"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

Friday, 16 January 2015

New Experience Challenge Week 52b: Skydiving

For part one of this post, click here.

I did it! I jumped out of a plane! It almost got postponed again. We had an unseasonable period of miserable rain for almost a week. But by some miracle, Sunday the 11th provided a short reprieve. Mitchell and I turned up at the Semaphore Surf Lifesaving Club where a large group was watching footage of a relative of theirs who had just done it. They were falling about with laughter as their relative screamed and her face got warped by the rushing wind. It didn't take too long to get ready, we met the lads we'd be jumping with and they helped us into our harnesses and away we went.

I'm not going to write too much detail, because I've got footage to show you. But there were a few details that are worth mentioning. One thing that not many people talk about is how small the plane is. Myself, Mitchell, our instructors, the two other people who were jumping and their instructors ll had to squish in together like a rowing team. One of the other jumpers was such a big boy that I wasn't sure he'd even fit in the plane. Once inside, we couldn't talk much because the rushing wind was so loud. There was a bumper sticker facing us at the end of the plane that said "I like to live on the edge of fear, but sometimes I leave it all behind and go skydiving!" I didn't quite get it. And beyond that, there were three lights - one labelled "3 minutes", one labelled "Standby" and one labelled "Jump!". As we climbed up to 14 000 feet, Mitch and I exchanged looks, laughs and jokes. We sang songs like Freefallin' and Blaze of Glory, much to the annoyance of the other two jumpers.

It took a while for us to climb all that way, I was surprised. But when the 3-minute light finally came on, the instructors sprang into action, finishing clipping themselves onto us and doing their final checks of the equipment. The 3-minute light switched off and the Standby light turned on. One of the instructors opened the side door and the noise got even louder. We felt the rush of the wind force its way into the plane and suddenly we weren't making jokes any more. The big guy went out first, followed by the other lady. Then it was my turn. Notice my face in the video just as I'm about to jump. When it comes to fear, there are two types of people in the world - screamers and freezers. I'm absolutely a freezer. Just as I'm stepping out through the door, my face seems to say "If I don't move a muscle, everyone will forgot I'm here and the danger will pass."

It didn't.


Have you ever been on a rollercoaster? As you start to go down a dip, your body seizes up, wanting to get itself to stable ground. This confirms that you're falling, just in case you didn't know. But your body expects you to land in less than a second. So when three seconds pass and you still aren't on the ground, your body stops screaming at you and reevaluates its situation. After those first few seconds, it becomes really enjoyable. You don't even feel like you're falling, you just feel like you're lying on a really big fan. You can probably see if you watched the video that the parachute opening was the worst part for me. It was very jarring and gave me a split-second of fear that something had gone wrong.

One thing you didn't see in the video was that Mitch got royally messed up by the fall. Mere seconds after the cameras stopped rolling, Mitchell stumbled off to the water's edge, fell to his knees and vomited. It was kinda hilarious.

So that rounds out my New Experience Challenge. I headed outside my comfort zone a few times, did some things that I fell in love with and kept doing, met some awesome people and got some great stories. I'm taking a break from any crazy stunts this year, but I could use some suggestions on what sort of project I could work on in 2015. Preferably something that can get me interviewed on TV. I have a friend who got on Sunrise (one of our Australian morning shows) for organising a "No Pants Tram Ride" which dozens of people attended. I also had another mate who was interviewed on The Project (our version of The Daily Show) for putting a night out with himself up for auction on eBay. I felt like this New Experience Challenge deserved a wider audience, but I sure am glad I got to share it with you.

Now I want to go bigger.


75 comments:

  1. Wow.
    Just that teeny weeny plane would have done my head in.
    I am really glad that you did it - and loved the video.
    Mega thanks.

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  2. Crikey! And I'm not even sure what that word means - but it's gotta be close to explaining my amazement. Michael, what was so amazing was seeing the world. There you are falling at who knows what speed, your face a contorted mess, and I'm checking the clouds above your head. Like some glorious bubble encasing the planet... clouds all puffy and stuff. Blue outrageous color and I'm thinking - oh geez - I could actually vomit while watching this! Lucky you!

    How nice my own fear of heights did not kick in until I saw the tops of the buildings. I simply could not shut my eyes. I mean, it's not like I was jumping... but you guys bared it all. I felt like I was riding that bad boy chute - all the way down. And had I been there, I woulda pitched like Mitch as well. LOL (Bless his heart) As my four year niece would say, "Do it again!"

    Suggestions for new & bigger adventures. Box with a Roo?

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! (you did enjoy it right? I don't think you actually said that :P) Crikey's just a meaningless exclamation like sacrebleur! I wish it had lasted longer :(

      As for your suggestion, I'll take it under advisement. But I'd like it to be something that lasts a long time. Maybe a tournament where I wrestle one of every Australian animal?

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    2. Oddly enough, I too, did not think it lasted long enough. I actually sat here thinking, "If I ever get up the nerve I'd like it to last longer." (Maybe barf mid-flight but keep going! Why save it for the ground? Like that FROZEN movie: "Let it go, let it go.")

      Yep, definitely liked it. Would go again, any time. Oh wait - I can just watched the video again. duh.

      How many animals does Australia have? I mean, you do need 52, right? One for each week? Lemma think and get back to you. Surely there's a much bigger adventure.... from your land... far, far, away...

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    3. Maybe I can do I blog tour, except instead of doing guest posts on everyone's blogs, I can actually go around the world and visit the bloggers.

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    4. There's an idea - geez you could take a 6 year tour of "Straya" alone!

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  3. Nice. No footage of Mitchell stumbling off to vomit? You could have had a YouTube phenom of a video here. I tried skydiving once and shall never reattempt. My crotch was bruised for a week from the impact of when the chute opened. I was glad it opened, don't get me wrong, but you couldn't tell over my screams from unexpected castration.

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    1. I know, it's surprising that that's the hardest part! I wish they'd caught him vomiting too. The one time I don't carry my camera on me...

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  4. I'm impressed, Michael, but you won't find me jumping out of a plane!

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  5. Like how you described it as the body comes around to the feeling. Sure looked like a great time, glad there was no vomit seen though, blah to that, literally I guess haha Squeezed into a plane with a fat guy, sounds like the average bus around here.

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    1. Hahaha and I'd say it's almost as scary too.

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  6. Bravo, you really looked as if you were enjoying it! Albert Einstein said "If a man falls freely, he does not feel his own weight" and you've confirmed it! After the parachute opened you felt your weight again, which must have been the jarring feeling. Obviously you prefer being weightless - ever thought of becoming an astronaut?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What little boy doesn't? And Einstein was a great man.

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  7. I'll just live the thrill through your video.
    Good stuff! That fall really did take a long time. Was the camera strapped to the guy's hand? I imagine it had to be.

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    1. Yeah it was. Mitchell was telling me about a video he saw where a guy dropped a GoPro out of a plane. You see the world spinning crazily out of control around it, then it lands in a pig farm. You see pigs coming to investigate before the owners find it.

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  8. I could never do that in a million years, so hats off to you!

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    Replies
    1. I imagine if I'd worn a hat, it would indeed have come off.

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  9. That was so cool! I was really surprised by how small the plane was. I wonder if that's standard. Thanks for sharing what it was like. I'm definitely going to try that! (Looks like you had an awesome location for doing it!)

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    1. I'm so happy to hear someone say they'll try it! No one is is game :P Yeah, it's always that small. Not exactly sure why though, maybe the cost?

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  10. Omg you have a lot of courage, I would never be able to do that. I have an insane fear of heights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha maybe work your way up to it by jumping on a super-high trampoline.

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  11. You brave bastard.
    Come over to my place. You've inspired a post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds exciting! I'll head on over soon!

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  12. Omg ur crazy!!!!!! My huevos are not big enough for that. Hahaha love the picture anddd the accents. Lol

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    1. Hahaha I still remember that those accents are what made us such good friends!

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    2. Lol!!!! Its one of my most commonly searched pages when people google "Australian accents". :)

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    3. Hm... Well if it's still being Googled, is it possible to change the link to my new blog? Don't worry if it's too much trouble :P

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  13. Wow! That was pretty intense. My stomach actually flopped a bit watching you shimmy your way out of the plane. That, for me, would be the worst part, the few seconds before. Oh, by the way, Al sent me over. I'll be digging through your blog for awhile. Don't mind me and if you find any boogers...they're not mine!
    -Bushman

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    Replies
    1. I'd expect nothing less from a guy named Bushman ;) Nice to meet you :)

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  14. Most incredibly thrilling blogpost ever. Congratulations! That was a very, very long 4+ minutes, just watching you. Mitchell didn't look nearly as happy to land. I'm glad they didn't film his "after effects."

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    1. I wish they'd gotten it. It would have made a hilarious end to the film ;)

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    2. Actually, yeah, that would've gone viral. Smiles.

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  15. Poor Mitchell. Though I would have shit my pants then puked. I was impressed you kept a straight face as you jumped out of the plane! Congrats on ending (or starting, however you want to look at it) your year with a bang!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! It's easy to keep a straight face when it's frozen that way ;)

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  16. I just couldn't do it! I have trouble even on roller coasters. I

    That's great you were able to get through it. It looks like you had fun.

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    Replies
    1. Well we'll start you off with dodgem cars and work our way up from there ;)

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  17. That was truly amazing! Glad you're going to rest up from your daring adventures for a little while! Did you tell your family before you went skydiving? I'd have been a nervous wreck, and that's probably why my sons don't tell me a whole lot. You are a very brave man, Michael, and I hope Al is sending you a lifetime supply of Tootsie Pops!

    Julie

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    Replies
    1. I accidently let it slip in late December - I was trying to keep it a secret from everyone until it came out in a post.

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    2. A LIFETIME supply!? Good grief! Think of all the licks!!!!
      NOTE: Don't you feel kind of bad for your regular readers? They have no earthly clue what we're talking about here.
      Incidentally...it's three licks per tootsie roll.

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    3. Maybe they should check out your blog and find out ;)

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    4. My brother said that skydiving is on his bucket list. Since I'm known as the brother who will try anything if you ask (that's how I got my tongue stuck on that frozen flagpole), I agreed to do it with him (well, not IT. I mean 'skydiving'). Luckily, winter intervened and I can now wait a few months. Whew.

      Delete
    5. Alright!! Have you set a date yet? Will you show us the video?

      Delete
  18. Hmmm, the claustrophobia of riding in a cramped plane, followed by my fear of heights, followed by wearing another man like a backpack as you plummet toward the ground... that sounds like my worst nightmare come to life. But I'm glad you had a good time of it!

    So hmmm, what's bigger? Get shot out of a cannon, maybe?

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  19. I've done this too. In fact, my first plane ride was to jump out of one. :) You're right, they're small...and mine was rickety. I wasn't scared though, I've always been a thrill seeker. In fact, I just started to calm down a few years ago (though I'd still bungee jump with a nudge from someone else going to do it). :) One of the instructors we had jumped in FLIP FLOPS! Crazy, right?? Glad you had a great time!! Sorry about your friend's upset tummy, still...he did the jump. Woot! :)

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    1. Hahaha! I would have loved if he'd lost one. That's great that that was your first time in a plane. The bigger the plane is, the more stable it is.

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  20. Oh my gosh, that was awesome! So scary--no way would I ever do that. Congratulations! :-)

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  21. That's awesome! I loved reading about your experience with skydiving. I'll never have the guts to do it, so I lived vicariously through your post. ;)

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    1. Lucky that reading about it is almost the same thing ;)

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  22. You are very brave!!! No way could I ever do something like that, and if I did, I'd be vomiting for days! Hmm . . . I'll try to think of some new 2015 ideas for you!

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    1. Thanks Jamie! I think the vomiting would be worth it ;)

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  23. You did it! Wow, that's just amazing. That must have been such a scary moment when you thought that something went wrong with the parachute.

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  24. Wow, you certainly have guts. I hate roller coasters even and have avoided them at all costs, much less jumping out of a plane. Don't know what you could do to get yourself on TV... Maybe go out on a date with Taylor Swift, and then get dumped and have her write a song about you?

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    1. Hey, I'd rather keep her happy and get to stay with her ;)

      Delete
  25. Oh my gosh, I held my breath throughout the whole video!! That was great. All hail Michael, all hail! In spite of the fact that it would scare the bejeebers out of me personally, it looked like a fun day. Good for you!

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    1. Thanks! I can't wait for your skydiving video! ;)

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  26. Oh, just awesome! I STILL am dying to go. I can't wait to someday say I have! I really enjoyed the video (and the accents too, sorry if that's annoying!) and your words about it. go you!

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    1. Haha no, it's not annoying at all :) Ask Jax, she took it to a whole new level once ;)

      I think most people want to do it again once they've done it the first time. It's addictive :P

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  27. If I ever did that I'd probably throw up and then choke on the vomit as air resistance probably impacts the rate at which it falls, resulting in in it falling at a slower rate than me so it just goes back inside my mouth and clogs my throat and I die.

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    Replies
    1. Or you could hit a bird so hard on the way down become some sort of human-pigeon hybrid.

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  28. I had the dumbest thought watching the video- shouldn't you wear a helmet? But then I thought, well, if you hit the ground from that high up, well, helmet won't really help, would it?

    Love your answer- nothing like having fun with a death wish!

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    1. Mitchell pointed out that if anything goes wrong with your parachutes, that's when your helmet starts wearing you for protection.

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  29. Hey Michael, I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. You can visit my blog to check it out.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Oh wow, thanks! Heading there right now!

      Delete
  30. Congratulations, this was great and something I've not done... I would be looking at the red zone in the instructor's watch!

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    1. I never did find out more about that. I assume it was an altimeter or something.

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  31. Amazing. You are absolutely right about the first three seconds and the anxiety before the parachute opening. I remember being so worried about landing . I was afraid landing face first on the ground.

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    1. Hahaha no chance of that happening ;) You may have noticed that they actually get us to lift our legs and let them do all the landing. It's safer that way.

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  32. Wow, Michael. Skydiving. That is something I will absolutely never do...unless the plane is going down. Your body freezes because your brain is saying, 'not a good idea, buddy - what are you thinking?' LOL

    Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. Hope to see you again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah come to think of it, are our lives so humdrum that we have to throw ourselves out of planes to liven it up? You've given me a lot to think about...

      Delete
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