Yeah.'
'It's so much fun, you'll love it!' she said, recovering quickly. She went skydiving for her 30th birthday and she still has the VHS cassette as a souvenir.
'I sure hope so.'
'When were you going to tell us?' asked Dad.
'Well, um... after I wrote my blog about it.' I was getting more and more sheepish.
'That's stupid Michael, what if something went wrong and you got hurt? Did you think about that?'
'...Well I can assure you I am now.'

Finally, the day of reckoning. Mum dropped me off at Mitchell's house so we could carpool to Semaphore together. I collected my pile of release forms and headed inside, where Mitchell was getting ready. It was nine in the morning at this stage. We were due to arrive in Semaphore by 10:30. We were both nervous.
'I've been watching skydive videos online,' said Mitch. 'They all say that the ride up is just as scary as the fall. You're crammed into this tiny space, there's no room to move. And the plane doesn't feel stable as it climbs.'
'Good, I'm glad I know that now,' I replied sarcastically. Mitchell looked out the window.
'There's a fair bit of cloud and wind outside. Do you think that will be okay?'
'Yeah I'm sure it will be fine.'
'And it was raining all of this morning. Do you think that will hold off?'
'I... I think so.'

Just as we got in the car to head off, I get a phone call.
'Hi Michael, this is Alex from Coastal Skydive, how are you?'
'Good thanks,' I lied.
'Great. So I've got here that you're booked to arrive at 10:30. The weather's not looking good, we'll have to push it back to 1:30, is that okay with you guys?'
I checked with Mitchell, who nodded.
'Yep, we'll do that,' I said.
'That's great. At least then we'll have a 50/50 chance of being able to go.'
50/50? I didn't like those odds. We sighed and got out of the car while Mitchell called Tyler and Daniel and told them the news. Daniel headed over to us so we could hang out for the next three hours. Tyler was practically already at Semaphore, so he decided to wait there.

Those next three hours were hard. I realized that the one thing scarier to me at that moment than jumping out of a plane was the possibility of not jumping out of a plane. We distracted ourselves with a bit of Minecraft on Mitchell's XBox. But after we killed the dragon, we were once again forced to face our fears. at 12 o'clock, Alex called back.
'Hi Michael, it's Alex again. Listen, I'm making the call. It's too cloudy and the chance of rain is still too high. Is tomorrow good for you guys?'
Tomorrow was good for me. I'm on holidays from work at the moment. Mitchell luckily had a day off as well. Tyler could apparently make it work on any day. But Daniel said he couldn't afford to try and get out of work two days in a row. We hung up, worked out when we could all do it, and called him back.
'We'd like to book it in for Sunday 11th January,' I said. It would two days after my birthday.'
'Okay, that's locked in. Thanks for your understanding and I'll see you then!' *click!*

My excitement and nerves had been replaced by crushing disappointment. My story had been ruined. Right at the last possible moment, my challenge had had the rug pulled out from under it. I was on a football field against the universe, and the universe had just thrown a hail mary into the end zone to win the game. I could barely even be bothered trying to find a new thing to replace it at such short notice. I eventually collected myself enough to figure out what to do. I borrowed Mitchell's copy of Skyrim to take it home and play it for the rest of the day. It's one of the highest-selling games ever and is talked about a lot. But I've never played it, and don't even know what it's about. So I figured that playing that until midnight would at least satisfy the criteria for the challenge. But while I've officially done 52 new things this year, my challenge still isn't over. Only when the 11th of January comes around, and I've successfully jumped out of that plane and landed on that golden sand under that bright mid-summer sun... Only then will I have truly completed the New Experience Challenge.

P.S. - The sky cleared up and the rest of the day was quite lovely. But I was too busy stuck inside playing Skyrim to enjoy it.

38 comments:

  1. Oh man, getting up the nerve is one thing, but having to delay it...Well, I'm glad you didn't skydive in bad weather, and we'll all be thinking about you on Jan 11th.

    Happy New Year's, Michael. You've a lot to be proud of. Smiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Robyn :) You're easily one of the best people I've met on the internet this year ;)

      Delete
  2. That is crazy!!! I could never jump out of a plane. Lol good for you for trying. Too bad you have to go through the bundle of nerves all over again. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you need me, I'll just be in the corner here rocking quietly to myself.

      Delete
  3. Aw that would have been an awesome way to finish off the year (for you, not me - evvvvvver).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can call and include an extra person in the booking if you like ;)

      Delete
  4. I'd freak out. I can't even ride roller coasters. I'm such a chicken shi_t! I can't even watch my husband and kids on those things (they love them). I just picture the coaster taking off of the track, and crashing to the ground. I can however ride up a mountain in a jeep, or a train (did that). It seemed more controlled. Climbing up Mesa Verde this summer on their balcony tour was a little much for me, but I did that to. I got some great pictures from that one.

    *We'll just start w/ the 1st Harry Potter movie, and see if they get into in. If they do, the 9 year old has to read the 1st book before we move on. My kids don't get scared easily. The only thing I have to watch out for in movies is sexy things. The 9 yr. old has always liked girls - they have never had cooties. Transformers is a no can watch. Sexy girl flaunting her stuff a little too much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I picture the same thing with rollercoasters, but I'm so competitive that I see it as letting myself get beaten if I don't go. I'm glad you conquered Mesa Verde :)

      That's great to hear; when I first watched Jurrasic Park, my parents had to check under my bed for dinosaurs for the next month - even the herbivores.

      Delete
  5. January 11th - you've got time to set up helmet cameras(don't forget you tube or farcebook love those films). You can plan an after party. (Don't want to eat too much before the jump, right?) You can bake cookies - well, I would!

    Be thinking of you guys!! Geronimo!!! (or whatever happy word or phrase you use to unify such a crazy-arsed adventure.)(smile)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well the company makes a film of the trip, so we've got that covered. I'll definitely work on baking the celebratory cookies.

      Delete
  6. I felt nervous all the way through this and you haven't even done it yet. I could never bite the bullet on that one, but kudos to you. I'm excited to see your report on it come the 11th (and hopefully some video). As for me? I'll stick with Skyrim. Killing dragons is SO much easier than jumping out of a speeding plane at 50,000 feet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I dunno... I found that game pretty hard...

      Delete
  7. You share your birthday with my partner. And, for some years now I have been considering giving him a skydive for his birthday... Not this year, but it is still on the cards.
    I am really, really looking forward to the post about this one. Have a wonderful, wonderful (and only a tiny bit scarey) time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll make sure you know how it is so you can consider it for next year ;)

      Delete
  8. Oh dear, the anticlimax of not jumping out of a plane when you expected to must be terrible! Reminds me of this scene from 'The Couch Trip'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would be just like that scene if they'd convinced him to postpone his jump for the 11th January ;)

      Delete
  9. Damn, getting the nerve all up to do it and then having it yanked away at the end, that is a bummer. Mainly because you'll have to get the nerve up all over again. Not sure I could ever do it because I'd be all worried if the chute was packed right. I could jump just fie, but I'd want to know if the stupid thing would open.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I know what you mean! But I'm pretty sure the amount of times that's happened has been pretty rare.

      Delete
  10. Wow! Epic downer, but you saved it by rescheduling. I'll be looking for your first hand report on January 12. Don't forget the 'chute. I'm picky about who I follow and I don't want to have to fill your spot...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha I'm glad I made the cut! Now I'll work on making the landing ;)

      Delete
  11. I could never jump from anything higher than me that time I hung out with my friend while he smoked weed and I tried to avoid inhaling any of his second-hand weed smoke, but probably did anyway and probably got the tiniest bit high, but not to such an extent that I or anybody else noticed it. So well done on committing to this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's still higher than I've ever been :P

      Delete
  12. Seems like you saved the most dramatic challenge for last...although it did not come to fruition, it will be an exciting way to start 2015.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah good point! It'll be a great start to my next year in review post!

      Delete
  13. Too bad it didn't happen this year, butI like what Jimmy says. Definitely a fabulous way to start the new year! (And I can say that with a big smile because it is you doing it and not me. I am terrified of heights and would never have the courage to do it myself).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The people who think they're too scared are the ones that enjoy it the most when they do it ;)

      Delete
  14. Better safe than sorry, Michael. Looking forward to your skydiving adventure post in January then!

    PS -- I would NEVER go skydiving. Much too much of a chicken for that!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I guess... but that's why they should have lightning resistant parachutes ;)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh my gosh. No way would you get me to do that. I look forward to hearing about your final big experience! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, I'm looking forward to experiencing it ;)

      Delete
  17. Oh, what a let down for you! But obviously being safe is the most important thing. I can't wait to hear about it! A friend of mine asked me recently if I wanted to sky dive with her this year and I said yes, so I'll be eager to hear how it goes for you. Make sure you do it well so as not to scare me! Lol

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh my! Just when I read the word "skydiving" I got that stomach-flipping feeling. I could never skydive. I don't like heights and hate roller coasters. lol You're brave for just wanting to do it! :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha I imagine I'll be thinking the same thing when I'm up there ;)

      Delete
  19. RE:
    Two days before Judgment Day

    Too funny!!

    Hey, better safe than sorry, right? Can't wait to hear the details on Jan 11. Good luck!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I reluctantly admit you're right :P

      Delete
  20. You'll have to be brave for a few more days, haha. I'd never be brave enough for skydiving. Never.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've shoved it into the back of my mind for now :P

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Share This Page

Any part of this blog may be reproduced or distributed, providing credit is given to the original author.